Karajini, here we come.

After an overnight stop in Port Hedland we headed inland on Highway 95 towards the mining town of Newman. The first section would be about 290kms before the turn off to Karajini. Things were going smoothly until just before 11:00 when we started to back up in a line behind something. As most of the vehicles in front of us were also large we couldn’t see what was holding us up so we turned on our UHF radio. As I was driving Karen worked the radio. It soon became apparent it was an oversize vehicle carrying equipment and that when possible they were allowing vehicles past them. After about twenty minutes we found ourselves right behind the rear pilot truck. Within three minutes we came to a floodway which had a wider shoulder than other parts of the road and we received the all clear to pass the oversize vehicle.Of course we still had the front pilot vehicle to get past, as did another Toyota in front of us. Fortunately we both managed to pass at the next available spot and were soon on our way again. The final message from the pilot vehicle on the UHF radio to Karen was ‘Have a great holiday granny!” which didn’t impress Karen.About an hour later the landscape started to change and we found ourselves driving through some interesting terrain.With about 50kms to the turnoff into Karajini we reached the Auski Roadhouse. We had heard mixed reports about staying here. However once we saw it for ourselves we decided the dusty conditions on the main road made it a far from ideal place to stay. Just driving into the petrol pumps over the massive dips in the unsealed entry way was a challenge. Anyway we filled up on diesel and continued down to the turnoff to Karajini. On reaching the intersection to the Information Centre and Dale’s Gorge Camping Ground we decided to check out things first at the Information Centre. It was really well set up with excellent displays, which we decided to come back to later on in our stay. Sadly we found out that the camping area was already full but there was a possibility to camp in an overflow area so off we drove. The Parks ranger met as the turnoff to this overflow area and explained what to do. Camping was free there for one night. There was drinking water and drop toilets but if we wanted a shower you paid to use the ones at the Information Centre. He suggested that early the next day we drive into Dale’s Gorge Camping Ground and queue up. Most days there was a turnover of campers and we would probably be alright to get in the next day. So into the overflow area we drove and found a good spot which would be mostly in shade for the rest of the day. We set up the caravan and ate a very late lunch in the caravan. By this time it was about 15:30 but we felt it would be a good idea to drive the 10kms to check out things for the next day. We found the camping area pretty easily. From there we drove a bit further into the Dale’s Gorge day parking area. Several walks could be done from there. After looking at the map and seeing the distances of the walks we decided to do the rim walk. Pretty quickly it became apparent this was a spectacular gorge indeed.We quickly came upon the stairway down to Fortescue falls, another of the walks. Even though it was a heavily shadowed area we decided this was a must do the next day.We continued our walkspotting a number of tough but lovely wildflowers as we went.Down below us there was clearly quite a bit of water flowing from the falls through the gorge.Many contrasting colours and light conditions made for lots of photo opportunities.
As the light faded we finished our walk and headed back to the car and drove west into the setting sun back to the overflow camping area. By now it was a totally different scene from when we had arrived. Caravans, tents and camper vans everywhere. Our camper van neighbours were literally right next door to us, cooking on a small stove. Had a quick chat while Karen prepared dinner. They were from France. After dinner was over we read for a while by the light of our rechargeable lantern before taking an early night ready to leave early to queue up at Dale’s Gorge Campground in the morning. From what we had seen there were some beautiful walks to be done.


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