Approximately 100kms from Tom Price, we arrived at Dales Campground and checked in at the camp host tent where we met Chris. Chris happily advised us on the walks in the area and assigned us a site that would be large enough for the camper and afford us plenty of sun for the solar panel.
The ground was still soaked and the red earth turned to mud, so it was quite a messy experience setting up camp.
Once we were settled we went for a walk to check out our new surroundings in Karijini National Park.
Taking care on the slippery rock path we descended into the gorge and were met with the amazing sight of Fortescue Falls at the base.
The air was still damp and the mist and hung low in the gorge. After the week of changing plans and hanging about waiting for the weather to change we felt re-energised by the peacefulness of the place that we had to ourselves. Climbing back up the hill we both agreed that this looked like it should be a good week.
Dales Gorge Walks
There are a number of walks that can be done around Dales Gorge that can be done individually or in combination. We took the advice of Chris the camp host and did them in one combined loop.
The sun broke clear after our first night in camp we were greeted by blue sky. We hiked along the gorge rim taking in the spectacular views of the cliffs illuminated by the morning sun.
The path switched back and forth along the cliff face as we descended into the gorge, finishing with a short ladder climb.
We walked along the base of the gorge cris-crossing the stream flowing along the middle before emerging at Circular Pool.
This beautiful swimming hole is surrounded by tall cliff faces, some parts glowing with the reflection of the sun, other parts cast in shadow and covered with ferns.
We returned along the base of the gorge to the ladder before proceeding along the base of the gorge. Again the path wove alongside the stream and was alternately flat smooth earth or cobbled rock.
We rested on the edge of a small ledge overlooking the stream and had our lunch surrounded by silence and the peaceful sounds of running water and nature.
Carrying on we emerged at the bottom of Fortescue Falls that we had visited yesterday. Many people were visiting today, either swimming in the pool or lazing on the rocky ledges soaking in the sun.
The temperature was hovering in the mid-twenties and decided to take a swim. The water cooler than expected, but very much enjoyed the refreshment after working up a sweat hiking through the gorge. After drying off we climbed the falls and carried on along path to Ferny Pool.
Ferny Pool has a platform built along its edge with a ladder to enter the water. This is in accordance with aboriginal wishes that no splashing or loud noises in this area. Apparently if you sit on the ledge and dangle your feet in the pool the fish will eat the dead skin from your feet, but neither of us were keen to try this.
We left this tranquil place and returned to the falls to make the climb back up the rocky path to returning to camp about 4 hours after we set out.
Karijini National Park had just rocketed to our number one place in Australia