Karijini National Park
If you imagine journeying to the Earth's centre, the early stages will likely look like Karijini. In Western Australia’s semi-desert Pilbara region, the park is a high plateau of the Hamersley Range, riven with gorges cut by countless summer wet seasons. Karijini has two camping areas (one privately owned) on opposite sides of the park, and 30 km (18 miles) of walking trailsRead more...
If you imagine journeying to the Earth's centre, the early stages will likely look like Karijini. In Western Australia’s semi-desert Pilbara region, the park is a high plateau of the Hamersley Range, riven with gorges cut by countless summer wet seasons. Karijini has two camping areas (one privately owned) on opposite sides of the park, and 30 km (18 miles) of walking trails that climb a mountain, traverse flats dotted with snappy gums, spinifex and wildflowers, and descend into gorges to rock pools. It is worth getting wet feet and practising your spider walk to see the banded-rock corridors in Weano Gorge and Hancock Gorge.
- Best for budget travellers: Dales Campground features 140 tent and RV sites of various sizes near Fortescue Falls and Fern Pool, in Dales Gorge, and Circular Pool, in the park’s east.
- Best for camping with added comforts: Karijini Eco Retreat has 69 unpowered sites and 40 semi-permanent safari-style glamping tents, flushing toilets, a campers' kitchen and on-site restaurant.
Tips for Snagging a Campsite Reservation
- Dales Campground sites must be reserved. You can pay camping fees up to 180 days ahead at Parks and Wildlife WA so book early for visits during the winter peak.
- If you’re okay with a short stay you might have better luck securing a spot in the two-night-maximum overflow camping area that operates at Dales June-September.
- You need to book camp sites and ensuite deluxe eco tents at Karijini Eco Retreat separately. Check their packages and specials before clicking the pay button.
When to Go
Karijini is most popular June–September, when cool or even cold winter nights give way to warm, sunny days. Summers in this tropical semi-desert can be very hot and wet and the visitor centre closes December–February. Think about taking a road trip April–May (fall) or October–November (spring) for a chance to have the gorges, waterfalls and spectacular Oxer Lookout almost to yourself.
Know Before You Go
- Karijini is 15 hours north of Perth, three hours by car from Port Hedland and 60 minutes' drive from the mining town of Tom Price, all good places to buy supplies. Remember to fill your fuel tanks too. There is no fuel in the park and you can easily clock up 200 kilometers (125 miles) in a day of exploring.
- Drinking water can be limited so bring plenty of water with you.
- Mobile phone signals are very poor across Karijini so it’s a good idea to check in with family and friends before and after your visit.
- Even on hot days the water in the gorges can be shockingly cold so you need to take care when swimming.
- The summer wet season and unseasonal rain at other times can close unsealed park roads so check road conditions on the park website and/or with the Parks WA visitor centre before setting out. Consider taking a 4WD vehicle outside the dryer peak season.
Frequently asked questions
Free camping is not allowed within Karijini National Park, as camping is only permitted in designated areas. The main campground in Karijini is the Dales Campground, which is managed by the Western Australia Department of Parks and Wildlife. There is a fee for camping at this site, and it operates on a first-come, first-served basis.
Outside of the national park, you may find free camping options on nearby public lands or rest areas, but it's essential to follow local regulations and guidelines when choosing a place to camp.
Camping fees at Karijini National Park in Western Australia vary depending on the campground. The two main campgrounds are Dales Campground and Karijini Eco Retreat. Dales Campground is managed by the Department of Parks and Wildlife, and the fees are as follows (subject to change):- Adult (16 years and older): AUD $11 per person per night - Concession card holder: AUD $7 per person per night - Child (6-15 years old): AUD $3 per person per night - Children under 6 years old: Free
When visiting Karijini National Park in Western Australia, you have a few accommodation options to choose from. The most popular options are:
- Dales Gorge Campground: This is a more traditional campground located near Dales Gorge, offering campsites for tents, campervans, and caravans. Facilities include toilets, picnic tables, and barbeque areas. Note that this campground operates on a first-come, first-served basis and can get busy during peak season.
- Savannah Campground: This campground is located near the Karijini Visitor Centre and offers campsites for tents, campervans, and caravans. Facilities include toilets, picnic tables, and barbeque areas. Like Dales Gorge Campground, it operates on a first-come, first-served basis.
Keep in mind that Karijini National Park is remote, so it's essential to plan your visit and book accommodations in advance, especially during peak season (April to October).