Karijini National Park is simply one of the most spectacular places on earth. Standing at Junction Pool Lookout you will be awed into silence at the utter beauty of the landscape before you. Intense red chasms suddenly plunge deep into the heart of the earth from the spinifex plains above. The world above and below are like different countries.
Descending from the light, aridity and openness into the shaded, wet, tropical environment of the gorges evokes feelings of excitement and anticipation. As you explore the well worn floors of each gorge, be it Dales, Weano or Kalamina, you will discover that each has their own uniqueness and every bend reveals something new and stunning.
Circular Pool and Fortescue Falls are two of the many highlights of Dales Gorge with some of its lusciously green and overgrown terraced areas looking more like the ancient ruins and jungles of Angkor Wat than anything in Australia. The rock pool gardens in Kalamina Gorge are also intricate, and try as we might in botanical gardens, we can’t replicate the beauty found in nature.
Weano Gorge is an exhilarating expedition; from wading through chilly waters to scrambling up slippery crevasses, it is well worth the effort to reach the end of the trail to lay eyes on Handrail Pool. This oversized spa bath filled with crystal clear water, a polished stone floor with a perfect seating ledge, complete with a bright blue sky light, is fit for a king’s bathroom. Immersing yourself in the water here is like being baptised in tranquility and serenity, especially when you have the place to yourself!
There are also many lookouts from which to appreciate the surreal beauty of WA’s second largest national park. From Joffre Lookout you can see the grand curved steps of Joffre waterfall, from Junction Pool Lookout there are incredible views over the four-way junction of Hancock, Joffre, Weano and Knox Gorges. The scenery of the rugged geology and profusely blooming wildflowers from Oxer and Knox Lookouts are no less impressive.
Even if you are not a rock-lover, the geology of Karijini will fascinate you. The warping patterns at Hamersley Gorge are mind bending and can be likened to the crazy mirror rooms at an amusement park. Once an ancient seafloor, the banded iron formations of the Hamersley Ranges now form some of the deepest gorges and the highest peaks in the state, making it a place of contrasts.
Mt Bruce, the second highest summit in the state at 1,234m, is a great day walk up the domed ridge-back of this part of the ranges and affords exceptional views over the vast plains dotted with white gum trees and Rio Tinto’s Marandoo iron ore mine. In winter it can also rival Antarctica as the coldest, windiest place on earth!
For more information on WA’s premier national park visit here.