Hamersley Gorge; is it Karijini’s best offering?

Western Australia has some hugely popular destinations, and some of the best come from within Karijini National Park. Hamersley Gorge though, probably has the biggest reputation of all of the gorges in Karijini National Park, and after visiting this year its not hard to understand why.

If you’re thinking about a visit to Hamersley Gorge in Karijini, here’s what you need to know.

Hamersley Gorge in Karijini
Hamersley Gorge is a stunning place

Where is Hamersley Gorge?

Hamersley Gorge is located on the Western side of Karijini National Park, quite some distance away from the other gorges in the area. It is however, well and truly worth the drive.

You’ll find Hamersley Gorge 70km from Tom Price, 106km from the Karijini Visitor Centre and 113 km from Dales Camp Ground.

Hamersley Gorge information
Hamersley Gorge map and information

Do you need a 4WD to get to Hamersley Gorge?

The roads that take you to Hamersley gorge are all gravel, and can be done with a vehicle that is not 2WD. However, I probably wouldn’t recommend it, as the road condition is often quite poor, and you can do a lot of damage on rough corrugations.

A 4WD with the right tyre pressures, speed and decent tyres is the safest, and best way to visit Hamersley Gorge.

Karijini Gravel
The Karijini roads can be OK, or they can be rubbish depending on when you go

Hamersley Gorge to Dales Camp Ground distance

At 113km from Dales Camp Ground (Fortescue falls, Circular Pool and Fern Pool too) its not a short distance to travel. We left Kalamina Gorge near the middle of the day (from Dales in the morning) and decided to go to Hamersley Gorge, expecting that about 50% of the roads would be bitumen. 

We were wrong, and ended up doing about 80% gravel road, and most of it was pretty shoddy condition with lots of other vehicles kicking up dust, which makes it unsafe to overtake. Nanutarra road (the main one before you turn off to Hamersley) is well driven by mining vehicles including trucks, so expect a lot of traffic.

In total then, you are looking at a 226km return trip from Dales to Hamersley Gorge, with a big chunk of it being gravel and slow going. It is doable in a day trip, but its quite the drive and we’d recommend you stay closer if possible, and split Karijini National Park into two parts. We were pretty knackered when we arrived back at camp, and probably would not recommend doing a day trip across.

How easy is the walk?

Hamersley Gorge has one of the easiest walks in the park, to get to the bottom. It is steep, and tiring to go up and down, but its also extremely short, and that means its over very quickly.

Once you hit the bottom though, you can either swim and relax there, or you can turn to your right, and head up the steep rocks again. You’ll see there are some ladders that can be used, but we found it easier to cross over the water and climb up the left side, and then jump back over at the top. 

Either way, at the top is another set of pools, including the famous Instagram Spa pool that has been photographed millions of times!

Walking down to Hamersley Gorge
The walk is steep and super short to the bottom of the gorge
Hamersley Gorge from the top
If you want to walk to the spa pool its probably double the time

Hamersley Gorge Spa Pool

I mentioned above that everyone loves Hamersley Gorge for its spa pool, at the top of the gorge itself. It’s not too difficult to get to, although the rocks can be extremely slippery where they’ve had (or have) water flowing over them. The pool is beautiful, but its also tiny (you’d struggle to fit more than a handful of people in it).

Hamersley Gorge Spa Pool
The Instagram famous Hamersley Gorge Spa Pool

I’m not going to say its a let down, but the photos on Instagram certainly make it look very different to what it is in real life.

How does it compare to other gorges?

Every gorge in Karijini National Park is unique, and Hamersley is no different. The scenery here is special, and its certainly one of the better gorges. On our first visit to Karijini we didn’t go to Hamersley as it was just too far out, but we had an amazing time at Hancock and Weano Gorge instead.

I don’t think you can really go too wrong with any of the gorges; they are all beautiful, all have great swimming opportunities and are super picturesque.

Hamersley Gorge rating
It’s one of the better gorges by far

Is Hamersley Gorge worth a visit?

Despite the average drive there, and feeling exhausted by the time we got back to Dales Camp, we really loved Hamersley Gorge, and would rate it worth it.

I’d love to have stayed closer, and to be able to kick back and relax there for longer; its a spectacular location. If you can get there, do it, but leave enough time to enjoy yourselves!

Views at Hamersley Gorge
We thoroughly enjoyed it
Swimming at Hamersley Gorge
You can swim down the ‘river’ too
Rocks at Hamersley Gorge
Check the incredible rock formations out

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