Travel Time: About 5 hours
Steps Walked: 15,118
Distance Travelled: 338 km
There is a beautiful song bird around Karijini which unfortunately starts its greeting of the day at 5.30 am and sings the same 7-8 notes over and over and over again. So needless to say, we left for Dales Gorge just after 7 am.
There were three cars in the car park when we arrived, but Dales Campground is within walking distance of the gorge.
We decided to start with the hot stuff first and hiked along the top of the gorge which was stunning. The top walk wasn't signposted particularly well, and a couple of times we thought we might have missed the steps down to the bottom of the gorge, but eventually we found the natural steps down.
It truly is beautiful and we were alone most of the time, but it was busier than Handcock and Weano Gorges. Voices carried through the silence so we heard people before we saw them. We swam at Fortescue Falls, not realising Fern Pool was further along, and given the choice we would have swam at Fern Pool instead. Circular Pool was closed because of the danger of rocks falling.
The staircase up was all metal, and not too steep, with plenty of platforms to rest if you needed to get your breath back, or wanted to take more photos.
After we left, we stopped at the Visitors Centre to read about the history of the area and then returned to the campsite. It was about midday and we'd seen what we wanted to see in Karijini, so we packed up and left for Port Hedland.
We arrived at sunset and discovered the caravan park we were planning to stay at was fully booked and the other two parks in town were closed for renovation. After a desperate Google search, we discovered we could park at the Turf Club for free and there were some public toilets we could use - no shower though. Luckily we'd packed some wet ones. It proved to be an interesting night.