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Rugged scenery and natural gorges at Karijini National Park


Have you always admired the gorges of Western Australia from a distance and often caught yourself wishing you were up close so you could explore them from bottom to top and vice versa?

Whether it is camping, climbing, swimming, or plain old hiking, there is never a dearth of experiences to indulge in at Karijini National Park in Western Australia.

So, where is Karijini National Park exactly?

It is nestled in the Pilbara region, about 660 kilometres from Exmouth, 850 kilometres from Broome, and 1,400 kilometres from Perth. It’s also located approximately 100km east of Tom Price Tourist Park, making for a perfect central location when exploring the Pilbara region.

Considered Western Australia’s second-biggest national park, it is dotted with gorgeous rust-red gorges of various sizes, spectacular waterfalls, clear rock pools, vegetation-clad rocks, and amazing native WA wildlife. It boasts plenty of walking trails, too – from gentle, well-defined paths to arduous terrains marked by steep vertical drops and narrow passageways.

Pleasurable pursuits in Karijini National Park

Karijini National Park's rugged landscape has become a stomping ground for adventure seekers and a fun escape for those wanting to slow down their fast-paced lives. 

Here are some must-do's if you are fortunate enough to squeeze in a quick weekend getaway to Western Australia's renowned Karijini National Park.

Navigate the Karijini gorges

The abundance of gorges with trails catering to different fitness levels has made Karijini National Park a favourite haunt for hikers and climbers alike. 

You could spend an entire day hopping from one gorge to another and enjoying the gorge pools. But, if you are in for a bit of a challenge and must pick just one Karijini National Park gorge among the seven - Weano Gorge, Hancock Gorge, Joffre Gorge, Dales Gorge, Knox Gorge, Hamersley Gorge, and Kalamina Gorge - Hancock Gorge is a favourite of many. 

Start by following the trail from the Weano Recreation car park, climb down a ladder, then traverse your way deep into the gorge past slippery rocks and narrow ledges until you reach the Amphitheatre.

This section, receives its name, as it is wide and resembles an amphitheatre, features tiny rapids at the bottom that make for great photo opportunities. Moving onwards, prepare to do the “spider walk” before emerging into Kermits Pool, the finale of your hike, where you can take a refreshing swim. 

The Department of Parks and Wildlife classified the Hancock Gorge trail Class 5, which means navigating the multi-coloured, layered rocky terrains requires experience and a high fitness level.

Chase waterfalls and rock pools

Where there are gorges, there are bound to be waterfalls tumbling down into rock pools. Karijini National Park has some of the best emerald- or ice blue-coloured swimming holes in Western Australia, tucked into a maze of towering stacked rocks. 

Here, thrill-seekers have no qualms about wandering, climbing, scrambling, or shuffling through wet, skinny passages for a day out in the water. 

Shower under the waterfalls at the spring-fed Fortescue Falls in Dales Gorge, the seasonal Joffre Falls and Kalamina Falls, or the Hamersley Waterfall. If you opt to go in the early hours and just chill, float about Fern Pool or the Circular Pool within Dales Gorge, Kermits Pool in Hancock Gorge, Handrail Pool in Weano Gorge, or the spa pool in Hamersley Gorge. 

Wherever you choose to take a dip, be sure to absorb the place’s energy and secrets, observe the weathered rock formations’ dramatic hues and textures, and soak up the lush greenery.

Sleep under the stars in Karijini

If Karijini National Park camping is on your agenda, the huge expanse of campground near Dales Gorge offers the perfect base to venture off into centuries-old geological formations, immerse yourself in the outback, and pursue recreational activities. Karijini National Park is also an absolute favourite for stargazing enthusiasts with a clear night sky allowing the stunning stars to put on a show.

Close to the campsite is a picnic area complete with gas barbecues and picnic tables. While an overflow camping area is available within the park, the two camping areas are often swamped with bookings, particularly during the peak months of June to September. 

However, there’s no need to fret if you fail to secure a Karijini camping spot.

In a nearby town, you can find a range of Tom Price accommodation options, just an hours drive west of Karijini National Park. The park also provides a variety of stay options catering to every traveller’s distinct accommodation needs. 

At Tom Price Tourist Park, you can recharge your batteries under the stars, in chalets and cabins, or in powered sites for buses, vans, and fifth-wheelers.

Watch sunrise and sunset

For a low-key jaunt at the park, why not watch the sunrise and sunset from one of the lookouts within Karijini National Park?

The Junction Point and Oxer Lookouts, stationed where four Karijini gorges merge, provide many ooh and ahh moments while looking over Western Australia as the light hits the enormous ochre, spinifex-covered cliffs and the watering holes below.

At the Knox Lookout, you can witness Knox Gorge’s rock faces change tones as the sun slowly rises and sets. The three lookouts are easily accessible in less than an hour.

If you are up for the challenge, you could even start your day early and hike up Mount Bruce to watch the sunrise over the Karijini National Park from the second highest peak in Western Australia before soaking up the new day's sunlight on your return hike.

Spot Karijini wildflowers and wildlife

In the cooler season, Karijini gets carpeted with beautiful wildflowers such as northern bluebells and purple Mulla Mullas and flowering plants like cassias, wattles, and acacias. 

While hiking through Karijini National Park, you will see different species of birds flit from tree to shrub along streams and pools. If you’re lucky, you may see the national parks resident euros, red kangaroos, wild dogs, bats, and rock wallabies.

How to get to Karijini National Park

Road to Karijini National Park, Western Australia.

Karijini National Park by road

If you are travelling by road, many people seize the fantastic opportunity to take a Perth to Karijini road trip, up through the semi-desert of Western Australia via a coastal or inland route.

The coastal route will take you through Jurien Bay, Horrocks, right up to Kalbarri and Carnarvon before working your way inland past the Hamersley Range to Karijini.

The inland road trip will take you through Meekatharra, the tropic of Capricorn and Newman. You can then continue onwards to your destination of Karijini.

Karijini National Park by air

If you are in Perth and wondering how to get to Karijini National Park without the long drive, you can travel by air to the town of either Paraburdoo or Newman. 

The two towns have hire cars available for visitors. Otherwise, you can get on a bus from Paraburdoo Airport to Tom Price, where you can book a day tour to Karijini.

Karijini National Park map

Before you head off for an adventure in the wild and rugged scenery of Karijini National Park, ensure to download the Karijini National Park park’s area maps and guides to your smartphone so you can plan your visit carefully.

With its unique flora and fauna, ancient red rocks, secluded pools, and tree-lined trails that perfectly fit anyone’s dream adventures, Karijini National Park Australia should be on your bucket list of destinations.

Explore Western Australia's Karijini National Park

There is so much to enjoy and explore while visiting Karijini and the Karijini National Park!

If you are excited for this getaway to Westen Australia's north, Summerstar has a range of accommodation options in Tom Price, just a short drive from the Karijini National Park. So book your stay in advance and start planning your next dream holiday!

Frequently asked questions

  • Where is Karijini National Park located?

    Karijini National Park is located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, approximately 660 kilometers from Exmouth, 850 kilometers from Broome, and 1,400 kilometers from Perth. It is also around 100 kilometers east of Tom Price Tourist Park, making it an ideal central location for exploring the Pilbara region.

  • What are some must-do activities in Karijini National Park?

    There are many things to do in Karijini National Park, including navigating the gorges, chasing waterfalls and rock pools, sleeping under the stars, watching the sunrise and sunset, and spotting wildflowers and wildlife. For those seeking adventure, hiking in the park's gorges is a favorite activity, with the Hancock Gorge being a popular choice. The park also has many beautiful waterfalls and swimming holes, making it an ideal place to cool off and relax. Visitors can also camp and stargaze in the park or watch the sunrise and sunset from one of the park's lookouts.

  • How do I get to Karijini National Park?

    There are several ways to get to Karijini National Park, with most people traveling by road. Visitors can take a Perth to Karijini road trip through the semi-desert of Western Australia via a coastal or inland route. Alternatively, visitors can travel by air to either Paraburdoo or Newman and hire a car or take a bus from Paraburdoo Airport to Tom Price, where they can book a day tour to Karijini. Before heading to the park, visitors should download the Karijini National Park area maps and guides to plan their visit carefully.

10 August 2021

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