Karijini National Park
Karijini National Park is one of the most popular parks to visit in Australia. Located 1400km northwest of Perth in the Hamersley Ranges, the Park is the second largest national park in WA. Covering 627,445 hectares, the Park is a land of contrasts with semi arid plateaus, gorges, pools, waterfalls, different wildlife, plants and wildflowers.
Karijini National Park is the traditional home of the Banyjima, Kurrama and Innawonga Aboriginal people. The park derives its name from Banyjima; the Banyjima name for the Hamersley Ranges is Karijini. The Banyjima people occupied the area more than 20,000 years ago.
Neville and Trevor climbed down a gorge to see one of the most renowned sights of the Park, Fortesque Falls. Incredibly picturesque, the water of the falls is crystal clear, surrounded by abundant and lush ferns and trees. The water running over the layers of rock is a beautiful sight and a wooden swimming platform has been erected for easy access to this area. Especially in the summer months, the Falls are a great place to sit under; the cascading water is quite warm and refreshing, and truly is one of the world’s greatest natural wonders.
The Park supports a number of plants and wildlife. Spring time is a particular beautiful time to visit as the wildflowers are in full bloom. In the cooler months, the Park is full of yellow-flowering cassis and wattles, northern bluebells and purple mulla-mullas. Some of the plants Neville discovered included:
Cajaput (giant paperbark)- reaches 20m. The oil from the leaves is used medicinally.
Red river gum- a towering tree which lives in the bed of rivers. The tree can re-grow quickly if a flood knocks the tree over.
Trigger flower- this unique flower uses insects to pass its pollen around by ambushing them. When an insect lands on the flower, it trips a tiny trigger which deposits a dob of pollen on the head of the insect and passes it onto the next trigger flower it visits.
Maidenhair and brake ferns- line the shaded banks of the river.
Karijini National Park is home to a number of animals including a variety of birds, echidnas, bats, rock-wallabies, red kangaroos, geckos, goannas and lizards.
There are a number of walking and hiking trails that you can take, a great way to make your way around the park to the many gorges, and each is worthy of a visit. Metal dots have been glued to the rocks to guide visitors through the gorges. They are colour coded for different levels of skills and agility. Level five marks the hardest level of difficulty.
Weano Gorge is the best introduction to the walks of Karijini. The walk is not too difficult and at the bottom, visitors can cool off in Handrail Pool. For those wanting a more difficult climb, Dales Gorge is a picturesque gorge located on the eastern side of Karijini National Park. Visitors are rewarded with cascading waterfalls and rock pools great for swimming in. The ancient rock faces have marvelous patterns and colours and lush green ferns line the water. The gorge is particularly beautiful at sunset when the gorge takes on even more amazing colours.
As the sun sets, the sky is quite a spectacle. The Pilbara is a big-sky country so when the moon rises, it looks incredibly large. The best time to visit the park is in late autumn, winter and early spring. A good way to get around the Park is by going on a guided tour with a tour company such as Pilbara Gorge Tours. Jeff Brenton has over seven years experience in Karijini National Park and will take visitors on a guided tour of all the top spots, including Dales Gorge, Weano Gorge and the Handrail Pool. There are full and half day tours and home-made lunch and morning tea is included on all tours.
Pilbara Gorge Tours
Phone: 08 9188 1534
Fax: 08 9188 1052
Karijini Visitor Centre
Phone: 08 9189 8121
Open: 9am-4pm daily