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Carnarvon Gorge visitor centre opens, capping off upgrade projects

5 July 2016

Displays help visitors identify and understand the park's wildlife. Photo: Queensland Government.

Displays help visitors identify and understand the park's wildlife. Photo: Queensland Government.

Carnarvon Gorge has a new information centre to help visitors connect with the ancient landscape and stories of this stunning section of central Queensland’s Carnarvon National Park.

Tamara O’Shea, Director-General of the Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing, will officially open the $1.8 million centre on 6 July 2016.

“This is the culmination of five years of Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service projects to improve the gorge’s visitor and staff facilities,” Mrs O’Shea said.

“As well as the upgraded visitor centre, there are new interpretive signs at the Art Gallery, Cathedral Cave and Boolimba Bluff, and we’ve completely redeveloped the Baloon Cave walking track and rock-art viewing boardwalk.

“We’ve upgraded carparks, and incorporated a new office for rangers into the visitor centre,” she said.

Mrs O’Shea said Carnarvon Gorge had been important to people for many thousands of years.

“The permanent presence of water here sustains not only a rich diversity of plants and animals but also people,” she said.

“Indigenous people have lived in, and travelled through, the gorge for many thousands of years. The Traditional Custodians consider this entire area to be a living, cultural landscape and have given much advice and mentoring to QPWS staff to help develop the displays.

“Carnarvon Gorge is part of an iconic national park, recognised worldwide for its colourful, dramatic sandstone gorges and Indigenous art.

“Visitor numbers continue to grow steadily – from a handful in the 1920s to about 1000 a year in the early 1960s and more than 50,000 a year now.

“The gorge plays a significant role in the Queensland Government’s plan to nurture world-class tourism destinations and experiences. This in turn helps to support regional tourism and grow strong local economies,” she said.

Mrs O’Shea thanked the many past and present QPWS staff involved in the project, and QGC for its $500,000 contribution to the centre through the Parks and Forests Management Fund.

QPWS Senior Ranger Robert Ashdown said staff were proud of all the improvements.

“Expanded and improved car-parking facilities, as well as new orientation signs, will help visitors find their way to the day-use area, park amenities, visitor centre and walking tracks,” Mr Ashdown said.

“Next to the visitor centre is a new orientation area, with sandstone seating and walking track information, where everyone can gather to plan their walk, find out a little about the park, or take a breather on the way back from their day’s adventures.

“The redeveloped visitor centre was created over the structure of the existing building dating from 1979, reusing much of the original material. A new office for rangers has been incorporated.

“The entrance features an overview of the diverse parks of central Queensland’s Sandstone Wilderness area, where there are a myriad of opportunities for visitors to explore this fascinating part of Queensland.

“Inside the centre, visitors will learn about Carnarvon Gorge and its wonderful natural and cultural heritage. There’s a wealth of information to help identify and understand the park’s wildlife, including its iconic platypus.

“Carnarvon Gorge is a popular spot for photography, and our visitors are encouraged to take advantage of the centre’s new Wifi hotspot to post up their photos,” he said.

More information about Carnarvon Gorge.

Last updated
5 July 2016