We've spent the past couple of days in the gorges and canyons of the area. First we headed to Charles Knife Canyon where the road goes along the top of the canyon and the views are glorious. It's a paved road up to the top, and then changes to an unsealed gravel road for the last couple of kilometres. You can see to the ocean on both sides of the cape, there are some incredible views down into the canyons and you can hike to along the top. We hadn't come prepared to hike, so decided instead to check out Shothole Canyon.
This drive was gravel the whole way and actually wound its way along the bottom of the canyon, crossing the dry river bed. You would not want to be down there when it rains because you'd be in danger of flash floods (Cue wonderful story ideas... and maniacal laughing). Actually I've come up with all sorts of ways to get rid of bodies while on this trip and I think my husband is getting just a little bit nervous! 🙂
The road out here is recommended for 4WDs only and a sign specifically saying don't tow caravans down the road (seriously you wouldn't want to, the road in places is rather bumpy), but of course we passed a 2WD car towing a caravan on our way in. They must have made it out as we didn't see them again, but I can't imagine how much all their stuff in the caravan would have jolted about on the journey.
The next day we had a boat tour booked out at Yardie Creek and I'd read about a hike at the top of the gorge so we headed off early. It took over an hour to reach Yardie Creek which is as far as the sealed road goes on the western side of the Cape Range National Park. We were a little worried we missed a turn off, but no, just keep driving until you reach a car park near the beach and you're there.
The signs about the hike said to allow 2 hours for a return trip. We had about an hour and a half before the cruise, so we figured we'd walk for as far as we could before turning back. This trail was probably the rockiest of the hikes we've done so far. The path is denoted by some tall white poles in the ground and there were a couple of small valleys to cross, but the trail was surprisingly short. We walked until we couldn't spot another white pole and then a small sign said we were at the end of the trail. There were some pretty views down into the creek below, but the creek doesn't flow too far from the ocean. So we turned back and reached the car park about an hour after we'd left. So we had plenty of time. We probably rushed our outward journey, because we were conscious of time but unless you're a little unsteady on your feet or you want to take a whole bunch of photos, the hike doesn't take 2 hours.
We then headed out on the Yardie Creek Boat Tour. Our guide Ash was very amusing with all his Dad jokes and he really knew his information. He also knew where to find all the animals so we saw lots of rock wallabies, some osprey, a bower bird, Myrtle the turtle and a bunch of other birds. It was a very pleasant way to spend an hour.