Cobbold Gorge was created by a series of geological processes. Sand and mud sediment was deposited on what was then the ocean floor until eventually layers built up to be more than 10 kilometres thick. Movement in the Earth’s crust caused the sediments to compress, forming the Hampstead Sandstone. Further movement caused the sedimentary rock to fracture. Torrential, wet seasons over many years spilled torrents of water through the narrow fractures, creating deep gorges and permanent springs and seepages.
Minor movement in recent times (estimated to be 10,000 years ago rather than millions!) have contributed to the formation of the lower reaches of Cobbold Gorge as it is today. The gorge itself is unique as it narrows to a mere 2 metres in places, and is set amid rugged sandstone formations occupying an area of about 80 square kilometres with spectacular, 30 foot tall cliffs. This narrowness indicates that Cobbold Gorge is the youngest known gorge in Queensland today. Evidence of the geological processes are clearly visible. A guided tour provides visitors with an unforgettable insight to an ancient geological story which continues to unfold each day.
In order to protect the fragile environment, access to Cobbold Gorge is by guided tour only. For a more detailed geological history of Cobbold Gorge, visit the Geological Society of Queensland.