Karijini national park holiday & travel guide

The ultimate guide to exploringKarijini National Park

Pack your swag and don’t forget the swimmers. When you come to Karijini National Park you’ll be spending your nights sleeping under an infinitesimal number of stars and days bathing in swimming holes deep in the red earth.

Located in the Pilbara region, a journey to Karijini in Western Australia takes you to one of the world’s most remote locations. And trust us – it’s well worth the trip.

Put your adventurer’s hat on to explore Karijini’s ancient geological formations, formed over thousands of millions of years. Take a guided tour to find the cooling green-blue pools and tumbling waterfalls, where you can take a natural dip hidden deep in the folds of the cliff faces.

And in between your rock scramblings, take time to hear and learn the stories of the Innawonga, Kurrama and Banyjima. These are their traditional lands, and Karijini is the Banyjima name for the former Hamersley Range National Park

Top things to do in Karijini National Park

Gorges, pools & waterfalls

The Spa Pool in Hamersley Gorge is one of Karijini’s most photographed sites, and it’s not hard to see why. Use the ladder and handrails along its curving rock walls to descend into its cool, deep blue depths.

Near Karijini Eco Retreat, make the steep climb into Joffre Gorge to enter a rocky amphitheatre with a plunge pool and waterfall.

It takes some scrambling – as well as wading through cold water – to get to Weano Gorge and Handrail Pool. But the serene end result, feeling like you’ve entered the belly of the earth, is well worth it. A visit to the bright green Kermit’s Pool will require a class 5 difficult ‘spider walk’ along the multi-layered Hancock Gorge.

The four-kilometre Dales Gorge walk takes you along the bottom of the gorge to walk among ferns and gumtrees, stopping at its waterholes. Here, you can also make the two-hour return walk to the Circular Pool, as well as Fortescue Falls and Fern Pool.

Remember, it is important to leave the gorges if it starts to rain as flash flooding can occur.

Attractions & activities

While the gorges are seen as the main attraction, there’s plenty to do at Karijini. Look over the Weano, Red, Hancock and Joffre gorges up at Oxer Lookout, and walk amongst winter-blooming wildflowers like northern bluebells, purple mulla mullas and lemongrass. Or hike the Mount Bruce Summit Trail on Punurunha/Mount Bruce – the state’s second-highest peak.

How to stay in Karijini National Park

Driving & road access

The best way to experience Karijini is by driving a 4WD in the park. There’s an entrance fee of $12 per vehicle. You can either drive yourself or take part in a private or group tour.

But do you need a 4WD? Well, doing Karijini by 2WD is possible, but you would do best to stick to the sealed roads and will need to drive carefully. For example, the unsealed road condition is often bumpy and gravelly, making a 4WD preferable for comfort.

Eco Retreats, Resorts & Glamping

The Aboriginal-owned Karijini Eco Retreat has a selection of accommodation options for travellers within the Karijini National Park.

Fancy a spot of glamping? Their Deluxe Eco Tents have private ensuites with your own deck. There’s also unpowered tent and campervan sites, eco-cabins and standard eco temps available to hire.


Dales Campground in the National Park campground at the eastern end park costs from $11, with barbeque and toilet facilities, as well as spots for tents, caravans and camper trailers.

Outside of Karijini National Park, the Tom Price Tourist Park is an alternative caravan park next to Jarndunmunha/Mt Nameless. It is only a short drive from town and has budget and pet-friendly camping and caravan sites, as well as air-conditioned A-frame chalets.

Restaurants & food near Karijini National Park

Karijini Eco Retreat has an onsite restaurant that dishes up exotic outback-style meals like crocodile curry and kangaroo loin, western dishes like burgers, a variety of international cooked breakfasts, and takeaway picnic options at lunch to keep you fueled to the max on your daytime explorations.

Alternatively, you will have to be self-sufficient. Stock up on food before you go into the park. There are supermarkets in Tom Price, and Paraburdoo and Newman further afield, which is handy to know when planning your campsite dinners. While there are some places to pick up drinking water and fuel in the park, it’s best to stock up on this too while you’re picking up food.

If you want a decent feed that you don’t have to prepare yourself, there are a couple of options in Tom Price, which you can stop at before you head out. The Pickled Bean has your caffeine fix sorted, as well as cafe lunch fare. The ​​Red Breeze Restaurant serves hearty Asian meals, such as curries, noodles and vegetarian options.

Getting to Karijini National Park

Karijini National Park is one of Australia’s most secluded regions. Located above the Tropic of Capricorn in the North West, it is a 17-hour drive from Perth that traverses 1,400 kilometres.

Alternatively, Qantas offers flights to Paraburdoo from Perth, from here you can hire a 4WD or take a bus transfer to Tom Price and embark on an organised day trip.

Best time to visit Karijini National Park

The best time to visit Karijini National Park is during the winter and shoulder months when the days are still warm, but don’t reach the 40°C heights of summer. Instead, the thermostat ranges from around 10°C at night and 25°C in the day.

Take note before you dip: despite the heat of its arid semi-desert days, the water in the gorges can be very cold in winter.

Tours & packages for Karijini National Park

For many, the best way to take in everything Karijini has to offer is with a guide. Plenty of tour operators work in the area, and picking a favourite is a matter of finding one that works to your schedule and departure point.

The Flying Sandgroper has multi-day trips for the adventurous in mind, with activities such as gorge waterhole exploring and nights sleeping in a swag. Departs Perth, Exmouth and Tom Price.

If you are after a more exclusive experience, tour operators like Karijini Tours offer private and small group tours on enquiry, with optional extensions like Ningaloo and other Pilbara highlights available to add to your holiday package.

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