Cobbold Gorge was on our bucket list from the beginning, and it was fantastic to finally see it in the flesh… or sandstone. It is located within Robin Hood station, which is owned by the Terry family. The cattle property is around 1300 square kilometres but Cobbold Gorge is within a 4,000 acre nature reserve where the cattle are not permitted to graze.
We booked ourselves in for a morning tour of the gorge, and boarded the bus to the nature reserve. Before embarking through the gorge, we were treated to a bush tucker walk. We learnt about various plants in the area that supplied glue, insect repellent, contraception, antiseptic and food, like the Aniseed Bush, which provided a liquorice flavour to damper, and Bloodwood Tree, a popular place to find sugarbag. The local aboriginals would find the sugar bag by catching a single bee and sticking a small feather to its butt. They’d let the bee go and follow it back to the hive of delicious sugar bag.
We also learnt about the amazing work of termites, and were delighted by the fluttering of Common Crow Butterflies. They are so numerous because they don’t have many predators due to their amazing ability to absorb the flavours of the things they consume. Because they eat from plants such as Oleander, they are not very appetising to other creatures.
At the end of the bush tucker walk, we found ourselves at the grave of John Corbett, a pioneer who died 1871. He was only 12 when he willingly came to Australia to make his fortune. By the age of 14, he was digging for gold in Ballarat with his brother and became a wealthy lad. Over the next 10 years, he established hotels in Brisbane, and when gold was struck in Cloncurry, he wanted to monopolise the area by establishing another hotel in Normanton. This was when John’s luck ran out. After a series of misfortunes, he was found robbed and dead in the bush with a six-foot spear in his chest. Local aboriginals were blamed for his murder but there are rumours that this wasn’t the case at all.
After an enthralling tour of the bush, we boarded the boats and set forth into Cobbold Gorge.
As we floated quietly along the river in an electric-motored flat-bottomed boat, we learnt that Cobbold Gorge isn’t just any old gorge – it’s a baby gorge! Having only been discovered in 1992, the creek that formed Cobbold Gorge changed its course only 10,000 years ago, so Cobbold Gorge is still fairly young. It was named after pastoralist and surveyor Frank E Cobbold, clearly because he was awesome.
The gorge is about 6km long, with 30m cliffs on either side, and is 2m wide at its narrowest point. The water maintains a fairly constant level and is fed by springs that seep through the 200 million year old sandstone and reach the gorge 30 years later. There was plenty of wildlife to spy on. We saw a few archer fish, a baby turtle, and plenty of lazy freshwater crocodiles basking in the sun.
If you’re looking for a place to disappear to for a few days, then the Cobbold Gorge Resort is for you. The campground offers quiet and relaxing scenery, unpowered, powered and powered ensuite sites, and includes facilities such as a guest laundry, Wi-Fi, camp kitchen, BBQs and fireplaces.
MacDonald’s Deck is a fully licensed bar and restaurant with heaps of character. Have a few drinks and a meal while you soak in the Aussie outback. Nearby, is the Boomerang Bar, a swim-up bar in the infinity swimming pool. There is also Corbett’s Store, which offers a variety of souvenirs and a few grocery items as well.
Bookings for tours and accommodation at Cobbold Gorge are essential. Call 1800 66 99 22 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.