About 1380 km from Perth lies the beautiful Karijini National Park. Covering 627, 422 hectares, offering rugged scenery, ancient geological formations and spectacular scenery.
How to get there
To get to Karijini travellers can either drive from Perth which will take you roughly 2 days or 15 hrs of straight driving, or access the park through Tom Price, Karratha or Newman via sealed or unsealed roads. There are currently no flights that fly into Karijini National Park, Quantas does provide flights to the town of Paraburdoo, 100km from the park.
When to visit
Karijini National Park is open all year round, however because of its remote located environmental factors will greatly influence your trip. In summer daytime temperatures can reach up to 45 degrees C, in the wet season the park can flood causing road closures and parts of the park to become inaccessible. With this said, the best time to visit the part is late autumn/early winter and spring. Temperatures in May, June and July can range from 10 degrees C at night to 30 degrees C during the day. Make sure to bring warm clothes for night time. In spring (Sep-Nov) temperatures range from 13 degrees C at night to 40 degrees C during the day.
There are two accommodation options located inside the park and a few options outside park limits.
A DPAW campground located at the Eastern side inside of the park, close to the Dales recreation area. The sites at this campground are a really good size. I stayed at one of the smaller sites, even with my awning and walls up, another tent or two easily could of fit. There are plenty of sites and all are accessible by 2WD. Drop loo toilets and picnic tables are available at each campsite loop. Bookings are recommended, a site will cost you $11 pp/per night. Although showers are not available at this campground, you can have hot showers at the visitor centre for a small fee.
Note: There are dingos in this park, I wouldn’t recommend leaving trash or food out overnight. They got very close to my car when I was here, and won’t hesitate to chew on your shoes.
Karijini Eco Retreat
Karijini Eco Retreat is the second option inside the park; offering a range of Eco cabins and unpowered campsites. The Eco cabins can accommodate 1-4 people, the deluxe eco cabins are the only accommodation with private bathrooms. Each cabin comes with a bed, bedding, towels, limited power and outdoor sitting areas. These cabins will cost you anywhere between $220 to $460 per night. Unpowered camping costs $22, with basic facilities; solar showers, BBQ, prep areas and flushing toilets.
Auski Tourist Village
Located about an hour drive outside of the park. Auski Tourist Village offers a range of accommodation from basic motel style rooms to powered/unpowered campsites. The rooms come in either a family (up to 4 people), double room (up to 3 people) and a single room. Each room comes with an ensuite bathroom, small kitchenette, linen, tv and refrigerator. These rooms range from $85 to $180 a night. Campsites cannot be booked and operate on a first come first serve basis. A powered campsite will cost you $40 and unpowered, $30 a night.
There are two rest stops that are close to the park, these are the cheapest options if your happy to drive into the park each day. There is a rest stop on the corner of Karijini Dr and Tom Price-Paraburdoo Rd, it is close to the trains but it is a good spot to camp for the night (no bathrooms). The last one is, Albert Tognilini rest area, the most scenic rest stop in WA. This has plenty of spots to stay, and you can leave your locked caravan (wouldn’t recommend leaving a tent). This rest stop doesn’t have toilets.
Karijini Must Sees
There is plenty to do in Karijini National Park, each walk requires a different level of fitness. Do your research before each walk and wear the appropriate footwear. There were too many people doing Grade 5 walks in thongs. I recommend getting yourself a pair of reef shoes or if you’re happy to get your runners wet wear those. Unfortunately when I visited this park as a lot was closed due to damage from the recent wet season and from too many injuries. I did still get to see a lot in the park just not as much as I’d like. I believe they are doing updates to certain walks to make them safer for the public.
Located in the northwest of Karijini, this is the furthest gorge from Dales campground. This gorge is full of colour, has multiple swimming holes and the special ‘spa’ waterfall at the top of the gorge (the famous instagram spot). The walk down to the biggest pool is a steep descent, but doable at any age by taking your time. Here you can swim in the two big pools, or take a swim through the gorges. If you climb higher up, past the first pool, you will find a group of little pools. This is a good chill spot as most people don’t seem to hang around long at these pools. Continuing up higher again, you will come to another big pool and the famous ‘spa’ waterfall.
TIP: I’d recommend wearing closed in shoes, or rock shoes for this walk. Climbing to the waterfall does require some rock scrambling and a short swim (this is easier than a fairly dodgy crawl across some slippery rocks).
One of my favourite hikes I’ve done so far. Mt Bruce is located towards the western side of the park and is best completed in the morning when the weather is cooler. There are 3 hikes that can be completed from the Mt Bruce carpark; Marandoo view (1 km return) , Honey Hakea trail (4.6 km return) and Mt Bruce summit trail (9 km return).
The Marandoo hike is an easy walk for views of the nearby Marandoo mine site. The Honey Hakea trail continues from Marandoo view and leads to a vantage point with great view of the ranges. This part of the hike is fairly easy too, with some rock scrambling required. Continuing on will lead you up to the summit. Be aware that around 3 km in the trail changes to a Class 5. This part of the walk can be challenging; requiring rock scrambles, walking around a boulder (holding onto a chain), ledge walking and steep ascents. A fairly good fitness level is recommended for this hike.
A stunning waterfall located in the West side of the park. From the car park you can either walk down to the bottom of the falls where you will be rewarded with a fresh pool to swim, or enjoy the views from the lookout point. I was only able to access the lookout as they were putting stairs down to the bottom to make it safer.
Hancock gorge and Kermits pool
A Karijini Favourite. This walk may require some swimming or some spider walking through the gorges. Some hiking experience is recommended. Following the path from the trailhead you will start at the edge of the gorge before taking some metal ladders to the bottom of the gorge. From here you will either need to walk or swim, navigating yourself through the gorge. The gorge becomes very narrow, be careful at this section. Soon after the narrow section you will reach Kermits pool, where this trail ends.
Fortescue Falls and Fern pool
Located in Dales recreation area only a short walk from the Dales campground. The walk down to Fortescue Falls is fairly easy as you follow a set of metal steps. If you continue at the top of the falls for 300m, you will find Fern pool. This was my favourite swimming area in park. Fern pool is a fairly large pool with a waterfall at one end. I recommend swimming to this waterfall as you can actually sit underneath it!
Another strange recommendation is sit on the little jetty with your feet in the water, you will be treated to a little fish spa. If you have time follow the Dales Gorge trail at the bottom of Fortescue falls. This will lead you on a beautiful walk through the gorges to Circular Pool (unfortunately this pool is currently closed). This walk is 5 km return and will take you roughly 2 hrs.
– Weano gorge
– Junction pool and Oxer lookouts
Things to note:
– Circular pool is closed due to asbestos, I am unsure when it will re open to the public.
– Handrail pool is closed as to many incidents have occured.
- Check the parks conditions before arriving to avoid disappointment (and driving to a section which may not be open)
- There is no fuel available inside the park, the closest fuel station is at the Auski Tourist village. It takes a bit of time and Km’s to get around the park so I recommend going in on a full tank.
- Although dales campground is the cheaper option inside the park, I recommend trying to stay at the Eco resort. This is closer to more attractions and won’t require you driving to the other side of the park each day.
- Although a lot of the park is accessible by 2WD a 4WD would be better. I watched a 2WD drive on the corrugation from Weano recreation area and it was struggling. It’s doable it will just be VERY uncomfortable.
- If you don’t have a 4WD you won’t be able to take the ‘shortcut’ through the park and will have to take the bitumen road around the park to each side. This will take time and fuel. This 4WD track has horrible corrugation.
- There are showers at the Visitor centre if needed.
- Make sure you bring plenty of water with you.
- Leave no food or rubbish out overnight, otherwise you’ll get a visit from some dingos.
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23rd September 2021 at 9:28 am
Beautiful photos and it seems like a dream in WA 🙂
3 week North West Itinerary – Kimberley/Pilbara – TREKwithBECK
22nd September 2022 at 12:00 pm
[…] For more in depth look into Karijini National Park, you can read my guide here. […]