A rainforest remnant in an arid landscape. Wards Canyon, Carnarvon Gorge, central Queensland

Time has passed on, and most of central Queensland is dry and arid.  However, like a time capsule, Wards Canyon is an oasis in Carnarvon Gorge National Park, it is now moist, cool and above all a spectacular work of nature. As the surrounding area dried out and became hotter, the King fern and tree ferns survived and thrived in the microclimate of Wards Canyon.

Carnarvon Gorge has a history or over 2 million years. Wards Canyon in the lower gorge and is part of the main walk. As the largest permanent water for many kilometres, Carnarvon Creek’ springfed watertable supports productive eco-systems with high concentrations of wildlife._DSF4467

Carved out of the sandstone rock by water erosion over millions of years, access to the Canyon is up a steep rise, surrounded by spotted gums, and the seclusion of the lower falls lead further into the Canyon. The Canyon is the most sheltered spot in Carnarvon Gorge, with rock pools holding water and nourishing the ferns.

Wards Canyon was a welcome respite from the heat of the open gorge. We stopped and enjoyed the serenity and listened to the gentle dripping of the water as it flowed past us on its way down the Gorge

 

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King ferns and fallen rock make ascending further up the canyon difficult
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Lunch break

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Sandstone rock wall

 

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Trees fallen by water eroding their base in the sandstone rocks
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Giant rocks pools hold water for the King Ferns to thrive
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Spectacular tree ferns, thriving in the cool moist environment

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