Sunday, 26 July 2009

Spectacular Karijini Gorges

The trip south from Port Hedland provides a grand scenery, changing as I go south. Wide open country, savannah with lots of Spinifex wherever I look. Soft subtle colours with sharp, contrasting colours in the general backdrop. Above all that a pale blue sky, illuminating the scene in a translucent sort of way.

Looks like a 'Mini' Devil's Marbles

The further south I get, the more the mountain ranges are standing out, no time to get bored looking at this ever-changing landscape around me. I re-fuel at Auski Roadhouse and drive further south till I get to the turn-off into Karijini National Park, the place with the most spectacular Gorges in Australia, probably anywhere, really.

Coming closer to Karijini

I pick up a brochure at the Visitor Centre from the Tour operator and call him to book myself in for the Gorges tour next morning. Dales Campground is full, so I spend the night in the 'overflow' not far from the Visitor Centre. It turns out identical as the official campground with the added incentive that its free.

The next morning I drive across to Dales Gorge, about 10km east and walk down the Gorge just after 7am. Its as spectacular as I remember from last year's visit. The light a bit on the weak side as we are having an overcast morning, therefore not a lot of shadows, a more even light for taking pictures. I walk the gorge from one end to the other, a lot of the time over boulders and at times, along narrow rock ledges.

Some views inside Dales Gorge

A lone Dingo at the bottom of Dales Gorge

I finish my own 'tour' just in time to get back to the Visitor Centre, where I am to meet up with the Tour Operator, Jeff with his bus and a group of about 10 other participants, mostly overseas tourists, some from Germany and a couple from Switzerland. Jeff has put on morning tea which includes a cup of tea and muffins, also a good opportunity to meet everyone.

View down Joffre Gorge

We drive about 40km on dirt, visit Joffre Gorge, Red Gorge and Hancock Gorge and also Weano Gorge, where some of the group have chosen to walk down to Handrail Pool in Weano Gorge. The water is very cold, so I decide not to do that part.

We have lunch around 3pm, lots of cold cuts and salads and fresh fruit. On the way back Jeff relates the story how Aboriginal people hunt Goanna:

Goanna (Reptile up to 2 metres long) has been very much on the menu for most tribes, as a rich source of protein for thousands of years. To catch it, is another story. Goannas live underground with an entry/exit hole at the top. The hunter who is to catch the reptile needs to be near that entry hole while another hunter will chase the Goanna toward its home. When the Goanna dives into its hole, the catcher gets hold of its tail and pulls it back out. No, not all the way, just enough so the hind legs come out of the hole. (They do have sharp claws and could make a mess of you in no time) The hunter then grabs both legs, breaks them and then pulls out the goanna completely and kills it with a large rock. A long stick with a bit of branch at the end, making a kind of hook, is now used to pull out the entrails through the mouth of the animal. Large rocks are heated in a fire. The reptile is placed on the stones and is cooked whole. Tastes like chicken they tell me. Me? I'm not game to try. I much prefer the real thing: It's called "Chicken"!!!


Campervan Gypsy said...

Hi there Peter, I am following your trip with interest. Your journry has helped me plan my own trip from the south. My first solo experience as a campervan gypsy will be rather daunting but your pictures, descriptions and observations have inspired me to overcome my fears. Who knows we may even meet up somewhere along the track one day!!!

Peter said...

Hey, Campervan Gypsy,
I am glad you are getting some inspiration from my blog. Congratulations for taking the plunge to Life-On-The-Road. Its not all sunshine and roses but its a great way to get to see this beautiful country at your own speed, making decisions as you go.
Thanks for your comment.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete,
reading your story with great envy. Probably be another 2 months before we get going again. Shoulder still troublesome, plus bad infection on my L hand, after some Bougainvillea trimming. We'll probably see you soon in Sydney.
Cheers, Eck.