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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Hamersley Gorge – our last foray into Karijini NP

The last part of Karijini to see was Hamersley Gorge, which we did in a day trip from Tom Price. The colours and patterns in the rocks were amazing.  There were some small waterfalls, but no reflections. 









We're also starting to see more wildflowers, which is a taste of what's to come as we head further south.


Tom Price

The thing to do in Tom Price is a mine tour, so that’s what we did.  It was an interesting hour and a half bus tour around the Rio Tinto iron ore mine, including a 20 minute stop at the lookout over the mine pit.





We also drove the 4WD track up Mount Nameless, which had views over the mine as well as the ranges.



Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Karijini National Park Day 5 - Mount Bruce

It's been a while since we've climbed a mountain, but we were still feeling good, even after all the steps up and down gorges, so Mount Bruce was not seeming like too much of a challenge...



... that is, until we got about half-way up and the early morning light breeze had turned into a roaring wind... and it only looked to be more exposed (read: even more windy) further up the mountain.


We retreated to a slightly more sheltered spot and had some morning tea, and decided it really wasn't an enjoyable experience and that we'd find something more fun to do... which turned into taking photos in the less exposed parts of the walk on the way back down.





According to the weather site Tom Price had 30kph winds all afternoon, so it would have been significantly more on the top of the mountain.  Although we were a little disappointed at not getting to the top we were very excited to be out of the wind... and we still enjoyed some stunning views.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Karijini National Park Day 4– The Fern Pool and Fortescue Falls Take 2

We had seen the whole of Dales Gorge the day before, but knew there would be better waterfall shots later in the afternoon when the sun was lower.  We spent a couple of hours at the Fern Pool waiting for the shadows to come across to get rid of the contrast and the last shot was the best.  



By the time we got back around to Fortescue Falls the reflections of the red cliffs we just perfect, and some of the shots picked up the blue sky too.  It was a most satisfying couple of hours!





Karijini National Park Day 3– Dales Gorge

Since we decided not to go back to hike Joffre and Knox Gorges that left two days for Dales Gorge.  While I caught up on processing photos (there were about 400 photos from the day before – and that was after Dazz had deleted a bunch!) Dazz caught a Western Bowerbird.



We then wandered over to Dales Gorge and started with view of Fortescue Falls, and then went down to the Fern Pool.  







Back at the falls, the track climbs down the ‘steps’ of the waterfall, and then goes across the bottom, so of course that means there are shots of the falls from all angles!




The trail then meandered along the bottom of the gorge for about a kilometre.  We spotted some painted finches, but they were a bit quick for a really good photo.






After scrambling up rocks we reached Circular Pool.  The pool itself never gets sun on it so there is an abundance of ferns.





It was quite a climb back out of the gorge at that end, and then we walked back along the rim in the late afternoon sun.




Karijini National Park Day 2 - Hancock and Weano Gorges, and Joffre and Knox Lookouts

We started off the day with about a 100km drive to another section of the park.  The first gorge we did was Hancock.  After a steep decent on rock steps and steel ladders we reached the bottom of the gorge.  We loved how the parallel lines in the rock faces curved around corners.






The walk notes said ‘may need to walk through water’… which turned out to be ‘will need to walk through thigh deep water’ (in the picture above).  As we talked to people coming the other way we also discovered that there were some parts after the water where the ledges to be negotiated were quite narrow.  Dazz took his boots off and went through the water to have a look and took some photos of people clambering around the rocks.  When he came back he decided there was too much risk of being put off balance with our backpacks and camera gear – and he certainly didn’t want his camera and lenses to go swimming!



I took my boots off and put my little point and shoot camera in my pocket and scrambled around the rocks to the amphitheatre and the beginning of the spider walk.  




It involved having one foot on each wall on either side of the stream/waterfall, and climbing down like a four legged spider.  I decided that was far enough for me, so neither of us got to see the Kermit Pool, which was the end of that walk.  We consoled ourselves with the knowledge that there was so much light bouncing around in the amphitheatre that it was difficult to take a good photo, and the Kermit Pool probably would have been the same.  By this time we were already running late on our schedule, so we raced back up to the top of the gorge, with a couple more quick photos on the way.



Next stop was the Junction Pool and Oxer Lookouts, which show how deep the gorges are that we were walking in.




After a quick lunch we did the Weano Gorge loop, starting at the ‘shallow’ end.  Much of the beginning of the walk was through spinifex and a slightly more open narrow creek environment.





As we got further down the gorge it narrowed and the rock formations became more prominent.  There were also some deeper pools.




There was one narrow ledge to climb around, a little more rock hopping along the creek and then a narrow section of gorge that opened to a small pool surrounded by cliffs.






The end of the walk is Handrail Pool, named for the handrail that is needed to get down the final section.



The little waterfall was nicely in shadow when we arrived, but there was far too much contrast on other side of the gorge for a photo.  The best we could do was the reflection in the pool.




Coming back out of the handrail pool the reflections in the water and the swirling rocks made for an interesting effect.





Another lot of rock steps, and that was the end of Weano Gorge.



While we were in that section of the park we decided to also have a look at the Joffre Falls and Knox Lookouts to see if it was worth another 200km round trip to do the walks to the bottom of each of those gorges.  We could see enough of the bottom of both to decide we probably wouldn’t be missing any stunning photo opportunities.  Joffre Falls would be amazing after rain, though.




We also had a nice sunset view of Mount Bruce.