This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2004 Travels July 21

WEDNESDAY 21 JULY     KARIJINI NATIONAL PARK

M and John went off to walk down into Knox Gorge.

I felt like a lay day, so did not go. Hadn’t had much sleep last night – John was snoring!

After they had gone, I had a nap, then lazed about camp.

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Karijini bug – reminded me of the Leichhardt’s Grasshopper that heralds the wet season in the Top End

The intrepid explorers returned, earlier than I’d expected.

They’d had a great walk, they said. Had to negotiate a scree slope down, but then got right along the gorge. They were really pleased with themselves.

On their way back from the gorge, they had called into the Visitor Centre and used the phone there to book us into a Newman caravan park, for three nights.

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I liked the bronze tips on this plant

We all lazed about for the rest of the day. Talked about what we’d do next. Broadly, hoped to do a tour of the mine and also explore some of the water holes and springs in the area, that John and I had not before visited.

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Possibly a type of grevillea?

Had we been travelling on our own, there was no doubt that we’d have spent more time here in Karijini, and probably spaced the walking out more. But, this time, we wanted to make sure that M saw a good sampling of these parts.


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2004 Travels July 20

TUESDAY 20 JULY     KARIJINI NATIONAL PARK

After breakfast, drove the almost 70kms to the Weano Gorge area. This is a most spectacular part of the Park. At Weano, four gorges radiate: Weano, Joffre, Red and Hancock Gorges.

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Park map – from CALM brochure

John and I had camped here, back in ’93 when that was still possible, and there were hardly any people about! How things had changed in just over a decade.

From the car park, we walked to Junction Pool and Oxer Lookouts. The views from both were incredible – they seem to take you right into the very heart of the Pilbara.

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Looking down into Weano Gorge

At Oxer Lookout, it was possible to walk out on a narrow neck of land to get a really extensive view from the end. I allowed M and John to do that!

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Out on a ledge!

I had to admit that I found it rather surprising that people were still able to walk out to this point. There were warning signs about the risks, but I suspected the time was probably not too far off when it will either be banned altogether, or there will be protective fencing.

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No – he didn’t climb a fence – it just ended there!

We decided to try the Weano Gorge walk, which John and I had done in ’93, when we reached as far as the Handrail Pool, beyond which one needed to swim and have specialist climbing gear.

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Weano Gorge

There were heaps of people about. I hate school holidays! But I guess that this, along with Dales Gorge, are the two iconic places in Karijini that everyone visits now. I liked it better back when Karijini was not on every tourist’s radar!

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Obviously, being a gorge, there was a steep route down into it, before the walk and scramble along the base. There was quite a bit of water in the bottom of the gorge, and one had to keep to the sides, scramble around on ledges – or get wet feet.

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I got part of the way along – not as far as last time. We came to a point where we had to climb around the water on a little ledge. With the camera, and carrying the day pack, I couldn’t be bothered taking the risk of slipping into the water, so I opted to stop and wait there while the other two went on. Also, I thought there would be water running in the chute section that I knew was further up, and it would be slippery. It was. John stopped there, but M went on, all the way to the Handrail Pool.

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Getting deeper into the gorge

After that, went back the same way.

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Had a little sit around at the pool that was further along from the path down – watching some kids swim. Then we tackled the climb back to the top.

We did not even think about tackling the Hancock Gorge walk! We’d done some of it in ’93 and I remembered it as very steep, and with a route along the base that involved climbing and ledge work. That gorge was where an SES rescue worker drowned, at Easter, after rain further back created a flash flood.

We drove back around to Joffre Gorge and Lookout. Had lunch there.

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Views from Joffre Lookout

Some revolting grub of a tourist had crapped at the edge of the path! I wondered if it had been someone camped there illegally overnight?

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Joffre Gorge, seen from the top of the falls

We began the walk down into Joffre Gorge.

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Looking into Joffre Gorge

 

Got about half way down, and then it became too much climbing – and too high up – for me! John wasn’t too keen either. So M went on alone and got down to the bottom.

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Going down!

 

While she was doing that, I explored around the top – it was really pretty above the Joffre Falls.

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Creek above the Joffre Falls

Joffre Gorge had its  own unique characteristic, in that the walls had the appearance of rock stacks, and there was a lot more vegetation growing on the walls.

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Unusual terraced walls of Joffre Gorge

M was pleased she’d managed the climb down and back up the gorge, but admitted that, in places, it had been close to her limits!

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At the top of Joffre Gorge

Our last venture for the day was to the lookout over Knox Gorge. This was a great lookout, where we could look straight down into the gorge. We watched some walkers down in the gorge. It seemed very deep.

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Knox Gorge

The day had not been just about the various gorges visited All around us were the captivating panoramas of the Pilbara.

Back at camp, John topped up  the Truck fuel from the jerry cans.

We had yet another glorious sunset.

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After tea, sat outside enjoying our surrounds and talking over the highlights of the day. It became clear that the other two were challenged by the idea of walking Knox Gorge tomorrow. The fact that we had not done so today was really niggling at them. So it looked like that would be part of tomorrow’s agenda.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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2004 Travels July 19

MONDAY 19 JULY     KARIJINI NATIONAL PARK

The day promised to be great – blue skies, But not too hot for walking.

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We set off through the campground again, walking to the Circular Pool end of the gorge. Took the steep track down into the gorge, then walked along the bottom,  to Circular Pool.

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There were quite a few other people on the track and in the gorge – it is a very popular area.

We admired the Circular Pool for a short time, then retraced the way we’d come, as far as the track we’d come down. Continued on past the bottom of that, staying along the gorge bottom, beside the creek.

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In places along the track, where people’s legs had brushed against the rocks at its side, we could actually see strands of blue asbestos!

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Some asbestos layers in here. Interesting pattern on rock top looks like a map of intersecting gorges.

Fortescue Falls was an attractive feature, but there were too many people there. It was impossible to take a photo that did not have people in it.

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Fortescue Falls

There were also a number of the yobbo variety, doing show-off jumps from ledges up on the rock walls. When one sees what some idiots do in the gorges, it is amazing that there are not more accidents and need for rescues!

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Continued on, along to Fern Pool, with its cascades. This was a lovely place. There were people swimming here, too.

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Fern Pool

Dales Gorge was the most accessible part of Karijini, plus there was the campground there, so we should not have been surprised at having to share it with so many others. Pity, though…

The climb back up to the top again was not too hard, even for this hill hater. That was definitely the best way round to do the circuit.

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Fortescue Falls seen from the climb up out of the gorge

Had lunch back at the van, then drove to Kalamina Gorge. There, we walked down a steep but short track, to the gorge base.

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Kalimna Gorge

From there, we walked along the gorge floor, as far as Rock Arch Pool.

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Temple Hole

It was a most attractive gorge, and quite easy walking for most of it. The walls were high and steep and the gorge quite narrow in parts. On a couple of places, we had to follow rock ledges around.

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The Rock Arch was a hole through a section of the gorge wall.

The climb down and the same back up, was easier than at Dales Gorge.

It was a bit late in the day to get great photos of the walk in Kalamina Gorge, unfortunately.

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It was a walk well worth doing – and it was away from the crowds!

I was definitely leg weary by the end of the day.

The campground was full up. The old Visitors Centre area was being used as an overflow area – or holding pen! Yet again, we had been lucky.

 

 

 

 

 


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2004 Travels July 18

SUNDAY 18 JULY   TOM PRICE TO KARIJINI NP – DALES GORGE   110kms

John had taken seriously the notice about being early to secure a camp site, so we were up early, breakfasted, packed up  and away by 8.30am. Quite an achievement for us!

We were held up at the railway crossing by the caravan park, by an ore train.

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The drive was very scenic, either surrounded by the red Pilbara hills and ranges, or with them in the distance. It was all sealed, apart from the last few kms into the camp area.

We got to the campground at 10am. There were campground hosts checking people in and allocating sites. They gave us an excellent, long site that would accommodate both the van and tent – in the generator area, as we requested. It was not too far to walk to the nearest long drop toilet – but far enough away not to be able to smell it!

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The camp area was really attractive, with plenty of trees and scrub about, and sites not too close together. It cost us $5 a night, per person.

After camp was set up, we drove about 12kms, back to the Visitor Centre. This was an unusual structure – all stark lines – made of rusted looking metal, that is the colour of the gorge walls of Karijini. It was very well done.

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Karijini Visitor Centre

We got information on walks, looked at their displays, bought ourselves a polo shirt each, some postcards, magnets, and a bookmark for the young grand daughter.

After lunch back at camp, walked the 2km Dales Gorge Rim Walk. We walked through the campground to get to that – very pleasant.

It was an excellent introductory walk. Lots of white trunked snappy gums contrasted with the red of the earth and hills.

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The view from the gorge rim, down into the gorge, was beautiful. Right down in the gorge, cypress pines lined the creek.

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That walk made us eager to tackle the longer walk, down into the gorge and through  it, tomorrow.

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We ran the generator for a while after getting back to the van, to make sure they were sufficiently charged.

Ate tea sitting out under the van awning  and stayed out there until it was bedtime, listening to the bush and campground noises, and gazing at the stars.