Day Walk Adventure to the Den of Nargun

First, I would like to acknowledge the Brabralung clan, of the Gunaikurnai peoples as the traditional owners of Mitchell River National Park. I want to pay my respects to the past, present and any Indigenous people among us today. I also want to acknowledge that I have profited and benefited from stolen land and that Indigenous people were never ceded sovereignty. Finally, I would like to acknowledge the Taungurung peoples of the Kulin Nations the traditional owners of the land where I sit and write this blog today and I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the many lands my readers come from.

The Den of Nargun is a sacred place for the Gunaikurnai people. I could feel the sacredness of the site and felt privileged to visit this incredible natural wonder.

“According to Gunaikurnai lore the Nargun is a large female creature who lives in a cave behind the waterfall. Stories were told around campfires about how the Nargun would abduct children who wandered off on their own. The Nargun could not be harmed with boomerangs or spears.”

Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation

This stunning cave sits on Woolshed Creek, a small tributary of the Mitchell River. Within Gunaikurnai lore this is a special meeting place for women only, Gurnaikurnai men are not allowed to enter this area. Here initiation and learning ceremonies are held. The Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation ask us when visiting to not enter the cave and to be respectful of the surrounding environment.

I visited this cave with my partner and another couple. We were drawn in by the moss gardens, old twisted trees and the clear running creek beside the trail. We parked our car at Den of Nargun Picnic Area where there are toilets and plaques explaining the history of the place. The weather was overcast but warm and so we didn’t know if it would rain but knew that we would be well protected within the valley along the creek. To the east about 100m away from the carpark and toilets you will find the trailhead. After 140m of hiking in a northern direction on reasonably flat terrain we came across an intersection. We continued hiking to the north and ignored the eastern facing trail. We planned for a short hike but it would still be worth a visit if you were up for the 3km round trip. This 3km loop includes more culturally significant locations including the Deadcock Den and the Bluff Lookout. We chose to go with the 1.7km round trip instead.

A photo of another old tree, this one looks like it is about to fall over and seems very hollow.
Another old and unique tree along the way.

For the next 300m we hiked a steady decline of 150m elevation. Take care in this section as its steep and slippery. We came upon another intersection here where the trail follows the river to the east and the west. We turned west towards the Den of Nargun and hand railed the Woolshed Creek. The trail becomes rocky, mossy and full of dead leaves here. This in my opinion is the most beautiful part of the day walk other than the actual cave. Although overgrown there are many little picnic or relax spots on old stumps or logs alongside the river here. We saw someone with a hammock setup nearby, it was extremely tranquil.

A photo of the rocky trail and the creek in the background.
This is what the trail looks like along the creek.

After 400m of hiking alongside the river we came across the Den of Nargun. We spent a long time sitting on rocks taking in the magnificence of this area. As we sat there it began to rain, luckily we were protected by the tree canopies surrounding us and we got to take in the magic. To complete the trail we turned around and followed the same trail back to our car. The uphill steep section was a good challenge and less protected from the rain but being such a short hike very manageable.

The magnificent cave of the Den of Nargun, it is raining and you can see the rain drops in the pond infront of the cave, there are various colours of lichen growing on the rocks and above the rock formation are trees growing in various shades of green.
Den of Nargun

If you wanted to change it up you could continue hiking east from the Den of Nargun handrailing the creek, passed the intersection where the trail begins to incline back towards the carpark. From the Den of Nargun its only 1km to the Deadcock Den and then another 600m to the Bluff Lookout. Finally only 550m from there back to the carpark. As you can see there are multiple routes there and back to choose from.

Trail NameDen of Nargun
Estimated Time1hr
TypeTrail that you double back on
ParkMitchell River National Park
Access2WD (gravel dirt road)

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