We reached Tom Price at 1pm and were thrilled about this small town where everything finally was cheaper again. In Coles we bought a huge slice of watermelon and also found a garden salad for 69 cents 🙂 First salad on our camping trip but otherwise we had some kind of vegetable or fruit every lunch and dinner. The gas only cost 1.66 which was the cheapest since Perth and made up for the 30l we got in Nanutarra. I think they ripped us of there because according to the meter, less than 30l should have fit into the tank and it felt as if the petrol was only flowing very slowly but the liters and dollars going up anyways.
We left Tom Price with filled up water bottles and tanks. Shortly stopped at the police station to ask whether it was safe to enter the park (The tourist information was already closed and it actually rained several times that day. And since we red several times that we could get stuck in the park after strong rain and the gorges would be dangerous, we wanted to know what the weather would be like.) Luckily, they told us that it was going to be fine and there were people in the park today too.
We drove straight to Dales Campground, where we spent the next two nights. We thought that 10$ a person/night were a bit much since it seemed that nobody was really looking after the place yet. In the whole national park there are no garbage bins and so for two days, we had to carry everything around with us. Plus, the gas stoves and bbq’s on the campground were not working.
We met Julia from New Zealand and drove to the nearby Fortescue Waterfall parking lot with her and then hiked down to its pool. The scenery was stunning. Red rocks filled with green nature, gorges next to fields that reminded me a bit of the Swiss region Thurgau and hills. So different from all the dry areas and the coast that we’ve seen until now. And in all that a beautiful waterfall with an inviting blue pool. In all the guides it said that the water was freezing but maybe not at this time of year because it was actually warmer than the ocean. Wonderful evening swim an our shower for today 🙂
Now, I never was a big camper, so I am quite proud that we survived with only the things in our car for three days and two nights and had enough water to cook, clean and drink. I think we would even manage another two days but then we’d run out of water.
The night was unbearably hot. At first we had the rain coat over our tent but after melting away inside the tent for a few ours, I got out again to take it off (which I hated to do since there were about a thousand ants and spiders everywhere. When I brushed my teeth, I looked towards an area behind our tent and saw something sparkling on the ground in the light of my headlamp. I thought it might be animals eyes, so I carefully approached. There were at least 8 different sized spiders on the ground :S)
With only the mosquito net around us, sleeping finally became a bit easier.
We got up with the sunrise again and then drove the 43km on a red and veeery bumpy dirt road to Weano Gorge. Poor Hero! I hope we didn’t do any damage to the car. Anyways, going there is definitely worth it if you aren’t afraid of climbing a little. We did the Hancock Gorge trail that would lead to Kermit’s Pool. Again, the surroundings were just stunning and we couldn’t stop wowing. It started out easy with a latter and a rocky path through the gorge. I felt like in “The Land Before Time”. Then, we reached a pool and I saw a sign that we mustn’t climb on the rocks. Good that I had looked this up at home and saw pictures because now we knew that we had to wade through the water. When we reached the other side, we were completely surrounded by red walls (they call this place Amphitheater). Then, we had to enter the Spiderwalk. Ugh, yeah, didn’t sound very attractive. I hoped it was because we had to wade along the walls with our hands and feet sticking out to both sides, because there was water flowing below us and not because there were many spiders. I saw some but I guess, rather get close to a spider than fall down into the water on the rocks. After this short bit, we already reached Kermit’s pool, where we met a couple from Tasmania, that was swimming. We also relaxed for a while. The temperature in the gorge was very agreeable. The hike back felt much shorter, since we could estimate the distance and knew where to put our hands and feet. However, the last bit (on the easiest part) was the hardest because it was out in the sun again and we realized that this day would just be as hot as all the other days.
We then drove to Joffre Gorge and walked the short distance to the lookout. Again, the view over the gorge and the waterfall was very pretty but there wasn’t as much water flowing as at the other ones. We drove the long way back over the dirt track, crossed the van again with people we had seen at every place we’ve been so far and then we cooled off at the visitor center, while looking at the displays. We had lunch in the shade outside the center and then drove to Fortescue Falls again, to hike a little further to Fern Pool. On the walk, we saw a big iguana and got very excited about it.
The pool was beautiful and a little bigger than the one at the waterfall. There also were two small waterfalls. Someone pointed out to us that there were heaps of bats hanging in the trees above us. And really, the trees were filled with black spots. They must have been awake, because they were constantly fanning themselves and sometimes fighting with each other and then one would fly to a different spot. In the middle of the day! They were at least 30cm long.
We swam in the pool amongst little fish that were eating our loose skin. Someone had left foam snakes and with them we could just lay on the water without really having to do anything. I felt like at an indoor pool that had built up an amazing scenery to make the people feel like they were in real nature. Except that this was real:)
We spent most afternoon there and were visited by another curious lizard.
On the way back, we did a small detour to Circular Pool lookout and then spent another night at the campground. This time it was already hot without the raincoat. It takes much longer to cool down here, so it’s probably good that we start our way south tomorrow.
It seems like many people skip Karinjini but I would say if you go to WA, that’s the place you have to see because it’s just so amazing and different from everything else.