Cania Gorge National Park Walks: A Spectacular and Ancient World

Cania Gorge National Park Walks: A Spectacular and Ancient World

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Returning from Cape York, bound for Brisbane, we decided to come inland from the coast to discover some of Queensland’s interior attractions. Sometimes overshadowed by the stunning beaches, islands, and reefs, Queensland is home to some remarkable inland experiences too. One of those experiences is the Cania Gorge National Park walks.

Cania Gorge is a special place. A place which people have been visiting for over 19,000 years. Here within the gorge, a diverse array of plants and animals have made a home in the shade of the sandstone walls.

There is no better way to explore the beauty of Cania Gorge Queensland other than on foot via the Cania Gorge National Park walks. With over 8 different bushwalks and hikes to choose from, there is plenty to keep you occupied. Discover the ins and outs of the Cania Gorge walks and the Cania Gorge National Park, in our comprehensive Cania Gorge blog post.

Where Is Cania Gorge QLD?

Cania Gorge lookout from the Giant's Chair one of the Cania Gorge National Park walks
Cania Gorge lookout from the Giant’s Chair

Cania Gorge Queensland is located approximately 500 km (~6 hours) north of Brisbane along the A3.

Bundaberg to Cania Gorge is 210 km (~3 hours) west along State Route 3 and Kalpowar Road.

The closest airport to Cania Gorge is Gladstone approximately 200 km (~2.5 hours) from Cania Gorge National Park.

For those looking to extend there vacation here, natural attractions such as Cania Dam and Kroombit Tops National Park are close by.

How Long Do I Need to Visit Cania Gorge?

We recommend seeing Cania Gorge in a weekend. By Australian standards, Cania Gorge is a small national park with just 30,00 hectares. And with 15 kilometers of short to medium walking trails and one full day 22-kilometer trail, you can see it over one active weekend.

If you plan to stay longer there are a variety of natural attractions and historic country tows in the area around the Cania Gorge National Park.

When Should I Visit Cania Gorge?

Cania Gorge is spectacular year-round although Queensland’s fierce summer heat can make walking during the day challenging.

We visited in late October and the midday heat was already stifling.

To enjoy the walks in more moderate temperatures, visit between April and September.

Cania Gorge Walks

The walking trails through the Cania Gorge National Park are the best way to experience what the area has to offer

There is only one way to properly experience Cania Gorge by walking the trails that traverse the park. These paths take you down into the gorge and back up to scenic lookouts. They follow ancient creek beds and narrow escarpments. They lead walkers past gaping caves and under ancient sandstone overhangs. The trails that wind through the park give a fabulous cross-section of the geography and natural environment of the unique area.

Castle Hill

The longest of the Cania Gorge National Park walks, the trail to Castle Hill is not for the faint of heart. A return trip of 22 km, this hike takes you through the open woodland to the top of Castle Hill Mountain. Adequate preparation is recommended for this hike and the trail should be attempted by experienced bushwalkers only. There is no water along the trail and it is exposed. Start early and make sure to pack plenty of water, food, and sun protection.

Keep your eyes peeled for snakes along Cania Gorge National Park walks. Kelli almost stepped on this monster red-bellied black snake

Fern Pool and Giant’s Chair Circuit

This moderate grade 3 circuit is a 5.6 km hike through the left-hand side of the gorge. The trail snakes through the eucalypt forest following a creek to a small pool with beautiful ferns. The trail continues onward out of the creek bed and up to the Giant’s Chair, a stunning lookout above Cania Gorge.

Dripping Rock and the Overhang

The Overhang, one of Cania Gorge National Park walks not to be missed

Our favorite of the Cania Gorge National Park walks is the walk to Dripping Rock and the Overhang. Again an easy grade 3 trail, this hike takes you through the rainforest first to Dripping Rock where rainwater seeps from the porous sandstone walls through which it has been filtering through for millennia. Continue onward to The Overhang where years and years of erosion have formed a cavernous opening in the rock.

Dragon Cave and Bloodwood Cave

A shot from inside Dragon Cave one of the attractions on one of the many Cania Gorge National Park walks
This deep cave in the Cania Gorge National Park would be a great shelter

Another grade 3 walking trail, this Cania Gorge National Park walk takes you past two caves, Dragon Cave and Bloodwood Cave. Take a moment to imagine yourself camped in the cave to escape the fierce sun in the heat of the day or to keep yourself dry in a thundering storm.

As part of this walk, you can also visit the Cania Gorge Lookout which provides a vantage point overlooking the gorge. This sidetrack adds an extra 500 m to the trail.

Note: The first 400 m of the Dragon Cave and Bloodwood Cave trail and the Dripping Rock and The Overhang trail follow the same route.

Shamrock Mine Site

Further into Cania Gorge towards Cania Dam is the Shamrock Mine Site trail. An easy 1.4 km return hike, this trail takes you to the site of the abandoned Shamrock Mine. With a self-guided tour, you can discover the history of the mine in the Cania Goldfields.

Other Cania Gorge National Park Walks

Three shorter walks provide greater accessibility to some of the national park’s breathtaking scenery.

  • Two Storey Cave Circuit (1.3 km return)
  • Big Foot Walk (1 km return)
  • Picnic Area Circuit (300 m return)

Cania Gorge Map

This Cania Gorge National Park map shows the location of all of the Cania Gorge National Park walks

A Cania gorge map, showing the Cania Gorge National Park walks is available at the QPWS website.

Other Things to Do in Cania Gorge National Park and Surrounds

Even though the Cania Gorge National Park walks will keep you busy for a few days, there are other things to do in Cania Gorge National Park and the surrounding area while you are here.

Spot Wildlife in Cania Gorge National Park

King parrots can be spotted along the Cania Gorge National Park walks

A huge variety of animals call the gorge home and you are likely to see some of the local residents on your visit.

Expect to see goannas, skinks, wallabies, and a wide variety of birdlife including the beautiful king parrot. Take care when walking as snakes such as the venomous red-bellied black snake can be found sunning themselves on the trails.

Fish at the Cania Dam (Lake Cania)

At the end of the road into Cania Gorge National Park is the Cania Dam. Stocked with Australian bass, silver perch, and golden perch, it is the perfect place to unwind after spending your morning hiking one of the nearby Cania Gorge National Park walks.

Fishing permits must be obtained in advance and cost only $10 allowing you to fish for a week in the Cania Dam.

Visit Kroombit Tops National Park

Camping in Kroombit Tops National Park

A visit to Kroombit Tops National Park should be on the list for any 4WD enthusiasts. There are three separate 4WD tracks to tackle including the loop to visit Beautiful Betsy, an ill-fated WWII Liberty bomber that went down in 1945.

But if 4WD tracks aren’t for you, areas of Kroombit Tops National Park can be reached with a standard 2WD vehicle when coming from Calliope on the north side of the national park.

Cania Gorge National Park Accommodation

Cania Gorge Free Camping

The closest free camping to Cania Gorge is the Coominglah Range campsite and travelers’ rest area. Just 40 kilometers from the Cania Gorge National Park it provides the perfect base to camp before exploring the national park.

It has toilets, tables, rubbish bins, fire pits, non-potable water and is set off the highway providing a quiet night’s sleep. There is good phone reception as well. Travelers can stay at this free rest area for one night.

Cania Gorge Camping

While camping Cania Gorge National Park is not permitted there are a number of options for camping accommodation nearby.

Big 4 Cania Gorge Holiday Park

The Big 4 Cania Gorge Holiday Park is located at the end of Cania Gorge near the Cania Gorge Dam. Complete with holiday rentals, powered and unpowered sites, a water park, golf course, Saturday night wine tastings, there is plenty to keep you busy at Big 4.

Cania Gorge Tourist Retreat

Check into the Cania Gorge Tourist Retreat for rest and relaxation. The Cania Gorge Tourist Retreat located at the entrance to Cania Gorge National Park offers powered and unpowered sites as well as fully self-contained cabins. Come here to find solace in nature, to explore the nearby Cania Gorge National Park walks, to relax with a beer as the sunsets, and to get away from the hustle and bustle of life.

Kroombit Tops National Park

The closest Cania Gorge national park camping is in fact in Kroombit Tops National Park. Accessible only by 4WD vehicles from the Cania Gorge entrance, Kroombit Tops has three separate camping areas to choose from. Camp by The Wall near Beautiful Betsy accessible only by the most difficult 4WD track in the park, at the small Razorback camping area (again accessible only by 4WD), or at Griffiths Creek camping area which is a large open paddock with horses roaming freely and wallabies scattered about (accessible by conventional vehicle).

Hopefully, you enjoy the Cania Gorge National Park walks as much as we did. If you have any questions or advice for Cania Gorge National Park, please drop us a comment below.

Looking for more things to do in the area? Consider checking out Queensland’s northernmost surf beach of Agnus Water and the fishing town of 1770. Or head over to Bundaberg, home of the famous Bundaberg Rum and the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef.

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