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Karijini tour for the budget-conscious and adventurous traveler

Remember the good old days? You know the ones… you played outside until dark, jumping in puddles, basking in the sun, going on adventures and spending time with friends until it was time to go inside for dinner. In those days, your allowance stretched as far as it needed to, purchasing things that brought delight instead of necessities (i.e. you could always afford to buy something from the ice cream man).

Pete West has created a Karijni Old Skool experience to bring you back to the carefree days of your youth at a price that’s sure to put a smile on your face. The Flying Sandgroper’s Old Skool Karijini tour is a two day, two night adventure designed for budget-conscious travelers and backpackers who are fit, active and ready to have the time of their lives. Throughout the entire tour, the other guests and I kept saying we were so glad we joined The Flying Sandgroper’s tour. Read on for 7 reasons I loved this tour and I know you will too.

Karijini Hancock Gorge

Access to Karijini if you don’t own a 4WD

Before finding The Flying Sandgroper, I thought I’d need to be content with hearing stories of Karijini from fellow travelers and seeing photos on Instagram. Karijini is most easily accessed by a 4WD and rental car companies forbid travel into the area since the roads are so rough.

Karijini roads

The Flying Sandgroper has a special 4WD bus that’s equipped to take you through the bumpy roads. And flashpackers, don’t fear! It’s also equipped with USB ports to charge your techie gear.

The Old Skool Karijini tour is timed to allow travelers without a car to venture north on the Integrity Bus on a Monday night and continue on to Broome at the conclusion of the tour on Wednesday evening. Integrity Coach Lines offers a Perth to Broome hopper pass for $395 that’s good for 12 months. I found this a safe and easy way to get to Karijini and on to Broome.

Driving a campervan or a rental? Only able to join the tour for one day? This tour can accommodate you, too!

Awesome Karijini tour guides

I booked my trip through owner, Pete West, who was helpful throughout the entire process. He helped me plan my bus trip and calmed my last minute fears of not having my own sleeping bag (they can provide one). His passion for the area and welcoming travelers is evident in every aspect of the tour he created.

The national park is over 2,400 mi², so there’s no way to see it all. With a great guide, though, we were able to see four different gorges and swim in several refreshing (read:cold) pools. Left to my own devices, I’d probably still be in the first gorge, taking my 1,000th photo and missing out on even better spots! Our guide for the two day trip, Brent Pike, was enthusiastic and full of interesting information, encouraging us to enjoy the moment while getting us excited for the next spot. His knowledge of the area and its history made the beautiful gorges even more gorge-ous (get it?).

Karijini pool

Nature! Poisonous Nature!

Despite its fairytale-esque beauty, Karijini can be a dangerous place.  We traversed slippery water crossings, clambered down Class 5 trails and even spotted a brown snake crossing out path. To quote the Australian mom after we warned her about the brown snake ahead on the path, “Nature! Poisonous nature!”  Slips, falls and wildlife pose a threat, so it’s always best to go with someone who knows the area and has access to emergency communication… just in case. Keep your eyes open and always listen to your guide and you’re sure to have the very best time.

Brown Snake Karijini

Walk amongst ancient history

Western Australia’s second largest national park is home to the oldest exposed rock in the world. Walk amongst stones 2,500,000 to 3,000,000 years old, which were pushed out of the seabed to create the gorgeous gorges we have today.

Karijini Flying Sandgroper Tour

Ever heard of a Stromatolite? A fossil of the earliest life form on the planet is visible on a walk through Dale’s Gorge. Dinosaur fossils have nothing on a stromatolite!

Stromatolite Karijini

Slip into Fern Pool, a former aboriginal birthing pool. It’s a special, sacred place to the indigenous people, and should be treated as such. Without our guide, we would have been one of those oblivious tourists, cannon-balling into the no-splash zone. Approaching this historically and culturally significant site with reverence made the experience even more powerful.

Amazing swimming pools

If Disney were to dream up a paradise-themed water park, they couldn’t improve on the natural formations of Karijini. Rock waterfalls? Check! Thick flora to create a shaded area? Check! Sunny beach for sunbathing or drying off? Check! Unreal shades of blue and green water? Yep.. got that too!

Karijini gorge

One of the guests in our group kept asking whether the features were natural or man-made… She just couldn’t believe a place could be this perfect. Be prepared for two full days of feeling awestruck.

Karijini Hancock Gorge


The Flying Sandgroper website claims that eating good is high on their agenda. Y’all know I am a girl who loves my food, so I was anxious to discover what they had in store for us. Breakfasts of pancakes, porridge, and yogurt parfaits were a perfect way to get our energy up before an action-packed day.

Flying Sandgroper breakfast

And the wraps at lunch were so good, one Portuguese man told his wife he would eat them at home from now on. (She’s been trying to convince him wraps are good since they got married.) On our first day, the wrap was filled with freshly cooked marinated kangaroo.  That’s certainly one way to get a taste (literally) of Australia.Flying Sandgroper marinated kangaroo wrap

Dinner was a spaghetti bolognese packed with tons of fresh veggies. By the end, we were so full we could hardly move. Between the filling meal and the action-packed day, we all slept soundly that night.

Everyone on the tour helps with set up, cooking and cleaning. Bond with your fellow travelers and build a little team spirit over the suds of dishes!

Camping for non-campers

I stayed in a tent all by myself for the first time in my life on this tour. So it would be correct to say I’m not much of a camping kind of girl… but this was just one step down from glamping. My tent was tall enough to stand up in and the sleeping bags were laid out on a cot, so no uncomfortable rocks digging into my back. Plus, there was enough room for my explosion of stuff, which is practically a miracle.

Flying Sandgroper camping

All of this came together for a perfect getaway to Karijini. I’m already missing the red dirt, the ancient rock formations, and the refreshing swims from the best Karijini tour out there!

Knox Gorge Karijini

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Karijini with the Flying Sandgroper

Note: I was a guest of The Flying Sandgroper for the Old Skool Karijini Tour, but as always, opinions are my own and I won’t recommend anything to you that’s not awesome.



Rowan Sims Travel Photography

Saturday 24th of February 2018

I'm planning a road trip around Australia at the moment so this is super helpful, thanks. I had never heard of it before.


Saturday 24th of February 2018

Add it to your itinerary for sure! You'll need a 4WD to visit, or you can park your car and hop in with The Flying Sandgroper!

Agness of aTukTuk

Saturday 30th of September 2017

This tour seems so awesome and astonishing, Brittany! How many days does this tour last and what are your highlights from there?


Saturday 30th of September 2017

Thanks Agness! The tour was awesome- 2 days, 2 nights. My favorite part was definitely getting to swim in all the natural rock pools! :)

Pilot Mark

Friday 22nd of September 2017

It must have felt so special having the chance to feel part of history in such a beautiful location. I dream of visiting Australia one day; my adventures in New Zealand have really inspired me to explore more of that side of the world and its formidable and large-scale beauty.

Ryan Biddulph

Monday 11th of September 2017

Hi Brittany,

Everything looks beautiful. Any place that brings you back to childhood sun and fun and exploration is A-OK in my eBook ;) Loving the pictures!



Wednesday 20th of September 2017

Thanks so much, Ryan!


Monday 4th of September 2017

Wow! That looks great. Glad to see those rocks have held up so well. I remember when they were just young pebbles...


Wednesday 20th of September 2017

Can I just say... your Dad Jokes rock.