Tired but eager to see what the day brought us my daughter and I headed out on the 15 minute drive to the Weano Recreation Area where I’d been the previous morning to visit Hancock gorge.
The Girl & The Valley
Karijini National Park is one of the largest and most photogenic national parks in Australia. The park is famous for its sheer gorges, waterfalls, sparkling rock pools and cool swimming holes. The park is all about exploring serpentine tunnels of marbled rock, clambering over boulders, squeezing through narrow tunnels, inching your way along ledges, paddling through subterranean waterways and descending deep into chasms which have been eroded into the landscape over two billion years.
We were arriving here relatively late (well after sunrise) so instead of heading to the lookouts first we parked in the main carpark and headed straight down into the gorge instead. Well not before showing my daughter where the emergency radio was at the top and when and how to use it if we (I) got into trouble down in the gorge.
The Karijini National Park information and walk trail guide indicates that Weano Gorge is a Class 4 walk and the Handrail Pool a Class 5.
“Class 5 trails are difficult and a high level of fitness is required. Trail markings are minimal, and steep sections with vertical
drops are common. Expect to encounter natural hazards including large boulders; pools of water; slippery, wet rocks; and narrow, high ledges“.
I’d be taking my 10 year old daughter down here so we needed to be careful. As it turned out she was more than equipped for the trek – in hindsight she should have joined me for the walk into Hancock gorge (another Class 5) the previous morning as well :).
By 7:45AM we were down the bottom and well advanced on our trip along the bottom of Weano Gorge. It was also a good opportunity to stop at this spot and take our first photographs down here.
The shot up top of this post gives a good sense of scale of these gorges. Towering red cliffs rise way above us and narrow cracks lead us further into the gorges. It’s a truly amazing place.
Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger – so click any of the images below to see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer.
Above we have a five (5) frame stitched panorama taken at this bend in the gorge. Hopefully it gives you a sense of what you have to scramble over and through to make your way down here. The wide angle is somewhat deceptive – I’m probably a couple of metres above where my daughter is standing below.
Weano Recreation Area