July 2 – 11 Karijini National Park
So… There’s been a bit of a lag between posts, it turns out finding time (or is it motivation?)to blog when you are hanging out with friends is quite hard. Chatting and eating chocolate in the evening is much more inviting!
Most of our days in Karijini looked similar.
We enjoyed a slow morning and then went hiking through some gorges. Some days we took a whole day and did multiple but others we enjoyed just one. They were all gorgeous and quite varied. Some were leafy and lush while others were made of layered rocks and all had varying levels of water. We had a couple of down days as well as days in Tom Price for washing and restocking the fridges.
We also went in for Church on the Sunday and enjoyed the fellowship and unique atmosphere with the family there.
Instead of doing a day by day rundown, we have decided to go through each gorge to try to take you on a journey to the deep and beautiful depths of the earth.
Dales Gorge/ Circular Pool/Fortescue Falls/Fern Pool
These lovely places were the closest to our campsite. We could walk here and then descend to the gorge floor to explore. We set out on our first day to explore this one thinking it would be an easy walk. 4hrs later we returned, hungry and weary as we had underestimated the distance involved and hadn’t packed anything for lunch.
Despite our lack of planning, it was a stunning walk that took us along the rim of the gorge before descending innumerable stairs to the green rocky paths through Dales Gorge. We opted for the easier way down (metal stairs with a handrail 😉) and were greeted by Fortescue Falls. Magnificent! The water looked inviting and the kids were very quick to whip their shoes off and dip their feet in. It was freezing! This didn’t deter them or some if the adults and we chilled here and let the kids explore for a while.
If you take a right hand turn at the bottom of the stairs you reach Fern Pool (Which we checked out the day after the rest of Dales Gorge). A secluded little pool with a small waterfall perfect for a refreshing dip. It was literally take your breath away cold and I felt a bit like Bill Cosby saying “why should I tell her? Come on in dear, the water’s fine.” We swam out under the waterfall and generally enjoyed floating around in the most incredible scenery.
Back past the Falls, takes you along the track into Dales Gorge. It is the most lush of the gorges. A fairly easy walk took us over rocks and through tree-lined creeks. About an hour later we arrived at Circular Pool. A cavernous round pool with stunning greenery and a beautiful waterfall on the far side, was the reward for reaching the end of the gorge. By this point though, we were ready to head back and didn’t pause to take a dip. Although a few people came back another day to go for a swim.
We took the other entry/exit point out of the gorge. Let’s just say that we were all glad to be going up these rock “stairs” instead of coming down. As we crawled our tired bodies over the last of the steps we heard cheering from our kids who had flown up at top speed. We arrived back at camp a little weary and ready for food after what had turned into a half day trek!
This was the easiest of our walks. More rock stairs took us quickly down into the gorge. To the right around a tricky ledge was a small waterfall that the boys enjoyed climbing around. We paused here briefly before journeying into the layered rock depths. It literally looked like the rocks were stacked on top of one another and some were conveniently placed as steps onto the ledges we balanced along.
When we arrived at the end of the track there was a natural rock arch high up to the right. Of course Adrian and Jeff saw this as a good vantage point for photos and climbed up to capture the view.
As Hamersley Gorge is a fair drive from the others, but closer to Tom Price, we decided to head there after Church on Sunday. Tom Price Baptist has an incredibly unique and creative stage setup that is perfectly suited to the rugged and beautiful part of the country it is situated in!
We were greeted by the most amazing wavy layers that reminded me of a layer cake. There was just a short walk down into the gorge and then areas to explore. This was not a long gorge to walk along. A beautiful pool was at the bottom with a waterfall running into it.
The rocks were very smooth and angled. The kids found out they could use them as a slide and it wasn’t long before our little miss had worn through the seam of her leggings. It was a magnificent place to chill out and marvel at God’s amazing handiwork.
A short drive out of Hamersley (2 minutes) and we were able to drive through Rio Tinto Gorge.
As we drove home through the dust, we were treated to the most incredible sunset with the Pilbara doing it’s best interpretation of Africa! Again wondered at the awesome beauty of creation.
From this vantage point you can see where 4 gorges all come in together. Hancock , Knox, Joffe and Weano gorges all join up in the one spot. You can look down into the depths and see along them too…it is really breathtaking and we couldn’t capture a picture to do it justice!
Knox George and Joffre Falls
These two are neighbours and are only a couple of kilometers apart by road. We didn’t go into Knox but did enjoy the veiw from the lookout. It was extremely deep and since it was one of the last ones we left, our legs decided the climb down and back up was going to be a bit more than we wanted to attempt, so selfies at the top it was!
Joffre gorge had a huge waterfall to one end of it. You head along the top of the waterfall before starting your decent to the green pools below. This was the highest class climb so we didn’t all make it to the bottom. The wives and a couple of the girls went about half way before finding a rock to wait on while the husbands took the rest of the kids down the class 5 trail. The decent was steep and tricky. The water at the bottom was freezing but Zach and Jeff braved it for a quick dip.
A general consensus amongst our family was that this one was one of our favorites. I was a bit unsure as we started due to the steep decent and the use of ladders to get to the bottom. If you remember, heights and I don’t play nicely together. Unscathed and trying to keep up with all the kids we balanced our way along this rock edges through the gorge. It wasn’t long before we were met with our first water crossing. It was only about knee deep but we went carefully due to slippery rocks underfoot. As the sun doesn’t get down into the gorges for long the water was icy.
Not much further down the path was our second water path. Here we left our youngest walker with her mum as it was rather deep. With Clarissa of my back and Zach just in front of me I stepped very carefully through the 50m pool, as Adrian took the high road along the cliff ledges.
Shivering but proud of myself for pushing through we had arrived at a natural amphitheater. It was here that our party split again and only the bravest headed through the spider walk into the secluded and beautiful Kermit’s Pool and only one was brave enough to take a dip!
Weano Gorge and Handrail Pool
We visited Weano a couple of times. At this site we could visit the Oxer Lookout, Weano (upper and lower trails) and Hancock Gorge. One of our days we did all the trails, pausing for lunch in the middle. On our first trip out there we were unprepared for how rough the road was and scrambled our eggs (in their container) by the time we arrived! A quick change to lunch plans and we were cooking up an omelette.
Weano had a few different tracks within it, a bit like at Dales, including the class 5 handrail pool trail. After decending the stairs a small pool awaited. The kids loved scurrying around the rocks and exploring the pool. To the left a lovely easy 30minute walk took us through a sandy path over a few rocks and back up to the carpark.
While the wives and half the kids took this path the husbands and remaining kids headed down the Class 5 trail to Handrail Pool. It was a tricky trail deep into the heart of the gorge which included multiple water crossings and finished by scaling a cliff while holding onto a handrail as you navigated your way down the rock face. The challenge was met with much excitement.
Safe and weary from our walking and climbing we still had time to squeeze in some geocaching at various locations including the stunning sides of Mt Bruce and an old relic of a Stacker left behind by the mining companies.
One of my favourite things of our whole adventure was each night as the sun went down. It was pitch black and the stars were phenomenal! There were so many and you could even see the dusting of the milky way so clearly. This was a great wrap up of Clarissa’s term as her class had been studying the solar system.
We loved experiencing this beautiful place with our wonderful friends and making memories that will last a lifetime!
Love Michelle xo