Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Day 102 – 104 Karijini National Park – 18-20 Sept 2009

16,131 kms, 33 degrees C

We left Broome to hit another remote part of the world, the Pilbara, at the top end of WA. The next stage will involve big distances – we are already over 1000km from Broome.
We broke the driving with an overnight stopover at the aptly named 80 mile beach. When on beach we could not see either end and could hardily see the sea, which was at least 1km out. Swimming was not recommended due to the sharks, stingrays and sea snakes! The campsite was full of miners having the weekend off. Port Hedland is a huge iron ore port run by BHP Billiton, the biggest mining company in the world. Newman mine, 400km South of Porth Hedland is the largest open cast mine in the world. There is a theme here – large scale mining, lot of men employed in this game and not a huge amount to do on weekends. So fishing at 80 mile beach is a big attraction.

Karijini National Park is one of the jewels of the Pilbara - lots of gorges, waterfalls and swimming holes. It is 300km inland, too far for the salties, so safe for swimming. The video and piccies don’t really do justice to the scales of the gorges – they are huge. The combination of icy cold water, light green Spinifex and dark maroon rock makes for an awesome experience.
The gorges on the video are Dales, Knox, Joffre, Oxer lookout (the meeting of four gorges) and finally Hancock. The latter was the only gorge we descended into – we got as far as Kermit Pool with its remarkable blue layers of rock. The “walk” involved more climbing and swimming that actual walking, as illustrated by our resident water babies on the video.

Mercifully, the temperatures are getting lower – we can cope with low 30s much better than the 42 degrees we suffered at Mornington, off the Gibb River Road. The nights are getter cold – we had 12 degrees in Karijini. We climb into bed and feel heat coming thro the ground into tent – by morning it is decidedly chilly. Stuart is back in his fetching PJs, which gave the dingo a bit of a shock as he mooched around our camp after dark looking for supper. The other wildlife of note was a western red kangaroo – our first of the tour.


Honora said...

Amazing rock formations, reminiscent of the Grand Canyon. One thing missing from Kermit's Pool - the frog!!! Glad to hear you're not struggling with the extreme heat any more. X

Stuart Riley said...

Mum, quite right on both counts. Its 42 at the top of the Kimberley right now and raining. Its 20 in Perth and raining - we are trying to stay in between!!