Hit the open road to discover the true beauty of inland WA at Karijini, one of Australia’s largest and most spectacular national parks. Follow the trails, descend into cavernous gorges, cool off in inviting pools beneath plunging waterfalls, or scale WA’s second-highest peak, Mt Bruce, at this park of miraculous beauty and Australian history.
Wash all the red dirt away at Fortescue Falls – the park’s only permanent waterfall. It is 20m long and rushes down strikingly red cliff steps into the deep pool below. Surrounded by cliffs and tall trees, find it at Dales Gorge (an 800m walk from the car park).
From Fortescue Falls, take the 300m detour to pretty, spring-fed Fern Pool, complete with timbered swimming platform and stairs. This is also the starting point for an 800m hike to Circular Pool (allow two hours return), which starts off steep but ends in an easy and scenic ramble.
Joffre Falls runs down a towering, narrow gorge that is protected from the sun by looming cliff faces on either side. Wade into the still, shallow waters and enjoy the sound of the rushing falls echoing all around you.
Named for its luminous green waters, Kermit’s Pool at Hancock Gorge is at the end of a challenging 1.5km trail (allow three hours return) that involves a steep descent and ladder.
An equally adventurous option is Handrail Pool in Weano Gorge, with a very steep and narrow 1.5km descent (allow three hours return).
Karijini’s climate can be best described as tropical semi-desert, and hence temperatures in summer can be extreme. Hikers are advised to drink plenty of water and bring sun protection when embarking on the stunning, adventurous trails within the park.
Experience spectacular views from the top of WA’s second-tallest peak Mt Bruce, called Punurrunha by the Aboriginal people. Its three walks, Marandoo, Honey Hakea and the Mt Bruce Summit provide varying lengths and difficulties to suit your ideal hike.
Take a steep descent into Knox Gorge on a two kilometre hike that is somewhat hidden from the hustle of some of the park’s more popular trails. Enjoy the beauty of the Gorge’s unique atmosphere as you descend among stunningly banded red, blue and purple rocks.
Where to stay
At Karijini National Park, you can pitch a tent at Dale’s campground (first in, first served!) Alternatively, Karijini Eco Retreat offers campsites, eco tents with ensuites, dorm-style eco tents, and cabins.
The Pilbara is also home to luxury lodges and station stays, including the working station of Cheela Plains – the perfect overnight stop en route from Karijini to Carnarvon, with space for camping.