There is the camper trailer to check over and make sure everything is in it that needs to be. There are lists to be made and ticked off, a rough plan of where we are going drawn up, meals to plan and cooking, dehydrating and food shopping to to be done, our vehicle to be checked over and the extra spare tyre to be hauled onto the roof, washing done and clothes packed, organise someone to collect the mail and put out the rubbish bins.
Ooooo....there seems to be a lot of chocolate in there! Oh well you have to have some little luxuries when you are camping in the bush.
But finally we are on our way and as the sun comes up over the road ahead we sigh a sigh of contentment.
At the end of the first week of July we headed off to Karijini National Park in Western Australia's Pilbara region. It is school holiday time, and we know it will be busy, but really July is the best weather for visiting Karijini and it's amazing gorges.
Our first night on the road was at Bilyuin Pool, on the Murchison River 88km north of Meekatharra. This free camping spot had been recommended to us by our son and daughter-in-law, and it was the first time we had been there. They were right - it was beautiful - peaceful and quiet and away from the road noise. Not too many people - just the way we like it. A great start to our holiday.
Travelling up from Perth along the Great Northern Highway, it is about 1,400 kms from Perth to Karijini - a 2 day drive. It is a long way - so allow plenty of time to get there. I wouldn't recommend driving at night as kangaroos and wandering stock are a hazard (the station country has no fences along the roads) and you wouldn't want to hit one. You will also come across road trains hauling giant mining equipment like you can see below. They like to take up their fair share of the road. You need to take a lot of care if you intend passing and make sure the road is clear and straight and you can see a long way ahead. They take longer to get past than you might think.
We arrived in Karijini mid afternoon our second day. From approx July to September and particularly during the July school holidays they have camp hosts at the Dales Gorge camping area who allocate camping sites, do maintenance and are on hand to answer questions etc. We were given a site in Dingo loop, set up camp and soon had the kettle on the boil.
A few things you might like to know about Karijini camping if you have never been there. You need to bring all your food, drinking water and fuel. There is no electricity, toilets are of the "long drop" variety ie not flushing, there are no showers although you can pay for a shower at the Visitor Centre, and no mobile or internet connection (there is a public phone at the Visitor Centre). It's not for everyone, but we love it. You can get untreated water from the water tank near the Visitor Centre (boil before drinking), and we have a pop up shower. Our campsite was just opposite a communal BBQ area where there was free gas BBQ and gas rings, which was perfectly located for us for boiling water, and using the BBQ to do some of our cooking.
Karijini National Park is located in the Hamersley Ranges in the heart of Western Australia's Pilbara.
WA's second biggest national park, Karijini covers 627,445 hectares. Much of the southern half of the park is inaccessible, so visitors concentrate on the spectacular and rugged gorges in the north that plunge hundreds of metres down from the Spinifex plains.
|Dales Gorge from the rim walk|
Karijini was first explored by FT Gregory’s party in 1861. The traditional owners, the Banyjima, Yinhawangka and Kurrama Aboriginal people, call the Hamersley Ranges, Karijini, so the park’s name recognises this historic link and their continuing involvement in park management.
There are a number of gorges and walk trails to explore at Karijini, ranging from short, easy walks for people of all ages and fitness levels, tracks for those with moderate fitness, to trails which should only be attempted by very fit, experienced, well-equipped bushwalkers. But please be aware there is an element of risk, especially for inexperienced or unfit walkers, and young children. Deaths have occurred in Karijini. Flash floods can occur, so if it rains while you are in a gorge, please get out of the gorge as safely and quickly as possible.
Dales Gorge camping area is walking distance to Dales Gorge and Fortescue Falls.
Fortescue Falls is spring-fed and is the Park’s only permanent waterfall. The Falls tumble over layers of iron-stone rock from the tree lined Fern Pool. A wooden walkway takes you right to the waters edge and the pool is a perfect place to sit in the shade or have a swim to cool off.
The trail following the creek from Fortescue Falls to Circular Pool is Class 4 (moderately difficult) with some rock scrambling and you should allow at least half a day to experience the Gorge. Make sure you bring drinking water, food, and wear sturdy boots and a hat. It can get very hot in the gorges even in July (winter).
There are plenty of places to sit and enjoy the beautiful landscape and to marvel at the Snappy Gums whose roots cling to the cliff walls, their white trunks in stark contrast to the red rocks and blue sky. You wonder how they grow there.
The walk finishes at Circular Pool, a deep fern lined pool surrounded by sheer cliffs. Shaded most of the day by the gorge walls, the water is enticing, but icy cold. My pictures really do not show what it is like to look down into the depths of Circular Pool from the rim walk. Delicate Maiden Hair ferns grow naturally here out of the rock faces around Fern Pool and Circular Pool.
The climb out of Circular Pool is a very steep ascent over loose rocks and gravel, so care needs to be taken. There is also a short ladder section to be negotiated.
From here we walked back to our campsite.
25km from the Visitor Centre is Kalamina Gorge. This would be my favourite gorge in Karijini. It is a class 4 (moderate difficult) trail, but it is relatively easy to climb down the steps into the gorge. There is a large pool fed by a waterfall where you can swim not far from where you walk in. From here the 3 km trail (3 hours return) takes you across large pieces of flat rock and beside the stream through the gorge. It is a lovely walk. I will let my pictures tell the story.
And that spiky spinifex ? - in the early morning and late afternoon light it turns to gold.
I hope you have enjoyed the first part of my journey to Karijini National Park. Next week we travel across the park to Jofre, Knox, Hancock, Weano and Hamersley Gorges and to Mount Bruce. I hope you will join me then.
If you would like some more information on Karijini National Park please go to the WA Department of Parks and Wildlife by clicking here - Karijini National Park
Camping is available at Dales camping area and the Karijini Eco Retreat. Park entrance and camping fees apply. Generators are permitted in some sites. Pets are not allowed as this is a National Park. Please take your rubbish away with you.
Thanks for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. Have a wonderful week.
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