EXMOUTH to POINT SAMSON [via Karajini National Park]

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July 21st 2010
Published: July 21st 2010
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Mountaineers in Training?Mountaineers in Training?Mountaineers in Training?

Climbing down to Handrail Pool.
Exmouth has been a great stopover. There is a lot to do in the area and the Big4 Park where we stayed was well appointed and just a kilometer stroll to the shops. We discovered Whalers, a local restaurant and coffee shop that served nice food and that elusive ‘good’ coffee.

We were surprised on our arrival to see Rod and Lynne Dell . We first met them at Esperance and then saw them again at Jurien Bay. Whalers became a dinner venue for the four of us and the company and food was excellent.

We’ve talked about our first week here and so let’s look at the last few days.

Oyster Stacks and Turquoise Bay

Rhonda was really keen on the snorkeling experience so we took a trip back to Cape Range NP to visit the two best locations. Oyster Stacks was probably the best site for coral and fish but because the entry is very rocky and the water was wind driven and bumpy, it was a bit uncomfortable. The area required that you dive at or near high tide as the coral is so near the surface. We were being pitched about
Auski SunsetAuski SunsetAuski Sunset

Another great sunset. They happen all the time over here.
a bit so contact with the coral was off-putting.

As the windy conditions were causing significant wave action at the edge of the reef , much more water than usual was flowing into the lagoon areas and that was causing an undertow due to water rushing back out and that had to be observed. All good fun.

Turquoise Bay is the family friendly area. We moved to that area and found the conditions much easier to handle. It is so good to be able to pull on a wetsuit on the beach, hop into the water and fit your fins and simply move out 50-70 meters and see coral and fish.

Kailis Fisheries

From the first mention of visiting Exmouth, everyone said, ‘don’t miss Kailis’. It is situated about 20 klm from town on the way in/out. So we just had to buy some Coral Trout, Fresh Prawns, Exmouth Bugs and Tiger Prawn Cutlets at very cheap prices.

The Marina

The bikes were dusted off and away we went for a ride. We found ourselves at the Marina and the Gamefishing Club quietly enjoying a coffee. The Marina has been built with a surrounding

Rock structures here are awesome.
waterway subdivision on what was the local tip! Not only that, it is in the path of outflow in the aftermath of cyclones and general flooding in the wet season. Supposedly the wash way has been relocated. Hmmm … we wonder whether Mother Nature has been consulted!


The trip to Tom Price was too far for us in one day so we headed to Nanutarra Roadhouse for an overnighter. The water was not potable but we had power so it wasn’t too bad. Not the worst place we have stayed.

The Roadhouse was happy to serve a piece of fish and some chips for $18.50! Another captive audience situation.

For the first time in all our travels, there wasn’t a narrow nozzle for diesel! So we had to download the containers and hand fill the tank. We made it to Tom Price with just 60 klm left in the tank.


We had decided not to go inland but a call from Bob and Jacquie Hayter saw the decision reversed. ‘We can’t let you go by and miss Karajini’ they said. So we changed

Another pool in great surrounds.
our mind.

Rhonda booked a day tour with Lestok Tours for the day after our arrival so on day one we had a look around. The shopping centre is most unusual and it took us a while to find everything. It looks like a number of homesteads with verandas covering a large area and without all the gaudy signs of a shopping centre. All the basics were there.

Karajini National Park

The 30 seater bus arrived at 7.15 am to pick us up for our tour of the park. We introduced ourselves to Chris and were about to get on the bus when he said ‘Guess what? You’re it!’. So off we went with our personal bus and tour guide! It was fantastic because he tailored the tour to suit our fitness level. No not wound it down, he thought we could handle things with a bit of tough going.
There are several areas of Gorges in Karajini as well as the Visitors’ Centre. The two main ones are Dales Gorge area and Weano Gorge area.

Our first port of call was Weano. Before taking the trip into Weano itself, we visited a
Pilbara LandscapePilbara LandscapePilbara Landscape

A unique and beautiful part of Australia.
couple of overhead lookouts from which we saw Joffre, Knox, Hancock and Weano gorges. The incredible thing with them is that they are massive cutaways below ground level up to 100 meters deep with water and plants way down in the crevices. They looked like you would imagine crevasses in ice might look except they were in rock.

The next move was to physically climb down to Handrail Pool in Weano Gorge. That involved a walk to the first pool with the last part rated as a level 5 climb. We then had to wade through cold water that came up to the privates. Next we edged along a ledge until there was a need to straddle running water until we came to a handrail. After following the handrail for a while there was a final vertical descent of about ten metres holding for dear life to the handrail and by straddling it, climbing down the man made steps. The result? We found ourselves on our own in an awesome rock enclave with a large pool of water. It was quiet and beautiful. Well worth the effort.

Chris drove us around to the Visitor Centre. He

Developed over millions of years.
provided a massive healthy lunch and then we had free time to go through the centre. It was really interesting and focused of the formation of the gorges and the Aborigines of the area.

Dales Gorge is the area most visited in the area and is just as spectacular although a little different. Again we did a couple of lookouts and then proceeded to climb down to see Fortescue Falls and the Fern Pool. Chris was goading us into going for a swim and, after the cold water over at Weano, we were very reluctant. Anyway we agreed to wear our bathers and set off to examine the falls and visit the pool. Rhonda immediately dived in and headed for the other side where it too had a waterfall. Well, shame and embarrassment overcame the bold male so he too took the plunge. Surprisingly the water was not so cold and we discovered why when we made the 100 metre swim to the falls. The falls were much warmer than the pool and gave a terrific massage. After swimming back Mere Male was pooped but very pleased with the experience.

You have to go to Karajini yourself to
Damn Big Termites?Damn Big Termites?Damn Big Termites?

Dwaarfed us ... and the bus!
really appreciate it. Make sure you do.

On our last day in Tom Price we were doing some ‘housekeeping’ when who should turn up and claim the site next to us? Rod and Lynne again! It was good to see them again as we had said our goodbyes. To show our appreciation, we visited for pre dinner drinks!


We decided to stay on sealed roads and the best way to Point Samson was via Auski Roadhouse in the town of Munjina. A this point in the trip we saw road houses as tolerable. Auski belied that. We were told to go find the site we would like and use it. The site was beautifully grasses and big enough to allow us to leave the car hitched.

A little while later, a nice couple from Mooroolbark parked up next door. We all got on well and enjoyed a natter over a few drinks until well into the night. Bob from Brisbane joined us as well and we had to continuously wrest the conversation back from him but he was harmless enough and was well travelled and worldly. We plan to
Handraail PoolHandraail PoolHandraail Pool

Tranquil and pretty.
catch up with the Chessells back in Melbourne.

The plan was to leave at 7.30 the next morning as there were delays of up to two hours on that day on the road we planned to travel. They were transporting massive crushing plant components to Newman and they were so wide all traffic was taken off the road to accommodate. Each time the 450 wheel monster reached a pullover it stopped and traffic was allowed to slip around it. There were two units in the convoy. Luckily, we didn’t see them and had a good trip to Point Samson.

Additional photos below
Photos: 18, Displayed: 18


Still Climbing!Still Climbing!
Still Climbing!

The reward was worth it. Stunning.
100 metres down100 metres down
100 metres down

Note the algae in the water and the size of the people down there.

A sample of the hard ochre used by aborigines for body paint and art.
Fern PoolFern Pool
Fern Pool

A large pool near Fortescue Falls at Dales Gorge.
The RewardThe Reward
The Reward

The Pretty mob at play in the Fern Pool.

Not likely! But we got there.
Fortescue FallsFortescue Falls
Fortescue Falls

Top section.
Erosion over the EonsErosion over the Eons
Erosion over the Eons

A Dales Gorge feature
Water CrossingWater Crossing
Water Crossing

We got the privates wet in this cold pool.

Weano Gorge precinct.

21st July 2010

Great Photos
Dear peter Rhonda, The photos provide a glimpse of karijini that is very beautiful. Good to see you are still enjoying the trip
23rd July 2010

Just beautiful!!!
So Fantastic! It looks amazing.....Thanks for the pics.All great here too,talk to you soon. xxooxxoo
23rd July 2010

Love your work
I just thought I would mention what a great blog this is. I have been out to the national park but after reading your words will have to go again! Thanks for the inspiration. Donna - living in Karratha.
23rd July 2010

Go for it Donna, you'll love it.

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