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As the title suggests, here is my trip report after a solid 9 day road trip from Perth - Karijini NP - Coral Bay and back to Perth again.

The trip was broken into 4 nights in Karijini NP and 3 nights in Coral Bay (would have been more but I left the booking a bit late leading into Easter and school holidays :headwall:). With the last few days spent on the road between CB and Perth.

Before I get into details and photos ill note the fuel prices in the towns I filled up in - please note though due to the distances I never drove both tanks to empty so most times I was filling up with half a tank left. (Main tank and standard Patrol second tank)
Kewdale - $1.26/L
Meekatharra - $1.66/L
Newman - $1.52/L
Paraburdoo - $1.38/L
Minilya Roadhouse - $1.56/L
Geraldton - $1.32/L

Total Litres filled - 502L
Total KM's travelled - 3,400km
Total Cost - $732
Averaged 14.8L / 100km - which I was pretty happy with, considering I was fully loaded with some bulky items on the rack too.

So, lets get into it!

Friday 27th, after work was spent loading the car and getting everything sorted for the early start Saturday morning. The alarm was set for 2:30am with the aim of getting to Wubin before 6am and beating the departure of the road trains north. This was missed due to me sleeping through my alarm and not getting out and on the road until about 3:30am ha-ha. A quick Fuel stop in Kewdale and the road trip was underway!!

The aim from here was to get to Meekatharra on the one tank and re-fill. Mission accomplished. Approximately 719km with 1/4 tank left on main. From here it was onward to Newman. After a couple of pit stops along the way we eventually pulled into Newman about 5:45-6:00pm. The drive up was overall fairly uneventful bar the obligatory Road train hauling heaving mining equipment and the odd Cow. The final 100km into Newman was by far the worst for animals for the whole trip, and by worst I mean I saw maybe a dozen cows in this period, which were all easy spotted.

After a little longer spent in Newman than I would have liked, the decision was made to drive the final 1.5hrs to Karijini NP and the Eco Retreat which was where we were to set up camp for the 4 nights. Might I say, after never having visited Newman before I was pleasantly surprised. It is actually quite a nice town - even with the heavy mining influence. Working in the industry but never getting to see site life, it was exciting to see these areas and infrastructure. Newman was very green, and picturesque with the ranges in the distance etc.

The drive from Newman - Karijini was largely uneventful again, although the last 30 odd km's into the camp ground was horribly corrugated, that may just be because it was night time and the anticipation of getting to camp was now unbearable. 17 hours non stop driving was solid. A quick setup of the double swag and it was off to a well earned sleep.

I wasn't sure if 4 nights and 3 days was going to be enough time to see all I wanted to in the NP, however I found it was perfect. Sure a couple more days would have been handy but I found we weren't rushed and to to see heaps.

Day 1: Was spent around camp in the morning with Joffre Gorge an easy 10-15 minute walk and climb away. This is one of the easier and dare I say it basic gorges of the national park, and in my opinion one of my favourites. The small waterfall at one end, and the huge amphitheatre and large waterfall at the other were absolutely amazing. We spent a couple of hours here, swimming, climbing sitting in the waterfalls and just taking photos. I could have spent the day here!
After a quick lunch break we then took the short 10 minute drive to Waeno Gorge and the amazing Handrail Pool. This was my "Must See" of the trip and I was not disappointed!! the walk through the gorge to the numerous chasms and, rock pools and streams was stunning. With each corner opening up another draw dropping scene I couldn't get enough. The entrance into Handrail Pool was a little technical but nothing that should put anyone off entering - caution is advised however. Without being part of an adventure tour group you can't get much further than Handrail Pool, there is another little waterfall/stream and a slight swim which I highly recommend, with the chasm and stream at the end of this as good as the rest, if not better. Handrail Pool was the busiest of all the gorges on this trip - by busy I mean I saw 10 people.

By this stage in the afternoon it had started to rain slightly and the call was made to exit the gorge and head back to camp.
What a great start to the trip, if these two gorges were anything to go by, my mind was well and truly ready to be blown. The landscape and scenery is like nothing you have ever seen before!!
I'll post some pictures of the trip up until this stage. and post Day 2 when I get some more time.
 

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Nice one mate looks like an awesome trip!
I still believe that Karijini is my favourite place I've been to in all australia so far and Joffre was my favourite gorge as well. We had it to ourselves for about an hour. Mint
 

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The Pilbara still looks spectacular

Great pictures of the gorges. You look like you had a good time.
I have not been there since 1975 when I worked in Newman so am looking forward to a return trip in July this year. I am hoping the roads are much improved, however travelling in a Patrol this time rather than a Holden station wagon I am not expecting any problems.
Michael (ex Iron Man of the north)
 

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I'll post some pictures of the trip up until this stage. and post Day 2 when I get some more time.
Got any more time yet?????

Very entertaining... Hope you went to Hamersley Gorge, best bit of Karijini I reckon.
 

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Would have loved to keep reading more of this! Doing this exact trip in April so would love to read up on any info people have of the area!
 

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Bugger, old mate never finished it lol

3 days is enough in Karijini, I prefer to stay at the eco retreat camp on the west side. As well as hot showers it has a bar with happy hour and you can have a meal there to celebrate your last night (or first, or middle lol).

Handrail Pool, Kermits Pool and Hamersley Gorge are the must-dos for me.

With a little more time, and if you're willing, instead of going straight to Karijini from Newman, head up to Auski roadhouse and turn left to Wittenoom Gorge, near the abandoned town. There's warning signs everywhere regarding asbestos so make your own choice. In the middle of the original first town is a huge mango tree if you look hard enough, had a few juicy ones off that!

Then continue anti clockwise around the outside of Karijini and head in to Hamersley gorge, climb the rock pools to the top and there's a crystal clear natural spa fed by a two foot wide flow over a rocknabove. Absolutely blissful.

From there keep going same direction to the main west entrance to Karijini. If you don't camp at the eco retreat, and want to free camp and have a camp fire legally... here's a tip no ranger will ever tell you. Get your Karijini map. From the eco retreat follow the road north toward Han**** gorge. You'll see it loop to the right not far from the gorge. Look closely and you'll see a few hundred meters just pokes out of the national part boundary. As you drive around there, there's a narrow track heading north just before the crest of a hill. Follow that track as far as you want and find a spot you like, it's not national park so you can camp free and have a fire...

Happy days!
 

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Have a look at this map, you'll see the little bit that juts out of the Nat park boundary. The track (not shown on this map) is just there.

Some maps show that track going right up to the Wittenoom road, but I haven't followed it that far.

 
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When we visited the park back in August 2015 I spotted that track and it looked well used. It was also marked on the other maps on my tablet. Due to a short time frame we didn't get a chance to check it out, now we know:D.

Spent one night in at Wittenoom gorge( and had a fire) and their where a couple of faint tracks heading southwest that I recon would end up at that turn off on the park boundary. Something for next time.

Rob C
 

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Here Rob here's another map, as you can see it's a bit of a maze to get from that track up to the Wittenoom road.

From the north end we went down the Yampire Gorge road once, spooky as they have removed all the signs but left the poles standing, like a zombie apocalypse has been through.

The track suddenly drops into a riverbed that made a mess of the track, you definately need 4wd to get around here. Quite spectacular, and it seems ends up in the middle of Karijini but I suspect gated at the Karijini end. You'd not be happy if you drove all that was to find a gate.






Yampire gorge track



Major issue in Wittenoom



Wittenoom Gorge





The abandoned town site (the later of the two)



Sorry I've gone off on a tangent...

Beautiful neck of the woods anyway :D
 

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You're spoiling us Lee and Co! Again, over the top responses with fantastic info. Thanks! I'll take it on board and look to incorporate in into my trip!
 

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You're spoiling us Lee and Co! Again, over the top responses with fantastic info. Thanks! I'll take it on board and look to incorporate in into my trip!
Be sure to go for a swim in Fern Pools. or just every gorge.. gets a bit cold in some of the ones that dont get much sunlight.

From there keep going same direction to the main west entrance to Karijini. If you don't camp at the eco retreat, and want to free camp and have a camp fire legally... here's a tip no ranger will ever tell you. Get your Karijini map. From the eco retreat follow the road north toward Hancoc gorge. You'll see it loop to the right not far from the gorge. Look closely and you'll see a few hundred meters just pokes out of the national part boundary. As you drive around there, there's a narrow track heading north just before the crest of a hill. Follow that track as far as you want and find a spot you like, it's not national park so you can camp free and have a fire...

Happy days!
I think i know that exact spot lee, pretty sure i camped there. if its the spot im thinking off you could just see the road trains rolling in and out of solomon aswell.
 

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Ive also camped in that spot for free, and went for an explore while I was in the area. There are some great mountains you can drive up relatively easy and there is amazing views at the top. I also went a bit further and almost made it to Wittenoom gourge but couldn't get there as the track was washed out on one side and there was a cliff face on the other and was forced to reverse a few hundred metres. If it wasn't late afternoon I would of walked to see what was further ahead but it was getting dark and it was time to find a camp.
Also if you camp in the area try find a valley to camp in, we camped pretty high up and nearly got blown to Tom Price.
IMG_5147.jpg

IMG_5255.jpg

Also I hate to be the bearer of bad news but the natural spa Leathal mentioned was closed about a year ago due to "to many incidents" and I'm guessing it's still the same and there was signed all over the place warning people not to go there.

I personally prefer the other camp (Dales) as it's half the price and has easy access to dales gorge which is one of the easiest gorges to access and is a great spot to relax in the late arvo, also it's camping spots are further apart with some trees in between so there's heaps more privacy. Depends on your type of camping and how old you are I guess ;)
 

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A beautiful part of Australia. I have to make the effort to get back to this region and do some more exploring. That "spa bath" water hole sounds very tempting;).








Rob C
 

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I think i know that exact spot lee, pretty sure i camped there. if its the spot im thinking off you could just see the road trains rolling in and out of solomon aswell.
Road trains might spoil it a bit haha!

Did you go to Hamersley gorge?

Dutchman I'm very disappointed to hear the spa is closed :(
How is it done? Fences or something? Ruins the tranquility a bit...
 

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Road trains might spoil it a bit haha!

Did you go to Hamersley gorge?

Dutchman I'm very disappointed to hear the spa is closed :(
How is it done? Fences or something? Ruins the tranquility a bit...
Na no fences, just LOTS of signs, not even aloud to go in the upper pools. Because it's such a popular area the parks and wildlife people are always there keeping an eye on things, but once your in the spa no one can see you. :cool:
 
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