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About Cania Gorge

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Getting there and getting around

The Castle Mountain lookout provides a spectacular view north across Cania Dam, which lies at the end of Cania Road. Photo R Ashdown, NPSR

The Castle Mountain lookout provides a spectacular view north across Cania Dam, which lies at the end of Cania Road. Photo R Ashdown, NPSR

Cania Gorge National Park is about 225 km west of Bundaberg and can be reached via Cania Road, which branches off the Burnett Highway 12 km north of Monto (or 82 km south of Biloela). Travel through Moonford for another 13 km to the main picnic area. If travelling from Brisbane the park is 500 km north-west.

Wheelchair accessibility

Wheelchair-accessible toilets and picnic tables are available at Three Moon Creek picnic area.

Park features

Fern Tree Pool. Photo R Ashdown, NPSR

Fern Tree Pool. Photo R Ashdown, NPSR

Cania Gorge preserves a valuable remnant of the Brigalow Belt natural region. More than 150 different types of plant community are found in this region, including brigalow forest, eucalypt woodland, cypress pine woodland, dry rainforest and grassland.

The park is home to more than 90 species of bird. Brush-tailed rock wallabies and common bent-wing bats are also seen.

Aboriginal people have lived in Cania Gorge for at least 19,000 years. Freehand art on the sandstone walls is a reminder of their special way of life.

Camping and accommodation

Camping

Camping is not permitted in Cania Gorge National Park. Commercially operated caravan and camping parks are provided nearby in the gorge.

Other accommodation

Hotel, motel and caravan accommodation is available in Monto. For more information see the tourism information links below.

Things to do

Late afternoon sun highlights dry rainforest and illuminates the sandstone walls of Dragon Cave. Photo R Ashdown, NPSR

Late afternoon sun highlights dry rainforest and illuminates the sandstone walls of Dragon Cave. Photo R Ashdown, NPSR

The Shamrock mine site walk leads past reminders of the area's gold-mining history. Photo: R Ashdown, NPSR

The Shamrock mine site walk leads past reminders of the area's gold-mining history. Photo: R Ashdown, NPSR

Fern Tree Pool is a fine example of the quiet, shaded side-gorges that feed water into Three Moon Creek. Photo: R Ashdown, NPSR

Fern Tree Pool is a fine example of the quiet, shaded side-gorges that feed water into Three Moon Creek. Photo: R Ashdown, NPSR

View from the Giant's Chair at dusk. Photo: R Ashdown, NPSR

View from the Giant's Chair at dusk. Photo: R Ashdown, NPSR

The Giant's Chair lookout, in the shade of pink spotted gums, is a great place to obtain a view over the varied vegetation communities of Cania Gorge. Photo: R Ashdown, NPSR

The Giant's Chair lookout, in the shade of pink spotted gums, is a great place to obtain a view over the varied vegetation communities of Cania Gorge. Photo: R Ashdown, NPSR

Walking

Choose from eight graded walking tracks to explore Cania Gorge National Park. If you intend to bushwalk away from the trails below, obtain a topographic map and ask for advice before setting off. Ensure you carry adequate drinking water.

Allow 15–20 minutes to walk one kilometre. This time is calculated for people of average fitness and bushwalking experience and who are wearing correct footwear. If you are walking with young children or are an inexperienced bushwalker, allow more time to include rests and to return to your starting point.

Key to track standards

The classification system is based on Australian Standards. Please note that while each track is classified according to its most difficult section, other sections may be of an easier level.

Class 2 track
  • Easy level, well-graded track, suitable for all fitness levels.
Class 3 track
  • Gently sloping, well-defined track with slight incline or some rocky steps.
  • Caution needed on loose gravel surfaces and creek crossings—cliff edges and lookouts generally not fenced.
  • Reasonable level of fitness and ankle-supporting footwear required.
Class 4 track
  • Distinct track usually with steep exposed inclines or many steps.
  • Caution needed on loose gravel surfaces and exposed natural lookouts.
  • Moderate level of fitness and ankle-supporting footwear required.

1. Picnic area circuit (Class 2)

Distance: 300 m return
Time: Allow about 20 mins walking time

Details: This short walk can be started from either end of the picnic area. The track runs beside Three Moon Creek, allowing views of the sandstone cliffs and surrounding eucalypt woodland.

2. Dripping Rock and The Overhang (Class 3)

Distance: 3.2 km return
Time: Allow about 2 hrs 30 mins

Distance: This pleasant walk starts at the southern end of the picnic area. After crossing the Three Moon Creek the track winds through eucalypt woodland and dry rainforest before leading to the base of Dripping Rock (2.2 km return). The track continues on to The Overhang, where water has eroded the base of the sandstone cliff.

3. Dragon Cave and Bloodwood Cave (Class 3)

Distance: 2.6 km return
Time: Allow about 1 hr

Details: The Dripping Rock track travels for 400 m before taking a right turn over the bridge across Russell Gully. A moderately steep track leads to the cliff face, where a sidetrack branches north to Dragon Cave (1.8 km return). Here, the natural black mural of a 'dragon' can be seen highlighted against the white sandstone wall. The southern branch of the track leads to Bloodwood Cave, so called because the roots of a bloodwood tree can be seen at the left-hand side of the cave.

4. Two Storey Cave circuit (Class 3)

Distance: 1.3 km return
Time: Allow about 45 mins

Details: This scenic walk starts opposite the picnic area. Starting to the left, the circuit meanders upwards around isolated sandstone monoliths. A 20 m sidetrack leads to King Orchid Crevice, a parting of the cliff that has created an ideal haven for epiphytes. The top section of Two Storey Cave is important habitat for insectivorous bats. Please do not disturb these animals.

5. Fern Tree Pool and Giant's Chair circuit (Class 3)

Distance: 5.6 km return
Time: Allow about 3 hrs

Details: The circuit begins from a carpark 900 m south of the picnic area and is best walked in an anti-clockwise direction. Crossing Doctors Gully several times, the track passes Fern Tree Pool (2.5 km) and continues at a moderate climb for another 2.2 km up a sandstone escarpment to the Giant's Chair lookout. The circuit returns 900 m to the car park down a steep track and steps. Please carry water on this walk, as the creek water is unsuitable for drinking.

6. Big Foot walk (Class 3)

Distance: 1 km return
Time: Allow about 20 mins

Details: This short trail begins at the same car park and runs parallel to the bitumen road. It features a large brown image of a four-toed foot on the white sandstone cliff.

7. Shamrock mine site (Class 3)

Distance: 1.4 km return
Time: Allow about 45 mins

Details: This walk begins from the northern car park, about 1 km south of Lake Cania. The track meanders along a creek before passing into eucalypt woodland. At the former Shamrock gold mine site, there is a self-guided walk with information about life on the Cania Goldfields. The remains of the old battery, mine shafts, processing sheds and mullock heaps can be seen along the way. Gold fossicking is not permitted.

8. Castle Mountain (Class 4)

Distance: 22 km return
Time: Allow 7–8 hrs

Details: From the picnic area follow the 800 m Bloodwood Cave track to the Castle Mountain track turn-off. There is a steep 200 m track to the Gorge Lookout with a lovely view down the gorge. From here a 10 km fire trail winds through open woodland to Castle Mountain lookout. The view from this lookout is a just reward after the long walk. Return via the same track.

Be prepared; this can be a hot walk. Start the walk in the cool of the early morning and take plenty of water and a first-aid kit. Wear a hat, sunscreen, comfortable clothes and sturdy shoes. Before you go, put an emergency plan in place. Ensure that a responsible person is aware of where you are going, when you expect to return and knows what to do if you don't return when planned.

Picnic and day-use areas

A picnic area with sheltered tables, barbecues, tank water and toilets are provided in the park's southern section adjacent to Three Moon Creek. Boil or chemically treat creek water. No bins are provided; visitors are asked to take their rubbish with them.

Viewing wildlife

Go wildlife watching and bring your camera and binoculars. Lace monitors, dollarbirds, king parrots, wompoo pigeons, regent bowerbirds and whiptail wallabies are found in this area. Platypus live in waterholes below the dam wall. The red kurrajong flowers in spring.

See the description of the park's natural environment for more details about Cania Gorge's diverse wildlife.

Other things to do

The display shelter in the main picnic area provides information on the park's wildlife, vegetation and history.

North Burnett Regional Council manages a picturesque recreation and picnic area on the shore of Lake Cania, 11 km north of the national park picnic area. The lake is popular for water sports—fishing, boating, canoeing and swimming.

Things to know before you go

Be prepared when walking at Cania Gorge. Always carry water, and expect very hot days in summer. Photo R Ashdown, NPSR

Be prepared when walking at Cania Gorge. Always carry water, and expect very hot days in summer. Photo R Ashdown, NPSR

Essentials to bring

  • Bring a fuel or gas stove for cooking and test it before you leave home. Fires are not permitted in the park.
  • Bring your own drinking water. Boil or use chemical tablets to treat creek water before use.
  • Be aware that medical help may be hours away in the event of an accident. Carry a well-equipped first-aid kit.
  • Reduce packaging before you leave home. Bring heavy-duty bags or containers to store your rubbish. No bins are provided in the park—take your rubbish with you when you leave. The nearest refuse station is at Monto.
  • Pack insect repellent, sunscreen and protective clothing (including hats and shoes) to avoid bites, stings and sunburn.
  • Bring your camera and binoculars for viewing wildlife. A torch, preferably with a red filter to protect animals' eyes, is useful for spotlighting at night.

Drinking water

Tank water is available in the picnic area, but must be treated before drinking. Treat any water collected from the creeks before drinking.

Opening hours

Cania Gorge National Park is open 24 hours a day. For your safety, walk in daylight hours only.

Pets

Domestic animals are not permitted in Cania Gorge National Park.

Climate and weather

Cania Gorge has a hot, dry climate. The summers can be very hot, up to 42 °C, while evenings can be a cool 11 °C. Winters are dry and pleasantly warm, up to 30 ° C in the daytime after very cold nights, as low as –3 ° C. Frosts are not uncommon in winter. Weather forecasts are available from the Bureau of Meteorology.

Fuel and supplies

The closest fuel and supplies are available from Monto. For more information see the tourism information links below.

Staying safe

The sandstone cliffs of Cania Gorge reach heights of 70 m. Always take great care when walking at Cania Gorge, and supervise children closely. Photo R Ashdown, NPSR

The sandstone cliffs of Cania Gorge reach heights of 70 m. Always take great care when walking at Cania Gorge, and supervise children closely. Photo R Ashdown, NPSR

To enjoy a safe visit to this area, follow these guidelines:

  • Be prepared, even on short walks, and judge your ability and conditions carefully before setting out. Do not expect to be warned of every possible danger.
  • Choose walks that suit the capabilities of your entire group.
  • Stay together and keep to the walking tracks.
  • Take care near cliff edges—they can be deceptive and are often closer than you think. Please keep away from the edge and supervise children at all times. Take extra care when using binoculars or cameras at these sites!
  • Leave a copy of your bushwalking plans with a friend, relative or other reliable person. This person has responsibility for contacting police if you are overdue. Remember that a search and rescue is costly, endangers peoples' lives and can damage the environment. Let them know you have returned.
  • Walk with one or more friends. At least one member of each party should be a competent map-reader and bushwalker.
  • Do not feed or leave food for animals—human food can harm wildlife and cause some animals to become aggressive. Keep your food packed away when your campsite is not attended.

In an emergency

In case of accident or other emergency please:

  • call 000 or
  • if you have difficulty connecting to 000 from your mobile phone: try 112
  • advise the location and nature of the emergency
  • stay on the phone until you are told to hang up.

The nearest hospitals are at Monto. Mobile phone coverage is not reliable in Cania Gorge National Park.

For more information, please read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.

Looking after the park

You can help protect the park and forest by observing these guidelines:

  • Please leave all plants and animals undisturbed.
  • Use toilets if available. Away from toilets, ensure all faecal matter and toilet paper are properly buried (15 cm deep) well away from tracks, camp sites, watercourses and drainage channels (100 m). Carry out disposable nappies and sanitary products.
  • When washing cooking equipment, always wash at least 100 m from streams and lakes. Waterways should be kept free of all pollutants including soap, detergents, sunscreens and food scraps.

See the guidelines on caring for parks for more information about protecting our environment and heritage in parks.

Park management

The Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing (NPSR) manages these parks and forests under the Nature Conservation Act 1992.

Tourism information links

North Burnett Regional Council

Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism

Monto Magic Tourism Action Group

Fraser Coast South Burnett Regional Tourism Board Ltd

Gladstone Area Promotion and Development Ltd

For tourism information for all regions in Queensland see Queensland Holidays.

Further information

Contact us

Last updated
20 March 2013