Carnarvon National Park
Allow 3 hrs
Elevation gain (m):
Max. elevation (m):
Moderate (Grade 3)
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Pass a small waterfall on your way to a side gorge and see the world’s largest fern – the king fern.
This moderately trafficked walk branches off the Main Gorge Track in Carnarvon National Park.
Ward’s Canyon is located 4.3 kilometres along the main gorge track and is a steep 270m one-way side-track involving steps.
The small side gorge is another site that provides respite from the heat, with water trickling down the sandstone cliffs into a small oasis of towering ferns.
The short but steep walk passes Lower Aijon Falls, a lovely small waterfall that can be viewed from multiple angles.
Rounding the corner into the side gorge, you are greeted by a towering sandstone overhang, as well as King ferns – the world’s largest ferns.
The canyon is named after the Ward brothers – two fur-trappers who seasonally inhabited the small gorge.
Ward's Canyon is best visited as part of the main gorge track, of which there is a short version and a long version, both of which visit popular other locations such as Moss Garden, the Amphitheatre and the Art Gallery.
Track: The main gorge track is a mostly flat, well-maintained graded path, with occasional steps and footbridges, and large stepping-stones at each of the creek crossings. The side-track to Ward’s Canyon is steeper and involves steps. The track is well-signed and easy to follow.
Difficulty: The track is suitable for all fitness levels with sufficient time. The creek crossings typically have large stepping-stones, but these can be slippery and may present an issue for people with balance issues. The water depth at the creek crossings is usually only ankle deep, but the rocks under the water are often very slippery. Sturdy shoes with good grip and hiking poles are highly recommended.
Direction: This is an out-and-back track that returns the way it came.
The trailhead is located near the Visitor Centre at the end of Carnarvon Gorge Road. The visitor centre is located 8.5 hours drive north-west of Brisbane, 7 hours drive west of Bundaberg and 3 hours north of Roma.
It is recommended to break up the drive to the park and consider the impact of fatigue on driving safety. Many of the roads leading to the park are rural roads prone to wildlife, especially at dawn and dusk.
Parking is ample at the Visitor Centre, however it can get busy during peak periods.
best time to go
The walk can be completed year-round. Given the nature of the terrain, the area is prone to flooding after rain. Be sure to check the Queensland Parks website for updates regarding flooding and track closures.
Remember, whenever venturing into the outdoors, practice the Leave No Trace principles and be considerate of others. This means: dispose of your waste properly, don't remove things or move things from their natural position and respect all wildlife. Also be sure to plan ahead and adequately prepare for any adventure.
I respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which all activities listed on this website are found, as well as Elders past, present and emerging. I strive to not promote sites where requests have been made for people not to explore due to the cultural significance of the site to Indigenous peoples, or note how to respectfully visit a site. If I have a promoted a site with cultural significance, please send me a message and let me know.