I have to admit: I don’t go a bundle on camping.
Call me a princess but I am likely to hesitate when camping involves a roll mat on the floor in a damp, cramped tent. But, I am a sucker for an adventure, and as such I have a romanticised view of activities such as camping that always drive me to put myself through nights of frozen shoulders and an aching back, struggling to keep warm, for the sake of the cool story to tell.
And I usually find that there is a great story to tell, like the time my friends and I went camping in the Yorkshire Dales in England, stumbled across a teepee in another group’s campsite and dared to look inside.
Given that I have just admitted I am drawn to a teepee, try to imagine my joy upon discovering the tents in Karijini National Park.
Karijini Eco Retreat
I was several days into a ten day tour from Perth to Broome in Western Australia run by Intrepid Travel and we had arrived at Karijini National Park.
Karijini is Western Australia’s second largest national park coming in at almost 630,000 hectares of tropical semi-desert. It is situated 75 kilometres east of the mining town of Tom Price.
The park is the traditional home of the Banyjima, Kurrama and Innawonga Aboriginal people and evidence of their settlement dates back 20,000 years. The Banyjima name for the Hamersley Range of hills that run through this area is Karijini**.
Karijini Eco Retreat is situated in the national park and offers a range of accommodation from flash eco-dorm style rooms to basic sites where you can pitch your own tent.
There are many perks of travelling on an organised tour and one of them is that you don’t have to worry about your accommodation. Intrepid Travel have their own campsite set aside at Karijini Eco Retreat that comprises of ready-erected teepee tents surrounded by gorgeous bush land.
Inside each tent were two camp beds ready for you to roll out your sleeping bag and get comfortable and the camps were serviced by a gas-powered BBQ and clean, modern toilet facilities with solar-panel showers providing hot water.
It really was the perfect spot to camp.
Our guide showed us how he preferred to camp in the true Aussie fashion by setting up his swag in the undergrowth just outside of camp. Swags are a portable sleeping roll with a thin mattress in the bottom and a canvas surrounding to protect you from the elements.
Karijini National Park
With camp sorted that left the rest of our time free to explore the numerous gorges and walking tracks in the national park. I would encourage you to take a look at just how beautiful Karijini really is and what I got up to on my trip up to Broome.
I absolutely loved clambering down into the various gorges and escaping the heat of the day with cooling swims in the water at the bottom.
Each gorge was like exploring another world, with layers of rock dating back millions of years and vegetation that stood the test of time against the ravages of extreme heat in the summer and flash flooding in the wet seasons.
Camping Under The Stars
But it was back at camp in the evening that we were treated to another facet of Karijini’s multiple jewelled crown. Far out in the bush we were miles from any source of light pollution and this meant that the night sky was able to shine at its brightest and best.
And when you think of camping, a night sky like this one is surely the cherry on top of the cake.
I am grateful to the wonderfully talented Caroline Fisher for allowing me to share her photographs. She captured some beautiful pictures of our camp at night.
It was the sort of sky that lifts your heart and allows you to dream big. It’s the kind of night where stories are shared, plans are hatched and friendships are cemented over a beer and the glow of torch light.
With a sky so vast above my head I couldn’t help but feel inspired. There’s nothing like trying to wrap your head around the solar system and the tiny speck we occupy within it to feel a rush of appreciation for your own life and the opportunities you have every single day.
What better backdrop to a blissful night’s sleep than under a trillion stars?
Have you ever been to Karijini National Park or the Eco Retreat? What was your experience?
Have you ever camped somewhere under the stars and loved it? Share your stories with me!
** Thanks to The Department of Parks and Wildlife for the information about Karijini National Park.
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