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Ben gets set to abseil.
Ben gets set to abseil.
The Karijini Gorges.
Ben can't get enough of this abseiling.

Karijini abseil

Thursday, November 9, 2000
Viewed from above, the sweeping plains of the Pilbara are marked by the Karijini Gorges. Abseil down one.

Viewed from above, the sweeping plains of the Pilbara region are marked by the Karijini Gorges. The iron content in the rock gives the impression of bloody gashes scarred into the landscape.

Red Rock Abseiling Adventures is teamed by State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers. So you can imagine that safety is a priority for them, as it should be when you are travelling backwards down an 80m cliff face.

Several years ago, the Department of Conservation and Land Management used the SES to promote the area. Following that adventure, three couples from Tom Price decided to make it a full-time business. Now you can enjoy the thrill of abseiling or gorge walking on half- or full-day tours. Summer is a great time for gorge walks but in winter abseiling is more popular.

If you are abseiling, instructors will teach you about equipment and safety on a 10m nursery slope. They'll then move you to a 40m gorge face, and then to the big one, the 80m face. They say 98 percent of people are confident enough to take on the 80m abseil.

Since it is not permitted to leave permanent abseiling fixtures on the cliff faces, the team sets up the ropes before every tour. They attach ropes to trees and big rocks, and ensure all visitors stick to designated paths. Even though they use the same faces each visit, the area does not look worn in any way. Environmental impact is of the utmost importance.

The abseil area is off the beaten track and is not signposted, so most people don't know it is there. Those lucky enough to see it agree it is one of the most beautiful areas in the park.

Up until six years ago the park was known as Hamersley Range National Park, at which time it reverted to its original aboriginal name of Karijini.

This wonderful part of Western Australia is home to the state's two highest mountains: Mount Meharry at 1245m and Mount Bruce at 1235m. The 630,000 hectares of national park shelters 250-300 species of small trees and scrub, 86 reptiles species and 140 types of birds. Ranger Bob Taylor has actually discovered four species since he has been there.

Snappy gum and bloodwood are the two most common trees in the park, and there are 53 species of flowering acacia there.

The temperature drops to about 4ºC in winter and hits 50ºC in the summer months. Around 70,000 people visit the area each year, mostly to experience the beauty of the gorges and wildflowers.

Location

The Karijini National Park, in Western Australia's Pilbara region.

Cost

Red Rock Abseiling Adventures operate out of Tom Price, a four-hour drive south of Port Hedland in Western Australia. Half-day abseiling tours cost $104.50 per person and operate year round.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.

More information

Red Rock Abseiling Adventures: Ph: 0419 961 176
Ph/Fax: (08) 9189 2206
Email: rraa@yahoo.com
Best Western: Ph: 13 1779
www.bestwestern.com.au

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