August 2010 - Buckland Gorge

We were lucky that Caroline could arrange for Stuart Whitney to be our trusty guide on Saturday.  Without him we would definitely not have found and stayed on the track.  Stuart, James, Caroline, Robert and I had a good walk, a little tricky at time, with parts of the track affected by the recent downpours.  There were some steep slippery sections but there were no accidents.   The Gorge is beautiful and the hidden sandstone rock caves swirl with colour like the ones on Maria Island.  Stuart says that is because this rock formation extends through out to Maria.     

The gorge is a refuge for wombats, devils, birds and other wildlife.  We had lunch on a clifftop overlooking the river far below, and then took the short way out as it looked like rain was imminent (luckily it stayed dry for us!).  We made some notes on the map below that I located on the net, and I think with this info, we could do the walk again on our own.  We had a refreshing beer at the Olde Buckland Inn, and then rounded out the day with some culture(!) by visiting the historic St John the Baptist church to see its medieval Eastern window.  

Opposite the church in Buckland, take the turnoff heading north towards Oatlands. About 12 km along, the Swanport State Forest commences.  Here the fields cease at fence lines on either side of the road.  Park here and take the 4WD track to the east, with the field fence line on your right hand side.   
After about 25 minutes there is a turn to the left.   Shortly after, you must find a turn to the right to take you to the edge of the Gorge.  This would be very easy to miss - look for coloured survey tags.  The track descends into the Gorge and takes you along the left side, past caves carved out of the colourful sandstone, similar to the Painted Cliffs found on Maria Island.  The track is quite steep in places and great care needs to be taken not to slip.  The track descends to the Bluff River and then ascends the cliff again.  There is a fine headland which gives great views over the Gorge, a good place to stop for a snack.
From here it is a very short distance back to the west to pick up the 4WD/logging track which will get you back to the track along the fenceline in 15 minutes.  

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