Kalbarri: Camping and Access

Ooh. Only 16 sleeps until Kalbarri. I can’t wait to get my hands on that sandstone again for some quality rock fondling.

You may not be aware that the Kalbarri National Park Management Plan is under review. I want to assure everyone that CAWA has an excellent relationship with the Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) in general and particularly in this area. As a result of this, there is currently no threat to climbing access. Having said that, all activities are being monitored. Climbing is currently acknowledged and accepted in the gorges and we want to keep it that way. The fact that some climbers have left considerably more than footprints last year and on other occasions potentially jeopardises our continued access. DPaW appreciates that most people are doing the right thing. But they would prefer to see fewer people camping in the gorge, especially at busy times, such as the June long weekend. Even minimal impact camping still impacts on the environment, particularly with large groups.

I am aware that there is increasing interest in camping in the gorge and this concerns me. I understand all the reasons why climbers want to do this. I have done it myself just last year. However, with the road into the Z-Bend now being sealed for the first 12 km, the risk of road closure has now been significantly reduced, because it was the initial section that was so prone to wash out. This also reduces travel time. I have spoken at length with the senior ranger and while there are no guarantees, unless the rain is very heavy and persistent, the road is likely to stay open.

I am asking ALL of you to please consider our long term access for climbing vs. your own short term goals. Come and stay with us in town on the June long weekend so we can clearly demonstrate to DPaW our commitment to working with them to preserve this unique and idyllic environment. Actions speak louder than words.

So, for the greater good of my sport, I will forego the delights of camping in the gorge on the upcoming June long weekend: powdered milk; running out of water; cheesecake in a bag (actually, it’s pretty good); pegging out a non-freestanding tent on rock at 2 am; descending the scramble next to a lurching esky full of beer being lowered down (very entertaining for everybody except the beer owners) and waking up feeling like a herd of elephants ran over me.

There are still plenty of campsites available in town and we have booked adjacent to another group of climbers so that we can all have a beer (read: cocktails for me) and a sing-along (if you ask me nicely). No really, if someone brings a guitar I might just oblige. A side effect of reality singing show overdose.

CAWA members have received an email about the trip and details have also been posted on the website. If you would like to be part of our caravan park booking, then you do need to be a CAWA member but there is also plenty of alternative accommodation available.

I’m looking forward to seeing you all up there.

Dena Rao

CAWA President

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