Our Guide to Karijini with Kids under 5

by | Dec 5, 2018 | Blog, Itineraries, Kids travel, Western Australia | 0 comments

Thinking of doing Karijini with kids under 5, we did and it was one of the most amazing and challenging experiences we have had yet on our trip!

From the most picturesque free camp up on a cliff top, to swimming in the many swimming holes throughout Dales Gorge, taking the steps down to the beautiful Hammersley Gorge then off to tackle Hancock Gorge and Weano Gorge. It was 5 days that was exhilarating and challenging, it got us working together as a family and the kids have taught us to let them lead, trust their instincts and allow them time to figure out the challenges that lay ahead. We took it slow and allowed them the freedom to choose how much they want to do on their own and when they need our assistance. This is our story and guide to Karijini with kids and hopefully it inspires you to venture out to this amazing part of Australia.

Day 1

We started our Karijini adventure spending a night at Albert Tognolini Free Camp found on Wiki Camps located not far from Karijini National Park. This was the perfect place to set-up and wind down after a day of driving, there was already a fire pit ready made, we collected some wood, lit a fire, toasted some marshmallows and took in the incredible views of our cliff side camp spot. Lucky for us there was plenty of room for the kids to play away from the cliff edge.

Day 2

  • Where we stayed – Dales Campgrounds
  • Cost – $11 per adult per night, $3 per night for kids with kids under 5 free
  • Location – Karijini National Park with easy access to Dales Gorge
  • No power or water available

Dales Gorge

A 4km return trip through the Gorge and along the rim. We started at the Fortescue Falls carpark and walked down the stairs to be greeted by a stunning cascading waterfall known as Fortescue Falls. Taking some rock steps over the water we continued down the bottom of the Gorge until the end to the stunning sight of Circular Pool. Although the water is extremely cold it is worth the trek to sit down and have a bite to eat and a dip if you are game. Heading back there was a short trek to a steep decent to get to the top of the Gorge to complete the last 2km of the Rim Walk. It was a fairly easy walk to navigate, rocky in places and some rocks to climb over, getting down to Circular Pool is a bit of a steep decent but Ella managed to complete herself with little help from us, just at the end doing the rim walk Ryan carried her but she flourished with the challenging parts of the walk.

Tips

  • Take the walk to the right of Fortescue Falls and it will take you to Fern Pool, we didn’t realise at the time and ended up coming back in the morning to see Fern Pool.
  • Complete the Dales Gorge rim walk first as there is no shade, then make your way down to Circular Pool and complete the base walk to Fortescue Falls and Fern Pool

Day 3

  • Where we stayed – Dales Campgrounds
  • Cost – $11 per adult per night, $3 per night for kids with kids under 5 free
  • Location – Karijini National Park with easy access to Dales Gorge
  • No power or water available

Hammersley Gorge and Tom Price

Hammersley Gorge is 90km from Dales Campgrounds with 40km of corrugated dirt roads and when we arrived we were pleased to see that it was a short easy climb down to this picturesque sight. With plenty of room to put out a mat and have a picnic and  crystal clear water to cool off in this was a hit with our kids.

We stopped in at Tom Price for the afternoon on our way back to have a look at the town which is Western Australia’s highest town at 747m above sea level then headed back to our campgrounds for the night where Ryan did an Astronomy experience which was amazing value for money and a highlight for him.

Top Experience – Remtrek Astronomy Night

  • Astro tour of the night skies
  • Cost – $30 per person
  • Location – Dales Gorge Campgrounds
  • Phil the guide takes you through an astro session of the night skies
  • 3 large telescopes to view the stars and planets
  • Photo of the moon taken through the telescope with our Samsung Galaxy phone

 Day 4

  • Where we stayed – Karijini Eco Retreat
  • Cost – $20 per adult per night, kids under 12 free
  • Location – Karijini National Park, short drive to Weano and Hancock Gorge located on the bushlands of Joffree Gorge
  • No power or water available only for drinking, not for filling up tanks

We made the drive to our next stay at Karijini Eco Retreat. We chose to stay here for its close proximity to Weano Gorge and Hancock Gorge, two gorges that we had on our list to visit. The Eco Retreat is an environmentally friendly retreat in the pristine bushlands at Joffree Gorge. It really showcases the diverse landscape of Karijini which we instantly fell in love with when we first entered the National Park.

 

Day 5

  • Where we stayed – Karijini Eco Retreat
  • Cost – $20 per adult per night, kids under 12 free
  • Location – Karijini National Park short drive to Weano and Hancock Gorge located on the bushlands of Joffree Gorge
  • No power or water available only for drinking, not for filling up tanks

Hancock Gorge

A class 5 walk we put Bodhi in our Kathmandu backpack and started this walk early. We scaled across rockwalls and navigated the rocky terrain to get to what is known as the ‘Spider Walk’, a skinny passage you climb through to be greeted with a stunning pool known as Kermits Pool. Although we did not go for a swim, the water is freezing, the adventure in was enough for us to leave feeling like we accomplished something challenging together as a family. Ella absolutely thrived on this walk scaling the rock walls with ease it was remarkable seeing her navigate these challenges herself and seeing her beaming with pride after was simply amazing

Weano Gorge

After driving back to our van for lunch we made our way back to complete Weano Gorge. Another Class 5 walk and this one there was no way around getting wet! Walking through water which went waist deep at times we took it nice and slow until we arrived at the Handrail Pool. Handrail Pool is a handrail you use to lower yourself down the cliff to the pool below. Ryan went first to see how it felt and he was happy so I strapped Ella on my back with our Lillebaby carrier and with Bodhi still in our Kathmandu carrier we completed the climb down to Handrail Pool. It was easier than we thought with the handrail being very grippy and step ledges have been put in to help you climb down. We found Weano Gorge to be the easy of the 2 gorges that we completed today.

 

To finish our last night at Karijini Eco Retreat we enjoyed dinner at the restaurant and all went to bed early exhausted after the days effort.

Need to know

  • No potable water is available within Karijini National Park
  • You need to take all rubbish with you for your stays
  • Petrol is available at Auski Roadhouse or Tom Price
  • You need to purchase a park pass for entry into Karijini National Park

Tips for Karijini with kids

  • Have reef shoes for everyone in the family with water to walk through and rocks to climb you need proper footwear to avoid slipping
  • Have carriers ready for the kids we have a Kathmandu backpack for Bodhi and I carried Ella in our Lillebaby carrier for the parts that she needed it
  • Have either a waterproof bag or use zip lock bags to waterproof your items as you will get wet, we found mainly just the bottoms of our bags got wet but it still gets in everywhere.
  • Bathers, we didn’t bring any towels as it was hot enough that we dried quickly.
  • Sunscreen, food and plenty of water is a must some of these places you will want to stay at for a little while to cool off and enjoy
  • First aid kit you never know what situations may happen always best to be prepared and it is one of the harder places to get help in if something goes wrong
  • Satellite Phone as there is no reception in the National Park

Lastly…

Take your time and trust your kids, Ella is 3 almost 4 and she did a lot of these on her own she was tired and over them when we did Weano Gorge which we carried her for but the rest she completed herself. Trust your kids abilities, be there to support them but let them navigate their own way it’s rewarding seeing your young kids achieve this for themselves. Most importantly have fun enjoy Karijini it’s a beautiful place don’t feel like you have to complete them all, go there and see for yourself you will know your own capabilities. If you are not comfortable with a spot there is still plenty of easily accessible places to enjoy you won’t miss out.

We loved Karijini and are really glad we did it and the kids really enjoyed the surroundings and challenging walks we plan to visit again in the future but for now we can relish in our memories of our adventures in Karijini. We will leave you with a video showing our time and the type of walks involved when visiting Karijini.

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