Day 260 | Weano Gorge carpark, Karijini NP: can't get out of these carparks

37 km | Heading west total: 11,990 km

People had told me that Karijini was pretty special.

It’s the gorges.

OK. Frankly I’ve seen plenty of gorges on this trip going right back to one of the best: Chambers Gorge in the north Flinders Ranges. Echidna Gorge in Purnululu. The monstrous Katherine Gorge. Remote Koolpin in Kakadu. Exquisite Majuk in Kakadu. The red bluffs along the Victoria River. Bell Gorge on the Gibb River Road.

The landscape in Karijini is more or less the same as what I’ve been passing through for months: spinifex, termites and a few scrubby trees. The Hamersley Range has 18 of the highest 20 mountains/bumps in Western Australia and is a splendid backdrop to my current travels. Much of the time on the bike you only focus on the immediate surrounds, the road and the rolling hills.

I had one of the biggest surprises of the trip today. You sneak up on those gorges and don’t even realise they are there from even 20 m away. At Oxer Lookout they suddenly appear: three 100 m deep ravines combining into one, right at your feet.

I was not at all prepared for this.

The difference between here and, say, Purnululu is that here you can more actively immerse yourself in it all.

The walk into and down the Handcock Gorge has been one of my favourites. Some flowing warm water, the gorge narrows into a ravine, almost a crevice, where during the Spider Walk you can touch the rock on both sides and then it opens out into a small deep pool perfect for swimming.

For some reason I had a huge emotional surge today: how lucky am I to be able to visit such magnificence?