Deb and Warwick said their goodbyes early this morning, heading to Tom Price for a few days then out to Dales Gorge, Karijini, where we may just see them one more time.
The road northbound out of Newman is one loooonnng slow climb toward Port Hedland. Even we could pass the road trains and trucks as they lumbered up the incline, instead of the other way round?!
We didn’t see any cows or kangaroos, but we did pass the West Angelas Mine, Hope Downs and Juna Downs arriving at the Dales Gorge Campground around 12.30pm. We have been allocated a site in the Warlu Loop, mainly for larger rigs, well away from the main campsites, and no generators allowed.
Around 2.30pm I went for a walk back to the campground registration hut to take a photo of the one and only map available for the Dales Gorge area and was very surprised that with still a week to go till the school holidays start, the campground is all but full!
During the night we heard feral cats yowling and a dingo howling; welcoming us to Karijini!
We woke to a beautiful Pilbara day; cold morning, sunny skies and warm enough to change to short sleeves by 10am. Today we explored Dales Gorge; our first stop was Fortescue Falls, which we viewed from the lookout platform. The views from the lookout are spectacular but once you climb down into the gorge the surroundings are truly beautiful.
We spent some hours just looking in awe at the rock formations, the height of the walls, the colours in the rock and the green shrubbery all contributing to the stunning scenery. We followed the walking track along the gorge floor to Circular Pool which is surrounded by tall green reeds, overflows the rock ledges into a larger swimming hole.
Approximately another 400 metres along the gorge floor, the track winds through thick growth interwoven with rock ledges, twisted, gnarled tree roots all surrounded by the soaring gorge walls. First we saw the ferns surrounding the large dark green pool of water then the two falls come into site and we had arrived at the stunningly beautiful, tranquil Fern Pool.
It was difficult to leave such beauty and tranquility but leave we must. The return walk was just as inspiring finding plants, tree roots and rock formations not noticed on the way there. Then there was the climb back to the top, well worth every minute of pain and fear (of heights).
We drove the 120 kilometre round trip out to visit Weano, Hancock, Joffre and Knox Gorges. The roads are graded gravel 99% of the way with real rough sections closer to Weano, for about 15 kilometres. As long as you drive for the conditions then there shouldn’t be any problems and once again well worth every minute of the rough section of road.
Today we didn’t climb down into the gorges as they were very steep tracks; to access the floor of Hancock Gorge there were ladders! So for us height challenged there are lookouts with spectacular views along the length and depth of the gorges. Each gorge has its own beauty, space and tranquility but for me the gorge floor walk on day 2 was the best.