The Stunning Gorges Of Karijini National Park In Western Australia
Karijini National Park. A semi arid desert. A dry, red and dusty national park in the North West of Australia. Hundreds of miles inland, miles from the nearest towns and even further from any cities, this remote region is the second largest national park in Western Australia. It’s a place of extremes, lying just north of the Tropic of Capricorn, with brutally hot summers and destructive downpours of rain during the humid wet season, it’s a place at the mercy of wildfires and cyclones, and home to some of the deadliest creatures on earth, but a place which hides Western Australia’s most spectacular gorges and scenery.
The night’s can be bitterly cold. The day’s are uncomfortably hot. The soil is red, sunbaked and dustblown. But beneath the desert landscape, gorges intersect and stretch for kilometres in this wilderness, hiding green grass, tall trees, wildlife and whole ecosystems from the harsh climate and land that surrounds and conceals them.
Karijini is a spectacular place.
I went into the gorges, exploring rocky passageways, traversing precipitous ledges, braving snakes, spiders and the relentless sun to swim in the icy cold waters which run through Karijini, and to take some stunning pictures along the way.
Here are my photos from the road, photos from the gorges of Karijini National Park in Western Australia!
The impressive Joffre Falls is a natural waterfall which crashes into a sheltered and cool cavern below. The water might trickle in the dry season, but during the wet season the gorge fills to the brim after flash floods and heavy rains!
The top of Joffre Falls is a great vantage point to peer over the edge of the gorge as the water collects and then cascades to the pools below.
This is Hancock Gorge, named for a local mining magnate who first realised that the Karijini area held some of the world’s largest reserves of iron ore and minerals. While the National Park was established to protect this incredible land, the surrounding areas are still the base of huge mining operations.
Karijini is really just one big playground for adults. This is the Spider Walk in Hancock Gorge, where a tricky climb through narrow rock walls over cold water leads to a hidden cavern known as Kermit’s Pool.
Water flows all year round through the narrow gorges here. In winter it’s icy cold, but in the sweltering humid heat of summer it’s the coolest place to be, as long as you’re not hit by flash floods of course…
Knox Gorge takes a long, downhill descent to reach, but in the gorge trees and tall grass hide entire ecosystems… and deadly snakes…
The shade of the gorges can be a welcome relief from the scorching Western Australian sun.
Knox Gorge gets narrower and narrower as you walk through the cavernous interior, until the sloping walls form a natural barrier, leaving miles of gorge left unexplored…
Wildflowers bloom in the springtime, as the red dust heats up and life begins to emerge in the desert after cold winters.
Fern Pool in Dale’s Gorge is a sacred Aboriginal place. With warm waters, locals would use the pool for child birth, and visitors here are advised to make noise when swimming here, to respect the traditional customs of Karijini.
Fortescue Falls flows over solid steps of rock. The nearby trees are home to a resident Python, whiel the branches of trees along the gorge are full of parrots and bats.
Hamersley Gorge is the most open gorge in Karijini, and possibly the most spectacular. The rock walls have been hewn away over time to expose layer after layer of colours formed over millennia.
As with every gorge in Karijini National Park, there’s cold water and spectacular views at Hamersley!
All Photographs Property of Richard Collett