There were four of us in our family community that settled in a Karijini National Park and we were lucky on our first day of exploration to have a trusty four wheel drive wagon to take us to the different gorges around this extensive park. We had determined that Kalamina Gorge was our first destination and the map below shows our first trip was a 20 km drive out of the Eco Retreat site. The road between the Eco Retreat and the park’s visitor centre was a dirt road that was prone to severe corrugations and only suitable for 4WDs. We chatted to a Park Ranger later in the day and he told us that this road had only been graded two months before but it very quickly reverted to corrugations as its natural state. Our trip to Kalamina Gorge was dusty and bouncy but was worth the effort.
The signage at the park was always prominent and helpful. Walking/climbing into gorges is a natural risky activity and the signs at the start of the walk into Kalamina Gorge were very helpful. The walks were always classified on a scale of 1-5 and given that the baby boomers were very prevalent amongst the visitors, very important to ensure folk risk assessed their walks for the day very carefully. Having a dodgy knee, I was the least physically fit of our group of four but I found this walk reasonably comfortable. Once we were down into the gorge, the beauty of the scenery took away any sense of concern about the “range of surfaces” that the walk involved.
At the bottom of the entry walk into the gorge there is a waterfall and pool that set the standard for the scenery for the rest of the walk. One of the issues that arose over the rest of our time in Karijini when we came to these hidden pools and waterfalls was the wondering if whether these were sacred sites for the local First Australian people; they certainly seemed like that to us.
The other issue that was a regular feature of our walk was the extraordinary geological formations we came across in the gorges. In the case of Kalamina gorge, they stratified layers of the iron rich rock look so neat, almost as if we were in a stone mason’s yard where the pavers were neatly stacked.
There was a stream at the bottom of the gorge that we followed, looking for a spot where some of the group were keen to have a swim. Whilst our walk was beautiful and in no way concerning for our health and safety, we were aware of the stories of locals that when its starts raining up stream, these are the places where it is important to get out of quickly due to the swiftness of the rise of the water.
We eventually came to a broad pool in the gorge that was perfect for a swim and a relax on the rock shelfs in the sun. For those visitors familiar with the important 1971 film ‘Walkabout’ starring the amazing David Gulpilil and Jenny Agutter, we will always remember when David Gulpilil brings his lost white children to a desert oasis and pool in the centre of the Australian desert country. It was memories of this film that entertained me as the family enjoyed the privilege of swimming in this gorgeous waterhole.
We were conscious that we had another gorge to visit that day and so we decided we would end our walk down Kalamina Gorge here. The map below shows that we missed reaching and exploring Rock Arch pool at the end of the suggested walk in this gorge. However we needed lunch to get through an even longer walk later in the day through Dales Gorge.