Karijini - Part 1
Sorry we've had to split up the post, we have so much to say and so many photos we couldn't fit it all in. So here goes...
Karijini has been at the top of our to-do list since we started exploring in the Paj. It was meant to be a part of our Kimberley trip last year, but thought we would be squeezing too much in. Secretly we weren’t too devastated, it just meant that we could plan another trip and explore some of the Pilbara.
After a relaxing week on the Ningaloo coastline we were ready for the treks Karijini was going to throw at us and the impending drive up Mount Meharry.
As we left Exmouth we were both pretty excited for what the week had in store, I can only describe it as being told we were going to Disneyland, but for adults. Exploring and hiking Gorges during the day, camping under the stars at night and being out of phone reception; It could only be described as pure bliss, we were defiantly in our element!
We had penciled in a drive up Mount Nameless if we had time, WA’s 2nd highest mountain you can drive up and since we arrived early we went to check it out. It was a pretty easy drive up, rocky, corrugated and a few switchbacks. The view from the top was beautiful, they had recently had some rain so the surrounding mountains and valleys were green in strong contrast to the red rock making it even more impressive. You have to remember here in WA ranges like this are not as common as the East Coast, WA is flat so being able to 4WD up something more than a sand dune was something different for us.
After taking in the view, we headed into the national park to walk our first gorge. To save us backtracking ourselves later on we decided we would tackle Hamersley Gorge first. As we descended into the Gorge, the red rocks were lit up with the afternoon sun, while the pools below created an amazing reflection. By the time we left we were the only people left in the gorge, a stunning and eerily quiet experience. A lot of people miss this gorge as the road out can be rough; Do not miss this gorge, it would have to be easiest walk down of them all and because some people don’t want to do the drive, there are not as many people!
We had heard of a fantastic road side stop just outside the national park so we thought we would check it out (thank-you WikiCamps). Perfectly located 5 minutes from the Hamersley Gorge car park, we both crashed after our busy day in the Pilbara.
After a slow start to the day we finally got on the road; Our first stop was the Weano Gorge area. Hancock Gorge had been highly recommended to us and is one of the most popular trails. It’s a truly amazing experience. We rock climbed our way above ice cold pools of water to find ourselves in a small amphitheater with its own waterfall. We then tackled the spiderwalk (a lot harder than it looks), clambering our way further into the gorge to find the final point, Kermits pool. Aptly named due to its green hue, Mr stupidly decided to brave the waters, Idiot!
Feeling pretty good after the first walk, we tackled Weano Gorge. This time we couldn’t escape the icy water and had to wade through thigh deep pools. The pain and effort is worth it when you climb down the side of the rock face into handrail pool. Probably the most stunning spot in Karijini in our opinion, we spent quite a bit of time just soaking it all up.
Eventually we had to head back out and make our way to camp, at Karijini Eco Retreat.I know a lot of people don’t like this camp as its quite expensive and commercialized, but really, who can say no to a campsite with hot showers and flushing toilets and it’s a good 40km away from the other campsite. A little luxury in the wilderness! The staff were fantastic and even willing to help us fill our water tank from their ground water, the only safe drinkable water source in Karijini.
Stay tuned for part 2 of Karijini, we loved it so much we’ve had to split it..