No matter where in the world you come from, when you think about Australia, Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef and drop bears probably come to mind. These are undoubtedly some of the most spectacular attractions in Australia, if not the world. There is, however, a hidden, mostly unknown gem within Queensland that I believe represents Australia perfectly. Let me introduce you to Cania Gorge.
Situated 12km north of Monto, Cania Gorge is 3000 hectares of unspoilt sandstone cliffs, secret caves, picturesque eucalypt forests and dry woodlands. You won’t find droves of tourists or shops full of stuffed cane toads and tacky fridge magnets here. You will, however, find amazing native flora and fauna including birds, kangaroos, bettongs, brush-tail possums, sugar gliders and rock wallabies.
Dragon Cave is one such cave open for exploration, named because of the natural black mural of a ‘dragon’ against the sandstone wall. Then there is Bloodwave Cave, named because of the curtain like roots of the bloodwood tree which hang to one side of the cave. You can also visit the former Shamrock gold mine site, where the remains of the old battery, mine shafts, processing sheds and mullock heaps remain today.
For those keen on trying their hand at fishing, Lake Cania is well stocked with Bass, Saratoga, Silver Perch and Yellow Belly. A boat is available for hire for those wanting to head out on the water.
If you are wanting more than a day visit, the Cania Gorge Caravan and Tourist Park offers a variety of accommodation including camping sites, villas and cabins. It’s the perfect destination for families, with wine tasting (highly recommended!), outdoor movie theatre, a pool and water park for the young and young at heart, camp oven dinners, open fires (these are rare in holiday parks around Queensland!) kayaking and there is even a 9 hole mini golf course. It’s the perfect place to set up base whilst you explore the Queensland’s extensive sandstone belt.
So grab your backpack, a good pair of boots, your akubra and a few litres of water and explore one of Australia’s best kept secrets. Oh – and don’t forget to join in the camp oven dinner. Think roast beef and home made apple crumble with fresh, cream custard. And of course, great Australian hospitality.