The tiny town of Monto is only a speck on the map but it is the gateway to one of Queensland’s most impressive tourist destinations, the Cania Gorge.
Situated in the North Burnett region, about 500 km northwest of Brisbane, the Gorge comprises two principal features of outstanding beauty and interest, one natural and the other man-made: a 3,000-hectare national park, noted for its towering sandstone cliffs and abundant wildlife, and the reservoir behind Cania Dam that is arguably one of the State’s best freshwater fishing hot spots.
The Gorge is accessed by Cania Dam Road that branches off the Burnett Highway north of Monto and shadows Three Moon Creek through undulating pastures and verdant alluvial flats on its way toward the narrow defile that marks the Gorge’s southern entrance. A short distance beyond the village of Moonford, the landscape changes dramatically as the lofty sandstone ramparts of the national park rear up from the forests on both sides of the valley and crowd in around the creek.
Although camping is not permitted within the national park, there are two commercially operated caravan parks within the Gorge that well serve the needs of travellers to the area. One is the Cania Gorge Caravan & Tourist Park (a Big 4 establishment) at the northern end of the road near the dam and the other is the Cania Gorge Tourist Retreat (a Top Tourist park) near the southern entrance to the Gorge. While both have good facilities, we chose to stay at the latter because of its handy access to the majority of walking trails within the national park. Here, a friendly and efficient check-in soon had us set up on a grassy site and sitting back in our camp chairs to enjoy the forested mountain scenery that rang with birdsong on this balmy mid-Spring evening.