Sunset walk and dip in Fern Pool, Karijini National Park

Let me begin this post by setting a scene that entails a morning of exploring the outback followed by lunch back at the campsite and a lazy afternoon. Warmth is in the dry air as the sun begins to set over the spinifex covered landscape and there’s one last opportunity to cool off before the dark starry night emerges. On balmy hot evenings, if we were in Perth we would head to the beach to cool off and watch the sunset. In remote Pilbara, at Karijini National Park, we head into one of the gorges, Dales Gorge for an equally refreshing swim at Fern Pool.


Dales Gorge look out

We descend into the gorge towards the sounds of water.

Dales Gorge looking up

The walk way begins above tree tops and reveals a birds eye view into the gorge until we step on rock, ancient rock.

walk way

The unique rock formations gives us a sense of the changes in the natural environment over the years. Gorges carved out by floods. Crumbled sections.  Rock walls like this one below show buckled rock layers and shifts. It’s super cool to see.

Iron band formation

On the gorge floor the sunshine filters through the trees as we trace a rocky and sandy path around a rock spillage. We step up on rocks and down some again along the weaving trail.

Walk to fern pool

Small amounts of fresh running water surface in some odd spots and then disappear. A couple of old fig trees, judging by the width of the roots, morph into the rock bed.

Fern pool walk trail

Looking up, we spot small groups of bats hanging upside down in nearby trees, some people complain about their noise – I love it! We keep an eye out for an Olive Python which could be lurking looking for its next meal  – not us, the bats. The Pilbara Olive Python is not venomous and is listed as vulnerable. So to be able to see one is high on our Pilbara travel radar and we did spot one the next day in the vicinity, big and beautiful.

Bats fern pool


We reach the oasis that is, Fern Pool. The breeze skims over the water hitting us with a welcomed coolness. It feels good.

With bathers on, we shed our clothes and make our way to the small decking area using a ladder to slip into the dark but not murky waters. We respect the Warlu but not diving in or making a ruckus. The water brings on goosebumps and while its cold, its also enjoyably refreshing. Its not shallow to stand in and incredibly deep. Rimmed with trees and green vegetation we breast stroke towards the rocky terrace where the waterfall is flowing. Unlike the salty waters of the ocean that creates some buoyancy, we feel heavy in the water. Good swimming experience is required as being in a remote area means help is far away.

Fern pool 1

The sun continues to dip towards the horizon.  Meanwhile down in the gorge, Fern pool grows darker and very photogenic. Only carrying the small waterproof camera I capture an okay photo. There are some tripods out and I would love to see those photos.

Fern pool

The novelty of swimming to and under a waterfall does not grow old,  its definitely one of many highlights from our trip to Karijini National Park.

When we return up to the rim of the gorge, we’re treated to a sky of layered pink and blue tones against the Pilbara landscape –  nature’s magic, Karijini’s magic! Now, of course sunset was beautiful but let me tell you, the starry night sky – stunning thanks to the absence of light pollution.



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