The remote location of Karijini National Park means that the choice and availability of accommodation is very limited. You can stay either at Tom Price or Auski Tourist Village and day trip it into the park, both of which are an hour or so from the gorges. You can also stay at the campsites at Dales Gorge, which tends to fill up quickly or you can stay at the Karijini Eco Retreat.
Here you are treated to a range of accommodation options and on-site facilities. The Eco Retreat offers an authentic outback experience at an affordable price whilst operating in a responsible way with the environment.
[ADVERT]The retreat is owned by the Gumala Aboriginal Corporation, providing income and employment for the local peoples. This national park is the traditional home of the Banyjima, Kurrama and Innawonga Aboriginal people. The Banyjima name for the Hamersley Range is Karijini.
Evidence of their early occupation dates back more than 20,000 years. During that period, Aboriginal land management practices such as 'fire stick farming', resulted in a diverse range of vegetation types and have helped determine the nature of the plants and animals found in the park today.
The Eco Retreat caters for guests of all ages, tastes and budgets, and offers a choice of accommodation facilities ranging from deluxe eco-tents through to campsites for visitors who prefer to bring their own accommodation.
There is an alfresco restaurant and bar that serves five star food and beverages and focuses on using local ingredients. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all served and they even provide a hamper service if you wish to take a packed gourmet lunch with you whilst exploring the park.
The unpowered sites have access to showers and toilets although generators are welcome. There is also an undercover communal bush kitchen if you want to self-cater.
The next step up in the accommodation stakes are dorm style eco-tents. These are unpowered as well. These tents are semi-permanent structures that can easily be erected and dismantled in remote areas with little impact to the natural environment. These tents have the use of shared ablutions including solar powered hot showers, flushing toilets and basins. They sleep up to eight people in bunk beds and are a great option for groups.
Front and rear decks provide a great viewing area for sunrises and sunsets or as a spot for soaking up the late afternoon sun. All bedding and linen are provided as well but not towels. There is no air conditioning but there are open mesh sides that can be closed or opened to allow for the flow through of air.
The top of the range accommodation is the deluxe eco-tent. They are of the same semi-permanent design as the dorms but house either a king size bed or two singles They have minimal power supplied as well, just enough to charge cameras or ipads/laptops and the solar powered lights and torches. All have attached ensuites that are open roofed so you can shower under the moon and the stars – a very unusual but interesting way to shower. All have wooden floorboards and linen is provided plus hot water bottles as the park is in semi desert and gets very cold at nights. A balcony at the front and at the back with a table and chairs completes this "glamping" experience.
Be aware that you will be communing with nature and there is a need to watch out for snakes and other wildlife that may walk, slither, crawl or jump through the park. When we stayed, we shared our bathroom with little frogs which lived in the toilet cistern and occasionally found them having a swim in the toilet bowl.
The eco retreat is a multi award winning five star organisation and the only place in the park with this type of accommodation. It is probably only one of a handful in Western Australia that offers this sort of experience. If you happen to be in this magnificent park and want or need to stay a night or two then this place is totally recommended. It is a truly great place to relax, dine, and base yourself while exploring the Karijini National Park and take in the natural beauty which this state has been blessed with.