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Kennedy Range National Park

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November 197 minute read

Roughly 1,100 kilometres north of Perth lies Western Australia’s impressive Kennedy Range National Park. The park is only a couple of hundred kilometres from Carnarvon and the North West Coastal Highway making it a great side stop on any trip up the west coast.

Kennedy Ranges National Park Western Australia

We’re always curious to see why a National Park exists. After eyeing the Kennedy Range on the map for far too long, we decided to visit. We were heading north towards Warra Station, so it was the perfect opportunity to make the diversion.

kennedy range 1

As we approached the Kennedy Range, we were hoping for something unique but hadn’t expected a steep-sided plateau towering 100 metres above the plain below. It’s spectacular, and for those that have travelled the Gibb River Road, this range has a similar look to the Cockburn Ranges near El-Questro albeit on a smaller scale.

Kennedy Ranges National Park Western Australia

The Kennedy Range is known as Mundatharrda to the local Inggarda people, and it’s easy to see it is a special place for them. The Mundatharrda has an enviable backyard extending from the coast near Carnarvon through the Gascoyne River to the Kennedy Range and south towards the Wooramel River.

Kennedy Ranges National Park Western Australia

Camping in the park is limited to the Parks and Wildlife Service campground at Temple Gorge. The campground is beside the range which means the view is amazing.

Kennedy Ranges National Park Western Australia

After the long drive from Perth, we were keen to stretch our legs, so we laced up our hiking boots and headed up Temple Gorge. From a distance, the Kennedy Range is impressive, up close the rock formations are something else entirely.

Kennedy Ranges National Park Western Australia
Kennedy Ranges National Park Western Australia
Kennedy Ranges National Park Western Australia

The Kennedy Range is a mesa which means an isolated flat- elevation, ridge or hill, which is bounded from all sides by steep escarpments and stands distinctly above a surrounding plain. It’s formed from 250-million-year-old compressed ocean sediment and its erosion that has carved the steep sides, deep gorges and exposed marine fossils.

Kennedy Ranges National Park Western Australia

There are a number of hikes in the Kennedy Range National Park, but the short one up Honeycomb Gorge is the must-do. It’s quickly apparent where the name comes when the track ends.

Kennedy Ranges National Park Western Australia

This spectacular waterfall would be incredible to see with flow. Hopefully one day we’ll be nearby when rain hits, and I can return to see it in full glory!

Kennedy Ranges National Park Western Australia
Kennedy Ranges National Park Western Australia

While the honeycomb is the jewel of this gorge the colours and shapes of some of the other rock formations were incredible. They had a distinct ‘Pilbara red’ feel but they were unlike anything we’d seen before in other parts of the area like Karijini National Park.

Kennedy Ranges National Park Western Australia
Kennedy Ranges National Park Western Australia

The colours and patterns in the rock-faces were also incredible. Even those with least bit of interest in geology will struggle not to take a closer look.

Kennedy Ranges National Park Western Australia

In 1878 Jimba Jimba was the first pastoral lease taken up near the range and it became a successful wool producer. While large areas of the current Kennedy Range National Park at one time became pastoral leases the aridness of these areas protected them from heavy grazing and left them relatively intact. In 1997 the unviable Binthalya pastoral lease was acquired to form the Kennedy Range National Park.

Kennedy Ranges National Park Western Australia

Our visit to the Kennedy Range National Park was a surprising joy and it was the perfect start to our trip up the coast to Warra Station and the Cape Range National Park.

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Mike Collister has spent his life outdoors. He has represented Australia as a slalom kayaker, guided whitewater expeditions in Nepal, and taught outdoor education and wilderness medicine. He’s paddled the Kimberley’s Fitzroy River in the wet season and across the Bass Strait and is an avid photographer, overlander and camper.