Best Gorges Of Australia

by Chris Hartley - Mountain Designs

Best Gorges Of Australia

COVID-19 has put some restrictions on just how far and wide we can explore at the moment, but even with border closures there are some incredible sights to be seen in our own backyard. Each state has some natural landmarks that are worth ticking off your adventure bucket list, starting with the beauty and wonderment of gorges. Read on for our top picks of gorges to see around Australia.

Barron Gorge, Barron Gorge National Park, Queensland

Located in the Cairns region of northern Queensland, Barron Gorge is part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Barron Falls cascades some 260m down into the gorge below while a plethora of flora and fauna - such as Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo and the northern quoll - can be spotted nearby.

Hancock Gorge, Karijini National Park, Western Australia

Hidden away in Karijini National Park in the Pilbara region, this beautiful location is found only by taking on a rocky obstacle course that will see you rock-hop, swim and hike through slot canyons and waterfalls. Explore the Spider Walk which leads to the green waters of Kermits Pool.

Barron Gorge In Northern Queensland
Kermits Pool In Hancock Gorge

Barron Gorge in northern Queensland (left) and Kermits Pool in the Hancock Gorge of Western Australia (right). (Images courtesy of Tourism Tropical North Queensland and Australia's North West Tourism)

Ormiston Gorge, West MacDonnell National Park, Northern Territory

Ormiston Gorge is a well-known location in the top end, with its bright red rock walls and impressive waterfalls providing the backdrop. It is the trailhead for section 9 and 10 of the Larapinta Trail, and there are plenty of walking tracks for the hikers, pools and waterholes for a quick dip, and wildlife for the keen-eyed. Ghost Gum Lookout is one of the best spots to take in the full landscape.

Alligator Gorge, Mount Remarkable National Park, South Australia

Within easy reach of Adelaide, Mount Remarkable National Park is a popular place for families and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Here you'll find Alligator Gorge, where a grade-3, moderate hike leads you along the full length of the gorge where you can explore the Narrows and the Terraces. In springtime the masses of wildflowers will catch your eye.

Cataract Gorge, Launceston, Tasmania

This is a river gorge found at the lower section of the South Esk River. The King's Bridge-Cataract Walk is a popular destination for sightseers, while the gorge itself is a natural water basin surrounded by cliffs, bushland and walking trails. The world's longest single span chairlift is another attraction, a 308m ride that offers stunning views of the river and its surrounds. Rock climbers and abseilers are also drawn to the rock faces of this gorge.

Ormiston Gorge
Alligator Gorge In South Australia's Mount Remarkable National Park
Cataract Gorge In Launceston

Ormiston Gorge in the top end (left), Alligator Gorge in South Australia's Mount Remarkable National Park (centre) and Cataract Gorge in Launceston. (Images courtesy of Northern Territory Government of Australia, Walking SA and Visit Tasmania)

Loch Ard Gorge, Port Campbell National Park, Victoria

Part of the Port Campbell National Park and situated along the Great Ocean Road, Loch Ard Gorge is also found near another iconic Australian landmark, the Twelve Apostles. Named after the clipper ship Loch Ard which tragically ran aground on nearby Muttonbird Island in 1878, this gorge has some great viewing platforms, as well as a short, accessible walk down to the beach below.

Capertee Valley, New South Wales & Australian Capital Territory

135km north-west of Sydney resides the second largest (width) canyon in the world, Capertee Valley. About 1km wider than the Grand Canyon, visitors are met with sandstone cliffs, an abundance of birdlife, and Pantoney's Crown - a towering monolith offering spectacular 360-degree views of the valley for keen walkers who reach its summit.

Loch Ard Gorge In Victoria
Carpetee Valley In New South Wales

Loch Ard Gorge is a must-do on the Great Ocean Road drive in Victoria (left), while the Capertee Valley in New South Wales measures wider than the Grand Canyon (right). (Images courtesy of Visit Victoria and Visit NSW)

Other Notables

We knew this list was never going to cover off all the Australian gorges that will take your breath away, but it's not a bad place to start. Here's a few more to add to you to-do list:

  • Nitmiluk Gorge, NT. Also known as Katherine Gorge, this iconic location features a unique network of ravines carved into the rugged sandstone by the Katherine River, and has great ceremonial significance to the local indigenous people.
  • Trephina Gorge, NT. Situated in the East MacDonnell Ranges and offering some challenging trails, inviting rock pools and close encounters with rock wallabies.
  • Kings Canyon, NT. Walls measuring 100m in height and with Kings Creek below, this awesome canyon rewards those prepared to take on 'Heartbreak Hill' with the canyon rim walk and its epic views.
  • Windjana Gorge, WA. Can be easily hiked in dry season with permanent waterholes to enjoy, but be aware of the freshwater crocodiles in the area.
  • Carnarvon Gorge, QLD. Winding 30km in length through central Queensland, with a variety of sites such as the Art Gallery, the Ampitheatre, Moss Garden, the Nature Trail and Cathedral Cave. Try to spot our nation's two monotremes, the platypus and echidna.
  • Serpentine Gorge, NT. West of Alice Springs along the famed Larapinta Trail.

Photo Credits

Images courtesy of:

Harrison Candlin

Tourism Tropical North Queensland

Australia's North West Tourism

Northern Territory Government of Australia

Walking SA

Visit Victoria

Visit Tasmania

Visit NSW





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