Note: indicated routes are approximate. Use official topographic maps for navigation.
This is a spectacular and arduous walk in Karijini National Park in far north-west Australia.
This is a walk for experienced parties only. People have got lost trying to follow this route and have had to be rescued. If you're thinking of doing it, read the warnings below first. Note that the Karijini park brochure (latest version available here) says:
If hiking overnight, please contact the visitor centre or park rangers. Some activities such as camping in non-designated areas, abseiling and canyoning may require permission from the department before being undertaken
The walk includes many of the more popular areas, such as Dales, Kalamina, Knox, Hancock, Weano and Joffre Gorges, but also has a fair bit of open country walking.
I did this walk with friends Dave, Judy, Ian, Peta and Helen in July 2008. Many thanks to Ian and Peta for planning the route, distributing maps and walking info, providing the lilos and other useful gear, grocery shopping and food drops. The least I can do in return is recommend some of their outdoor gear. I've been using a WE pack for about 15 years and it's still comfortable and going strong. Extra thanks to Dave and Ian for superior navigation skills.
We spent 8 days walking and paddling the route indicated above, relying on food drops at Dales Gorge, Joffre Falls and Weano Gorge,
Warning: This is not a walk for the inexperienced. Since originally publishing this route and these warnings on this web page, I have been contacted by the Karijini rangers after they had to rescue a lost party trying to follow this route. As mentioned above, you need to get permission from them before attempting this walk.
- Very little of this walk is on marked trails.
- You will need ropes to get up Snell Gorge - see image
- Many of the slopes and cliffs are made of sharp and crumbly rock.
- The vegetation can be extremely spiky.
- You will need the appropriate maps and a compass and you need to know how to use them. By all means take a GPS, but if it breaks or the batteries run out you will need printed maps.
- Take a Personal Locator Beacon
- There's no mobile phone coverage.
- Water can be either scarce or torrential.
- Don't go into the gorges if rain is likely.
- In winter the temperature will get below freezing at night and in summer it will often be much hotter than 40°C.
- Parts of the walk involve swimming and floating your pack, and the water can be cold.
- The route on the map above was plotted a few months after the walk and may not be accurate.
This walk is covered by the following 1:50,000 topographic maps
- Mount George 2653-3
- Joffre 2553-2
- Mulga Downs (Optional. Shows the last few km of the track in the floor of Bee Gorge to the Wittenoom Road)