A suggested itinerary by a family group called ‘The Wandering Steels”…
🌄 Karijini National Park 🌄
A huge day to day rundown on our 8 day trip with camp sites, walks, suitability for kids, toilets, fees and fuel!
Day 1 – 456km Exmouth to
⛺Beasley River Rest Area ⭐⭐⭐
💰24hr Free Camp.
🚛 Away from the road.
🚽 Stinky composting loos.
💩 Dump point.
⛽ Cheapest fuel 24hr self serve Shell at North West Cape just south of Exmouth.
Day 2 – 79km Short early morning drive to
⛺Tiger Eye Pool, via 50km of unsealed road (lowered tyre pressure was necessary and comfortable)⭐⭐⭐⭐
💰Free Camp – unlimited.
🌳Dry river bed, secluded, rope swing to keep kiddies amused, loads of fire wood.
🚛Away from the road.
☎No Telstra reception at camp, but there is just down the bitumen road.
💩No toilets, need to be self contained.
⛽Cheapest fuel at 24hr self serve Caltex in Tom Price, but with 4c off, Coles Shell works out to 2c extra and more convenient.
🚙13km to Tom Price CBD.
Hamersley Gorge & Spa Pool
🚙140km round trip from camp to town to Hamersley to camp, with 100km of unsealed road (we didn’t feel the need to air down and sat comfortably on 80km/hr or less).
💰Entry free as per WA Parks – We have the yearly pass which is about $45 with RAC membership when purchased online.
🚽Clean drop loos at car park.
⌚Allow 1-4 hours to walk, swim and explore.
🚶400mt Class 5. A steep descent from the car park takes you to the water pools at the base of a gentle waterfall. Spa pool is at the top of the waterfall. Allow half hour to get there if walking. It requires climbing down a vertical 6-8 foot rock wall, although Mr 9 had done it both ways before we could even supervise 😣 It is easy to swim to the main spa pool. Walking the rocks beyond that was out of my comfort zone. Even when dry, the rocks are smooth and heavily sloped, getting grip is not easy, add water after someones been swimming and I can see how nasty accidents happen.
👪This is not an unrealisting walk for a family. Kids love the steep steps and small amount of rock scrambling, but I’d keep them away from that upper falls section.
📷The scenery is unreal! Imagine the earths plates being pushed against each other, forcing a ridge out of the ground, with buckling of every layer of earth. It resulted in indescribable colourful layers of wavy rock walls. It’s something you just need to sit and appreciate. The clear flowing water is magical⭐⭐⭐⭐🌟
☎No Telstra reception in the gorge but there is down the gravel road.
👜What to pack… The walk is short and not really challenging. We wore our bathers and hiking shoes (although not really necessary for this one). Both the kids are confident and independent swimmers however (for the confidence of the mother 😂) Mr 9 used a pool noodle and Miss 6 had a Wahoo vest on while swimming. Camera- I have a dry bag incase I need to swim, but it’s not essential for the main section. Food- depends how long you stay, not essential. Water- again depends if you plan to picnic and play all day, otherwise a bottle each will do and the rest can be left in the car.
We always carry a first aid kit and PLB too.
🏃The walk out of the gorge is a killer on the legs 😂 enjoy! We enjoyed a relaxing camp fire in the evening along with some astro photography, can you spot the shooting star?
Day 3 – 110km round trip to
Mount Bruce, WA’s highest hikable peak
🏃10km Class 5 hike with a few areas requiring spotting the kids up and down vertical rock walls with a LONG crashing death if you were to slip. But as a whole the walk is amazing and very achievable for energetic mini hikers and grown ups.
👪Suits strong, fit, independent kids with endurance. Our kids have done a few day hikes that range from 10 -18km. From a safety point of view, you physically wouldn’t be able to carry kids while getting grip yourself.
⌚Signed to take 6 hours, we completed it in just over 4 hours including lunch at the top, with a couple of minute breaks here and there.
📷Amazing views the whole way!⭐⭐⭐⭐🌟
Breathtaking rock terraces lining the mountain sides, national park as far as the eye can see, and behind the range is a mine with looonnnnnggggg trains that just keep coming!
☎Good Telstra reception for most of it.
👜Pack for a solid half day hike! The kids have Camel backs and we had a bladder in our pack, we used 6.5lt of water (2 adults 2 kids) and we all ran out but had lots in the car. A picnic lunch for the summit is 👌
Wear well fitted hiking shoes, no thongs are going to cut it! There are some decent ankle-rolling sections to the track and the rock scrambling required all your attention to get grip! Don’t wear white pants, you need to bum shuffle a bit, our hands were stained red by the end!
First aid kit, phone/PLB and camera 👌
🌞The weather was sunny 26deg and very windy up the top. We started the walk at 930am and there was a full car park with many people returning. We were the last to do the walk. It would be a stinking hot walk in the arvo on a day 30+ degrees!
💩Clean drop loos at the car park.
💰Usual WA Parks entry fees.
🚿 Drive back to Tom Price and enjoy a $4 hot shower at the visitor centre (5 minutes, and all 4 of us showered no worries in that time 😌).
🍵Nice coffee at The Pickled Bean cafe opposite Coles. Oh and Coles is awesome so no need to stock up before you come!
🎥To top off the day we had a camp fire and set up an outdoor movie, OddBall 💙 bring a little magic of where I grew up in South West Vic. Check out the photo of our open air astro cinema 😍
🌌 I’ve been enjoying experimenting with the night sky, are there any whiz bang astro photographers who want to give me some pointers? I’m all self taught & without post processing tools/laptop and would love any advice please!
Day 4 – Rest Day
Skate Park and Admin Day
Sorting life admin such as photos, school work and plans for the next few days ahead.
Day 5 – Moving to Dales Camp Ground
95km from the free camp, 80km from Tom Price
⛽We fueled up at Coles Shell but they don’t have gas refills or swaps so we headed to the hardware store $43.50 for a swap!
🍷Stock up with your desired beverage and refill the van with potable water opposite the tennis courts (behind the skate park and next to a playground, loads of parking for caravans).
💰Usual WA parks pass fees PLUS camping fees of $11 per adult, $3 per child over 5, free for 5 and under per night. So $28 pn for us.
💩Dump point onsite.
🚽Multiple Drop loos scatted around camp that are clean and maintained and not smelly.
☎No Telstra reception, but apparently there is Optus! Wi-Fi accessible at the Visitor Centre.
🏃It’s the closest camp site to access Dales Gorge (Fern Pool, Fortescue Falls, 3 Ways Lookout, Circular Pool). All these places are linked with a walking loop.
We walked down to Fern Pool and Fortescue falls and had a swim the day we arrived. There is a huge staircase to the bottom of the gorge and then a natural rock stair case that the waterfall runs over.
🏊Fern Pool was the warmest and the water coming over the falls there was delightful! The kids wore wetsuits and float vests. It was a cool day.
Day 6 – Day trip to Weano Gorge
90km round trip on corrugated and rocky gravel from Dale’s Campground. We did air down.
WEANO GORGE ⭐⭐⭐🌟a fairly easy Class 4 walk from the car park that loops down through the gorge and joins to a 1km, class 5 walk to Handrail Pool.
HANDRAIL POOL ⭐⭐⭐⭐🌟was neat, but slippery! One poor lad loaded with bags and a towel made a very graceful glide on the slimy rocks into the bitterly cold water, not once but on 3 seperate occasions, man pride crushed!
LOOKOUTS – 400mt return walk from the car park to 2 amazing lookouts, WOW blown away but the creation of this landscape! It’s a huge intersection of gorges. Can’t explain!
HANDCOCK GORGE ⭐⭐⭐⭐🌟ah man this was amazing. A fairly quick walk down into the gorge, soon changes to wading through icy water (thigh deep). Dump your baggage, don your swimmers (and wetsuits/floaties) and get going through gorge! There is a sketchy option to scramble the rock wall, we opted to just swim with the kids as the wet rocks were SO slippery! Poor Miss 6 had a few falls. Ok… You reach the amphitheatre, then comes fun! The Spider Walk! The kids went crazy for this, check out Mr 9’s photo showing off toe strength and balance! We were freezing, numb feet for hours, but swimming was a must! At the end (after Kermit’s Pool) there is a stop sign but we watched the people below canyoning which was cool. The pink rock at Kermit’s pool is crazy slippery, we saw the effects of injuries from it a few days earlier with another traveller slipping.
I highly recommend taking wetsuits and floatie vests for the kids, they had a blast and even opted to use the waterfall at the base of the Spider Walk as a slide. Water sandals would have been handy, we wore hiking boots and then bare feet and managed fine.
🚽Drop loos at rhw car park
Day 7 – another day trip from Dale’s Campground, this time to
KALAMINA GORGE ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
We scored with optimal lighting early morning, truely magic! To the right is a lovely water hole, to the left is the main walk. This was such a fun gorge for the kids. The surprise was at the end, a breathtaking rock pillar that forms a nature’s window with the morning light beaming through it. No words can express the utter awe I felt, by far my most favourite gorge. The climb uo to the window poked my fear of heights, especially when I see Mr 9 sitting on the edge. It requires a vertical rock climb with a perfectly positioned fig tree.
🚧There is no denying that Karijini comes with inherant risks, look up to see the rock pillars, they could collapse at any time. Plus the rocks can be super slippery. There have been many deaths in Karijini from rocks collapsing, falls and drownings. Just be on guard and take care ❤
⌚We took 3 hours thoroughly enjoying every minute of this amazing gorge.
🎥The colours! Look up and spot all the natural windows that have tiny rock pillars holding up huge rock ledges!
🏊You can swim in the deep waterhole at the end.
🚽Drop loos at rhe car park.
We then drove 20 mins west to
KNOX GORGE ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🚶Class 5 – 2 hour hike, the base if the gorge is not challenging, but the steep scree descent on the way in felt even steeper on the trek out. The kids managed but tired and sulked on the final leg out of the gorge.
📷FAR OUT! At the very end of the gorge (to the left) there is a distant intersection of gorges seen through the narrowing crevase of the towering red gorge walls. Unfortunantly you can’t walk down there, the rocks become slick and descend quickly displaying the centuries of extreme water velocity through the narrowing.
🏊There is an absolute small but mint swimming hole right under the lookout. The kids and grown ups had a blast bombing in before the sun disappeared at midday, we timed the walks that day perfectly!
Day 8 – D Day, Departure from Dale’s, but not before one final morning of hiking to do the full Dale’s Gorge loop.
🚶Mostly Class 4 walk, no issues for anyone.
⌚2 hours and 20 minutes, including one swim, but you can easily swim at all 3 spots and stretch that time to 3 hours.
🏊Ok, Circular Pool ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐was by far the most SPECTACULAR swimmung hole! The water was glass, we could see the lily pad roots stretch metres deep, the water fall from the spring trickled peacefully as the kids played in the collection of mystical fig trees. This place seriously had topped all other swimming holes we have been to across Australia!
We went back to Fortescue Falls and Fern Pool, such special places ❤
After all that we drove to Port Headland and stayed at the Turf Club free camp (self contained) to restock, do washing and get new clothes after Karijini destroys everything! Now we are off North to Broome.
⭐Another highlight for us was the Karijini National Park Visit Centre. A beautiful Aboriginal lady from Deep Reach Pool country (if I remember correctly) gave us Karijini Junior Ranger work books, and guided the kids with collecting information about the local aboriginal heritage of Karijini. The kids were then given Junior Ranges Badges and their excitement was well known!
We really respect that the land we travel and explore is not ours, but has been the country for centuries of aboriginal familiies. We are thankful for the stories and history that is shared with us, that these precious places are open to the public to admire and enjoy, and we respect the elders past present and future of the land that we travel ❤
A huge thanks to the 2 families we have been travelling with for a few weeks and continue to do so through the Gibb to Kununurra. We greatly appreciate your friendship and excellent company (and tolerating our quirks!)
Get Out There Australia
So that’s the round up! Now to summarise how amazing Karijini is in just a handful of the 400 photos I took! No filters, no editing, all spectacular natural features of this mighty planet!