Karijini National Park is a magnificent location in the Pilbara region where you can enjoy the stunning views, spend some quiet time in nature, have an unforgettable camping experience and swim in the pools and waterfalls, all at the same holiday destination.
As Western Australia’s second largest national park, this picturesque Aussie camping destination deserves a spot on your bucket list. Here, you can recharge your mind and body by being one with the unique landscape.
With plenty of unique features and stunning scenery, Karijini National Park offers a memorable Australian camping experience you never knew you needed. With cavernous gorges, crystal-clear waterways and a stunning network of walking trails, camping at Karijini is a must!
If you are interested, read on as we give you a camping guide to Karijini National Park in Western Australia.
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How Do I Get To Karijini National Park?
Karijini National Park is located in the Pilbara region, in the north of Western Australia, and is reachable by road. The local towns of Paraburdoo, Newman and Tom Price are popular spots to gather supplies and fuel up before your camping trip in the Karijini.
- From Perth, the Karijini National Park is approximately 1,400 kilometres (870 miles), or a 17-hour drive away. You can take National Highway 95 or plan a road trip up Western Australia’s coast.
- From Carnarvon on WA’s coast, the Karijini National park is a 7.5 hour drive.
- From Paraburdoo or Newman, you can rent a vehicle (preferably a 4WD) to get to the park with a two-hour drive.
- From Tom Price, you can also join a Karijini day tour if you’d prefer not to camp in the national park.
- You can also access the Karijini National Park from Roebourne, Port Hedland, Dales and Weano.
Today, guests need to book their Karijini National Park campgrounds before visiting the park. Prepare to pay a $15 entry fee to Karijini National Park for each vehicle. The fees, which exclude accommodation, are used to maintain and conserve the park. Visitors should also purchase Park Passes from the park entry points.
As locations for fuel and supplies can be scarce in the region, be sure to plan your trip carefully and make sure you have the resources you need for each leg of the trip.
What Should I Know About Karijini National Park?
The Karijini National Park is situated in the Pilbara Region in Western Australia. It is known to be the state’s second-largest national park. Karinjini is known for its landscapes, cascading waterfalls and emerald pools, as well as two billion years of natural history, including plunging gorges and rock formations.
The name of the park acknowledges the historic and ongoing significance of the area to the Banyjima, Yinhawangka and Kurrama Aboriginal people, the traditional owners who call the Hamersley Range Karijini. It also recognises their involvement in park management.
Through the years, the park has been developed to house several open campsites, walking trails ranging from easy to challenging and eco-retreats packed with nature experiences.
The Northern part of the Karijini National Park is where tourists and guests visit for its spectacular gorges, rock pools, waterfalls and unique wildlife. The southern part of the park, on the other hand, is not accessible.
What Are The Best Campgrounds At Karijini National Park?
When it comes to the best campgrounds at Karijini National Park, there are two locations to choose from: the Karijini Eco Retreat and Dales Campground. These two are the popular go-to locations among the park’s regular visitors.
Karijini Eco Retreat
Whether you’re used to camping or glamping, you’re sure to enjoy this particular option! The Karijini Eco Retreat offers the visitors a unique experience of glamping in the heart of the national park. Eco tents, cabins and campsites stand in the middle of the bushland at Joffre Gorge. Facilities include an outback style restaurant, adventure tours and park walks.
If you are more of a traditional camper, Dales Campground is the best Karijini camping option for you. Here, you can enjoy camping in the middle of Dales Gorge, Circular Pool, Fortescue Falls and Fern Pool.
Some of the activities that you can experience in the Dales Campground area are picnicking in the picnic area, swimming in the circular pool and Fortesque Falls, bushwalking and trailing through the Gorge Rim walk.
However, wild dogs have become common around this campground, so make sure not to feed them as they can become aggressive. Also, look after your children at all times and keep your food and esky in your vehicle. You should walk in a group when exploring this area.
At Dales Campground, caravan, bus and generator sites are available. There are also bush toilets, picnic tables and gas barbecues.
Where Can I Take A Bushwalk In Karijini National Park?
You can take a bushwalk in the following trails in the area:
Mount Bruce (Punurrunha) – this walking track lies approximately 36 km west of the park office. The second tallest peak in Western Australia, it offers an opportunity to see the Marandoo Mine Site.
Dales Gorge – if you want to see deep sedge-fringed pools, cascading waterfalls and tranquil sunken gardens, pick this trail.
Joffre and Knox Gorges – this is another trail with impressive waterfalls, as well as deep, cold pools.
Hancock and Weano Gorges – If you’re after adventure, go through the narrow passages and precipitous cliffs of these gorges. You’ll see banded iron rock formations towering over the valleys below.
Kalamina Gorge – it gives you an introduction to the gorge system with its lovely trail and picnicking area.
Hamersley Gorge – you’ll find dramatic colours, textures and reflections here.
These trails have different trail grades, ranging from the easiest ones that require no experience to the most difficult tracks that have indistinct trails through undisturbed natural environments.
When exploring the park, make sure to stay on established trails and stay away from cliff edges. Cliffs here are about 100m high, and they often have loose rocks near the edge. Also, flash floods can occur, so don’t attempt to enter the gorges if it’s already raining in the area. If you’re already there, try to leave as quickly as you can.
What Other Things Should I Do In Karijini National Park?
Aside from camping, you can fully experience the beauty of the Karijini National Park through the following activities:
- Swim in freshwater pools, but remember not to dive or jump into the water. Some popular swimming areas within the park are the Fortesque Falls, Circular Pools and Fern Pool, all situated in the Dales Gorge on the park’s eastern side. At Fern Pool, if you hold your feet still into the water, little fish may come and nibble at your toes.
- Walk to the Oxer Lookout where lies a mesmerizing view of the surrounding scenery offered by the four gorges: Weano, Red, Hancock and Joffre.
- Enjoy a close encounter with the park’s abundant wildlife and flowers, such as red kangaroos and euros, rock-wallabies, echidnas and several bat species, geckos, goannas, dragons, legless lizards, pythons and other snakes, yellow-flowering cassias and wattles, northern bluebells and purple mulla-mullas.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Karijini National Park?
The ideal times to visit Karijini National Park are late autumn, winter and early spring, when the days are warm but the nights are cool. The Karijini Experience cultural festival is held every year in April, and Easter is a popular time to camp in the park. The water in the gorge pools can be very cold between April and September.
What Are Other Camping Enthusiasts Saying About Karijini National Park?
To help you decide whether it is worth it to book a tour of the Karijini National Park, here are some of the feedback from the park’s past visitors, as gathered and compiled by Tripadvisor.
“A really good NP and at only $7 to visit a bargain as well. Located a short drive from Tom Price it has a mix of sealed & unsealed roads. Unfortunately on our visit, we had some rain & heavy showers were expected which led to access to Hancock & Weano Gorges being denied as a precaution. The other gorges & areas were all open (Knox, Joffre, Dales etc.) so we still had a great visit and thoroughly enjoyed the Park.” -Skeney57
“We spent a few days doing walks with our primary school aged kids. We really enjoyed it. Most of the walks are quite difficult but the gorges and waterholes are amazing.” – happyitchyfeet
“Wow blown away with this place. Not the best for small kids or anyone with physical health issues, some of these walks are dangerous, often the rocks are slippery. But if you’re well prepared this place is heaps of fun and it is stunning!” -Natasha b.
“Karijini National Park is such a treasure in WA! The lookouts, gorges, swimming holes and waterfalls are stunning. I think you need at least two full days to explore all the gorges, but three days would even be better.” -Holidays_for_us_2016
The website has gathered a total of 427 reviews under the Karijini National Park, 86% (369) of which gave a 5-star rating.
How Far Away Is Karijini National Park From Perth?
Karijini National Park is approximately 1,400 kilometres (870 miles), or a 17-hour drive away from Perth. You can also reach Karijini National Park via a longer scenic route by following Perth’s coastline up to Carnarvon.
Can You Camp Anywhere in Karijini National Park?
No. Camping is only permitted at the designated campsites. Otherwise, staying overnight is not permitted anywhere else in Karijini National Park.