Karijini National Park
Directions - Coming from the Weano Day Use Area, take Banjima Drive east until you reach Kalamina Drive. From Dales Campground follow Banjima Drive west until you reach Kalamina Drive. It's is a dead end with the trail head located a short distance away.
The Hike - Day Two of my Karijini adventures and with a fantastic morning spent exploring Weano Gorge and Handrail Pool, we decided to move on to Kalamina Gorge. Being a bit out of the way from the main tourist spots at the Eco Resort and Dales Campground, we thought it might be a little quieter. Arriving at the car park that certainly didn't turn out to be the case with a good number of cars there but not stupidly so like at Weano Gorge. Having heard mixed reviews about Kalamina Gorge, some saying it was the lesser of all the gorges and others saying it was a pleasant surprise, I was keen to check it out for myself so went in with an open mind.
Being one of the longest stretches of gorge you can walk through, Kalamina begins like all the others with a short but steep descent down into the valley. From above you are greeted with a stunning view as the green colours of the stream contrast well with the Snappy Gums and thick grasses lining the banks. You have two options when you reach the bottom, turn right and take the small side trip to Kalamina Falls or turn left and walk all the way to the turnaround point at Rock Arch Pool. Given Kalamina Falls was quite busy we decided to do the full trail first and then check out Kalamina Falls when it hopefully wouldn't be as popular. The first section you come across is very open and doesn't feel like you are walking through a gorge system at all. The mature Snappy Gums are always a highlight and the wide stream was another unusual feature compared to Weano and Hancock Gorges. With lots of sunshine and water, the grasses have gone wild here but the trail is easy to find as you cross the stream that is thankfully a lot smaller. Further along you reach a more familiar Karijini setting with the high red walls of billion year old layered rock, ledges worn smooth by the water and a trickling stream finding the path of least resistance. Like with all the other walks in Karijini, the circle markers attached to the rock guide you along which side of the gorge you are meant to be walking along.
As a Class 4 walk, this is one of the easier hikes with only minor amounts of ledge shuffling and no drops or climbs that would present a hazard to a regular person. Now into the deeper part of the gorge, it is a relaxing walk along the wide floor as it weaves through the landscape. While I enjoyed the scrambling and wading of Handrail Pool and Hancock Gorge, this was a different experience and one I was enjoying quite a lot. As I reach my twilight years I am starting to slow down a lot more on hikes when the mood hits me and this was one of those occasions. Ambling is probably the best word to describe it with no hurry in my step and I was loving it. With both sides of the gorge in the shade there were a few good photo opportunities but this didn't last long as the gorge once again opened up. This was no issue though as the trade-off was a very wide pool of water with Snappy Gums on the other side providing excellent reflections. This is where the trail gets a little narrow but the circle markers are there to guide your path and it isn't a problem at all. Having the contrast of being able to walk right through the centre of a wide gorge and then being forced up against the walls is a fun experience that certainly makes for a memorable hike. I passed a couple coming the other way that required some forward planning given the narrowness of the ledge but we managed and I moved on to the next section of overgrown reeds and grasses.