Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
I am a photographer, writer and multi-media artist. Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.



Sunday 27 July 2014

Pilbara camping in Karijini National Park, Western Australia

Getting ready for a camping holiday always involves a bit (or a lot) of planning. 

There is the camper trailer to check over and make sure everything is in it that needs to be. There are lists to be made and ticked off, a rough plan of where we are going drawn up, meals to plan and cooking, dehydrating and food shopping to to be done, our vehicle to be checked over and the extra spare tyre to be hauled onto the roof, washing done and clothes packed, organise someone to collect the mail and put out the rubbish bins.

 Ooooo....there seems to be a lot of chocolate in there! Oh well you have to have some little luxuries when you are camping in the bush.

But finally we are on our way and as the sun comes up over the road ahead we sigh a sigh of contentment. 

 To keep reading and see more pics, please click on "read more" .....

At the end of the first week of July we headed off to Karijini National Park in Western Australia's Pilbara region. It is school holiday time, and we know it will be busy, but really July is the best weather for visiting Karijini and it's amazing gorges.

Our first night on the road was at Bilyuin Pool, on the Murchison River 88km north of Meekatharra. This free camping spot had been recommended to us by our son and daughter-in-law, and it was the first time we had been there. They were right - it was beautiful - peaceful and quiet and away from the road noise.  Not too many people - just the way we like it. It was a great start to our holiday. 

Other trips we have always stopped at the middle branch of the Gascoyne River where there is a free overnight camping spot down off the bridge next to the highway. We have stopped there often as it puts us a bit closer to Karijini the next day. The trucks on the highway are a bit noisy at night, whereas Bilyuin Pool camping area is beautiful and quiet. 

Travelling up from Perth along the Great Northern Highway, it is about 1,400 kms from Perth to Karijini - a 2 day drive. It is a long way - so allow plenty of time to get there.  I wouldn't recommend driving at night as kangaroos and wandering stock are a hazard (the station country has no fences along the roads) and you wouldn't want to hit one.  You will also come across road trains hauling giant mining equipment like you can see below. They like to take up their fair share of the road. You need to take a lot of care if you intend passing and make sure the road is clear and straight and you can see a long way ahead. They take longer to get past than you might think.

We arrived in Karijini mid afternoon our second day. From approx July to September and particularly during the July school holidays they have camp hosts at the Dales Gorge camping area who allocate camping sites, do maintenance and are on hand to answer questions etc.  When you get there go first to see the camp hosts to be allocated a site. We were given a site in Dingo loop, set up camp and soon had the kettle on the boil.  

Dales Gorge camping area is close to Fortescue Falls on the eastern side of the park. On the western side of the park there is camping at the Karijini Eco Retreat. However we prefer the Dales Gorge camping area as there is plenty of shade, whereas there is very little shade at the Eco Retreat. 

A few things you might like to know about Karijini camping if you have never been there. You need to bring all your food, drinking water and fuel. There is no electricity, toilets are of the "long drop" variety ie not flushing, there are no showers although you can pay for a shower at the Visitor Centre, and no mobile or internet connection (there is a public phone at the Visitor Centre). It's not for everyone, but we love it.  You can get untreated water from the water tank near the Visitor Centre (boil before drinking), and we have a pop up shower. Our campsite was just opposite a communal BBQ area where there was free gas BBQ and gas rings, which was perfectly located for us for boiling water, and using the BBQ to do some of our cooking. 

Karijini National Park is located in the Hamersley Ranges in the heart of Western Australia's Pilbara. 

WA's second biggest national park, Karijini covers 627,445 hectares.  Much of the southern half of the park is inaccessible, so visitors concentrate on the spectacular and rugged gorges in the north that plunge hundreds of metres down from the Spinifex plains.

Dales Gorge from the rim walk

 Karijini was first explored by FT Gregory’s party in 1861.  The traditional owners, the Banyjima, Yinhawangka and Kurrama Aboriginal people, call the Hamersley Ranges, Karijini, so the park’s name recognises this historic link and their continuing involvement in park management.

There are a number of gorges and walk trails to explore at Karijini, ranging from short, easy walks for people of all ages and fitness levels, tracks for those with moderate fitness, to trails which should only be attempted by very fit, experienced, well-equipped bushwalkers. But please be aware there is an element of risk, especially for inexperienced or unfit walkers, and young children.  Deaths have occurred in Karijini. Flash floods can occur, so if it rains while you are in a gorge, please get out of the gorge as safely and quickly as possible.

Dales Gorge camping area is walking distance to Dales Gorge and Fortescue Falls.

The walk trail takes you 800 metres down to Fortescue Falls and Fern Pool, and then a two kilometre (3 hrs return) walk trail through Dales Gorge to Circular Pool. Or alternatively you can do the 2km (1.5 hr return) rim walk. 
Fortescue Falls is spring-fed and is the Park’s only permanent waterfall.  The Falls tumble over layers of iron-stone rock from the tree lined Fern Pool.  A wooden walkway takes you right to the waters edge and the pool is a perfect place to sit in the shade or have a swim to cool off.   

The trail following the creek from Fortescue Falls to Circular Pool is Class 4 (moderately difficult) with some rock scrambling and you  should allow at least half a day to experience the Gorge.  Make sure you bring drinking water, food, and wear sturdy boots and a hat. It can get very hot in the gorges even in July (winter). 

There are plenty of places to sit and enjoy the beautiful landscape and to marvel at the Snappy Gums whose roots cling to the cliff walls, their white trunks in stark contrast to the red rocks and blue sky.  You wonder how they grow there.

 The walk finishes at Circular Pool, a deep fern lined pool surrounded by sheer cliffs.  Shaded most of the day by the gorge walls, the water is enticing, but icy cold.  My pictures really do not show what it is like to look down into the depths of Circular Pool from the rim walk. Delicate Maiden Hair ferns grow naturally here out of the rock faces around Fern Pool and Circular Pool.

 The climb out of Circular Pool is a very steep ascent over loose rocks and gravel, so care needs to be taken.  There is also a short ladder section to be negotiated.  
 From here we walked back to our campsite. 

25km from the Visitor Centre is Kalamina Gorge. This would be my favourite gorge in Karijini. It is a class 4 (moderate difficult) trail, but it is relatively easy to climb down the steps into the gorge. There is a large pool fed by a waterfall where you can swim not far from where you walk in. From here the 3 km trail (3 hours return) takes you across large pieces of flat rock and beside the stream through the gorge. It is a lovely walk. I will let my pictures tell the story.

And that spiky spinifex ? - in the early morning and late afternoon light it turns to gold. 

I hope you have enjoyed the first part of my journey to Karijini National Park. Next week we travel across the park to Jofre, Knox, Hancock, Weano and Hamersley Gorges and to Mount Bruce.  I hope you will join me then.

 If you would like some more information on Karijini National Park please go to the WA Department of Parks and Wildlife by clicking here - Karijini National Park 
Camping is available at Dales camping area and the Karijini Eco Retreat. Park entrance and camping fees apply. Generators are permitted in some sites. Pets are not allowed as this is a National Park. Please take your rubbish away with you. 

 Thanks for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. Have a wonderful week.

Mulla Mulla
I am linking up to Mosaic Monday, Travel Photos Monday, Our World Tuesday, Wednesday Around the World, Travel Photo Thursday, and What's It Wednesday.  Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday
Travel Photo Mondays
Our World Tuesday
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global

What's It Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday

You might also like 
Granite & Woodlands Discovery Trail - Hyden to Norseman, Western Australia 
Everlasting magic - Mid-west Western Australia 
Sunset over spinifex - camping in world heritage Purnululu, Western Australia 


  1. Oh I love this camping trip you are taking us on. Can hardly wait for next week's installment. Beautiful photos - as always.

  2. This was awesome and you definitely redefine in a great way what real camping is! I clicked on the food totes pictures as I was trying to decipher all that you had in there! Besides chocolate :) That's amazing on Karijini camping and absolutely no amenities....truly "roughing it" as we say here in the States. The picture directly below the two sets of quad photos...not to sound corny...but that reminded me right off the bat from the movie Crocodile Dundee! Great post as always, Jill :)

  3. You have a great canvas tent! I hate the nylon ones! Looks hot there!

    1. actually it is a camper trailer - a bit of an upgrade from a tent! We stopped tenting after 4 weeks in the Northern Territory, although a tent is good when we don't want to tow the camper trailer.

  4. enjoyed learning too about the pre-preps part of these wonderful trips Jill. Your 'and we love it' makes me think of Macca all over Australia/Sundays/ABC. Beaut' photos, I LOVED it! Carole, at snaphappyonline.blogspot.com

  5. Wonderful account and beautiful photos

  6. What a mix of scenery and photos. I really enjoyed your story and the pictures to go with it.

  7. Karijini National Park was one place that we missed seeing, mainly because we are travelling with a dog and we couldn't take her into the Park. After seeing your photos and reading your account I really wish we had. The scenery and your photos are breathtaking.

  8. The gorges are beautiful and the waterfalls are stunning, would love to see this

    1. they certainly are Noel. A must do if you are ever in WA

  9. We haven't been to this part of WA yet, but I've been told that the gorges are gorgeous and your photos and descriptions have convinced me. Loved the photo of your first night's camp spot by the river - what a tranquil scene. I also like your introduction letting us know the things you pack and the process to get on the road. I'd love a future post about what you pack, cook, dehydrating - now that sounds interesting - and generally get some new tips from a seasoned camper :)

    1. You must put Karijini on your list Jo. You would love it. Allow a week at least. I will send you something about the dehydrating.

  10. Breathtaking views! Your photos of the gorges are stunning!

  11. Oh, I wish, I wish, I wish! Unfortunately, it seems it will not be in this lifetime.
    You know I love the faraway lonely places without amenities, just a shame I;m no longer fit enough to even take long drives.
    Thank you for sharing these wonders of the Hamersley Ranges.

  12. Great photos and amazing scenery. I'd love to see it - but unfortunately it is not likely now! Still I can dream!

  13. Stunning photos, but I really don't think you took enough chocolate xxxx

  14. Such beautiful and dramatic scenery. The hikes must be wonderful.

  15. Such dramatic landscape and so beautiful. It looks like rugged hiking but well worth it with those views.

  16. Gorgeous photos!
    I'm right next door to you in NZ. btw I came here thru Betty's blog :-)

  17. Gorgeous environs.
    And what a great photo documentary. The last pic it simply Wow!

  18. Your country looks so beautiful!

  19. Your photos are gorgeous and the landscape is stunning. The red earth and blue skies are a beautiful backdrop to everything else. I have to say that this kind of camping is not for me, but it's good to enjoy it vicariously!

  20. Jill, sorry I missed this post last week. What a fun ca,ping trip! The scenery is gorgeous. And chocolate is a must have for a camping trip.. It looks like you are able to camp in comfort.. Wonderful series of photos.. Enjoy your week!


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