Published: Jul 2011

Karijini 1

These images are from a trip to The Pilbara in mid 2011. This area in north-west Australia has some of the best scenery in the country, and parts of Karijini National Park are truly spectacular. Rob Gray, Glen Turvey and myself planned this trip as a photographically-oriented walking trip on our previous Budawangs walk in 2009. Glen's mate Paul Hoelen completed the party.

The base camp

We ended up base-camping near Juna Downs (see map above), with Rob and Chris' luxurious home-brew, go-anywhere mobile home providing a cozy social hub in the evenings. After a day of catching up and planning, we headed off to Karijini for a few day trips into Hancock, Weano and Joffre Gorges.

After that, the weather closed in for a few days - the kind of howling wind, rain and scudding clouds that I usually associate with Tasmania. We spent a surprsingly fruitful afternoon, photographically speaking, on a trip to Wittenoom, an abandoned asbestos-mining townsite.

We finally got some good weather,and headed off on a 5-day walk from Dales Gorge in the eastern part of Karijini to Fig-Tree crossing on the highway a few kilometres south of our base camp. I've posted details of that walk and photos in the "Walks" section

The great thing about this trip was that we were all there for the same reason - to take photographs.

Here's Rob in Hancock Gorge, getting ready to make a stitched panorama using his home-brew panorama attachment on top of the tripod. See Rob's GRAYnomad Chronicles #064 page for his report on the trip and resulting photographs.


Here's Glen in Joffre Gorge, using the inflatable rowboat he brought with him from Tasmania. This is probably the ideal sort of craft for navigating the main gorges in Karijini - lightweight, maneuverable and stable. I used a li-lo from the hardware store in Tom Price, and Paul had an inflatable pool lounge that could be most kindly described as having high-visibility, but Glen's boat was clearly the way to go.

"Arrr, thar she blows!"

This is Paul unwittingly impersonating a pirate on the bridge (aka tray) of the good ship HiLux on the road to Wittenoom. If you hire any kind of remotely robust vehicle in the Pilbara, it's almost certainly going to come fitted with mine-safety gear, including more flashing lights than seem reasonable and a flag like this. Paul's website is

Hancock Gorge
Hancock Gorge
Joffre Gorge
Rocks in Joffre Gorge
The hills and plateaus of Karijini are made from a crumbly, red, iron-rich rock. In the gorges though it's a different story - there's a wide variety of forms and colours. It's common to see layers of fibrous blue asbestos in some of the rocks.
Joffre Gorge
Road-trains at dusk
Seen from the lookout near our base camp.
Wittenoom shed wall
Wittenoom shed door
Mulla Mullas
Genus Ptilotus, probably Ptilotus exaltatus
This image also appears in Nature
Rain clouds clearing
Light on the hills
Morning at the base camp
Rising moon