Today we travel across the park to Joffre, Knox, Hancock, Weano and Hamersley Gorges and to Mount Bruce.
The Joffre Falls and the Weano Gorge area is about 30 kilometres west of the Karijini Visitor Centre. As we had stayed such a long time at Kalamina Gorge (see last week's post), and, I must admit, the fact that I don't feel so confident about clambering down gorge walls these days, we decided for this trip we would just go to the lookouts of the gorges on the western side of the park. You can't help but be impressed by this awe inspiring landscape. The gorges dramatically show the forces of nature that carved these gorges into the landscape millions of years ago.
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First off Joffre Falls and the Knox Gorge lookout. It is only a short walk from the carpark to the lookouts. Joffre Falls lays in a deep natural amphitheatre which would be particularly impressive after rain. You can just see Joffre Falls on the LHS of the pic below.
From Joffre it is another 14 kms to the Weano Day area where there are picnic facilities. From here you can climb down into Hancock Gorge and Weano Gorge and explore through to Handrail Pool. Or like us go to the Junction Pool and Oxer Lookouts.
It always amazes me how trees can grow out of these rock faces. They must find a crack to push their roots down through.
This is inside Weano Gorge - taken during our last trip to Kairjini.
Please note the gorges on the western side of the park are Class 4 and Class 5. The trails can be very difficult and require a high level of fitness, agility and experience. Steep sections with vertical drops are common as are natural hazards including large boulders, water pools, slippery wet rocks and narrow high ledges. Walkers must get out of the gorges as quickly as possible if it rains, as flash floods can occur.
Climbing in the gorges can be very hazardous and deaths have occurred - both walkers and those who have gone in to rescue them. This is highlighted by a memorial for a volunteer rescuer near one of the lookouts, and information on the information boards explaining what is involved and how long it takes to get an injured person out of the gorge.
The gorges have very high vertical cliffs and cliff edges can be loose and unstable. Stay on established trails and keep well back from the cliff edges. Please take extra care if you are walking with children.
Take note of signage, distances, expected walk times, wear appropriate clothing including sturdy walking books (no thongs are not suitable footwear!), sun protection and carry plenty of water and some food.
To explore the Weano area fully you should stay a few days. There is camping nearby at the Karijini Eco Retreat.
Another gorge which is more easily assessible is Hamersley Gorge. For this you actually have to exit the park via Karijini Drive and the Hamersley Mt Bruce Road. The gorge is 101km from the Visitor Centre.
At Hamersley Gorge you can see how the rock has been buckled and folded during its formation millions of years ago. Spectacular. Those are full size trees down the bottom there.
Inspired by Red Nomad's new book "Aussie Loos with Views!" I am always on the lookout for loos to add to Red's collection - I wonder if she has this one at Hamersley Gorge?
You can check out Red's book and blog here - Red Nomad Oz Amazing Australian Adventures
And this is something I definitely didn't expect to find - a WI-fi connection hot spot! This must be one of the most remote WI-fi connections in Australia. So we decided to have our lunch here and download our emails. Where is it? - on the road down into Hamersley Gorge.
My travel posts wouldn't be right without a few wildflowers. Lucky for me the wildflower season was just starting when we were there. The flower on the bottom left hand corner is one of the Mulla Mulla family. This is one of my favorite Pilbara flowers, which lets me know I have arrived in the Pilbara.
Below is another one of the Mulla Mulla family, a smaller variety.
50km from the Visitor Centre via Karijini Drive, you can also climb Mt Bruce, the second-tallest peak in Western Australia. There are 3 walks - 30 minutes return to the Marandoo Mine lookout, 4.6km or 3 hour return along Honey Hakea Track to a vantage point higher up, and the 9km, 6 hour return Mount Bruce summit. If you decide to do this walk, please start early in the morning. It is a Class 5 challenging walk with spectacular views. We were running out of time, so we will need to leave that one till next trip. But here are a few views along the first part of the trail.
You can see a view of Marandoo mine in the pics below. The Hamersley Ranges area is rich in iron ore, one of Western Australia's biggest export earners. Both tourism and mining are vital to WA's economy, and Marandoo strives to strike a balance between mining and conservation.
That concludes the second part of our Pilbara trip. I hope you have enjoyed it. Next time we leave Karijini and return to the bitumin briefly before camping out in station country on our way to Mount Augustus. The biggest rock in Australia.
Thanks for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. Have a wonderful week.
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