The sign at the turn off warned us that a high clearance 4X4 is needed and to be prepared for soft sand and river crossing conditions. We duly let the tyres down and headed down the track.
It was pretty easy going and we soon spotted a herd of wild horses browsing on the low level grass before driving over the electric grid that prevents wild animals entering the national park.
We headed straight for the campsite. There were plenty of spots to choose from and we were settled in in short order.
It was still early afternoon so took off to explore. The path to Palm Valley was quite rocky and had some slightly tricky bits where we needed to use four wheel drive to traverse, but we covered the quickly enough.
We parked the car reviewed our options. There was the longer walk around encompassing the upper level of the gorge as well as the return walk through the valley or the shorter valley only walk. Although it was now heading towards late afternoon we decided we had enough time to complete the longer walk and set off up the hill.
Once we’d sweated our way up the hill we enjoyed the flat surface across the top of the plateau. The views were spectacular. Eventually we made our way down into the valley, feeling very much that we were in amongst an ancient landscape. You see Palm Valley is named after the cabbage palms that grow here. They are the only remaining palms of this variety and have survived here since Australia was part of the ancient supercontinent known as Gondwana land. They truly are an oasis in the desert.
It was a very enjoyable walk and we hadn’t seen a soul since we left the car park. It was remarkable to experience this ancient wonder on our own.
We returned to camp along the same track stopping only to check out the information sign on the Cycad Gorge explaining that although not quite as rare as the Cabbage Palms they were also special to this region.
The next morning we stopped to do the Kalarranga walking trail as we exited the park. The relatively short walk took us to some spectacular look out points of the surrounding area. It reminded us a bit of the landscape used in the old Hollywood cowboy movies.