Wednesday 2 May to Friday 11 May 2018
The West Australian camp led by Rob started off in Exmouth where the highlight was to swim with the Whale Sharks off the Ningaloo Coast, a World Heritage Area. Snorkelling the reefs off Turquoise and Oyster Stack beaches was also an attraction. Walking Yardie Creek, Mandu Mandu and the Badjirrajirra tracks were undertaken on our other days in the area. The weather was in the low to mid 30s which gave us warm water for swimming but necessitated the need for early starts to our walks.
Our Whale Shark adventure was postponed from the scheduled day due to rough seas but it may have been in our favour as the crew of MV Jazz spotted, with the help of an airplane 5 young male whale sharks. It was an amazing experience for us all and a day to remember.
On Sunday fully stocked with food and water for the next stage of our trip, we left Exmouth to drive about 710km to Karijini National Park where we were to camp in the EcoResort. The scenery became more spectacular as we headed eastwards. Two fuel stops were made along the way, the last being at Tom Price a delightful town far from any other.
The EcoResort was a great place to camp. There was water, showers and flush toilets, more than I expected and very welcome. Although I and some others did not use the shower as the green and blue, clear pools we came across in the gorges were more to our liking.
Our walks in the Karijini took us along gorge tops and ridges and down through deep gorges. Each were spectacular in their own scenery. The gorges were rough underfoot and care needed to be taken whether on a dirt or rocky track or negotiating stepping stone rocks around narrow ways to avoid wet feet or worse. None of the running water was deep but the rocks were slippery and injuries were best avoided. Weano Recreation Area and Gorge was our first taste of the walks to come. We left directly from the camp to the first lookout. Some group members formed a second group to walk the gorge ridge while others descended into the gorge. In places the walls were quite close together as we made our way along. Rob told us the geological history of the area pointing out many interesting features. Rock faces, billions of years old of browns, russet and orange and in places yellow strata were beautiful. After climbing the steep incline out of the gorge we went off to Joffre Falls which included a Class 5 section. The reward of this part of the gorge was a swim in a clear, cool pool complete with waterfall.
At Joffre Falls the swimming was wonderful, however the walk down and scramble up was a little hair raising!
After Karijini we drove to Dales Gorge where the camping facilities were very basic, only toilets but the site was well laid out providing ample space for tents and camper vans. A tourist centre provided very interesting information on the area, flush toilets and ice-cream! A drive on a dirt road took us to Kalimina Gorge which was all Rob promised, most spectacular both in the rock formations, colours and variety of lizards and other flora and fauna. Of particular interest was seeing raw asbestos for the first time. The gorge contained 3 pools, all excellent swimming holes and the group took advantage of the cooling, cleansing water, remember, no showers at the camp site! The pools, one of ‘olympic’ proportion were home to many fish and water boatmen, the fish willingly provided a pedicure if you could take the nibbling and tickling. The red layered walls towing above us were set off by a creek running through with white tree trunks, bleached grasses and blue sky compiling the classic Pilbara landscape.
Thank you Rob for organising a great camp, so varied taking in land and sea.
Photos by Donna and Mary
Report by Helen R and Mary
Photos by Donna and Mary