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.
Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.
I am a Freelance Journalist and Photographer based in Bunbury, Western Australia. My published work specialises in Western Australian travel articles and stories about inspiring everyday people. My passion is photography, writing, travel, wildflower and food photography.
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Sunday, 26 October 2014

Exploring the Kennedy Ranges, Western Australia

Hi everyone, as promised I am back with my Pilbara trip account. This time from the Kennedy Ranges in the southern Pilbara region of Western Australia.

Last post you may remember we camped at Mount Augustus. If you missed it, you can catch up here - Mount Augustus walk trails

We left Mount Augustus just before 9am in the morning. It was another beautiful blue sky day. We had about 260 kilometres to cover over gravel roads to get to the Kennedy Ranges, although we found the road was in pretty food condition, varying between sandy flood plain country to rocky through the mountains - watch out for the sharp dips, and drive to the conditions.


To read more please click on "read more" and continue on our trip to the Kennedy Ranges

 You can still get a flat tyre as we saw with one traveller. It is a good idea to carry two spares for your vehicle and make sure your tyres are in good condition before you leave home.

We didn't have a huge distance to drive, so we made time to stop at old Bangemail Inn on Cobra Station (there is a basic camp ground), morning tea under the shade of the trees at the Lyons River, Edmund River crossing, another spot on the Lyons River for lunch, 



and Booroothunty Creek where we saw a Green Birdflower (Crotalaria cunninghamii)  Fantastic! We had never seen one before - here is a pic. You can see the flowers and the seedpods in this collage. It was growing in the sandy dry river bed. My wildflower book notes it as uncommon, so I was very excited to see one. 
 And some other wildflowers we saw along the way. I loved this curly seed pod. Middle top and bottom, and bottom RH corner are all members of the Mulla Mulla family. LH corner is Splendid Everlasting, the yellow is Butterfly Goodenia, and the pink is one of the Morning Glory family.



 We arrived at the Kennedy Ranges National Park camping ground around mid afternoon. 
One thing that appealed to us immediately is that the campground is located within a stone’s throw of the Ranges - and trust me there were a lot of stones!  The camping ground nestles in the shadow of the towering ramparts of the eastern side of the ranges. The location couldn’t be more perfect.  The main Temple Gorge walk trail starts from the camp ground, and you can walk to the start of the other walks from here too if you are keen to walk a little extra distance.
 There is not a lot of shade in the camping ground, and what there is is very light, but we were lucky to secure a spot for ourselves and our new camping friends Karyn and Mark underneath a couple of thinly leaved trees with front row views of the ranges.  On our first night we were treated to an amazing moon set between the cliff walls of Temple Gorge and in the morning the rising sun lit up the rock faces red and orange, a photographer’s paradise. I wasn't the only one out there photographing the sunrise. 
 There's even a loo with a view! (see sunrise view over the door lower LH, and location lower RH) This one is for you Red Nomad Oz! - Red's had a whole book published about them - you can check out Red's Loos with views here - Aussie loos with views 
This is a WA Department of Parks and Wildlife campsite and amenities are basic – drop toilet, no power or showers, and bring your own everything, including water – but this is more than compensated by the location. During busy times there is a DEPAW camp host to assist you.  A communal campfire offers the opportunity to chat with other travellers.
Another couple we had met at Mount Augustus had also travelled to the Kennedy Ranges the same day as us, but they had, unknown to them, unfortunately broken a hose underneath their camper and lost all their water along the way - a fact that they hadn't discovered till they reached the Kennedys. We had some water to spare in jerry cans, which we happily gave them, but it really highlighted how precious water is and that this is remote travel, not to be undertaken without good preparation.




The Kennedy Ranges runs north south for 75 kilometres and up to 25 kilometres wide and the Park covers 319,037 hectares. The southern and eastern sides have eroded to form spectacular cliffs rising 100 metres above the Lyons River Valley plain, cut through by a maze of steep-sided canyons.  The ranges are surrounded by dry red sand dune country dominated by spinifex, however 400 plant species have been recorded in the Park including 80 species of annual wildflowers which flourish in August and September after good rains. 

Kennedy Ranges at sunrise taken from the campground. 


There are 20 recorded mammal species including euros, 100 bird species and 33 reptile species. Be on the look out for them when you are out walking. 
Here are some wildflowers from the Kennedy Ranges.  Top LH corner is the Pussy Bluebush, Maireana melanocoma, (also noted in my wildflower book as uncommon), the blue is Camel Bush, and the pink you might recognise by now, one of the Mulla Mullas - you can see up close and on the bush. 



Most of the walk trails are unmodified with only basic trail markers, follow creek lines or along narrow cliff edge paths and are quite rocky requiring a fair amount of clambering.  Walkers need to be aware of the degree of difficulty of each walk, the approximate time to allow, don’t walk alone or around midday, and make sure they always carry water and food, and wear a hat and good walking boots. There are signs at the start of each walk outlining degree of difficulty and approximate walking time.



The Temple Gorge walk starts from the camping ground. The first part of the Temple Gorge walk (2km return, 2 hours) is Class 3 leading to the towering rock face known as The Temple (you can see the Temple in the pic above). From here there is a short walk to the left and a Class 4 trail along the boulder strewn right hand fork. At the end is a small seasonal rock pool, but please do not drink the water.


You can also walk to Honeycomb Gorge from the campsite (approx 3km each way) or drive around to the start of the 600 metre relatively easy trail.  The gorge is characterised by incredible honeycomb like cavities eroded into the cliff face. We were enthralled by these amazing natural sculptures. 






The other two walks are the Drapers Gorge Trail (Class 4 – 2km return, 2 hours) and the Escarpment Trail (Class 4 – 3.4km return, 3 hours). I recommend these only for the physically fit and experienced as the trails are steep, have boulders to clamber over, loose and crumbly rocks, and narrow cliff edge paths.  Those that do attempt these walks however will be rewarded with spectacular views. 


We only attempted part of the Escarpment Trail to a point where we could appreciate the view. Considering the roughness of the trail it was enough for us. Always be aware of your own abilities. 
Here are some views from the Escarpment Trail.
Fellow camper, Karyn felt “the Kennedy Ranges has an energy about it”.  You can see this along the walk trails. Enormous rock slips, rock slabs and black lava-like rocks that look like they have been spewn up from the earth and then thrown down shattering into pieces. You can see some of the larva like rock below, and a rock slip at Honeycomb Gorge.




The area is the traditional lands of three tribal groups, the Maia to the west, the Malgaru to the east, and the Ingarrda to the south. The Ingarrda called the range Mandatharra. Aboriginal sites are protected and should be respected. 


European history goes back to 1858 when Frances Gregory explored the area, naming the ranges after the then WA Governor, Arthur Kennedy. Within 20 years pastoral leases were taken up. The Park was created in 1993.  

I hope you have enjoyed this little visit to the Kennedy Ranges. I recommend the Kennedys for a relatively easy to get to outback experience.


Where is it?:  72kms north of Gascoyne Junction, via Ullawarra Road. 245km east of Carnarvon and 1027km north of Perth via Mullewa. 4WD recommended. 


Time to visit: Late autumn to early spring. Avoid summer months as temperatures can reach over 40 degrees.  Allow two to three days, plus at least a day each way travel, to give yourself plenty of time to explore the gorges.  

Facilities: Camping fees apply. About 30 campsites, some with light shade. Long drop toilets. No power, showers, or water. You need to be totally self-sufficient. Please take away all rubbish with you. No disabled facilities.  
Walk Trails: Take note of the maps and signage. Be aware of your own physical ability. Avoid walking in the hottest part of the day, don’t walk alone, carry plenty of water and food and wear a hat and good walking boots.  

Pets: Not permitted as it is a National Park.  

More information: WA Department of Parks and Wildlife:  DPAW-Kennedy Ranges
I can recommend the set of 4 wildflower identification books - Colour Guides to Spring Wildflowers of Western Australia by Eddy Wajon.
(Wajon Publishing)  


You might also like:
Mount Augustus walk trails
Wildflowes that bloom in the red rock of Mount Augustus
Everlasting magic, Midwest, Western Australia


Thanks for stopping by. Do you have a favourite remote or outback destination? Please tell us about it in the comments. 

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

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




26 comments:

  1. I'm sure for the amount of hiking you do a person would have to be in pretty good physical shape. I wonder if the wind has carved the honeycomb sculptures.
    Thank you for linking to Mosaic Monday.

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  2. The colours of the Kennedy Ranges are so vivid and spectacular. I also love the texture of the honeycomb rocks. It's a shame we missed some of these regions that are National Parks, because we were travelling with a dog. Maybe next time!

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    1. I know there are still lots of fabulous places to go when travelling with a dog, but oh my, the places you are missing out on. As you say there is always next time.

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  3. You really highlight the need to be prepared ... imagine if that couple had arrived with no water and not found you. Wow. Scary. We live in such a remote part of the world, where we can get lost without cell phone signal ;) Just looking at the wild and expansive scenery makes me realise how insignificant we are in the general scheme of things, and I can quite understand your great love for the Australian bush and outback which shines through in your words and photos.

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  4. Hello JIll, awesome photo of the national park.. The honeycomb rocks are just amazing and beautiful view of the ranges. Thanks for sharing your visit.. Great photos and post. Have a happy new week!

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  5. Stunning, incredible beauty Jill, WOW, it so feels like our West too. Those flowers, wow they are so gorgeous and the mountain peaks, so majestic. The roads always surprise me from down your way. The dirt and gravel roads to travel a journey would seem so different, yet really fun. Thank you for taking us along. Hugs~

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  6. Goodness there is so much to see in the desert.

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  7. Oh my goodness, the honeycomb is just cool and bizarre at the same time! I am noticing how similar the terrain is with the Grand Canyon area of Nevada we visited this summer. I love love the purple flowers, it is amazing that they grow in such a harsh climate. Have a blessed day!

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  8. This is the sort of country that has enormous appeal on my part and how I would love to follow your footsteps.

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  9. Awesome, awesome, awesome! And I'm not just talking about the loo! This is magnificent country and I can't wait to go there myself one day! The wildflowers are superb - WA really does have the best selection of GREEN flowers I've ever seen! Have a great day, and thanx for making MY day! (Apologies if this is the 2nd comment saying the same thing)

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    1. Yes you must visit. Simply wonderful country. Actually WA have the BEST wildflowers of all Australia Red. And yes, I am always on the look out for more loos for you. Happy travels.

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  10. Those cliffs are amazing! Wow!

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  11. Your pictures ar amazing. The landscape is breathtaking.

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  12. You've shown fabulous landscapes, lovely wildflowers, and unusual formations. What an interesting tour!

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  13. Your photos are so lovely, Jill...the topography is so different from where I live. It's wondrous to see the natural formations and the way the light and shadows work across the landscape. Thank you for sharing with us!

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  14. A loo with a view??? That definitely made me smile

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    1. LOL - if you go to the link you will see that Red has had a whole book published about loos with views! That's Australia for you!

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  15. Love that Kennedy Ranges Sunrise photo. Cobra Station looks so welcoming, I can see me sitting on the chairs on the lawn, croquet anyone :) 35 years ago the wave rock campground looked just like the Kennedy Ranges ground. I don't know if it still is or not.

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    1. Hi Jan, I think Wave Rock has become so commercialized it is nothing like it used to be. Kennedy Ranges is definitely unspoiled.

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  16. Wowww, gorgeous photographs! I want to go!!

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  17. Oh every time I read one of your posts, I just want to hop a plane and head your direction. These photos as always are simply stunning.

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    1. thank you Jackie & Joel - your posts do exactly the same to me! Happy travels.

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  18. I love the colours. What great places to visit. I love the honey comb effect on the rocks.

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  19. Beautiful country, Jill. I remember all of these colors from the time I spent traveling in Australia way back in 1980. Love you flower shots, too. Thanks for linking up this week. #TPThursday

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  20. The Honeycombs are fantastic. From far away, this place looks so rocky and rugged that the close ups of the all the gorgeous floweres and plantlife you found here are almost unexpected. You know, I've seen your truck in so many photos now that I almost feel like I would recognize you if we passed on the street. Thanks for sharing a bit of the outback with us.

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