Gorges & Waterfalls

    


Photo credits: @theleftlaners / IG, @miguelgilart / IG, @viajandosinmapa / IG

 

 

Joffre Gorge (Jijingunha), Joffre Falls & Joffe Lookouts


Joffre Gorge is the closest gorge to the Karijini Eco Retreat. A short bush walking track runs from the Retreat to a lookout with incredible views up and down Joffre Gorge. There is another lookout on the other side of the gorge, accessed from the carpark, which is a metal deck suspended above the gorge. This one overlooks the falls and the plunge pool at their base.

Joffre Gorge Lookouts: Class 2  100 meters, 10 minutes return

 

Joffre's waterfall is usually dry and flows impressively after rains. Follow the marked route or new steel staircase and ladder system into the bottom of the gorge to see Joffre Gorge's curved walls forming a natural amphitheatre with an amazing natural waterfall.

Joffre Gorge & Waterfall: Class 4-5 – 3 kilometres, 2 hours return

 

 

Knox Gorge & Knox Lookout


Knox Gorge is a deep chasm that intersects Wittenoom Gorge just along from the Knox Lookout. The trail takes you down into the gorge past fig trees which cling to the rock walls. There are rocks to scramble over and pools to swim in.

Knox Gorge: Class 5 – 2 kilometres, 3 hours return

 

From Knox Lookout you can see the intersection of Knox Gorge and Wittenoom Gorge, giving a true appreciation of the forces that created this awe-inspiring landscape. Make a point of visiting this lookout late in the afternoon or early in the morning, when the slanting sunrays enhance this spectacular panorama.

Knox Lookout: Class 2 – 300m, 15 minutes return

 

 

Hancock Gorge (Bilungunha), Spider Walk & Kermit's Pool


Take a journey to the 'centre of the Earth' down this steep and narrow gorge which offers some of the best photographic opportunities in Karijini. See the vertical canyon walls change from red-orange to bronze and blue-purple colours. Climb down the ladder, proceed along highly polished rock ledges and wade through streams on the way down to Kermit's Pool, named for the water's shade of green.

Hancock Gorge: Class 5 – 400m, 80 minutes return

 

The Juntion Pool Lookout showcases views up Hancock Gorge and down to Junction Pool far below. From Oxer Lookout there are unsurpassed views of the junction of Weano, Red, Joffre and Hancock gorges. You can see the tiers of banded iron formation that tower over a pool at the bottom of the gorge. From here, the sheer enormity and grandeur of the gorges is evident.

Junction Pool & Oxer Lookouts: Class 2 – 800m, 30 minutes return

 

 

Weano Gorge & Handrail Pool


Weano Gorge is perhaps the most accessible gorge in Karijini with a picnic area, barbeques, shaded seating and toilets. But this makes it no less spectacular and beautiful. Whether you want to enjoy breathtaking views, swim, explore the amazing gorges or rest among the spinifex and snappy gums, Weano is the place.

 

Around the top of the gorge there are relatively easy walks accessible from the picnic area. Venture on to the Upper Weano Gorge Trail which is Class 4, featuring a large pool, popular for swimming. Lower Weano is also Class 4 and features high walls of rock that tower above you.

Upper Weano: Class 4 – 1km, 45 minutes return
Lower Weano: 
Class 4 – 1km, 1 hour return

 

For the adventurous, continue along Lower Weano Gorge for a a challenging Class 5 scramble over boulders, into narrow passages and wading through pools to Handrail Pool. A walking trail takes you down the steep descent to the wide and circular Handrail Pool hidden in an expansive cavern. Access to Handrail Pool begins at the end of the Lower Weano Gorge Trail. Use the handrail to climb down into the pool.

Handrail Pool: Class 5 – 150m, 30 minutes return

 

 

Kalamina Gorge (Nhamurrunha) & Rock Arch Pool


Kalamina is the easiest to access and the shallowest of Karijini's gorges. With its delightful trail and picnic area, Kalamina Gorge is a great introduction to the gorge system. A 5 minute walk takes you down a sloping track to the base of the gorge and a lush, shaded pool with a waterfall. Walk further downstream past lemon-scented grass and small ponds with fish to view the amazing rock structures. The trail ends at Rock Arch Pool.

Kalamina Gorge: Class 4 – 3km, 3 hours return

 

 

Dales Gorge (Ngirribungunha), Fortescue Falls (Jubula), Fern Pool (Jubura)
& Circular Pool (Walhabindamunha) Lookout


On the east side of the Karijini National Park is Dales Gorge. Permanent waterfalls, pools and tropical ferns contrast with the red, terraced cliffs.

 

The easiest walk at Dales Gorge is the Gorge Rim Walk beginning at the Circular Pool Lookout and ending at the Fortescue Falls Lookout. White bark snappy gum trees grow in the car park around the edge of the gorge and shady groves of native cypress shelter on the cliff face beneath the track. Enjoy the wonderful views into Dales Gorge.

Dales Gorge Rim Walk: Class 3 – 2km, 1.5 hours return

 

Reach Fortescue Falls from the car park, descending down the steel staircase into the 100m deep Dales Gorge. The vegetation changes as you go deeper into the gorge, becoming more green and lush. The rocks also change colour, becoming richer red and purple. Fortescue Falls is Karijini National Park’s only permanent waterfall. Fed by a spring, it cascades more than 20m down a series of natural rock steps before finishing in a large pool. The pool at the bottom of the waterfall is a perfect place for a refreshing swim.

Fortescue Falls: Class 3 – 800m, 1 hour return

 

 Continue walking along the trail from Fortescue Falls, through the changing vegetation of the iron-rich gorge walls to Fern Pool. Surrounded by delicate ferns and paperbarks, Fern Pool is a lush oasis and a sacred Aboriginal place. Visitors are encouraged to enter the water quietly, avoid making loud noises, and if you like, you can acknowledge the Dreamtime serpent who's spirit lives in the waters. A tranquil place to simply sit and take in the natural beauty, or you can swim out to the refreshing spring-fed waterfall and sit in the grotto.

Fern Pool: Class 4 – 300m, 30 minutes return

 

The Dales Gorge Trail is a creek-side hike along the bottom of the gorge, between Fortescue Falls and the Circular Pool Trail, where you may see wildlife at close quarters.

Dales Gorge: Class 4 – 2km, 3 hours return

 

Circular Pool is reached by a steep descent on a rough trail into Dales Gorge, then an easy ramble to the hidden gardens of the pool. Enjoy a swim in the refreshing permanent waters. The trail has uneven steps with many obstacles and is for experienced bushwalkers with a good level of fitness.

Circular Pool: Class 4 – 800m, 2 hours return

 

 

Hamersley Gorge (Minhthukundi) & Spa Pool


Hamersley Gorge is in the north-west of Karijini, further afield than the other gorges. Swirls of wavy rock, buckled from the immense pressure of tectonic plates colliding over billions of years, sweep down through the gorge as waterfalls rush into tranquil pools. This is a dramatic gorge, full of colour, texture and reflections and a great spot for a swim.

Hamersley Gorge: Class 3  400m, 1 hour return

 

Spa Pool is one of the most instagrammable places on earth. Located upstream in Hamersley Gorge, it features a jewel-coloured natural rock pool with its own little waterfall. The rocks can be slippery so care must be taken.

Spa Pool: Class 4 – 1km, 3 hours return

 

 

Class 6 Restricted Areas


The Weano, Hancock and Knox Gorges all end in restricted Class 6 areas. DO NOT enter these restricted areas without permission from the rangers.

 

Red Gorge is entirely Class 6 restricted. You can see it from Oxer Lookout, and reach it from Knox, Joffre or Hancock Gorges, but you’ll need to be with a qualified guide and rangers must be notified before entering it.

 

 

Mt Bruce (Punurrunha)


Spectacular views from the top of the second tallest peak in WA, called Punurrunha by the Aboriginal people. There are three walks of varying lengths and difficulty:

Marandoo View: Class 2 – 500m, 30 minutes return

Honey Hakea Track: Class 3 – 4.6km, 3 hours return

Mt Bruce Summit: Class 5 – 9km, 6 hours return

 

 

Hiking & Bushwalking Safety


The Park is packed with adventure but plan ahead, prepare, read the signage and safety information and be careful. Be aware of the trail classifications (class 2-5) and assess your fitness and ability. Expect to encounter - especially on the more difficult class trails - steep steps, uneven ground, natural obstacles like rocks and streams, narrow high ledges, slippery wet rocks, vertical drops.

 

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions who manage the Karijini National Park, advise the following:
Consider taking a PLB (Personal Locater Beacon); stay back from cliff edges; don’t enter the gorges if raining or imminent rain, and leave immediately if it starts to rain as dangerous flash floods can occur; the water in the gorge pools can be extremely cold and hypothermia can occur, test the temperature before you enter the water and don’t jump or dive in; stay on established trails.

 

 

Take care in the gorges, and leave if it starts to rain as flash flooding can occur.

Guided tours run from April to October in selected gorges. Please see reception for more information.

 

 

Download the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions Information and Walking Trails brochure