The Australia Outback: Exmouth, Karijini, & Broome
Exmouth to Broome via Karijini is the third part of our 45 days around Australia. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read about the whole trip here. Part one was spent in Adelaide and Surrounds, then Perth and Surrounds and now we are up north to Exmouth, Karijini, and Broome.
We’ve been to Exmouth before but have not been to Karijini and we had heard it was supposed to be one of the most amazing places in Australia. We also hadn’t gone to Broome yet, which is also an Aussie favorite. Enjoy these photos of our time there.
Originally, we had thought about snorkeling with the whale sharks again, but didn’t end up doing it. I got sick last time and I didn’t want to risk it again, plus it’s very expensive. I highly recommend it if you haven’t done it, but we just couldn’t swing it twice with everything else.
Nevertheless, we love Exmouth and Cape Range National Park. It was two relaxing days just snorkeling right off the beach. We were camping at this point which I love. The camper we rented was from Wicked, which I don’t recommend as they are terrible to work with. However, the car and tent were great. The tent was super easy to pop out and put up every day.
Top Tips for Exmouth, Australia
Where We Stayed: Exmouth Holiday Park. This is definitely a great option for all camping styles. The only issue is that Exmouth is a bit far (about an hour’s drive) from the heart of Cape Range National Park (which is where the good stuff is). However, the drive is lovely as there are heaps of roos and wallabies.
Favorite Part: Snorkeling in Cape Range National Park is one of our favorite places we’ve ever snorkeled. You can swim right off the beach and see heaps of fish. I broke my water proof camera the day we arrived so I didn’t get any snorkel pictures, so you’ll just have to believe me.
Least Favorite Part: You can’t fly directly to Exmouth from Perth, you have to go Learmonth, this is the closest airport. And it’s not cheap. We had gotten a deal on Qantas (they are the only ones who fly there) and our flight was at 5:30 a.m.
Final Verdict: Exmouth is a great beach vacation without the crowds. It was school holidays while we were there but it still didn’t feel crowded at all. You can also explore the outback of Yardie Creek Gorge from there so there’s something for everyone.
Biggest Tip: There’s not much going on in Exmouth so be sure you stock up on all the things you may need. We were camping and needed an extra blanket and had a very hard time finding one. Just bring everything you’ll need and you will be fine. They do have an IGA grocery store with any food you may need but it’s quite expensive.
Karijini National Park
Karijini was one of those places that was recommended to us over and over. However, not a lot of people had actually been there. Those we met that had been there, loved it. It did not disappoint! In case you don’t know, Karijini is a National Park in Australia that features amazing gorges, waterfalls, and hiking.
We did two full days of hiking here and we couldn’t decide what we liked best, so instead we decided to rank the hikes we did. So, without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about hiking in Karijini (and which ones we think are the absolute best!) You can go to just the lookouts, but you’ll really be missing it. If you really want to see all it has to offer, you need to do the hikes into the gorges. There are different parts to each hike so I’ve broken them apart to what we liked best. Each of the 8 spots below are not to be missed!
1. Hancock Gorge
Hancock Gorge is famous for its “spider walk”. Towards the end of the trail, you basically walk on the sides of the gorge down a waterfall to get to the next part. Don’t worry, you can just walk through the water as well. This gorge is absolutely gorgeous and such a fun walk. It’s class 5, so there are heaps of rocks to scramble across, water to wade through and it’s well worth the trouble. I enjoyed this walk more than any other and the gorge is just stunning. You’ll come to Kermit’s Pool at the end where you can’t go any further.
Next up is Hamersley Gorge. I had this photo of a waterfall I had seen that I was dying to get to take pictures of, but I couldn’t find it for the longest time. Hamersley Gorge is about an hours drive on a dusty road away from everything else, so we weren’t planning on doing it. That was, until I found out that’s where my waterfall was! The owner of the tourist park we stayed at told us there would be a sign telling us not to go to it, but just to walk along the pools to get to it anyway, that is sign was really old. So we took off in search of my waterfall. Stunning isn’t it?
More at Hamersley Gorge
When we arrived, the only thing on my mind was the waterfall, and so we climbed, scooted , and crawled over to this delightful little spot and had it all to ourselves (this is not uncommon in Western Australia). However, Hamersley Gorge also has a lot more to offer. The rocks have been formed by volcanoes and amazing patterns have been created in them. So, be sure if you go, to have a look at everything around you, not just the waterfall.
My third favorite is the Joffre Gorge. It is another lovely spot that has another waterfall that to me creates an optical illusion. When viewed from the bottom of the gorge it looks flat, but you can also access it from the top and it you realize it is actually several pools deep.
Though technically part of #3, I think the waterfall deserves its own space. It is truly is stunning and not done justly in my photos. However, the lighting is difficult when you can’t stay all day. I would have loved to have grabbed a float and spent the afternoon here, but time did not permit. Just be sure you see it from the top and the bottom!
Though I did not find this as spectacular as the others, Dales Gorge is worth a visit as well. It’s a bit of an easier hike with another two waterfalls and a pool. Circular pool was my favorite as not everyone goes there. However, Fortescue Falls is lovely as well, just a bit more crowded.
6. Fortescue Falls
The next not to be missed spot is part of Dales Gorge. Climb down the steps to the top of the waterfall, then it’s an easy scramble over rocks to go for a swim. Continue the hike through the gorge and over to the Circular Pool from there.
Circular Pool is also part of the same gorge. You have to detour to it, but it’s worth it. It’s a lovely swimming spot and more secluded than Fortescue Falls.
8. Weano Gorge
We’ve reached the last bit of Karijini that we hiked. Last up is Weano Gorge. This is also not my favorite (obviously) but still lovely and worth seeing. We couldn’t make to the “Handrail Pool” as we would have had to do some serious swimming, but the gorge itself is lovely anyway.
Top Tips for Karijini, Australia
Where we Stayed: Tom Price Tourist Park. This is great and you don’t need a booking. However, it’s not actually in the park. So plan to have to drive an hour into the park each day. You can stay in the park, but it will cost you.
Favorite Part: There are very few people and it is truly off the beaten path.
Final Verdict: Karijini is a special place and well worth going. It can be expensive to get there as you need to have permission from the car rental companies in order to go there, but if you love to hike, you won’t be disappointed, I promise.
Biggest Tip: It was colder than expected at night and we were camping. Yes, it was winter so we should have known, but usually it’s not cold up in that part of the country so we didn’t prepare, make sure you do.
The last part of our trip was Broome. We really didn’t spend a lot of time in Broome itself, but we did do Cape Leveque and the Horizontal Waterfalls. Both were so great, I’m planning a post about just them, so stayed tuned. For now, enjoy a snap shot of our time in Broome and on the famous Cable Beach. In a few weeks, I’ll be posting my 10 reasons you don’t want to miss the Horizontal Waterfalls, which is a great day trip from Broome.
Top Tips for Broome, Australia
Where we Stayed: Kimberly Klub Hostel. This was a great hostel. We did have our own room and fridge, but it was one of the better hostels we have stayed in. It’s affordable, comfortable, and clean. You have to share a bathroom, but if you’re okay with that, I’d go for it.
Favorite Part: Broome has several lovely markets you shouldn’t miss. There is a night one every Thursday and another every Saturday. They also have markets that line up with the Staircase to the Moon phenomena. We sadly missed that but I would have loved to have gotten to see it.
Least Favorite Part: It is not pedestrian friendly! This blows my mind as it’s a beach town. Make sure you’re careful walking around.
Final Verdict: The longer I was in Broome, the more I loved it. It has great markets, interesting landscape, and a gorgeous beach.
Biggest Tip: Spend at least 4 days in Broome. It is rare that I leave a place feeling like I certainly needed more time, but this was one of those places. Sure, you can always stay longer in places you love, but I’m a travel-aholic so I’m usually ready to go again. However, the longer I was in Broome, the more I loved it. It is best explored. We spent 3 nights, and I was wishing for another full day.
Have you been to any of these places in Australia? If so, let me know in the comments. If you enjoyed this post, stay tuned, as I’m doing one on Cape Leveque and the Horizontal Waterfalls in a few weeks. Plus, our Broome to Darwin drive is coming up as well. It was my absolute favorite place in Australia.