Karijini is one of those places that make you realise just how ancient the world is, and how incredible nature can be. A two day drive northeast of Perth, with part of my never ending family, the flat, red dirt landscape suddenly gives way to mountain ranges covered in green. The effect is startling.
For most people who grew up around huge mountains, maybe this isn’t too jaw dropping, but for someone who grew up mostly at sea level; it is a sight to behold. The recent rains from the just-past wet season have transformed the usually dry and dusty earth to one filled with all sorts of native grasses and bushes. Driving through it all you feel like you’re just going past a movie backdrop with its pure one tone blue skies and mountains shaping the horizon.
The area surrounding this incredible landscape is used for mining iron ore. Seeing the huge holes filled with trucks and machines is a stark contrast against the pureness of the national parks nature.
On our first day we went off the beaten track, looking for an apparent secret swimming hole a friend of a friend of a friend knew about.
Following the somewhat confusing handwritten map we ended up hours off the main road with no pools in sight. With only an hour left of light we decided to admit defeat and head back the way we came.
Driving back over the small stream with the water coming up to the bonnet of the 4WD my nephew decided to jump out and take a picture. As he began wandering he called out to us, he had found it! A hidden pool.
We parked the car and all scrambled out. Walking only a few hundred meters from the crossing, the stream opened up into a shallow but beautiful pool undisturbed in the late afternoon sun. We all stripped off and jumped in the water, so happy to be out of the heat.
We were the only people for hours around and the stillness of the evening was overwhelmingly beautiful.
We all looked at each other, big grins on our faces. The perfect start to a magical week.
The next day we pulled into the first gorge car park (just a red dirt clearing and a drop toilet). There was nothing much to see. Looking over the land it seems like more endless dirt and green scrub. As we began walking all of a sudden the earth out of nowhere seems to split open and you’re at the edge of the gorge looking down into a vast canyon with water running casually down the rocks to form small waterfalls. Tall Eucalypts scattered the shady bottom, soaking up the water and reaching their branches towards the sun.
We spent the next five days exploring over 8 different gorges and pools, hiding from the heat up top (a cool day here is 30 degrees) and climbing and jumping into the water wherever is was deep enough.
Being deep down in the gorges, often in shadow is a strange feeling. You are transported back to such a primitive world - one where there are no modern conveniences and you rely on the strength that quickly builds in your arms and legs for spider walking through narrow ravines and pulling yourself up the almost sheer rock faces at some points.
For me I was lost in a happy daze, climbing around like a kid, waiting for the park ranger to disappear then jumping off the rocks into the cool, surprisingly clear water bellow.
At night the land cools down and the stars are endless. You almost feel that the world could end but you are so far removed that you would remain right here, with this unchanged landscape, happily ignorant.
On our last morning I hiked up one of the smaller mountains in the dark, to sit on top and watch the world wake up.
The suns first rays peaked up over the ranges and set the red earth on fire.
It as a moment to truly appreciate and respect this incredible earth. A reminder that we are just visitors here and to leave only footprints.
Film, photography and words // Tansie Bennetts @thisseafever
Music // Jessie Warren @jessi3warren
Tansie films and photographs with Sony A7's for both film and stills. Lens wise she use a Ziess 55mm prime and a 28mm Sony prime.
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