About this place
Weano picnic area has an information shelter, toilets and shaded seating and barbecue facilities and is the base from which to spend a day experiencing this popular section of the park. Weano and Hancock gorges and some of the best photographic opportunities in Karijini are all close by. Whether you want to enjoy breathtaking views, swim, explore the amazing gorges or rest among the spinifex and snappy gums, Weano is the place.
Weano Gorge is perhaps the most accessible gorge in Karijini. But this makes it no less spectacular and beautiful. Around the top of the gorge there are relatively easy walks accessible from the picnic area. For the less adventurous, the Upper Weano Gorge Trail is Class 4. For the adventurous, Weano Gorge also offers a challenging Class 5 scramble over boulders and through narrow passages and wading through pools to Handrail Pool.
Junction Pool Lookout gives views up Hancock Gorge and down to Junction Pool far below. From Oxer Lookout there are unsurpassed views of the junction of Weano, Red, Joffre and Hancock gorges. You can see the tiers of banded iron formation that tower over a pool at the bottom of the gorge. From here, the sheer enormity and grandeur of the gorges is evident.
The walk down into Hancock Gorge has been described as a ‘journey to the centre of the earth’ with walls twisting and turning, reaching vertical and closing in on both sides. It can be explored as far as Kermit’s Pool by experienced walkers with a high level of fitness.
Oxer and Junction Pool lookouts trail
Follow the formed trail from the information shelter to the Junction Pool Lookout trailhead sign. The short sloping trail down to Junction Pool Lookout and on to Oxer Lookout is Class 3. There is a small car park closer to the lookouts if required. The walk trail from Junction Pool Lookout to Oxer Lookout is narrow with loose surface, minor obstacles and a series of steps, so please take care. Distance: 800m return Time: Allow at least 30 minutes Difficulty: Class 2 and 3
See more details at Trails WA.
Upper Weano Gorge
From the Weano car park follow the formed trail for 450m before descending the slope to the valley floor. Make your way along the bottom of the gorge until you reach a large pool, popular for swimming. Take a break before climbing the steps up out of the gorge to reach the Oxer and Junction Pool lookouts trail.
- Distance: 1km return
- Difficulty: Class 4
- Time: Allow at least 45 minutes
Lower Weano Gorge to Handrail Pool
From the Weano car park follow the trail to the edge of the Weano Gorge, then down the steep, irregular steps to the bottom. Here, high walls of rock tower above you. As the gorge narrows, the trail changes from Class 3 to Class 5. Take care as you negotiate the slippery rocks on your climb down to the chilly waters of Handrail Pool. Enjoy the view of the cavern from above the pool and turn back if you don’t think you can make it back up. Please tell the ranger if you intend to walk further than Handrail Pool.
- Distance: 1km return
- Difficulty: Class 5
- Time: Allow 1 hour
Hancock Gorge – Kermit’s Pool
This trail is for very experienced walkers and a high level of fitness and agility is required. From the car park, walk to the top of the ladder that descends into Hancock Gorge. If you decide to descend the ladder into the gorge, make sure you read all of the Hancock Gorge information first. Climb carefully down the ladder and walk downstream toward Kermit’s Pool. You will need footwear suitable for walking through water and gripping slippery wet rocks. You must return the way you came. Turn back if you think the return trip is too difficult for you or your companions.
- Distance: 1.5km return
- Difficulty: Class 5
- Time: Allow 2 hours
Plan when to visit. Consider travelling with a personal location beacon (PLB). In the event you need to be rescued it could save your life!
- Blue asbestos is present in Yampire and Wittenoom Gorges. Asbestos dust may cause cancer if inhaled.
- Stay back from cliff edges – they are about 100m high, often with loose rocks near the edge.
- Flash floods can occur – do not enter gorges if there is rain in the area. If it starts raining when you are in a gorge, leave immediately.
- The water in gorge pools can be extremely cold, especially between April and September; hypothermia can occur. Do not dive or jump into water.
- During summer, temperatures frequently top 40°C. Drink plenty of water at all times.
- Dingoes are common around Dales Campground. They may scavenge for food and can be aggressive. Do not feed dingoes, supervise children at all times, walk in groups and store food in your vehicle. Read more in the Be Dingo Aware fact sheet.
Plants, wildlife and fungi
Visit the Atlas of Living Australia for a list of species recorded within a 5km radius of Weano Recreation Area.
The park is the traditional home of the Banyjima, Kurrama and Innawonga Aboriginal people. The Banyjima name for the Hamersley Range is Karijini. Aboriginal land management practices, such as 'fire stick farming', resulted in a diversity of vegetation types and stages of succession that helped determine the nature of the plants and animals found in the park today.
We recognise and acknowledge Banjima, Innawongka and Eastern Guruma people as the traditional owners of Karijini National Park.