The National Parks of Karlamilyi and Karijini are located in the Pilbara, a vast region covering more than a half million square kilometres. The parks have waterfalls and emerald swimming rock pools, deep gorges, red desert, mountains and crystal white sand beaches along the coast. There is plenty to explore here, take an indigenous tour to get a real feel for the place.
Mining is the economic mainstay of the Pilbara, but the area is still has a strong Aboriginal heritage. The region has been inhabited for over 30,000 thousand years, you can take indigenous adventure tours to see ancient stone structures and rock engravings, experience foods, dance and music and learn about living in this part of the world and the culture.
Important to Aboriginals is the Dreaming, when the Dreaming spirits created the continent and its natural landscapes, the plants, animals and people. The Dreaming also gave moral codes and beliefs to guide them in their daily lives.
When the work of the spirits was done, they became important natural features, still exerting a strong spiritual influence over the area. This is why certain places are to be treated with respect.
Aboriginal dance, music and religious ceremonies, as well as rock art and sand painting, are reflections of the Dreaming, used to teach the young not only about how to get along with the environment, plants and animals, but each other and to become custodians of the land.
Karijini National Park: Located in the Hamersley Ranges of the Pilbara, it is home to red kangaroos, wallaroos and echidnas. Reptiles include geckos, goannas, bats, legless lizards and snakes. Birds of the Pilbara include the Emu, the Australian Bustard, Blacktailed Treecreeper and the Hooded Robin. Around the rock pools, in the cooler parts of the day, you will able to see a wide variety of wildlife, particulary birds.
Millstream-Chichester National Park offers camping facilities around the Fortescue River, a scenic Western Australia river that provides life to the animals and flora. Waterlilies, ferns and Millstream Palm trees grow along the river. This is in stark contrast to the red desert drier parts that surround the park.
Karlamilyi National Park (formerly Rudall River) is the 2nd largest national park in Australia, covering some 1,283,706 hectares. Only Kakadu in the Northern Territory is larger. Sand Dunes, up to forty metres high and up 40 kilometres in length line parrallel to each other, the Rudall River provides water. Karlamilyi lies between the Little Sandy Desert in the south west and the Great Sandy Desert in the north east and is one of the most remote parks on earth. Always seek reliable local advice before driving through remote regions. See Map.
At Burrup Peninsula at Deep Gorge, near the city of Dampier, there is the largest concentration of Aboriginal Rock Art found in the world, some dating back to the earliest times of people being in Australia. Nearby is the Dampier Archipelago, with 42 islands and islets. There are cruises available to their pristine beaches, with snorkelling, diving and fishing.
Tour activities in the Pilbara include: camel safaris, indigenous tours with bush tucker (foods), culture and medicines, adventure tours including hiking, fishing and local history. Along the coast, try a whale watching cruise, or go snorkelling in crystal clear waters with stunning tropical fish. You can even tour some of the massive mining operations.
You can find places to stay in throughout Australia - luxury hotels to motels and caravan parks. Hotels available includes a wide range of styles to suit almost any budget.
Main Photo: Visit Karijini National Park
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