Activities & Itineraries

Everything You Need To Know About This Year’s Spectacular Karijini Experience

By Morgan Reardon
15th Mar 2024

Aboriginal dancers at night in a ceremonial dance in Karijini.

There is truly no better way to experience the magic of Country, than a visit to this year’s Karijini Experience. Spanning four incredible days —running from 4 to 7 April—this celebration of culture, art, food and music is absolutely one to tick off your bucket list. 

Not familiar with this epic event? Taking place in the breathtakingly beautiful Karijini National Park, the festival was created to connect people with the land and to learn about the region’s Traditional Owners, the Banjima People, through goosebump-inducing immersive experiences. Think, a diverse and inclusive program featuring events like fine dining under a blanket of stars, live music performances from renowned Indigenous artists, storytelling gatherings and workshops, all set against a backdrop of red dirt, rugged rose-hued gorges and fern-lined swimming holes. 

Sounds dreamy right? Here’s everything you need to know to plan your visit, from how to get there, where to stay and what you simply can’t miss. 

Person placing product on table

How To Get There

To experience the pure magic of Karijini, nestled in the Pilbara region, you’ll first need to decide on your mode of transport to Western Australia’s second-largest national park.

Drive

We’re big fans of a road trip—snacks, Taylor Swift on repeat, and incredible views along the way, what’s not to love? Located approximately 1,400km north of Perth, you can get to Karijini, via Miners Pathway up the Great Northern Highway in about 14 hours. Along the way though, you’ll want to break up the cruise with stops in the historic towns of New Norcia, Mt Magnet and Cue. Refuel (you and your wheels) in Newman, which is about 278 km out of Karijini. You can rest your head here for the night, or just stay a little while. Pro tip, check out the Martumilli Arts Centre. 

If you prefer your roadie with a side of incredible coastal views, we recommend heading to Karijini via Exmouth on the Ningaloo coast. The drive is around 1250 km long, with loads of beautiful places to stop and appreciate, including Shark Bay and Monkey Mia. 

Keep In Mind

The nearest fuel station is in Tom Price, around 100km from the Visitors Centre, and while the road there and to Dales Gorge are sealed (and are 2WD accessible), all other roads in Karijini remain unsealed so it’s recommended you drive slowly. There is also a $17 entry fee per standard vehicle to the park. You can buy a pass at the entrance of the park or online. 

Fly

If you’re short on time, a flight might be more your speed. Jet from Perth to Paraburdoo Airport in just under two hours, before picking up a hire car and driving the remaining 120 km to Karijini National Park. Or fly direct from Perth to Newman Airport in an hour and 45 minutes, and then road trip the remaining 263km to Karijini. 

Events 

People around dining tables outdoors

When we say this year’s program is the best yet, we’re not exaggerating. We’re talking free and ticketed experiences that you’ll yarn to mates about for years to come. What sets this festival apart from so many others is the strong connection and collaboration the Banjima People have in each offering at Karjini Experience—in fact, in 2022 the event was passed over to the Banjima Native Title Aboriginal Corporation (BNTAC) as the representatives of the traditional owners of the land.

Toured Walks

While you’re going to want to squeeze in as many things as possible during your visit, a nonnegotiable is Toured Walks. Running Friday, Saturday and Sunday, you’ll begin at the Karijini Visitor Centre and traverse the stunning terrain of the surrounding National Park, learning about country, native language and bush medicine from the world’s oldest living culture. 

Fervor's Karijini Dining Experience

Made for the ‘gram, you’ll probably pinch yourself when pulling up a chair at the Fervor's Dining Experience. Taking place under the stars on Friday and Saturday, you’ll indulge in a feast of native ingredients, soundtracked by the national park’s wildlife. 

Yurlu Lounge

On Sunday, head to Yurlu Lounge, where you’ll feel the goosebumps wash over you when a slew of incredible Indigenous performers take to the stage, a neon-streaked sunset behind them. While this year’s roster hasn’t been released just yet, if last year’s offering was anything to go by (J-Milla and Emily Wurramara), this year’s lineup will be banging. 

People on land listening to guide

Where To Stay

From budget to boujee, there’s an accommodation option for you, no matter your bank balance.

Karijini Eco Retreat

Glamp in the outback in style at Karijini Eco Retreat in one of their luxury safari-style eco tents. Furnished in natural wood and local Aboriginal artwork, you can relax after a big day at the festival inside your air-conditioned pad, complete with a modern bathroom, cloud-like king bed, private deck, and uninterrupted views of the bushland. They also offer quad tents for groups and have a delicious on-site restaurant that is open to the public. 

Dales Campground

This popular spot (seriously, it books out months in advance so get in early to avoid disappointment), is a great place to base yourself for the festival just 10 km away. From just $15 per adult per night, it's a bargain too. Close to Fern Pools and Fortescue Falls, the site has toilet and BBQ facilities, but no water so remember to BYO. 

Auski Tourist Village & Roadhouse

With both powered campsites and hotel accommodations available (double rooms with en suite), there’s something for every budget at Auski Tourist Village & Roadhouse. Nestled between Newman and Port Hedland, Auski is about 65km from the festival (about a half-hour drive) with an onsite restaurant and roadhouse to load up on snacks at.

Tom Price Tourist Park

Just 100 km from the festival site, located at the base of Jarndunmunha, Tom Price Tourist Park boasts powered campsites, cabins and chalets—plus there’s an onsite pool to cool off at after a long day. 

More To Explore

People under waterfall

Come for the event, stay for the once-in-a-lifetime natural experience. Post-festival, book a few days extra annual leave to really soak up the incredible landscape that is Karijini. 

Traverse Punurrunha (Mount Bruce), WA’s second highest mountain (1,234 metres) for sweeping views over the rugged landscape below. Another worthy hike for your must-do list is through the Weano Recreation Area. There’s a handful of options here but we love Hancock Gorge, which will have you twisting and turning through burnt orange gorges before opening up to a natural pool. If you’re after less of a calf burn but still crave beautiful vistas, then opt for the Gorge Rim track. Just two km long, take in fern-lined trails, clusters of wildflowers and finish at Fortescue Falls. 

Cool off in one of the dreamiest natural swimming holes you’ll ever throw a towel down at with a swim in Fern Pool, framed by a cascading waterfall. Another worthy spot for a dip is Hamersley Gorge, where swirls of perfectly carved rock faces give way to a tranquil pool of azure blue water. 

Finally, finish up with a mind-blowing star gazing tour at Remtrek Astronomy. Located at Dales Campground, check out their three telescopes to view deep into space. With sprawling clear skies, it’s a truly amazing experience. 

What are you waiting for? Head here to book your place at the Karijini Experience

Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by Karijini Experience and proudly endorsed by The Urban List. To find out more about who we work with and why read our editorial policy here.

Image credit: Supplied.

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