Karijini National Park is a jaw-dropping oasis located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Everyone who visits the national park lists it in their top five experiences in Australia. About a thousand kilometers is your deviation from the beautiful coastline of Western Australia. Jump into a time machine and sniff a cloud of red dust. These are some of the reasons why Karijini National Park is a can’t miss experience!
1. Karijini National Park is a natural museum
This national park has rock formations as old as Earth. Hamersley Gorge and its surrounding rock formations are estimated to be two million years old. This means that the area here is older than most fossils. On top of that, it can’t be denied that these rock formations are incredibly beautiful.
Protip! Make sure you have good anti-slip shoes. You don’t want to make a slip here!
2. Aboriginals as the architects of Karijini National Park
It’s not often communicated publicly in Australia, but we owe the existence of Karijini to the Aborigines. By applying traditional farming techniques, they ensured that certain fauna and flora could survive here. They did this with the help of Fire Stick Farming. Which is nothing more than strategically setting the place on fire so the soil becomes fertile again. Partly because of these techniques, the soil in the Pilbara is one of the most fertile in Australia. Too bad it doesn’t rain that much here.
3. The reptiles of Karijini
During your walks here you’ll surely see a collection of reptiles. You can expect to see goannas, geckos, lizards, dragons, snakes and water snakes. In Karijini National Park even pythons have been spotted!
Don’t worry, the park is more than 6000 square kilometers. Chances are slim you’ll pass a snake unconsciously. Seeing one is unlikely and an interaction is an exception to the rule.
4. An oasis of wildlife
In addition to reptiles, you will also find a wide range of wildlife that you can spot. In this region you can spot the red kangaroos. These are bigger, stronger and of course redder than the stereotypical grey kangaroo. There are also wallaroos, wallabies and bats.
The icing on the cake? You’re almost certain to see the Australian Eagle here. The largest bird of prey in Australia with a wingspan of up to 250cm. Australian Eagle can even grow up to one metre. This giant bird usually floats at an altitude of 2000 meters and looks from there at his/her prey. A graceful animal that can be spotted anywhere in Australia!
5. Climbing mountains in Karijini?
In Karijini National Park you’ll find Mount Bruce. This big boy is the second highest peak in Western Australia. The mountain is 1234 meters high. Do your feet itch to climb this summit? Then be sure to bring enough water. Trees, bushes and other sources of shade are very scarce on this mountain. So protect yourself from the sun. Moreover, the climb can take much longer due to dehydration and extreme heat.
Protip! Start real early to avoid the heat.
6. Karijini isn’t without danger
Temperatures can reach forty degrees during the day. If you walk in the valleys during such warm days, the actual temperature can rise above fifty degrees. It’s strongly discouraged to do hikes in Karijini National Park during such days.
During the summer it’s the wet season. Because of the geographical structure of Karijni National Park all rain comes together in the valleys. An average rainfall can be enough to cause a flashflood in the valleys. A life-threatening current that has already caused deaths. So keep a close eye on the weather forecast every time. Actually, I wouldn’t visit Karijni during the summer because of the extreme weather conditions anyway.
The third factor to take into account is the wild dogs or dingoes. They’re regularly spotted in Dales Campground and aren’t no strangers towards humans. It wouldn’t be the first time they show violent behaviour towards people. So close your food storage and put your drinks away!
As if Karijini isn’t beautiful enough, every year during the ‘wildflower’ season it gets even more beautiful. Between June and September, a whole family of flowers blossom and some places in Karijini start to look like a fairytale story.
However, don’t imagine that there are huge areas in bloom like in the Netherlands. It’s limited to small pieces of landscape that normally are completely drought-stricken, which now take on a purple or red colour.
8. 4WD in Karijini National Park
It’s not essential to have a four-wheel drive to visit Karijini National Park. Be aware, however, that some roads can be extremely rough. With an ordinary car you’re forced to drive (very) slowly and carefully. Contrary to the Land Cruisers that drive past you at 100 km/h with flying rocks as a result!
Do you even have a 4WD? Then you can visit parts of the park that are a bit more remote. Moreover, owning a 4WD isn’t a luxury in Australia, especially in Western Australia. Some purists say you only visited Karijini for real when you did it on a 4WD tour.
The choice is yours.
9. Asbestos in Karijini National Park
Maybe this article will be taken offline because of this, but facts are facts. Wittenoom and Yampire Gorge are valleys full of asbestos. There used to be mines in this area. The absurdity was highlighted in ‘asbestos shovel competitions’. Tons were filled with asbestos as fast as possible, after which a photograph was taken with the victorious one on a mountain of asbestos.
This period during which they mined asbestos had extreme consequences for the health of the people who were employed here. The result was a gigantic cover-up. It’s therefore sometimes called the ‘Chernobyl‘ of Australia.
Rest assured, the tourist area is far away from Wittenoom and Yampire. There are some disaster tourists who are going to visit Wittenoom for an original Instagram photo. It goes without saying that this is strongly discouraged.
10. Infinite things to do in Karijini National Park
There’s a lot to do in Karijini. Most tourists limit themselves to the great hikes you can do here. These range from the easy bush walks to an adventurous climb in the valleys. You can also do canyoneering here. The water-filled valleys are ideal for jumping from a rock formation two million years old. On top of that, you can overcome your fear of heights by climbing rocks. Keep in mind, however, that guided activities in Australia cost a lot of money!
But it mustn’t cost a lot of money in Karijini. If necessary, you can hike for days in nature, between the rocks and even in the water. Moreover, you can spend a day at the rock pools of Fortescue Falls or Hamersley Gorge.
You can also let your inner birdwatcher sprout here with the help of binoculars or a guided hike. After all, camping here is amazingly beautiful. At night you can see the entire galaxy passing by. Moreover, there is hardly any light pollution here, which makes for an amazing spectacle!