Things to do in Karijini National Park

THE 10 BEST Things to Do in Karijini National Park

Things to Do in Karijini National Park

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What travellers are saying

  • The Evolving Backpacker
    Port Hedland, Australia109 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    This post is accompanied by the below-related posts:
    1. Tom Price Summer Star Resort - A comfortable stay in a fantastic resort
    2. Dales Gorge and Fortescue Falls - A Rim walk and an icy plunge
    3. Kalamina Gorge - An enchanting experience

    Travel type:
    Family with two kids aged 5 and 7. Travelling from Port Hedland.

    We visited Karajini from Port Hedland with our two kids aged seven and five. We stayed in Tom Price and explored two different sections of the park over two days. This post (and the other related posts) cover our overall experience.

    Drive Port Hedland to Tom Price:
    The 410-kilometre journey is via the Great Northern Highway which branches off in a southerly direction about 40 kilometres from Port Hedland. The road is two lanes and sealed but is a bit challenging in terms of the number of road trains and oversized vehicles encountered along the way. Add to this the more than usual twists and turns in comparison to the coastal highway and the drive turns into an adventure in itself. People who are not used to this sort of traffic should pay particular attention to the hazard involved in overtaking these behemoths which can be 60 metres long in the case of road trains, or occupy two-thirds the breadth of the highway in the case of the oversized trucks transporting mammoth mining trucks or equipment (These unconventional trucks will have pilot vehicles leading ahead to warn oncoming traffic to slow down, and if required to pull up on the side of the road to allow safe passage). Despite the amount of road traffic, the route is along a remote stretch of the state, and the only rest and fuel stop after Port Hedland is at Munjina, about 250 kilometres away.

    The stay:
    Refer to the ‘Tom Price Summer Star Resort - A comfortable stay in a fantastic resort!’ review.

    The Karajini experience:
    Hiking in Western Australia’s second largest national park - and that is saying a lot, as WA is over ten times the size of the entire United Kingdom! - is akin to a walk back in time, with the stunning red landscape carved out of rock that is over 2.5 billion years old; the millennia-old rust red rocks that tumble down 100-metre chasms that make for a truly delightful experience; the gurgling waterfalls that pour into secluded, crystal clear swimming holes surrounded by lush green ferns add to the enchanting beauty of the place.

    We had heard so much about the gorge that we hoped we would not be disappointed when we got there; we did not need to worry - the park was everything we had expected and we loved exploring the region tremendously.
    The park trails are graded from Class 1 to Class 5 - 5 being the most difficult, and the hikes range from a leisurely 15 minutes to a couple of hours round trip. The DBCA website provides updates on park closures and any other vital information visitors should always be aware of.

    On day 1 of our visit we headed to Dales Gorge and the spectacular Fortescue Fall, whilst on Day 2 we visited Kalamina Gorge (See respective reviews)

    Tip:
    • You need to place the park entry pass on the dashboard while in the parking area, so it is best if you log in, register and take a printout prior to arriving. We got a local annual pass for this park as we live in the Pilbara region; there are more ticket options ranging from a day pass to annual WA-wide passes for people who are exploring the region over an extended period. For the last-minute type of travellers, applying for the pass at the park entrance gate is always available.

    • Driving in the park - Be aware that distances travelled can add up quickly when touring this park. The nearest fuel is over 80km from Dales Campground at Munjina Roadhouse or Tom Price and, around 70km from the Karijini Eco Retreat to Tom Price.
    Written 24 May 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Vicki O
    Adelaide, Australia29 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Lots of steps 183 take must your swimming costume with you as you can swim at the end of the walk in the lagoon
    Written 21 July 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Peter_B_Simons
    Portland, Australia641 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    The rock steps down to the two ladders are step but not that hard to do with care. Once at the bottom it is a great walk looking up at the rocks and sky. As there had been some rain in last few weeks there was a small flow of water still. The first two pools are easy to traverse. The third one, the options are to scamper along the rocks of wade through waist high water to next section. The walk over rocks is rated at grade 5 walk. Overall it is not hard walk over rocks but is shoes get wet they can be slippery with the foot traffic over years. Well worth the effort.
    Written 13 September 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Jeffry b
    Essendon, Australia14,313 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Australia's Pilbara region is a land of contrasts. It's probably best known as the source of the nation's iron ore exports; millions of tons of iron ore are shipped to Asia every year. The Pilbara's ancient red rocks are rugged, but beautiful. Hamersley Gorge is in an isolated area of Karijini National Park. Hamersley Gorge can only be accessed by an unmade road. The pools look inviting. Avoid visiting at the height of summer, when temperatures can be baking.
    Written 20 November 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • graemec651
    1 contribution
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Karijini is a magical place. Our three children (1, 3, 6), absolutely loved it and so did we! A must do when visiting the Pilbra. Also, Kaylene is incredible and made our daughter (Olive), feel at ease about swimming in the Gorges- a true asset to the Karijini visitor centre team!
    Written 13 June 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • The Evolving Backpacker
    Port Hedland, Australia109 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    This post is accompanied by the below-related posts:
    1. Tom Price Summer Star Resort - A comfortable stay in a fantastic resort
    2. Karajini hiking adventure with kids - A commune with nature
    3. Dales Gorge and Fortescue Falls - A Rim walk and an icy plunge

    Travel type:
    Family with two kids aged 5 and 7. Travelling from Port Hedland.

    On Day 2 of our trip - day 1 being well spent in Dales Gorge - we opted to visit Kalamina Gorge which is located in a different section of the park area. The approach is via an unsealed road and is accessible only by 4WD. Being a little more difficult to get to, it gets fewer visitors, which adds to the charm of the location.

    Our experience was quite different from the previous day, where we walked along the gorge rim, although it was just as equally enchanting, if not more. On this occasion, we descended into the gorge and followed the bottom trail that meanders dreamily along the creek and the amphitheatre-styled rock ledges, inviting you to explore the further reaches of the hidden sections until you arrive at the spectacular rock arch pool.

    The entire walk is past lemon-scented grass and ancient fern trees that add a magical feel to the whole experience; the best part of this trail was the ease with which we could walk along the flat, expansive sections, not worrying about falling into a gaping chasm or sliding down unceremoniously down a craggy ledge. Whilst the descent itself is a bit difficult for kids, and there are a few sections where you have to walk along narrow ledges to traverse the creek, for the larger part, the walk is through wide expansive sections and the kids had a field day exploring independently and walking around freely, chasing dragonflies and skipping pebbles on the water, whilst we were busy soaking in the vistas, and of course, taking heaps of photos oohing and aahing ever so often.

    Whilst the walk is just 3.2 kilometres return, we took a good two hours to get to the end, because of the numerous vista-watch stops along the way; although this was around noontime, the cooler temperatures in the gorge and the shade offered by the towering rocky outcrops meant we had a relatively comfortable walk. The walk back (without breaks) took us just half an hour and the kids were pretty much done by then. We take back with us some great memories of this place and can highly recommend Kalamina as a wonderful option for hiking in Karajini.

    Tip:
    • Follow the coloured dots (my kids call it the egg trail due to the yellow-on-white sunny-side-up design) embedded on the rocks along the trail.
    • Turn left and walk to the end of the gorge; at the immediate right is the waterfall section, and although it is beautiful no doubt, it may be difficult to do the trail walk after plunging into the pool in this location.
    Written 24 May 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Andyjam2110
    Newcastle, Australia521 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Got crappy weather at Karijini and even though there was only a little rain, most gorges were closed. Thank gawd for Mount Bruce with it’s beautiful vistas and excellent walking trail.
    Written 29 June 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Peter_B_Simons
    Portland, Australia641 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    This walk is worth the effort. The climb down is well defined and not hard with some care. The walk through the gorge is spectacular and especially where it narrows as come to landing and handrail. I found with rock shoes to walk in the water, not on the shinny rocks as had more grip. Need both hands on the handrail after the platform. Supposably this platform is new in the last couple of years. It does give you a place to stop before descending down the hand rail section using both hands. The pool at bottom is large and had plenty of water in it. Options to get into the next section is to swim across or walk along te far edge but is is very slippery. A great experience and great to take a few pics.
    Written 13 September 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Peter_B_Simons
    Portland, Australia641 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Joffre is a great gorge and waterfall pool to visit when water flow is low. The climb down to bottom is via many sets of well designed sets of steel steps/ladders with landing. These ladders are easy to use.

    The waterfall pool requires walking through a short water path of clear water with a very gravelly bottom so is easy to walk on. The waterfall pool is good place to swim and relax with places to sit and relax. I did observe a few smaller and one larger lizard but keep away from the people. I great place to visit and relax.
    Written 16 September 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Bernard S
    Perth, Australia2 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    We stayed in Dales campground and walked to the Falls. We also visited Fern pool, circular pool. Fortescue Falls was spectacular, with the surrounding gorge.
    The walk down to Fern Pool is well worth the effort. Will visit Karijini again.
    Written 15 August 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Peter_B_Simons
    Portland, Australia641 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Unfortunately the first lookout is closed but the second one was open. Great view into gorge. Is only a short easy walk from carpark and worth the effort
    Written 13 September 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Peter_B_Simons
    Portland, Australia641 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Knox Gorge can be more challenging to access due the path having sections of scree rock. Once at the bottom and water level is low walking along the gorge floor is easy. There is one section where the choice is swim through the water or clamber around the well worn and smooth rock ledges to another pool and small waterfall. Walking back up from the gorge is much easier than coming down.
    Written 16 September 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Skeney57
    Sydney, Australia21,999 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    From the NP brochures, the photos of this circular pool in time of water would make a fabulous spot to cool off after the walk down from the car park.It is a steep descent down to the gorge bottom and a stroll to the fern-framed pool for a swim. Allow 2 hrs for there & return.
    Written 24 July 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Dirk M
    Berlin, Germany31 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    We, 8 friends and all experienced Australia travellers, wanted to explore the lesser known and relatively undeveloped Pilbara region of WA in September 2023. Our aim was to see beautiful nature and culture, visit the huge port of Dampier, look into the giant hole of the iron mine, swim in waterholes, stay overnight in the middle of nowhere and snorkel with large and small animals. To make this 10-day stage of the trip even more successful, we entrusted the organisation of our desired destinations to Pete West.
    What a lucky choice!
    Although our super bus broke down on the first day and continued to cause problems over the next few days, we always arrived safely and on time. Pete sent us taxis for the trip from the airport to Karattha. On the second day, a second Pete brought a replacement bus and the workshop to fix the problem was also not far away. This, including various spare wheels and parts, was handled wonderfully by Pete.
    Our itinerary:
    - Stories in Stone, the largest and oldest outdoor gallery in the world. Clinton Walkers explains the fascinating Aboriginal culture.
    - Swimming in the Indian Ocean
    - Dampier, huge port for shipping iron ore
    - Outback drive, walking stop at Millstream Chichester NP, including a swim in the Fortescue River
    - Tom Price and Rio Tinto mining tour
    - Karrijini NP: Hike through spectacular scenery - ancient rocks, deep gorges, winding rivers, waterholes. We sleep in a secluded tented camp on private Aboriginal land. Dreamlike experiences we will never forget!
    - Drive through the outback to the sea, staying overnight at Cheela Plains Station and Bullara Station for a delicious beef and reef dinner.
    - Ningaloo Reef and Exmouth Peninsula:
    - Full day "Marine Eco Safari" snorkelling with manta rays and other marine life in Coral Bay
    - Current snorkelling at Turquoise Bay, swimming at Sandy Beach
    - Hike the cliffs of Yardie Creek in Cape Range NP with wildlife spotting
    - Sunset with sunset drink at Vlamingh Lighthouse
    - And the best at the end: full day tour with "Exmouth Dive" to swim with whale sharks; just wow!!!
    The whole 10 days were one big highlight and thanks to the excellent organisation, all the "pieces" fit together perfectly. Pete "never let us out of his sight", drove us everywhere with confidence, explained the history of the earth to us, looked after us while we hiked, kept our equipment dry while we swam, always had enough drinks in the vehicle, spoilt us with delicious "Swiss-German" picnics, lit a warming fire for us, barbecued Australian-sized steaks and, as if by coincidence, also repaired the bus. What a successful holiday!
    Thank you Pete for getting us through this part of the trip so safely and for working through our wish list so wonderfully!
    Thanks for the great time we had together!
    Your Falk Group
    Written 23 February 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Jo A
    1 contribution
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    OMG, I love Phil, funny bas#@rd, so witty and interesting. Brilliant talk and most exceptional view of the stars, moon and constellations. THANK YOU FOR AN EXCELLENT EVENING PHIL
    Written 29 July 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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