The drive along the northern perimeter of Karijini National Park from Wittenoom to Hamersley Gorge meanders through red dusted plains and crosses over occasional dry river beds. The road runs parallel to the Karijini mountain range providing beautiful views of the red mountains speckled with white and green gum trees. The road occasionally crossed into the mountains offering bridge views of the deep gorges that lead deeper into the park.
The turnoff road to Hamersley Gorge from the main dirt road is a bit rougher and most with trailers had to leave them behind at the main road. We stopped often to take photos of the beautiful landscape and scenery.
After a short walk from the parking lot we arrived in the gorge at a little beach area that consisted of a red pebble sand bar inside of a beautiful pool. The gorge walls reflected back in the water allowing the blue of the sky a narrow view between the cliffs. Few other tourists meant that I could photograph without a tourist foreground and the lack of people contributed to the quiet and natural setting.
The pool was fed by a cascade of waterfalls that fell from the terrace above. Thousands of years of water, rocks and sand as worn the rocks smooth and a few brave hikers attempted to ride them like a slide in a water park.
Above the waterfalls we found a beautiful blue-turquoise pool. We took off our shoes and tried the water and it was icy cold. We took another swim, taking advantage that swimming here is allowed. Higher up on the trail there were fewer tourists and as the afternoon wore on they thinned out until we were the only hikers left. The gorge was ours to enjoy without noise and company and despite the chill of the water we swam and enjoyed the beauty and tranquility of this place.
At the far right of the photo above you can see a small waterfall that flows from the Spa Pools, a pair of Jacuzzi-sized pools that look like they were cut from the rock by huge drill bits. I’ve never seen anything like them before and I was ecstatic that we could swim in them. Negotiating the waterfalls took a little bit of work, we found that you could get into the pools by dropping down into them from above but getting out was a little harder.
The water flowed from waterfall to Spa Pool and then to the next waterfall before continuing on to the next pool. Climbing from pool to pool, while a bit cold, was very exciting and we explored with childish enthusiasm. The Spa Pools are beautiful to look at and we played in the waterfalls and swam in them until we were so cold that we could hardly stand it. A camera, even one with a wide angle lens, can’t really capture the scale of these pools so I made a video shot from upstream to downstream at the turquoise pool.
Of all of the Gorges at Karijini National Park, I was most pleased with Hamersley Gorge. It was the most difficult to drive to and was farthest from the main campgrounds meaning less hiker traffic. The Spa Pools were one of the most amazing things I had ever seen. Of course, being able to swim in them has biased my opinion :-)
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