German travel writer and blogger Freedi Franze takes an eco stay among the natural swimming holes and gorges at Karijini National Park.
We met several Aussies on our journey and I always asked them: “Which is the most beautiful place in Western Australia?” To my surprise I often got the same answer: Karijini National Park! When we arrived there at night, I knew that they were right.
I spent three days exploring the park and if you would ask me for my Western Australia highlights I would now definitely name Karijini too. If you’re planning a trip, here are some tips from my visit.
Stay in a SafariTent
When the setting sun kisses the red earth, the termite hills seem to glow, a pleasant coolness spreads. This is the perfect time to make yourself comfortable in one of the safari tents, at Karijini National Park’s Eco Retreat. Through the large windows you can watch lizards, parrots and emus while lying in your bed! The retreat’s camp kitchen can whip up the absolute best burgers, and when the moonlight heralds the beginning of sleep, I couldn’t wait to start the next day!
Take a LocalTour
You can explore Karijini National Park yourself, but we opted for the local perspective and took a tour with West Oz Active Adventure Tours. We saw deep canyons with cool streams that seemed to meander endlessly through red rock walls. There were hidden waterfalls with their own private swimming pools, towering gorges, green plants, ancient trees and the lilac Mulla Mulla blossoms bristling in the wind. Karijini knows how to enchant, delight and stick in your mind, and you can almost feel the magic this place holds for the Niapiali, Bunjima and Innawonga Aboriginal people of the Pilbara region.
Bring a Thirst forAdventure
When my friend Kate and I started our hike towards Hancock Gorge we didn’t know that it would end with a canyon swim. Our Guide Lozz, set us off with some super fancy waterproof shoes and pouches for our backpacks. After traversing the gorge, we slid into the cool water and drifted on our backs through the canyon. A crazy good feeling, well worth the physical effort at first, and which ended with an amazing view to Kermit’s Pool. If you want to get to the pool to refresh yourself, you have to accept a second challenge and demonstrate your climbing skills: Between two rock walls you have to scramble from cliff to cliff like a spider in dizzy height. Concentration and courage are in demand, as well as a little self-confidence and a thirst for adventure!
In the end you’ll get rewarded with a stunning view deep inside the magic heart of Karijini National Park, and surely one of the most secluded swimming holes you’ll ever find.
My favourite moment came as rolling clouds came in over our camp, they brought a soft refreshing drizzling rain and the most beautiful rainbow I’ve ever seen! Karijini presented itself with all its colourfulness, so that we won’t ever be able to forget this magical spot.
Home of the Bungle Bungle Range, the Purnululu National Park was a highlight of Lorna Hendry’s family adventure through the Kimberley. This ancient place known to the Kija people for thousands of years was virtually unknown to the outside world until 1983, Lorna says it’s now a must-see Australian icon.
Michael ‘Tommo’ Thomson has probably seen more of the Kimberley that most. As a local helicopter pilot, he spends his day showing people the wonders of northern WA. Writer Lorna Hendry asked him which part he enjoys most.