Karijini is becoming one of Western Australia’s top attractions and a growing number of travellers are making the detour inland to visit the park.
The national park is best known for its gorges, which include waterfalls and several beautiful secluded swimming spots.
Entry to the park is $10 for a car and eight passengers or $4 per person if you arrive by bus.
The national park visitors’ centre features excellent exhibits about the park.
Banjima Drive, Karijini National Park
Tel (08) 9189 8121
Open 9am-4pm daily
Tom Price is the closest town to the park and it is a handy place to base yourself, particularly if you’re driving.
Greyhound (tel 1300 473 946) travels via the coast and the closest spot to Karijini that they stop is Port Hedland. If you’re not either on a tour or driving your own car, you’ll need to get off the coach in Port Hedland and rent a car.
The Easyrider bus stops at Tom Price and also goes right into the national park on its Exmouth-Broome route. Travellers on Easyrider can either spend half a day in the park or stay in Tom Price and rent a car or book a tour of the park from there.
The two main spots in Karijini are Dales Gorge and Junction Pool where the Joffre, Hancock, Red and Weano Gorges converge.
Dales Gorge is the most accessible and also the safer of the two spots and it can easily be visited in half a day.
There are a number of hiking trails in Dales Gorge that include the easy Gorge Rim walk (2km, 2 hours) which offers breathtaking views into the gorge; the Fortescue Falls walk (800m, 1 hour) descends the gorge to Fortescue Falls and the swimming spot at Fern Pool. There is also a walking trail to another swimming spot at Circular Pool (800m, 2 hours) at the other end of the gorge. You can spot a lot of wildlife including goannas and lizards on the Dales Gorge hike (1½km, 3 hours) that runs along the base of the gorge between Circular Pool and Fortescue Falls, this is one of the most popular hiking trails in the park since it takes in two lovely swimming spots.
The area around the Joffre, Hancock, Knox, Red and Weano Gorges has more challenging hiking trails.
Easier short walks in this area include the Joffre Lookout walk (100m, 10 minutes), which offers views of the waterfalls in the Joffre Gorge. The walk to the Oxer and Junction Pool Lookouts (800m, 30 minutes) departs from the Weano carpark and offers spectacular views into the gorge. Another good short walk goes to Knox Lookout (300m, 15 minutes) and is best in the early morning and late afternoon.
Longer walks in this area include Knox Gorge (2km, 3 hours), Joffre Falls (3km, 3 hours), Handrail Pool (970m, 1½ hours) and Hancock Gorge (1½km, 3 hours).
If you enjoy hiking, there is enough in the park to keep you busy for several days.
Many travellers stay in Tom Price, but you can also camp in the national park for $7.50 per night. The camping sites in the national park are located near Dales, Joffre and Weano Gorges.