What a wonderful nights sleep. I do love my beds. Breakfast was wonderful and really filling. After breakfast we went treking in the Park. The first place we went was the Visitor Center.
The Karijini Visitor Center, was opened on June 22, 2001. The design of the building represents a goanna moving through the country and is symbolic to local Banyjima Aboriginal people. The tail represents their history, the head the future direction of the traditional owners, and Aboriginal Law is in the center or stomach. The high, weathered steel walls of the visitor center mimic the sheet-sided gorges that are a feature of the park.
The building is designed to withstand the fires that are a regular feature of the area. The construction materials, lack of openings and minimal places to trap debris, all help reduce the threat of fire entering or damaging the building.
Inside, the visitor center interprets the natural and cultural history of the area. A range of static and interactive displays take you on a journey of places and people, past and present, through stories of geology, plants, animals and Aboriginal people and their culture.
The center provides employment opportunities for local Aboriginal people and gives visitors a chance to speak with them and learn about their association with the land.
I had a fantastic time talking with the local people and learning more about their beliefs. I was spell bound. I really didn't want to leave there but I wanted to stay with the group. So I left knowing I could go back tomorrow.
At Dales Gorge we find tranquil sunken gardens, deep sedge-fringed pools, and permanently cascading waterfalls. I'm so happy that there are a few walks here of varying difficulties.
The easiest walk is the Gorge rim which is a 2km walk and is about 2 hours return. To get to this walk we first go to the Circular Pool. We walk around it looking at all the beautiful scenery and snapping pictures all the while.
White barked snappy gums grow in the caprock of the gorge and shady groves of native cypress shelter on the cliff face beneath the track. This walk offers gorgeous glimpses into Dales Gorge with amazing colours especially at sunset.
We then decide to take the slightly harder walk which is the Fortescue Falls track. It is 800m and takes about 1 hour return. This track is a bit more difficult because we need to negotiate steps and a narrow trail to the waterfall. We come around the last bend and have a great view.
Not far from Fortescue Falls is the beautiful Fern Pool. Here you can have a refreshing swim in the spring fed permanent falls. You’ll feel like you’re in a tropical paradise at this pool surrounded by ferns and trees. Park managers have erected a wooden swimming platform with stairs, so water access is easy. Make sure you sit under the permanently cascading waterfall where water is warm and showerlike. Be wary in the cooler months (April-September) as the water can be bitterly cold and there is a risk of hyperthermia if you stay in too long. As you descend on your walk you’ll notice the vegetation changes and becomes more dense and tropical, while the iron-ore rich gorge walls become deep red and purple in color. After a refreshing dip in the water we are so energized we decide to take in some of the Gorges!
In Joffre Gorge, one can truly appreciate the power of water shaping the landscape. The gorge hosts impressive waterfalls, deep pools and breath-taking views.
Joffre Lookout is an easy walk that is just 100m and 10 minutes return. This walk is a must as you take the rock steps down to the lookout to view this spectacular curved waterfall forming a natural amphitheatre. The view is especially impressive after rain.
Knox lookout is another spectacular lookout just a short trip north up Joffre Road from the Joffre lookout. This walk is 300m and 15 minutes return. Take the steps down to the lookout and watch the views spread out in the distance. This view is especially good in the early morning or late afternoon light. We ended up here in the late afternoon just as the light was the best! The colors were spectacular and we all posed and took pictures.
The more difficult walks are the Knox Gorge and Joffre Falls tracks. We end up taking The Joffre Falls track. This one is a 3km, 3 hour return track that takes you to the bottom of Joffre Gorge to the first pool downstream of the waterfall. What a sight!
The last gorge we saw was the Weano Gorge. A short walk into Weano Gorge brings you to Handrail Pool, which is great for swimming. We all took one last dip and had a great time splashing each other and swimming getting in a different exercise other than walking or hiking. We all had a great time and eventually we got dressed and went back to our campers.
On our way back we came across this little guy.
Well ok this BIG guy! We all gave him a healthy space and hurried back to our campers. That was quite exciting. We kept watching him until he finally went out of view.
We went back to our campsites and settled in talking all about the day and all the sights we saw. It was very interesting to see the different colors in all the gorges and throughout the day. The different lighting throughout the day showed all the great minerals in the walls.
Since I was walking so much today I started falling asleep in my chair. So I went to bed dreaming of all the colors and patterns in the gorges we had just saw today.