After swimming with the whale sharks, we continued to Exmouth. We had a great time here last time and looked forward to returning. We took two days off because we were tired. Unfortunately, Exmouth did not give us the same wow feeling as last time. It was pleasant but a bit cooler than expected. We ate twice at our favorite spot and discovered an excellent vegetarian/vegan place for lunch and delicious juices.
We got up early for our long drive to Karijini National Park. After eight hours of driving through beautiful landscapes (one of the most beautiful so far), we arrived in the center of Tom Price. This village is an hour’s drive from the national park and the perfect place to stay overnight.
The following day we drove into the park and booked a spot at Dales Campground in the middle of the park. There were plenty of snakes and dingoes, according to some people. You can hear the dingoes howling at night. From here, it wasn’t far to the first hikes. We walked on top of a Gorge and descended into it as well. After a kilometer of rock hopping, we arrived at Circular Pool. A beautiful secluded spot with a small waterfall. Many people told us that it was very cold. We quickly took some photos and decided to swim at the next pool. We walked through the Gorge, where the river usually flows, and passed some more challenging sections where our balance was tested. As we are, no problem for us.
Fortescue Falls provided the necessary refreshment. We jumped into the water and enjoyed the cooling down. Of course, we swam to the waterfall and posed for some photos. It was fantastic. Not much further, there was another picturesque spot named Fern Pool. At this lake, you can completely relax. After two hours of walking, we were both not satisfied yet. We were full of energy and wanted more. We drove to the other side of the park. For this, we had to drive 55 kilometers over red sandy, and rocky roads. Joffre Falls was a class 5 hike with lots of descents and climbs. We descended deeper down, as well as our courage. It got a little too exciting for us. The combination of acrophobia (Inez) and fear of falling (Ely) was not a perfect combination to go any further. One slip and you’re tens of meters deep. Eight years ago, a man also lost his life here when he sacrificed himself in a fall to save his child. We climbed back up and drove on to the Oxer lookout. At this spot, the rivers from all the gorges come together. You looked a hundred meters down. But it was very beautiful. We decided to go back and camp in Tom Price. We had to fill up the tank anyway, so staying overnight in the park would have been a detour and a time loss.
The next morning we got up early and headed straight for the national park. We drove to the second part via a slightly shorter route. The famous Hancock Gorge became our next hike. We were warned that we should wear our swimwear as there were some parts where we had to wade through the water. This hike was fantastic. It had everything; descents, beautiful landscapes, swimming (in ice-cold water), and nice spots where you could take a moment for yourself. To illustrate briefly, we first walked through the gorge along some rocks. Shortly after, we had to walk past our knees through a stretch of water. Further on, there was a resting place where you could also leave your backpacks. In the following sections, we had to swim. The water was too deep. Once we arrived at the amphitheater, we could enjoy the sun and a place to relax. The spider walk took you via mini waterfalls and narrow rocks to the Kermits pool. When you swam a little further, in one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, you got a nice view of the further course of this gorge. For us, one of the highlights of Australia. Very adventurous, super fun, and so incredibly beautiful! After walking and swimming the whole way back, we were freezing. We ate something and briefly doubted whether we would stay another day and visit other places. Difficult choices. There is so much to do here, but we also had to drive thousands of kilometers to all other destinations. Time is pressing, and we were keen to reach our final stop, Darwin. We drove on towards Port Hedland and camped on a farm. Here there was a swarm of hundreds of mosquitoes. Unbearable. We quickly ate a sandwich and crawled into our tent.
Karijini is undoubtedly among our top favorites, and in retrospect, it would not have been bad to stay a few more days. We were a bit regretful.
X Ely & Inez