The Karijini National Park is my favorite insider travel tip for Australia!
You’ll find it in Western Australia, around 300 km south of Port Hedland and east of the city Tom Price. The highways between Port Hedland and Tom Price are curved, but the street to the park itself, Banjima Drive, is a dirt road.
What to see at Karijini National Park
The gorges are very typical and famous for Karijini Park and along with it, the highlights. At the eastern end of the Banjima Drive, you’ll find the Dales Gorge with it’s Fortescue Falls and the Circular Pool. Here you’ll find water all year round. Here you’ll also find the Fern Pool, a very spiritual place for the Aborigines. You can have a quiet swim here, but please respect this spiritual place and don’t jump from the rocks.
Close by is also a really beautiful lookout… the Oxer Lookout. Here you’ll see 4 gorges meeting each other at one point. That spot es especially nice at sundown. The gorges are called Hancock Gorge, Joffre Gorge, Red Gorge and Weano Gorge and they will offer you some great experience and adventure!
Activities to add to your to-do list
The Joffre Gorge and the Hancock Gorge have the famous Miracle Mile walk. You should just do this walk if you are really active and are not afraid of heights! Here you have to pass 20-meter walls with just a bit of space to put your feet on, and you have to jump into a pool about 10 meters below. Very important: if you want to do this walk, make sure to get information from the rangers first!
The Weano Gorge is also a great experience, but a bit easier to manage. Simply walk into the gorge and keep right until you enter the path to the Handrail Pool. You might have to walk through knee-deep water (or higher) and the path gets much smaller as you’re wading. Later, there will be one meter you’ll need to walk through. Afterwards, you reach a big natural pool with high walls surrounding the pool itself.
There are two choices to make here. Firstly, you can jump into the water, but I would suggest using the metal handrail, as you don’t know how the deep water is. I’m sure you don’t want to break your legs either 🙂 When you are in the water, there is only one way to continue… and that is by swimming through the pool to the other side.
There you can keep on for another 100 – 200 adventurous meters! Definitely worth it!
Another great adventure trail through a gorge takes you to the Kermit Pool. But before getting here, you have to pass the Spider Walk!
Do you think this path is named after the many sides who live here? You’d be wrong, as you’ll find many spiders, but that’s not why it’s called Spider Walk.
At some point of the journey, the walls get so close, that you can only pass it by walking like a spider. You have to move with your legs and hands touching the wall from left and right, while the water is beneath you.
To start the spider walk you have to climb into the Hancock Gorge, then follow the stream to the left. You’ll probably want to swim at a few passages, so remember to take some waterproof bags with you for your cameras and belongings.
Then you’ll find the Amphitheatre, where you can rest a bit, but please remember to clean up after yourself. If you keep on walking (and you should) then the spider passage will have to be encountered. It’s easier than it sounds! Right afterwards, surrounded by walls as high as 20 meters, you’ll reach the Kermit Pool.
Take a nice bath, but check the water level and rocks beneath the water before you might jump in.
All in all, Karijini National Park is definitely worth adding to your itinerary!