Karijini National Park is WA’s second-largest protected area, with spectacular, accessible gorges in the north and a vast unvisited section to the south, separated roughly by Karijini Drive, the southernmost of the two roads running through the park. Travellers rave about the nerve-jangling walks, timeless scenery and sparkling waterholes here, and are often taken aback at the lush, spinifex-covered hills and proliferation of white-trunked snappy gums that sprout from the blood-red rock, distinguishing the Pilbara from the better-known but drier Kimberley, especially in July and August (the busiest months).

The gorges themselves cut through the north-facing escarpment of the Hamersley Ranges and all offer spectacular views as well as a range of graded walks through their interiors. There are scores of superlative swimming holes in the park too, but they tend to be situated deep in the gorges, and are rarely less than absolutely freezing, even on the hottest days.

Karijini Drive is sealed, but the northern Banjima Drive, which runs between the gorges, is predominantly corrugated dirt. Barring adverse weather, the park remains accessible for all vehicles throughout the year, although 2WD may find things a little bumpy. The gorges get extremely hot between November and April, making the winter the best time to visit, and flash floods are reasonably common so keep an eye on the weather forecast. Keep a check on your watch too – ascending out of the gorges in anything less than full daylight is a definite no-no.

The park has a western entrance, accessed from Highway 1 via Tom Price, and an eastern entrance, accessed via the Great Northern Highway from Newman in the south or Port Hedland to the north. Whichever way you enter, make sure you fill up at the last available fuel station as driving distances in the park tend to be underestimated; count on doing around 250km. There’s limited food and drinking water in the park, so it’s best to bring your own just in case.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Australia features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

A Rough Guide to: visiting Australia's Great Barrier Reef

A Rough Guide to: visiting Australia's Great Barrier Reef

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s most incredible natural wonders – it’s the largest structure ever built by living things and is vi…

08 Jun 2018 • Penny Walker insert_drive_file Article
In pictures: exploring Western Australia's remote northwest

In pictures: exploring Western Australia's remote northwest

Australia’s biggest state has often been neglected by travellers in a hurry to hop straight over to the East Coast or the continent’s Red Centre. This year …

17 May 2018 • Nori Jemil camera_alt Gallery
The rebirth of Perth: how the city got cool

The rebirth of Perth: how the city got cool

Sun-soaked and healthy? Perhaps. A decent gateway to Western Australia? Definitely. But a cool place to spend a few days? Until recently Perth just couldn’t …

21 Mar 2018 • Helen Ochyra insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

Mandatory - can not be deselected. Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

PHPSESSID,aelia_cs_selected_currency,cookie_notice_accepted,RS,bp-message,bp-message-type,id,UIDR,w3tc_logged_out,__cfduid
__cfduid

Statistics

Statistic cookies help website owners to understand how visitors interact with websites by collecting and reporting information anonymously.

__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid,__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xt
__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid
__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xtc

Marketing

Marketing cookies are used to track visitors across websites. The intention is to display ads that are relevant and engaging for the individual user and thereby more valuable for publishers and third party advertisers.

__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID,__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll,c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs
__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID
__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll
c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs