Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Karijini National Park - Day 10

Karijini National Park is one of Western Australia's most beautiful national parks.  It is very remote and rugged and doesn't get too too many visitors each year, being so far away from Perth.  But, those who venture into Karijini's gorges will never be disappointed.  This area of the world is ancient, some of the oldest rocks found any where on earth.  Deep weathered gorges and eroded mountain ranges full of red rock captures your imagination.  We left our bed in Tom Price to drive about 40 minutes to get to the park gates.  Once in the park, the roads turned from smooth payment to rough, rocky, corugated gravel roads.  Good thing for 4x4 and driving slow.  The first stop was Oxer Lookout which overlooks the meeting of 3 deep gorges - Red Gorge, Weano Gorge, and Joffre Gorge.  Pictures and words are hard to describe the natural and relatively unspoilt beauty.  The picture on the left is Becky's quick paced descend to the bottom of Weano Gorge. The pics below is of  where two of the three gorges meet.  
White gum trees grow best along the gorge edges and the sometimes dry and sometimes wet river beds.
An interesting thing I read about termite mounds (also called white ants) is that you can tell direction from them.  The termites build their nest thinner north/ south to avoid the heat from the sun during the hottest part of the day, therefore keeping their home cool.  The east side is wider to capture the warmth of the rising sun acting like a heating system.
Joffre Falls - During 'the wet' the river could fill the narrow gorge up to 60 metres deep and during 'the dry' it can dry up altogether.

Fern Pool and Fortescue Falls
We hiked with the boys down the Dales Trail to see the Fortescue Falls and go for a swim.   Once we got to the bottom we ran into a tour guide, for the third time that day, who told us that if we made it this far to keep on hiking up the valley a little bit to a better swimming hole.  He said locals think it's too cold this time of year (high 20s in winter compared to mid 40s in summer) to jump in, but we Canadians found it cool and refreshing.  Right photo is Fern Pool, a little oasis in the desert landscape that is the Pilbarra.  Below is Fortescue Falls, very popular spot.

Karijini was one of those places that we wish we would of planned to spend more time at.   It was truly a beautiful place to be!

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