The specific combination of soil type, climate, and the environment in which grapes are grown — known to the French as ‘terroir’ — all impart distinguishing characteristics to a wine. It’s a gastronomic sense of place distinctive to each ferment. Though the industry has monopolised the term, with the proper liberties, it can be borrowed and applied in almost any instance.
Take, for example, the Karijini Experience, a five-day multi-arts and cultural event held annually in the Pilbara-based national park. Anywhere else, the roster of culture, music, art, and food events wouldn’t have quite the same esteem. But, when taking place within the bounds of a park creviced with 2.5 billion-year-old rock gorges, it creates an immense sense of place.
Karijini National Park
A hidden oasis in the sunburnt Hamersley Range, Karijini is one of the state’s busiest National Parks. Its layered rock chasms and freshwater falls are fodder for the adventure lover and photographer, even just the regular nature appreciator. The many winding trails from the campsites lead to some of the park’s most important sites, sacred and special to the traditional custodians of the land, the Banjima People. Of particular note is the lush, greenery-lined Fern Pool (Jubara).
These days, it’s a popular spot to cool off after a hike, floating in the icy-cold water cocooned by towering rock. It’s also the perfect place to immerse yourself in the thousands of years of culture that Karijini National Park represents.
The Karijini Experience
This idea of total immersion is the premise of the Karijini Experience, a multi-day event designed to connect people to the powerful landscapes around them.
The five days begin with a Welcome to Country and Corroboree (or Barlgabi to the Banjima People) on July 5th to celebrate the traditional custodians of the land on which everyone is gathered. Traditional Banjima song and dance will fill the night, accompanied by didgeridoo played by Mark Atkins of the Black Arm Band.
From Thursday through to Sunday, a full roster of varying experiences encourages people of any age and ability to explore the culture and landscapes of the park. Peruse the daily markets for local craft wares or relax at the Karijini Eco Retreat as Tre Amici takes to the stage. They’re playing at the Yurlu Lounge on Saturday night, too, alongside Mak Mak Marranungu rapper, J-Milla, and special guest to be announced shortly (tickets from $60.00). For something a little more active, put the kids in one of the Perth Football Club’s football workshops or join a guided tour through the gorges and trails with a Banjima Elder (tickets $35.00).
Perhaps the most anticipated ticketed event of the Karijini Experience is the Karijini Eco Retreat Dining Experience. Curated by chef Melissa Palinkas (Young George and Ethos Deli) and consulted on by Banjima representatives, the ten-course shared degustation dinner highlights fresh and sustainably foraged native ingredients from the Pilbara region. Though there are two sittings — one on Thursday night and another on Friday night — tickets to the dinner are limited and likely to sell out fast.
Plan Your Trip
Karijini National Park is 1,400 kilometres from Perth. Getting there is a road trip to remember, passing through the small outback towns of Meekatharra, Kumarina, and Newman along the way. Take your time and meander your way up. There are, of course, quicker ways to get to Karijini, should time be of the essence. Qantas flies from Perth to Paraburdoo and Newman airports daily, both just a few hours’ drive from the National Park.
With an influx of people headed to the area for the experience, accommodation is hotly contested. Plan ahead and book your stay at Karijini Eco Retreat, Auski Tourist Village, Dales Campground, Tom Price Summerstar Tourist Park, or the Karijini Overflow early to avoid missing out on your preferred location.
Tickets for the Karijini Experience are on sale now. The experience is free for anyone to attend, with a handful of paid, ticketed events.
Pre-book your tickets HERE.
This article was originally featured on So Perth.