Karijini National Park
Directions - From the western entry of Banjima Dr along Karijini Dr, head north for 25km until you reach the intersection for the Weano Day Use Area. Take the right turn to continue along Banjima Dr until you see the signs for Joffre Gorge and Knox Gorge. Follow Knox Gorge Rd until you reach the car park for Joffre Gorge.
The Hike - With a fun morning spent exploring the wonderful Knox Gorge, our attentions turned to the penultimate Karijini gorge hike on our itinerary for the trip, Joffre Gorge. Having explored the area around the Eco Resort on a previous day and also checking out the lookout this morning, we were looking forward to exploring the gorge and also checking out the falls from below. With a much quieter lookout experience on our return visit we took the small walk from the car park and stood out on the metal platform suspended above the depths of the gorge.
This is a really great location to show off the steepness of the gorge walls but also gives you a look at what you will have to scale down a bit later in order to access the beautiful waterfall (which is also on display from up here). There is so much to focus on from this lookout with the gorge and the falls, the Eco Resort in the distance, a vast expanse of spinifex and Snappy Gums along with the mountain range in the background. f you're staying at the Eco Resort then this would make a great place to view the sunset from. We did not have that luxury but being able to view it at any time is still a very rewarding experience so we took some more photos and moved on to start the proper walk down into the gorge. Beginning the proper hike requires heading back up to the car park and along the path until it just kind of disappears off the side of the hill. It's easy to miss as you stare out towards the endless horizon of spinifex, termite mounds and trees towards the mountains. Once you've located the path there is a short little descent into the spinifex and the gentle walking down towards the crossing of Joffre Creek. Before flowing down into the gorge and forming the picturesque Joffre Falls, the creek is a feature of the hike that is unique to the walks in Karijini so it was fun to see how little water up at this height was required for a decent flow in the falls below.
The crossing of the creek is not difficult with stepping stones and larger boulders providing dry footing for you to negotiate with. It was dry enough on our visit to explore the lower part of the creek as it then turns into Joffre Falls but as there the opportunity to slip and fall, be careful with where you explore. The views down towards the pool at the bottom of the falls are quite good and you can see all the way down the gorge from certain spots. We took a few photos here despite looking into the bright glare of the sun and moved on to the entrance path down to the gorge. Hugging the cliff a little bit you then head behind some boulders and follow the Joffre Falls sign down towards where it gets a little tricky. Much like Knox Gorge, this one is rated a Class 5 because of the steepness of the descent down into the gorge (not sure why my elevation picture has it so shallow). Unlike Hancock Gorge that has a handy ladder, the descent down is a tough little scramble that requires you to lower yourself down a series of ledges and narrow platforms. We passed a family where the dad experienced vertigo so they were taking it extremely slow. He let us pass in a tricky section and we continued down to the edge of the water. Although the colour of the water could be seen from the lookout, it was still strange seeing it up close with the deep lime green really creating a weird scene.