Sadly, for me anyway, today’s stroll is almost the last in my series focusing on our Western Australian adventure earlier this year. This path, and its stunning views, was a fitting way to end our tour and, once again, opened my eyes to the hidden beauty of our sprawling country.
It’s a cooler and slightly overcast day today, perfect walking conditions, but don’t forget your hat and sunscreen.
Shot Hotel Canyon is one of the main, but well-hidden, attractions in the Cape Range National Park. Tucked away right in the heart of Park, you would never know it was there unless you turned off the highway and drove the steep and twisted road to get to the top of the plateau. The views were consistently stunning as we drove ever upwards and it was tempting to pull over into one of the many precarious lookout points to absorb even more of the dramatic landscape. Those views would have to wait for us, as we were on a mission and had a walk to walk.
The road became rougher and narrower as we progressed deeper into the Park, finally narrowing to a single lane dirt track. I had everything crossed hoping that we would not meet another car coming the other direction as it would have meant a long and challenging reversal. Having said that we were in a minibus, so any smaller vehicles should have been the one to reverse. Might trumps right! Thankfully all of this was not my problem as I was a mere passenger, not the intrepid driver.
Eventually we rattled into the makeshift Badjirrajirra Walk carpark area. It was a simple patch of cleared dirt, with a sign and a seat. Obviously the infrastructure budget was non-existent for this section of the Cape Range National Park.
This will sound slightly strange, but I was a bit sad as we set off from the carpark. We had enjoyed a carefree week of walking, out in the fresh air and were dazzled by the scenery on a daily basis. Today was our last adventure and tomorrow reality would hit us with a thud as we started to make our way to our respective homes. So, I doubled my efforts to look forward and outwards, and absorb as much beauty as I could.
The path headed down and across, what looked like, a scrubby, flat plateau. When you actually walk it, it reveals small gullies that require some clambering skills, rocky outcrops and pockets of native blooms encouraged to burst into full blossom by a recent cyclone. We were truly lucky to see them in Autumn, rather than have to wait for their usual profusion in Spring.
The track itself is tadpole-shaped with an out-and-back stretch and an elongated loop on the end.
We walked for a couple of kilometres admiring out surrounds and I suspect we were all starting to wonder what all the fuss was about and when we would see the famous canyon. Trusting our fabulous guides, we hopped from rock to rock, finally arriving at the top of a small rise to have our breath completely taken by the view.
How powerful is Nature? How clever is Nature? How violent is nature to create such a gash in the land?
Unfortunately my photos did not do the canyon and its sweeping views any justice at all.
Shot Hole Canyon is not simply a bloody great hole in the ground. It is colourful and layered and sculptured and just damn gorgeous. It got its name from “the shot holes left in the terrain following the explosive charges set for seismic studies during oil exploration work in the early 1950s”. Source.
The nuts and bolts of the Badjirrajirra Walk:
- Distance: This path is approximately 6.8km return.
- Timing: The sign says to allow 4 hours to complete this loop. If you can, I would recommend that you do this loop close to sunset as the sun setting over the canyon, and the water beyond, would be stunning.
- Rating: This walk is rated 4 out of 5 in the level of difficulty. Yes, there are a couple of steep-ish sections, but it is not difficult. Take your time and enjoy the scenery.
- Facilities: Other than a carpark, a couple of signs and a seat, there is zilch.
- What to Take: Take everything, including plenty of water with you.
After a quick cuppa, and another million photos, it was time to make our way back to the bus. Taking the other side of the looped path, it featured a few more rock scrambles, some of them quite steep, and some amazing rock formations. I loved the perfect cylindrical holes which looked like the lava and gas had only just popped and cooled.
It started to rain lightly as we made our way back. It didn’t dampen our spirits and only highlighted and deepened the colours and freshness of the surrounding bush.
Yes, we had finished on a high.
Do you have a favourite canyon? Or when has a secret been revealed?
What: If you would like to find out more about Cape Range National Park, swing into the Milyering Discovery Centre. It was the first building of its type in Australia. Built out of rammed earth and totally powered by the sun, it houses a whole range of information about the region, souvenirs and ice cream!
Where: The Badjirrajirra Walk trail head is an 11km drive in from the main road. The base of Shot Hole Canyon can also be accessed by car for views up to the plateau. Sometimes the road closes due to heavy rain, so check the sign just as you turn off the highway.
When: This is a beautiful part of the World to visit anytime, but I would avoid the worst of the heat between November and March.
Why: Like so many other places in WA’s remote North, you visit for a slice of the most breathtaking landscape, rich Indigenous history, vivid colours and endless space.
How: Various commercial tour companies service this area, but for maximum convenience your own vehicle would be best. A 4WD is not required.
Who: This walk is for those who don’t mind a bit a bit of rock scrambling and getting the ol’ heart rate up on the steeper ups and downs.
Related Posts: For more walks in the Cape Range National Park, pop over to the western edge of the Park.
Related Blogs: Alissa and Don also loved the views over Shot Hole Canyon and have some beautiful photos to prove it.
Read About It: For the young and young at heart, grab a copy of Gary Paulsen’s novel Canyons. Two boys, separated by the canyons of time and two vastly different cultures, face the challenges by which they will become men. Go straight to Book Depository.
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