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Ward's Canyon walk

Robert Ashdown © Queensland Government

Ward's Canyon walk

Walking No Walking
Wheelchair access (may require assistance) No wheelchair access
Mountain biking No mountain biking
Horseriding No horseriding
Two-wheel driving No two-wheel driving
Four-wheel driving No four-wheel driving
Trail-bike riding No trail-bike riding
Canoeing & kayaking No canoeing & kayaking
Boating No boating
Dogs allowed on leash No dogs
No lookouts
Tent camping No tent camping

Legend

Walking No walking
Wheelchair access (may require assistance) No wheelchair access
Mountain biking No mountain biking
Horseriding No horseriding
Two-wheel driving No two-wheel driving
Four-wheel driving No four-wheel driving
Trail-bike riding No trail-bike riding
Canoeing & kayaking No canoeing & kayaking
Boating No boating
Dogs allowed on leash No dogs
No lookouts
Tent camping No tent camping
World Heritage Area

Escape from the heat of the main gorge into this shady sanctuary of trickling water, towering ferns and historical connections.

Park alerts
Walk beside large tree ferns and king ferns on the Ward's Canyon walk.
Walk beside large tree ferns and king ferns on the Ward's Canyon walk. Michael O'Connor © Queensland Government
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Park Carnarvon
Traditional Owners Traditional Owners
Park Ranger Park Ranger

A short steep climb through towering spotted gums leads past Lower Aijon Falls to the entrance of this beautiful side gorge off the Main Gorge track. When you pass through the opening you'll feel like you've stepped back in time. King ferns—the world’s largest— mingle with slender tree ferns and other lush gorge vegetation. With links to ancient Gondwanan flora, the king ferns are the ‘green dinosaurs’ of this landscape.

Spend some time in this naturally air-conditioned spot and watch the water trickle over vivid orange and green algae-coated rocks. Before you leave, read about the Ward brothers who made this area their seasonal home.

At a glance

Distance: 9.2km from visitor area (540m from Main gorge track) return (start and finish points are the same and the traveller must return via the same path).
Time suggested: Allow 4hrs walking time.
Grade:
Journey type: Walk

Getting there and getting around

Ward's Canyon walk is in the Carnarvon Gorge section of Carnarvon National Park in central Queensland's Sandstone Wilderness, halfway between Emerald and Roma.

  • Ward's Canyon walk branches off the Main gorge track and continues for 270m to Ward's Canyon.
  • The turn-off to Ward's Canyon walk is 5.9km along the Main gorge track from the Carnarvon Gorge visitor area.
  • The Carnarvon Gorge visitor area is 5.9km by mostly sealed road from the park entrance.
  • To reach Carnarvon Gorge from Roma, drive 90km north to Injune then a further 160km along the Carnarvon Highway to the Carnarvon Gorge turn-off. If you are travelling from Emerald, drive 65km south to Springsure then 70km east to Rolleston, and a further 61km along the Carnarvon Highway to the Carnarvon Gorge turn-off.  From here, the 45km road to the park entrance is mostly sealed.

Road conditions

  • The 45km road to the park is mostly sealed. This road can become impassable after rain as Carnarvon Creek rises rapidly cutting road access.

  • See traffic and travel information for road and travel conditions.
  • Check park alerts for the latest information on access, closures and conditions.

Parking

Fuel and supplies

  • The nearest fuel and supplies is available from Rolleston (106km north) or Injune (111km south). LPG fuel is only available from Emerald (196km north-west) or Roma (201km south).
  • The nearest vehicle and tyre repair facilities are at Injune and Rolleston.

Wheelchair access

There are no wheelchair-accessible facilities.

When to visit

Opening hours

  • Sections of the park are occasionally closed for management activities such as planned burns and controlling pest animals. Notification of closures is posted on signs at the park's entrances and on the website.
  • Check park alerts for the latest information on access, closures and conditions.

Climate and weather

The best time to visit Carnarvon National Park is between April and September. Temperatures in this region vary widely. Summer days can exceed 35°C. In winter, heavy frosts can be expected as temperatures sometimes fall below freezing. Rain mostly falls between December and March. However, storms can occur throughout the year. Many roads are unsealed and impassable after even a small amount of rain and flooding can occur suddenly.

Permits and fees

Organised events

  • If you are planning a school excursion or organising a group event such as a wedding, fun run or adventure training, you may need an organised event permit. Maximum group sizes and other conditions apply depending on location and activity type.

Pets

Domestic animals are not allowed here.

Staying in touch

Mobile phone coverage

None. Check with your service provider for more information.

Tourism information

For tourism information for all regions in Queensland, see Queensland.com, and for friendly advice on how to get there, where to stay and what to do, find your closest accredited visitor information centre.

Be prepared

  • Parks are natural environments and conditions can be unpredictable. You are responsible for your own safety and for looking after the park.
  • Read stay safe and visit with care for important general information about safety, caring for parks and essentials to bring when you visit Queensland’s national parks.

  • Check park alerts for the latest information on access, closures and conditions.

Drinking water

  • Drinking water is not provided on this walk. Bring your own water—at least 2L per person.
  • Drinking water is provided at Carnarvon Gorge visitor area.
  • Treat all water before use.

Rubbish

  • There are no bins. Take your rubbish with you when you leave.
  • Do not bury or leave rubbish. This includes cigarette butts, which do not decompose.

Walking

  • Always take care near cliff edges—sandstone can crumble.
  • Never walk alone, and stay on the tracks unless you are a very experienced and well-equipped bushwalker.
  • Start longer walks at cooler times of the day to avoid heat exhaustion on hot days. Plan to complete your walk before dark.
  • Read walk with care for tips on walking safely and walking lightly.

Driving

  • Drive carefully at all times. Dirt roads may have gutters, washouts or loose edges (especially after heavy rain). Check local road conditions before visiting the park.
  • If your vehicle breaks down while within the national park, stay with it—a vehicle is much easier to find than a person.
  • Ensure you bring adequate supplies of water, food, fuel, vehicle spares and medical supplies. Roads may become impassable after rain, so ensure you take extra supplies.
  • Tell friends or family where you are going and when you expect to return. If you change your plans inform them.
  • Read 4WD with care for important information on 4WD safety and minimal impact driving.

Restricted access

Ward's Canyon restricted access area notice (PDF, 54.3KB)

Last updated: 22 March 2018
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