Where are we now?
We have arrived at Karijini National Park.
Karijini National Park
The last time we were in a 4WD in Australia, many people we met told us that we had to try to get to Karijini one day because it was very beautiful. We could not get there then but we can now and today we are wild camping here for two nights - not totally wild because we have a dirt pitch and long drop toilets nearby but wild enough for us at the moment.
Because we are here quite early in the season, we get booked into a pitch without any problems, in fact the park is not that full. Later on in the season, it is the norm for Vans to be queuing up outside the park entrance waiting for someone to leave so that they can get the vacated pitch.
We are allocated a space in the Warlu Loop (the top loop on the left in this map) in the Dales recreation Area.
and there was some local wildlife waiting to greet us at the pitch
and plenty of space to put up our awning.
Also the pitch was also not too far from a Long Drop Toilet - an explanation follows for those not experienced with this facet of Australian life.
Scattered quite frequently across the outback in places where travellers might pass are Long Drop Toilets. They get their name from the way they work - you sit on a seat and the product makes a long drop down into a pit. There is no flushing or U-Bends and hence some smell quite strongly and some are home to clouds of flies.
In our experience, these are very good long drop toilets. A major disadvantage of all such toilets is that they have no lights inside and hence at night you have to manage the task whilst holding a torch. We have learnt that it is easier if we go together at night - one being responsible for the torch.
An essential rule of toilet usage is that the door is kept closed - kangaroos and other animals have been known to take refuge inside if the door has been left open. For the curious, detailed information about the Australian Long Drop toilet can be found here.
Our first walk was a short walk to Fortescue Falls which are part of Dales Gorge - the Gorges here are the big thing to see.
We thought that the walks were not very well signposted once we
had started but by following a trail and ignoring tempting side trails
we arrived at the recommended viewing point
which enable us to look up the gorge to where it split
and to see the numerous strata laid down millions of years ago.
There have been numerous trees which we have seen during the past week which we have wanted to take a photograph of, but when you are driving at 100 kph it is hard to stop and do so. This time however
we were able to take photographs of some Snappy Gum Trees (Eucalyptus leucophloia) as additional permanent memories of a rather wonderful place.
The light changes quite wonderfully at sunset and eventually if there are no clouds, the stars come out. Because we are out in the wilds, there is no artificial light to spoil our view of the stars and my new
camera has a special “taking pictures of stars” setting and this is result. The Milky Way was all that we wanted it to be and went from horizon to horizon with Mars shining brightly on one side and Venus not
too far away. Later on the Moon rose and the stars became less distinct but they were still good and the Southern Cross was quite evident.
Weano Recreation Area
From the Dales area, the Weano area is reached by driving along a 45 km 4WD track which is very rough in places. Cars coming the other way create large dust clouds although not as bad as those from Road Trains.
The landscape en-route is superb.
At the Weano area,
there are a number of gorges and walks. However one of them was closed and two were not recommended because the pools had received little rain and were stagnant.
On the way to the walk we chose, there were a number of large Termite Mounds and we will see many more of these over the next few weeks.
The gorge itself is breathtakingly beautiful
and looking across it, you can see a Geologist’s dream of perfect rock strata.
Karijini is very beautiful and well worth a visit.
Next, on to the Tom Price Iron Ore Mine and then the Millstream Chichester National Park.