When I think of Karijini National Park the colours rush into my head. Rich reds, slate blues and intense yellows. To get there, we travelled south from Broome and then inland from near Port Headland. I could sense the landscape changing into something new as the flat expanse on either side of the road began to sweep up into ridges of exposed red earth.
Once inside the National Park, ranging hills of scattered spinifex, silver ‘snappy’ gums and curly barked wattle. It was the gorges though that stunned me. It was if the red earth had cracked open, solid chunks of soil at the top giving way to layered rocks above the clear waters. Each gorge had an entirely different character and throughout, contrasting textures of paper bark, delicate flowers, mosses and ferns, and the amazing rock.
To get down into them we following trails, scrambled carefully between markers on steep rocks and climbed ladders. We then meandered, sometimes by broad pools and gushing waterfalls, edging along the rocks. At times, we had to wade thigh deep in the winter chilled streams.
In one, after clambering down, the canyon opened up into a large pool framed by an amphitheatre of rock. It was less than balmy but I wanted to have a swim somewhere on our walks. This seemed the place to take the plunge.
It was bracingly cold. I sidled in off the rock shelf, dived under and came up laughing and shivering at the same time, trying to keep moving. After a few strokes around, I paddled hurriedly back to sit crouched on the rock ledge with some of the others, dripping and goose-bumped.
We camped out in the National Park and even an early morning comfort stroll brought a vision breathtaking in it’s beauty.