Image by Tom Rex Jessett | T-Rex Photography
Karijini National Park, Pilbara, Western Australia
Deep in the heart of the Pilbara is a pool that rests inside large curved walls. This is due to a rock formation as old as time itself. The Spa Pool is an ice blue pond that appears to have gorged out its home over billions of years. Today it’s the perfect swimming hole fed by a gorgeous waterfall. No wonder it’s a natural Mecca for explorers and photographers alike.
It’s a key spot along the Hamersley Gorge full of different challenging walks. The spa pool is reached by following a thin tree lined chasm. It sits inside rocks walls that change from grey to red depending on your point of view. Get up close and you can see the details of every layer of the strata. This grotto that seems to take you deep inside the earth, will certainly take your breath away.
NOTE: As of 08/09/17 it would appear that this area of the park has been closed for several months for track maintenance due to injuries and difficult rescues. Please check before making the drive.
How to get there:You can reach the large Karijini National Park a number of ways. Take either Marandoo Road from the east if you’re at Tom Price. Or if coming from Port Hedland area simply take the Great Northern Highway and then turn west and head along Karijini Drive. It’s recommended to access the National Park with a 4WD.
Once you reach Karijni Visitors Centre you can take the Hamersley Gorge walk. Follow the track that weaves its way upstream. You’ll see amazing polished boulders and gorgeous pools. Follow the stream and clamber your way up along the rocks and you’ll end up at the Spa Pool after about a 30-minute walk.
Difficulty: 5/10 This is a grade 4 bushwalk, 3 hours return, and can be rough and step walking. Spa Pool is about 30 minutes’ along the track from the carpark.
Opening Times/Seasons: Trail open all year round. Click here for visitor centre opening times.
Entrance Fee: See here for more details on entry fees for Karijini National Park.
Facilities Nearby: There is a car park, telephones and public toilet at the visitors centre but none after you set out on the trail.
Other Activities: Swimming, bushwalking, picnics.
Other Places of Interest Nearby: In Karijini you have endless walks at your feet. The Waterfall walk is a short 400m return stroll while the Gorge walk is more challenging and can take up to 3 hours. You may want to also include Knox Gorge and Joffre Falls on your itinerary as the views are exceptional.
Wildlife: This is a wildlife paradise. You’ll see a range of flowers from the northern blue bells to the iconic wattle. There is a variety of birds, species of kangaroos, wallabies and even bats. Keep an eye out for snakes in the area. You’ll hopefully also see giant mounds of the bush termites.
Places to Eat: Karijini National Park is really isolated from towns. If you do visit Tom Price then your best bet is the Red Breeze Thai restaurant.
Where to camp: You have a couple of options for camping. The closest is Dales Campground which can be reached by sealed road and has caravan and tent sites available. It has toilet and gas BBQ facilities.
Other places to Stay: The National Park is quite a drive from a town of any real size. If you enjoy camping but want to do it in style you can visit Karijini Eco Retreat at Joffre Gorge which has cabins, campsites and deluxe eco tents. Alternatively you’ll find units, campsites and a caravan park at the Auski Tourist Village. Otherwise you will find motels and caravan parks at the nearest town which is Tom Price.
Nearby Towns: Tom Price
Other Swimming Spots Nearby: Hancock Gorge, Weano Gorge, Fern Pool, Kermits Pool, Handrail Pool
Comments: The spa pool is a mystical sunken cavern in the middle of a region you want to get lost in. Whatever you do, don’t forget your camera.