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Friday, September 22, 2023

Karijini National Park- 13 Amazing Things to Know

National Parks in Australia are among the best in the world, that makes you feel miraculous. They serve you with extraordinary joyful experiences that you can never forget.

An example of a National Park is the Karijini National Park. It is a gift of nature that will never disappoint you with its inherent wonders of spectacular gorges, waterfalls, sunsets, and much more.

We have furnished you with comprehensive details concerning this exquisite park below.

1. Background of Karijini National Park

Karijini National Park
Image by witte-art.de from DepositPhotos

Karijini is currently Western Australia’s second-largest National Park. The park was priorly named Hamersley National Park by European discoverer F.T Gregory after his mate Edward Hamersley when he explored the Hamersley range and named it as a major feature of the park.

The current name has been given by the Banyjima, Kurama, and Innawonga Aboriginal people introduced as traditional owners as they spent over 20,000 years in the Karijini National Park.

As a result of the traditional Aboriginal land management practices that were followed, including ‘fire stick farming’ have played a crucial role in shaping the diverse vegetation types and wildlife found in the park today.

2. Attractions at the Karijini National Park

Being the second largest National Park, you will get to see a lot of mesmerizing wonders of nature that will be worth your journey. We have described them for you below.

2.1. Finest Gorges in Karijini National Park

Karijini National Park gorges are one of the most beautiful gorges. So here is a little guidance for you to plan your trip so that you can enjoy your tour without any speed breaker.

To avoid confusion regarding the best gorges to visit among all, we are here to provide you with clarity so that you can save time and enjoy exploring as much as you want.

2.1.1. Dales Gorge

Karijini National Park
Image by magann from UnlimPhotos

This gorge is a short walk away from Dales Campground. You can begin your journey from the Circular Pool lookout and make your way down into the gorge. Enjoy a picturesque walk along the water, stepping on stones and navigating small rock ledges.

About halfway through, you’ll notice a tree leaning over the water, which you can climb onto, but with caution.

The highlight of this gorge awaits at the end, where you’ll discover Fortescue Falls.

2.1.2. Knox Gorge and Lookout

The Knox Lookout offers stunning views of Knox Gorge where it meets Wittenoom Gorge. The park’s beauty is particularly captivating during the early morning or late afternoon, as the sunlight enhances the colours of the steep rock formations.

Beginning at the lookout, a pathway guides you to the initial point of the Knox Gorge trail. This trail takes you down the gorge until it narrows into a slot canyon. The trail is approximately a 2 km round trip, involving some rock scrambling and walking along the ledges.

2.1.3. Hamersley Gorge

This is one of the farthest gorges in the park, situated on the west side of the park.

Getting there requires a long drive on an unpaved road, but the destination is worth the drive from Dales Campground.

Hamersley Gorge is famous for its “Spa Pool” and it also offers waterfalls and large swimming areas along with a remarkable geology.

2.1.4. Hancock Gorge

Considered the most thrilling trail in the park, this short route guides you through a narrow canyon, leading to a natural gathering space surrounded by towering rock walls.

From there you’ll continue through the famous Spider Walk and reach the emerald waters of Kermits Pool.

To reach Hancock Gorge, you can follow a Class 2 trail starting from the Weano Recreation car park. A connecting trail exists, linking this particular area to the walking trail leading to the Oxer and Junction Pool lookouts. This trail is known as Weano Gorge.

2.1.5. Weano Gorge

Karijini National Park
Image by cappa from DepositPhotos

A short walk into Weano Gorge leads you to Handrail Pool, a fantastic spot for swimming and a great viewpoint for the stunning landscapes of Karijini National Park.

There are two available routes for accessing Weano Gorge. One is a longer route that begins at the car park and takes you through the Upper Weano Gorge. Alternatively, there is a shorter route that leads through Lower Weano Gorge, accessible from the trail leading to Oxer and Junction Pool lookouts. These trails are a bit challenging and involve some scrambling.

2.1.6. Kalamina Gorge

Situated amidst the Weano Gorge and the Karijini Visitor Centre, you will find the captivating Kalamina Gorge. It’s the shallowest gorge in the park and a great place to start exploring the gorge system.

To get to the gorge, you’ll have to descend a set of rough steps. At the bottom, there’s a seasonal waterfall that gently flows over rock ledges into a small pool of water.

For those interested in further exploration of the gorge, a simple stroll along the stream will allow for continued discovery. You’ll pass by rock pools and colourful rock walls until you reach Rock Arch Pool. Along the way, you’ll need to cross the stream using stepping stones and do some simple ledge walking.

You will also find an information centre, drinking water and toilets near the car park.

2.1.7. Joffree Gorge

Joffree Gorge holds a lot of surprises for you. When you visit one end of this gorge, you can observe a stunning curved waterfall descending a huge drop. It is a breathtaking natural amphitheatre that is sculpted from rock rich in iron.

To enjoy the views of the gorge, there’s a lookout platform where you can have a glimpse of the scenery. For those seeking a more adventurous experience, the walking trail into the gorge offers a challenging section that leads to the pool downstream from the pool.

The Joffree Falls walk trail is approximately 1.5 Km in total, so you’ll be covering that distance when you return from your exploration.

3. Other Things to Checkout at the Park

Apart from the extremely picturesque and stunning gorges, there are a few more things we would like to recommend.

3.1. Mount Bruce

Karijini National Park
Image by MXW_Stock from Unlimphotos

Mount Bruce, also known as Punurrunha, is the second tallest peak in Western Australia, rivalling Bluff Knoll in size. To tackle this demanding hike, it is advisable to allocate more than a few hours. You can commence your journey in the early morning to dodge the parching heat.

There are three trail options, the shortest is the Honey Hakea track, which is also a round trip.

It is worth a visit for the breathtaking 360-degree views of the surrounding landscape and the nearby operational iron ore mine.

3.2. Fortescue Falls and Fern Pool

Karijini National Park
Image by MXW_Stock from UnlimPhotos

This falls is the largest and permanent waterfall in the park. Water falls from a 20-meter-high cliff into the pool below. You can reach it by walking through Dales Gorge or by taking a long set of steps from the car park above the falls.

A short walk from the falls, you can see the beautiful Fern Pool. This area is surrounded by thick, lush ferns. Additionally, there exists a petite waterfall situated on the opposite end of the pool.

It’s important to note that this place holds great natural and cultural-historical significance for the local indigenous people. So, it is expected of the tourists that they will respect the area and refrain from creating any kind of chaos in and around the spot.

3.3. Flora and Fauna

Karijini National Park
Image by MXW_Stock from UnlimPhotos

Karijini National Park covers various kinds of plants in the Pilbara region which interestingly fluctuates with the seasons. If you discover the park in the cooler months, you will be attracted to the northern bluebells, purple mullahs, and cassias, and wattles lying all over the grounds living behind the yellowish tone.

Also, you may see many plants bloom profusely after the rain.

The vegetation types in the national park include spinifex hummocks, acacias, eucalyptus, melaleucas, and low mulga woodlands. Also, beautiful rock pools with ferns and fig trees that grow on the cliff walls will make you fall for their majesty.

Being home to a wide variety of animal species, some of the animals found here are kangaroos and euros, rock wallabies, several species of birds, bats, dragons, lizards, dragons, frogs, geckos, and goannas, pythons, and other snakes.

Exercise caution and remain aware of the presence of snakes when embarking on your travels.

4. Best Time to Visit the Park

To make your trip memorable, always visit Karijini National Park in the season of Australia’s late autumn, winter, and early spring which is the middle of April and October because of its great climate and low chances of precipitation. So, these are considered the peak seasons.

5. Is Summer a Good Time for Visiting the National Park?

Typically, it is not advisable to visit the National Park in summer. In case, you are visiting the park in summer, you have to be prepared to endure high temperatures. Discovering the gorges when it’s raining will also hamper your journey as there is a high chance of road closure because of the flash flooding.

6. What Are the Things to Be Packed While Visiting the Park?

The most occurring question in our mind is what to pack while going on a vacation. Don’t worry we’ll make this hard-hitting question easy for you. If you visit the National Park in the warm days of summer, you should go in loose-fitting outfits along with shorts and T-shirts and do not forget to take your sunscreen and hat.

During winter nights, the temperature has the potential to reach freezing point, necessitating the need for an ample supply of warm clothing. While in the shoulder season (the season between the peak and off-peak), simply go with a jumper and pants.

Also, most importantly bring waterproof camera bags when you go through the gorge waterways.

7. How to Reach Karijini National Park?

Karijini National Park
Image by MXW_Stock from UnlimPhotos

The park belongs to western Australia’s Pilbara region. Travellers can visit Karijini anytime from Karratha by taking more than an hour’s long drive and also from Tom Price, Newman, Roebourne, and Port Hedland via roads. Flights are also available to Paraburdoo town, some kilometres away from the National Park.

The nearest options for refuelling from Dales Campground are Munjina Roadhouse or Tom Price, both of which are located more than a few kilometres away. The distance from the Karijini Eco Retreat to Tom Price is approximately 80 kilometres. If you are planning to go from Dales to Weano on the shortest route, you can go ahead with that too.

But, make sure to plan your visit carefully considering the distance and availability of fuel. Apart from it, you can also grab the North West Coastal Highway and then turn onto the Great Northern Highway which is more than a few kilometres south of Port Hedland.

Also before you are going to make the first move towards the National Park, do visit the Karijini visitor centre for further guidance for the betterment of your forthcoming journey.

8. Lodging and Facilities

Karijini National Park
Image by MXW_Stock from UnlimPhotos

Do you want to add a bit of adventure to your journey? If yes then you can choose to lodge over the campsites inside the National Park. Karijini National Park’s accommodations will give you varieties of camping facilities at Savannah and Dales campgrounds along with safari tents at Karijini Eco Retreat.

You will see the toilets, showers, and water near the Karijini Visitor Centre along with the picnic tables, gas barbecues, and information shelter in the campgrounds and day-use areas. It’s important to be aware that there are fees applicable for visitors and campers who wish to access and utilize these facilities.

Another option is to stay in the nearby town of Tom Price and access the National Park by driving from there.

9. How Many Days of Stay is Required at the Park?

I would suggest you not stay less than 4 nights to make sure you can explore the gorges, refreshing waterfalls, and much more which will do justice to your tour.

10. Karijini National Park Entry Fees

For witnessing Mother Earth’s wanderings filled with clear plunge pools, Pilbara’s gum trees, Mount Bruce, and whatnot, you will be needing to pay a certain amount. But, please note that these details may change without any prior information.

For the most up-to-date information, you can obtain it at the entry point of Karijini National Park from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation, and Attraction. Alternatively, you can also get it from the Karijini Eco Retreat.

If you have park passes, then they will already be covering your entry fee.

11. Essential Advice for Exploring Karijini National Park

11.1. Bring Your Supplies

Karijini National Park has limited facilities, with only a small shop and restaurant at Karijini Eco Retreat. Remember to bring all the food and water you’ll need for your stay. There are no fuel stations or rubbish bins in the park, so come prepared with fuel and rubbish bags.

11.2. Check for Gorge Closures

Karijini National Park
Image by MXW_Stock from UnlimPhotos

Before your trip, check which gorges are open for exploration. Temporary closures can occur due to incidents or maintenance. The Handrail pool was closed for some time but has since reopened with additional safety measures.

Due to the presence of asbestos, Circular Pool remains closed indefinitely for visitor safety. Visit the DBCA website or inquire at the Eco Retreat for up-to-date information.

11.3. Limited Phone Reception

Surprisingly, only Optus provides phone reception within Karijini National Park. Telstra coverage, which is usually broad, does not extend inside the park. Keep this in mind when planning your communication needs.

11.4. Prepare for Cold Nights

While days can be hot, Karijini’s desert climate leads to very cold nights, especially in winter. Ensure you pack an ample supply of warm clothing, as temperatures in the park can plummet to 0 degrees Celsius or below.

By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be better prepared for an enjoyable visit to Karijini National Park.

12. Guidelines to Adhere to While Inside the Park

  • To protect the park, please stay on designated roads and tracks. Wet roads can be dangerous, and heavy rain may cause damage and sudden road closures.
  • Respecting the park’s ecosystem, it is crucial to refrain from disrupting or extracting any animals, plants, or rocks during your visit. Bringing pets or firearms into the park is strictly prohibited.
  • To preserve the aquatic life within the pools, it is essential to refrain from introducing soap or detergent, as they can have adverse effects on the ecosystem.
  • To minimize the potential for bushfires, it is advisable to utilize the gas barbecues provided or bring your own portable cooking appliances for cooking purposes. Please be aware that the park strictly prohibits the use of ground fires and solid fuel fires. It is also prohibited to bring glass or alcohol into the gorges.
  • Inside the park, it is important to note that there are no bins or waste removal systems available. Ensure you bring along a waste bag to responsibly carry any trash out of the park with you.

13. Karijini Visitor Centre

The Karijini Visitor Centre is a place where you can learn about the Park’s nature and history. It has information, cool drinks, souvenirs, and facilities including showers and toilets.

The building’s design looks like a goanna and is important to the local Aboriginal people. Inside there are displays about the park’s geology, plants, animals and Aboriginal culture.

The Visitor Centre also creates job opportunities for local Aboriginal people and allows visitors to talk to them and learn about their connection to the land.

14. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Should we book campgrounds in advance? 

Yes. You have to book the campgrounds in advance.

2. Is there a fee required for park entry?

Yes. For witnessing the serenity of Karijini National Park, you will be needing to pay a certain amount.

3. What is the peak time to visit the park?

October to mid-April is the peak season to visit the park.


Karijini National Park holds the distinction of being the second-largest National Park in Western Australia, making it a truly exceptional and remarkable park. The gorgeous red landscape has been slowly carved out of rock due to erosion.

Seek guidance from the Karijini Visitor Centre for recommendations on the most remarkable locations to explore. Discover deep gorges, swim in clear waters, and fall in love with waterfalls and secluded swimming holes. We would like to recommend to you stay a few nights camping or enjoy glamping at the Karijini Eco Retreat.

Look out for colourful flowers after the rains and spot termite mounds, birds, wallabies, kangaroos, goannas, and more.

Ishika Das is a BA-LLB student with a deep passion for exploration, literature, and staying informed. While pursuing her studies, she finds solace in embarking on thrilling adventures, with Australia holding a special place in her heart. Ishika's wanderlust leads her to immerse herself in the diverse landscapes and vibrant cultures of the country. Alongside her travels, she is an avid reader, constantly seeking knowledge and staying up to date with current affairs. Ishika's insatiable curiosity drives her to be informed about the world around her, as she believes that understanding the present is crucial for shaping a better future.

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