When it comes to Australian road trips, the Pilbara region in the Northern Territory is criminally overlooked, but this rugged and remote area is home to some of the country's most spectacular landscapes and hidden gems that are just waiting to be discovered by those in a campervan.
Karijini National Park is a true natural wonder and a must-see for any van traveler visiting the Pilbara region. The park is home to some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the Northern Territory, including deep gorges, cascading waterfalls, and pristine swimming holes. One of the most popular spots in the park is Fortescue Falls, a stunning waterfall surrounded by lush vegetation and crystal-clear water, offering the perfect spot for a refreshing swim on a hot day. Another must-see spot in Karijini National Park is Weano Gorge, an ancient red rock formation that offers a unique landscape that is unlike anything else in the area. The gorge is home to a range of hiking trails that take you through the stunning rock formations and provide stunning views of the surrounding wilderness. The most popular trail is the Weano Gorge Circuit, which is a moderate 1.5km hike that takes around 2-3 hours to complete. Karijini National Park is also a great place for camping in a van, offering a range of campground options, including Dales Gorge, which is located near the park's visitor center and offers amenities such as toilets and showers. The park also has a number of bush camping options, which are perfect for those looking for a more remote and secluded experience.
Karijini National Park (Source: Inspiration Outdoors)
Weano Gorge (Source: Karlijiniecoretreat)
Millstream-Chichester National Park is a must-visit destination for those looking to experience the unique beauty of the Pilbara's desert landscapes. The park is home to several stunning gorges, including the Python Pool and the Chichester Range, which offer breathtaking views of the surrounding desert. The park's main attraction is the Millstream, the largest permanent waterhole in the Pilbara, which is a great spot for swimming, fishing, and birdwatching. The park is also home to several important cultural sites, including the Miliyanha people's sacred site, which is said to have been a meeting place for the Miliyanha people for thousands of years. Visitors can also visit the historic Millstream Homestead, built in the early 1900s, which offers a glimpse into the region's history and a chance to learn about the pioneering families who lived and worked there. The park offers several campground options perfect for van travel, including the Millstream Homestead and the Millstream South campground.
Millstream Chichester National Park (Source: Explore Parks WA)
Cossack is a must-see destination for history buffs and those interested in Pilbara's rich goldrush-era past. One of the highlights of Cossack is the Cossack Heritage Trail, a 5km self-guided tour that takes visitors through the town's most significant historical sites, including stops at the Cossack Courthouse, the Cossack jetty, and the Cossack Gaol. The Courthouse is a well-preserved example of colonial architecture and is now used as a museum. The Gaol is another interesting stop, where visitors can learn about the harsh conditions that prisoners faced during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Cossack Heritage Trail (Source: Australia's North West)
Tom Price, the gateway to the Karijini National Park is another fantastic stop in the region. The Tom Price Visitor Center is also a great place to learn about the local history and culture, as well as pick up maps and guides for the surrounding area. For those looking for a unique experience, Tom Price also offers scenic flights over the Karijini National Park and the surrounding Pilbara landscape. These flights give visitors a bird's eye view of the stunning red rock formations, gorges, and waterfalls that make the Pilbara so unique.
When traveling in a campervan in the Pilbara, it's important to keep in mind that this is a remote and rugged area, so it's important to be prepared. Make sure to have a full tank of fuel and enough supplies to last you a few days, as services and amenities can be limited. It's also important to be aware of the dangers of extreme heat and to carry enough water. Last but definitely not least, be aware of crocodiles when swimming in the rivers and creeks of the Pilbara. While sightings are rare, it's best to be cautious and follow any safety guidelines posted in the area.
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