Visiting the Gorges in Karijini National Park

Karijini National Park

If you have ever seen an Australian Landscape Calendar or Coffee Table Book then you have seen images of the gorges and the mountains in the Karijini National Park, the second biggest in Western Australia. To view the area you can only stay at the Park in Dales Gorge with no power, water, showers and “long drop” toilets or travel the 120 km from Tom Price.

Gary and Julie with the storm brewing at the Oxer Lookout

Our original intention was to stay 3 days in relative comfort in Tom Price then have two days at Dales, closer to the gorges. We decided to take an organised tour from town, with Baz the bus driver again, leaving at 7.30 am and getting back about 4.30 pm, with 15 passengers. That way we got taken to some of the gorges only linked by dirt roads and had the benefit of his local experience of 400 rips in the past 5 years. Baz and Lestok tours are good value.

Now equipped for the falling rain down at the pool at the bottom of Joffre Gorge

Julie at the Oxer Lookout

It was drizzling when we left, which meant we had less problem with dust than usual and the rain became heavier during the day. We first travelled to Oxer lookout where we could look into the junction of Weano, Red and Joffre Gorges. After a morning tea break we climbed down into Joffre Gorge before moving to the amazing visitors centre where we had lunch and spent 30 minutes looking around. By this time the rain was quite heavy so when we drove to Dales Gorge, saw how muddy the campsite was (and decided to stay at Tom Price caravan park) eight of our fellow passengers decided to spend the hour in the bus while the heroes, including Julie and I clambered down to Fortescue Falls and along the track to the amazing Fern Pool. The only concession to the weather was that I decided not to swim in the pool.

In the beautiful Hammersley Gorge, facing downstream on the sun shining day that we drove ourselves in on the mostly dirt road

Removing the hurt tyre

The tyre was new before this trip and is now beyond repair

Having decided to spend the two extra days at Tom Price we to spend one day driving ourselves out along the largely dirt road to the famous Hammersley Gorge. On the way we were flagged down by three women teachers in a four-wheel drive with a bad blowout who needed some help with the spare – I doubt they could have lifted it.

It was a brilliant day and we both had a good swim.

My next post will contain the landscapes – this one has the people photos.


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