Karijini Tourism & Travel
The Hamersley Ranges stretch for more than 400km through the Pilbara, forming wild and magnificent panoramas. Spectacular gorges have been carved by the waters of the Fortescue and other rivers. Sheer walls of rock are layered in colours from red to green and blue to pink in the changing sunlight. The gorges are up to 100m deep, with the water flow at their bases sometimes only one metre wide. Others have wide crystal-clear pools reflecting the blue skies. Lush green vegetation thrives and the gorges are cool oases to swim in and escape the brilliant sunshine. Within the huge Karijini Hamersley Range National Park there are many well known gorges, including Dales Gorge, its strata in horizontal stripes of blue, mauve, red and brown and dating back 2000 million years
Karijini National Park
The magnificent Karijini National Park is famous for its rich wildflower displays and spectacular gorges of the Hamersley Range. Formerly known as Hamersley Range National Park, the Karijini is an Aboriginal name for the region used by two of the three local Aboriginal tribes that have inhabited the region for thousands of years.
About three-and-a-half hours drive from Port Hedland, the Karijini National Park is the second largest in Western Australia and offers a wide variety of scenery from rugged plateau and ridges to vast sunburned savannahs, clear rivers and deep, shadowy gorges.
There are a series of deep chasms in the Hamersley Range known as the Hamersley Gorges. The range is an iron-ore rich plateau that extends for about 400km between the inland deserts and the Indian Ocean. The most striking feature of the Karijini is its geology; some of the worlds oldest rock formations have been found here. Rugged, red gorges and sheer sided chasms house cool, flowing pools and abundance of wildlife.
Many different types of birds, rock wallabies, dingoes, echidnas, red kangaroos and euros flock to the pools for water. Lizards, geckos, goannas, dragons and a variety of snakes shelter from the searing sun underneath layered rocks. Bats hide in cool caves and the rare Pebble-mound mouse retreats into its tunnels blocked off to predators by mounds of small pebbles.
Most of the walking tracks and facilities are concentrated along the north eastern escarpments where the most beautiful gorges lie. Each gorge is remarkably different from the next. There are several short walks along cliff tops; the most noteworthy culminating at Oxer lookout that overlooks the junction of four spectacular chasms Hancock, Joffre, Red and Weano gorges. Visitors can venture into the gorges but must be fit and ready to dip into the ice-cold waters and cling to rock ledges whilst following narrow paths. The waterfalls at Joffre Gorge and Fortesque Gorge are definite highlights.
The best times to visit the Karijini is during winter and early spring of the southern hemisphere after rainfalls have induced a profusion of wildflowers that blanket this usually dry landscape. Flowers cover vast areas of the ochre red earth on either side of the access roads and as far as the eye can see, creating beautiful displays to rival any wildflower hot spot in this, the wildflower centre of the world.
The drama of the Karijini National Park is awesome in its majesty and is a perfect destination to add extra days to any itinerary as part of a fully documented self-drive package.