To my mind Karijini National Park is the best National Park that I’ve visited. Like nothing else, it is a world of contrasts. Dales Gorge campground is in a dry climate area. There are ant mounds, Spinifex grass, red soil and a gentle wind whispers through the trees. If you didn’t follow the signs you would not know that a gaping chasm is a short walk away.
The earth looks to have been ripped open by giant hands exposing an ‘other worldly’ environment hundreds of metres below. There are many of these gorges each quite different, some like Dales gorge easily accessible others only for experienced climbers. But each has safe lookouts for those of us with poor balance skills.
We arrived at Karijini and the camp host Helen came bounding out to meet us. Woody told her that this was her lucky day because he had his hearing aids in, she countered by calling him a recycled teenager. She then went on to warn us of the local snake population, death adders and the like and the happily non venomous 30 metre Python that eats rock wallabies, whole. The poor little buggers.
At the visitor’s centre we read about the history of the area and life for the Aborigines after the Europeans arrived. There was a delightful story about a woman who learned to count while mustering sheep, all 29,000 of them. We met the wife of the elder in charge of the park and she talked of the ‘yah yahing’ in government over what was to become of this land in more recent times before it was proclaimed a National Park. I reckon she was right, there is a lot of yah yahing that goes on in government.
As I sat above Fortescue Falls I chatted to a couple from Melbourne who complained, yes complained, that although they liked Karijini they thought the drive up from Perth was boring! Heavens we had been on the road a month since we’d left Perth and had run out of superlatives to describe this amazing state.