Of natural hot tubs and screams of joy in pubs: The mini kiwi road trip Part 2

Did you know that you can actually see Mount Doom from Hobbiton? Mount Ngauruhoe (the volcano’s non-hollywood name) was unfortunately not on our list this trip, but as we left Hobbiton through rolling green hills we spotted its conical shape in the distance, and marvelled at Kerry, Chris and Nick’s achievement of walking Frodo’s 6 month journey to Mordor in just one week. But outside the fantastical world of a Hollywood movie set, New Zealands flaura and fauna just kept on being amazing. There is a reason the other-worldly films were set on these Islands in the South Pacific, and this reason is that New Zealand already has an other worldly feel to it.


(if you’ve missed Part 1 of the Mini Kiwi Road Trip, here it is!)


We are used to the climates of Northern Europe, with cold ocean swells crashing on rugged cliffs, misty mornings on the moors and lush green forests meeting sweeping hills. But walking around New Zealand’s rainforests marvelling at huge ferns, thick moss and star-wars shaped trees, shrubs and leaves made us feel like we were truly on another planet. And although we’d only been here for a couple of days, due to everything being relatively close together, we had seen a huge amount of unique landscapes.


Tummys full of pizza from nearby Mata Mata, we headed northwards, past the giant LP Bottle and the Karangahake Gorge suspension bridge, all the way North East to the peninsula that shields Auckland from the Pacific’s heaviest swells. The Coromandel is covered in temperate rainforest and surrounded by stunning cloastline including Cathedral Cove best explored by sea kayak. If you’re like us and love the great outdoors, but get cold a lot, head to Hot Water Beach at low tide and dig your very own volcanic jacuzzi. And when we mean hot, we don’t mean ‘yeah it’s kind of a little bit tepid if I really concentrate on the amazingness of nature’. We mean ‘burn your feet if you don’t top your pool up with freezing sea water’ hot. As the full moon coincided with clear weather and a low tide at 11:30pm, we hardly noticed we had spent 3 night time hours sitting in a bikini and board shorts watching the stars through soft steam.


One of the great things about flexible travel is that if you meet someone, and they have a cool gig going on somewhere, or idea, or recommendation, you can go check it out. So the next day we were driving along stunning coastal roads to see our Kayak guide’s mate, who happened to own his own winery. The day which involved stopping off for Oysters for lunch and shooting lookouts at Shakespeare Cliff just south of Whitianga couldn’t have ended better than being treated to Jonno’s self-christened ‘haka’ about his Purangi winery, diverse produce, family ancestry and local popular culture. After 3 hours of chatting about the surprisingly huge diversity of flaura you can make alcoholic beverages out of, and the interconnectedness of the world as a result (New Zealand’s unofficial national fruit isn’t a Kiwi, and was brought over from Brasil, hence the name “feijoa”), resident backpackers and a dog joined as the delicious aroma of home made wood fire pizzas from the pub area wafted over us.


Returning to Auckland would have been harder, if the coastal road hadn’t been as spectacular. Cutting through mountainous terrain of the Coromandel peninsula, you really got a sense of what a scenic route should be. Over the green hills and blue ocean we spotted a city in the distance – New Zealand’s capital in fact, which would be our next and final stop on the Mini Kiwi Road Trip. Parking a massive campervan in the city is ok in parts, but leaving it overnight was going to be tricky. Luckily we’d had a suggestion to stay north of the bridge in the Takapuna Beach Holiday Park and whilst not huge it couldn’t have been a better place to bunker down for a few days. The weather had been playing up so the War Rig was able to show off its huge advantage over a smaller van: it had tonnes of space. With a double bed above the drivers cabin that didn’t need assembling, a kitchen you could really cook in, central heating and a great sitting area at the back, we were finally able to work, relax and invite friends for dinner when it was too rainy to do any filming. You may say we’re getting middle aged, but having the space to comfortably hang out with 6 friends, dinner, beers and cards against humanity whilst the rain pelted down outdoors was bliss.


Sitting on a dormant volcanic field, there are plenty of extinct volcanoes to spot or even scale in and around Auckland including Mount Eden, One Tree Hill and the Domain. Tamaki Drive along to Mission Bay has great views of the city (like the one above) and if you prefer the water, you can go on a pirate ship (or the aptly named ‘SS Puke’) for the day and spot daring bungee jumpers fall off the Auckland Harbour Bridge. As the unofficial but bad-ass inventor of extreme sports, New Zealand has tonnes to offer for thrill seekers great and small. Did you know that there is no age limit for skydivers? That the youngest skydiver on record is 5 year old Erin Hogan? Well you don’t need to look far for your next kick as you can actually freefall off Auckland’s inner city Skytower. Or just walk around the outside of it, leaning over the edge, like we did. Or sit inside and eat dinner. Or just chill on the observation deck. Or hang out at the casino.


Two nights later the spectacular views from the Skytower lay high above us, but it was exactly where we were drawn back to as the country exploded in a celebration of pride and joy. At 4am on a Sunday morning we found ourselves roaming the streets for a bar that wasn’t ram packed full, dodging drunk backpackers in worn off Halloween facepaint, runners on their way to the Auckland marathon, rowdy sports fans, and those who like us were fresh on coffee from getting an early night for an early start. After 2 hours of incredible atmosphere The All Blacks won the world rugby cup and the following day was once of the most exhilarating displays of collective delight we have ever witnessed. Kiwis take supporting their sports teams very seriously (with rugby at the heart, their basketball team is referred to as the ‘Tall Blacks”) and are comparatively good natured so Sunday morning celebrations at Best Ugly Bagles and a day trip to Waiheke Island and its wineries and oyster feasts couldn’t have rounded our trip off better.


New Zealand, a land far far away, but one you have to (and we mean HAVE TO) put on your list of urgent visits. There is something you can’t describe adequately in a postcard, and if our tiny taster of adventures to come is anything to go by, we simply cannot wait to get stuck straight back in.



Wanna go off the beaten track? How’s the sky for an idea?

In 1797 Andre-Jacques Garnerin strapped a large bedsheet to a basket with a balloon to elevate it to the desired height, cut the cord and returned jolting to earth. He officially invented skydiving and even got a google doodle for it. In 1919 Lesie Irvin developed his own basketless parachute for his job in the Californian film industry, which was such a success that it kicked off The Irving Air Chutes Company. IACC’s parachutes saved over 10000 lives during WW2. It’s pretty amazing how far back skydiving goes in history (check out Da Vinci’s parachute) and beginnings may have been humble, but where it’s come from since is just as amazing.


6 months ago we thought it was all base-jumpers and ex-army tandem masters taking backpacker thrill seekers for a quick plane ride and plummet, but it turns out there is so much more fun to have in the sky than we could ever have imagined. We’ve met stuntmen with wingsuits honing their flying styles for the next red bull ad, or fun jumpers that fly at night, enjoying the stars, twinkling city lights and amazing views at full moon. Apart from the standard tummy-down banana positioning, with a little experience and training you can move around in the sky a lot more than just straight down. Freefliers can often be seen practicing standing or sitting in freefall, or laying on their backs, or hanging upside down. Check out camera flier Helmi in the Byron video. You can take freefall to the extreme and fly ‘style’, which is basically freefall’s sprinting equivalent. Build up maximum speed, complete a pre-arranged set of manoeuvres in the fasted time possible (6 seconds for world champions) and get evaluated by high-speed camera which gives you points on hundredth of a second intervals.


Another discipline presented at the World Freestyle Competitions is angle flying, which is what Vance (white & yellow), Slatey, (black, blue & yellow) Travis (black) & Jonesey (grey & turquoise) are up to in the shot above. The idea is to fly in formation at the same level and angle as your mates in preparation for three-dimensional flight formations or acrobatic freeflying. Apart from base jumping (we’ll get to that, don’t worry!), formation flying (also known as relative work or RV) is probably the most recognizable solo skydiving skill. From groups of 2 to 4 or 44 (known as a 2-way, 4-way, 44-way etc) to a record breaking 400 linked people in freefall above Thailand in 2006, hanging on to your mates in artistic ways at 200km/h needs a lot of practice, planning and coordination but is also breathtaking to behold. Cross country parachuting does what cross country skiing does, but with no skis. Jump out of the plane, open our chute straight away and get as far away from the exit point as you can to win the competition. Accuracy work is quite the opposite, because it doesn’t matter how far you fly as the objective is to land on a target with 2cm diameter and electronic sensors that measure your 1cm increments away from the centre target and award points accordingly.


Canopy piloting or swooping is usually done above a pond, where courses are set up with entry gates that parachutists need to pass through at a very shallow maximum height (sometimes measured by requiring a contestant to trail a foot through the surface of the pond during flight, creating a mini-wake with the tip of the shoe). The course needs to be navigated without being too high or so low you fall in the pond, and competitions run for the three skills of speed (measured at the beginning and end), distance (how far you get after completing the course) and accuracy (how accurate you can land on a target after the course).


Yeah, this all sounds awesome for you mere mortals, but we wanna pull out the big guns. The moment you’ve all been waiting for: Base Jumping. For those of you who think Base Jumping is filming yourself on your gopro crushing your legs after jumping off a cliff to get 10000 hits on youtube to Awolnation’s “Sail”, yeah… we can’t really say you’re wrong. But there are many successful professional base jumpers alive and what goes into it (especially to avoid getting hurt) is pretty fascinating. Base jumping is indeed one of the more radical and dangerous disciplines in parachuting, especially as you don’t exit from a plane with plenty of time to open your chute. Typically, you’ll hurl yourself off four kinds of elevated structures: buildings, antenae, spans (aka beams or bridges) and the earth itself (aka a cliff). Has the name-penny dropped? A huge amount of planning and calculations goes into base jumping as working out how long you need to fall for to gain enough speed for your chute to open but not hit the ground beforehand is rather complex once you take thermals and other environmental factors into account.


If you want to look super-cool but don’t quite have the nerve to let milliseconds decide your fate, you can always skysurf, which basically entails jumping out of a plane with a modified snowboard. In fact, if you are over a very large unpopulated area, you can organize a stuff jump. Take all sorts of stuff on your jump with you. Rubber rafts are popular as you can pose sitting in them (lolz), but bikes, motorcycles, vacuum cleaners, water tanks and inflatable T-Rexes have all been thrown out of the back of aircraft. Honestly, google it, it’s hilarious. Skydivers carefully track away from stuff before opening chutes, and make sure that what you’re taking isn’t incredibly important as it will probably disintegrate as it smashes into the ground at terminal velocity whilst you still sail high above it. All this is a huge amount of fun, if you’re inspired you can easily learn how to solo jump completing a week-long AFF course. If you want to go professional, tandem or camera flying is incredibly rewarding, but we’ll give you a lowdown in a separate post. So don’t think it ends with your first jump, there’s a whole sky out there to explore.

Of winery bars and a million living stars: The mini kiwi road trip Part 1

If you haven’t seen Mad Max Fury road, drop what you’re doing and check out one of the most glorious pieces of CG action you’ve ever seen. If you have – you’ll know what we mean when we say we had just been handed the keys to the war rig.


Cast your mind back, dear reader, to 2014. We had just arrived in Northern Australian cowboy city Darwin, after an eventful 9 months at sea, on trains, busses, rickshaws, tuktuks and dog sleds filming our Epic Journey from London to Sydney overland. For the first time in a year, we were put in charge of our own mode of transport, as THL sent us on the Mighty Aussie Road Trip. Our camper Rhino was wonderful. We finally could just drop our bags and leave them there for a month. And as we were driving around, we had everything we needed with us at all time – our stuff, two beds, a kitchen and an editing suite. It was glorious.


So imagine our excitement when THL gave us another camper to film around New Zealand’s North Island. Arriving at Auckland airport on a rainy Thursday morning, we stood astounded, face to face with the war rig. Getting used to driving Rhino had been surprisingly simple in Darwin’s wide outer-city roads, despite his initial bulky appearance and penthouse height (that 2nd bed needed to fit somewhere!). But the war rig was big, square and heavy. “We’re driving a shower around!” we thought as we manoeuvred it out of the parking lot and through winding roads to the highway south.


We have always wanted to come to New Zealand, ever since listening to Toto’s stories on the Mekong during our Stray Asia project and seeing various friends’ facebook profiles light up with lush green countryside, incredible snowy cliff faces and of course Hobbiton. The road to Hamilton gave us a great appetizer of the joys to come. Slowly, the busy city highways fell behind us, replaced by rolling green hills and quaint towns. Stopping off in Hamilton’s botanical gardens for lunch was surprisingly fun even for us high-octane digital kids – who would have thought you could express Japan or India or the Tudors just with arranging flowers differently.


When speaking to fellow travellers over the last few months about New Zealand, Hobbiton had always been in the top 3. We’re not going to lie, we were SUPER excited about Hobbiton. But one place we’d never heard of before kept on popping up, and this is where we were heading. The Waitomo region is green and hilly, with cows, sheep, llamas and the occasional ostrich neatly arranged amongst the foliage. There are picturesque hikes, the roaring Marokopa waterfalls, and plenty of cute places to camp, eat, drink and relax. But deep underneath the serenity lies something so spectacular, National Geographic can’t get enough of it.


Waitomo has glow-worms. Thousands upon thousands of brightly shining glow worms that inhabit the karst caves that stretch for kilometres under every hoof, boot and blade of grass on the calm earth above. The caves are uniquely accessible, so that even your granny can go check out their rich blue glow. And if your granny’s adventurous, we can’t recommend the most popular activity of the region enough: Black water rafting. Don a thick overall wetsuit, sturdy rubber boots and a cool helmet with a lamp on it. See how many of you can squeeze into your mate Olivia’s Fiat Panda. Or take the shuttle bus to the cave entrance you’re your awesome guide and everyone else and abseil into what looks like a water well, only to discover the cave below opening up to spectacular rock formations, roaring rivers and of course our little blue-glowing friends. Jump down underground waterfalls, tube through calm streams or take a leap of faith and zipwire into utter darkness. It is as amazing as it sounds.


We could happily have stayed in Waitomo for a week, working our way through all the underground adventures, eating awesome food and making the best of our after hours access to the caves with incredibly helpful guide Logan, but time was of the essence so we headed off to Raglan, a sleepy town set in stunning scenery alongside a natural harbour on the North Island’s west coast. Despite being set away from the beach on the top of a hill, Solscape was a lovely place to stay, hang out and enjoy the stunning views, and after 4 drives up and down the rather steep winding private road to the top, we realized we hadn’t even notices getting used to driving the war rig. What had at first been daunting was actually relatively straightforward and even manoeuvring around a tight camp ground was totally doable with minimal help from a friend. Surfing, surfing, surfing, surfing, surfing, surfing, surfing, surfing – this is our account of the next 24 hours. It was cold, but the straight conveyor-belt waves that rolled in from the Tasman Sea were just wonderful. And with a kitchen at our fingertips, a well-earned dinner of local gigantic mussels at sunset perched on a cliff was pure bliss.


Dear reader. We know what you’re feeling. You’re at a gig and you just can’t wait to hear the band’s biggest hit. You’ve been dancing around all evening but every song that starts is cool, but you just want to hear your favourite one, just once. Well, dear reader, you have been patient. And this patience is about to be rewarded, for now, we run through a narrow grass-lined, gravel-floored corridor and proclaim proudly “I’m going on an adventure!”


Hobbiton is a phenomenon. Movie sets are usually built to last a week of filming. Set designers put incredible detail into structures that need to be built to LOOK fantastic, but by no means be durable. Fibreglass is painted to look like marble, foam to look like weathered beams, flowers are planted fresh and then left to die, everything’s on a budget, so if it doesn’t HAVE to be real, it WON’T be real. Hobbinton however is different. After building a stunning but façade-only set for The Lord Of The Rings, the film crew were so busy on the next job they never came to clean up the set. The farmer who owns the land decided to run local tours which became popular, so when Peter Jackson and the crew returned to film The Hobbit on the same land, a deal was agreed to create a permanent structure for visitors to enjoy.


Our guide Andy was incredibly knowledgeable and enthusiastic, explaining how holes came in different sizes, so Gandalf would look huge in front of a hole built at 60% size, whereas Frodo would look like he lived in an identical hole at 100% size. Each garden represented what the resident Hobbit did for a living, including the village drunk, who’s garden is kept in a permanent state of being let go slightly. The Green Dragon pub has its own beers and ales as well as amazing atmosphere and beautiful gardens by the lake. A huge amount of effort goes into the maintenance of the gardens, buildings and grounds, so even if you’re not into the movies, it’s an amazing place to visit.


Talking of Green Dragons though, make sure to stay hydrated and grab yourself a beer. Or a wine. Or bourbon. Or tea. For we’ll be back shortly with part 2 of the Mini Kiwi Road Trip.



How to Shred a Dancefloor Before Breakfast in Melbourne



You’ve woken early. It’s 6am on a random Wednesday morning and you’re wondering: “What shall I do with myself before work?”


Chances are, the answer would normally be: “roll over and get some more sleep” rather than: “get into my lemur onesie and party with a thousand new best mates at a back-alley warehouse rave”, but today’s not a normal day. Nope – today’s a day to grab by the balls. After all, you’re fun and gorgeous and you’re excited about waking up in the city of Melbourne, Australia.


And there’s a lot to be excited about in Melbourne. It’s like the entire population is crawling all over itself trying to entertain and engage with each other. There are festivals and celebrations coming out of Melbourne’s earholes. (If any city can be said to have earholes, Melbourne would be it, and it’s earholes would be filled with music from all the events leaking out)


There are huge, mainstream events like the Melbourne Cup Horseracing Carnival, Australian Open and Melbourne International Film Festival. There’s an incredible creative event called White Night, a spinoff from international art movement, Nuit Blanche, where the entire city becomes a monumental gallery of larger-than-life installations.


Just about every suburb, block and street has it’s own micro festivals too. Johnson Street becomes a river of Hispanic vibrance in November. There are food truck festivals and themed food markets as well as the massive Food and Wine Festival each March. From Comedy to coffee, writers to beer drinkers to brides-to-be and pretty much all nationalities, subcultures and human beings in between, there’s an event in this city for you.


But today’s the day you’re going to turn up for that warehouse rave at 6:30am sharp. You’re got your ticket. You’re already in your lemur onsie, and you’re ready to dance. The horizon warms with dawn’s pinks and golds. The DJ warms up the decks. There’s a colourful throng lining up in the alley and your Rat & Dragon crew are behind their cameras catching the joy and madness. This is Morning Gloryville Melbourne and you’ve got two and a half hours to dance your ass off before you need to shed your onsie, wipe off the glitter and facepaint and saunter into your office to casually answer “fucking amazing” when your colleagues ask: “How are you today?”



Of jitters up high and lords of the sky: the Aussie Skydive Project

You don’t quite know what’s hit you. A previously totally unimaginable sensation is chasing through your body and you have quite literally just had your breath taken. Through the spinning, whirling, rushing, mind-blowing surroundings, you suddenly re-focus your eyes on what’s going on around you. And you realise, that you, little 60kg bundle of human cells, are 4km above the face of the earth, hurtling through the troposphere past layer upon layer of air, clouds and wind towards your home planet at over 200km/h.


Barely able to grasp what’s happening but resigning your body to just go along for the ride you start to really enjoy yourself. Adrenaline’s pumping around your body making you hyper alert to the stunning beauty of Earth, life and generally having a brain to capture it all. The view from 14000 feet is breathtaking, clouds and landscape are lusciously high-def and 3D and there is really no other way to see it but jump out of a perfectly good plane.


Suddenly, you spot something moving from the corner of your eye, and it’s getting closer and closer, circling you as you fall into the abyss. It can’t be your tandem master, who’s firmly strapped to your back and making sure to keep you total beginner from falling to your otherwise certain death. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a dude in a flying squirrel onesie? The being comes closer and closer and you see a massive smile emerge under the rim of some ridiculously cool sunnies. A flicker of recognition and your face merges from your previous ‘wow’-face into a ‘yeeeeeey’-face as you realize this being is Ben, who you met earlier when you were getting all harnessed up. His tell tale double camera rig bolted firmly to his helmet, he flies even closer and you become the key participant of the most epic fist-pump in the history of mankind, at 260km/h, 10000 feet above the tropical North Queensland coastline and the Great Barrier Reef.


These are the moments we treasure the most – moments of unashamed exhilaration, of blowing your comfort zone to bits and experiencing things the vast majority of humans throughout history never dreamed would be even remotely possible. As your favourite maverick film team, we’ll over the next few months have the utter privilege of capturing those moments at 12 unique Skydive Australia drop zones around the country. And we can’t even start to explain how excited we are, how many fascinating aspects of Skydiving we have VIP access to, as well as how incredibly skilled our drop zone camera fliers, tandem masters, ground team and pilots are.


Always wanted to know how to pack a parachute? Fly a plane with the doors open? Use a camera in freefall (no hands, mum!)? And what those Mission Impossible squirrel suits actually do? This is the Skydive project, watch this space…

No one ain’t the boss of Karijini National Park

You know sometimes someone tells you about this amazing place they went where they escaped the stresses of modern life and finally felt at one with the power of nature amidst the primeval scenery. And then you take the weekend off to get there and it’s a mozzie-filled, over-run crack in the earth with algae-water at the bottom, half the size of the adjoining car park and surrounded by otherwise completely unspectacular landscape. Sometimes you need to take a step back, think for a bit and rationally persuade yourself to appreciate the beauty of what lies before you. It looks like a boring stone but it’s a 1 billion year old stone, so give it some kudos. Sometimes people need to tell you their weekend was spectacular, so they don’t feel like they’ve wasted it. Sometimes people think everything’s amazing. Sometimes people are underwhelmed by ‘the thing to do’, but are too afraid to sound negative if they don’t rate what other people en masse have proclaimed their ‘best day ever’.


Different people have different tastes and it’s hard to know if you’re going to genuinely like something before you actually go and experience it for yourself, especially if you’ve never heard of it before. No reviews on Trip Advisor? Surely there’s a reason everyone prefers this famous spot over the unknown one… Well, dear reader, if you are still with us after 2 years and 77 blog posts, then we hope you’re tuned into what we like, and this reflects on some level the stuff that you like. So, we’re going to make a bold but confident assumption. If you don’t mind getting a little scruffy, sometimes too hot, sometimes too cold and definitely wet, if you enjoy the great outdoors and like climbing around on stuff, then, if you’re not positively blown away by Karijini National Park, by God, we’re going to eat our hats. Dangling corks and all.


You may be surprised to learn that roughly 110 million years ago, Australia was half covered by an ocean called the Eromanga Sea, that stretched right into the Red Centre and split the continent into 6 large islands. The presence of this sea explains the discovery of marine reptile fossils like the Plesiosaur or the Kronosaurus as far inland as Richmond, western Queensland. Crazy huh? This inland sea is also the creator of the layers upon layers of different coloured sediment that make Karijini’s steep cliff faces look like pieces of 100m high, oh-so-yummy, gloriously streaky bacon.


Karijini is about 1 long day’s drive from Broome (named after 1880’s Governor of WA, Sir Frederik Broome, not a brush on a stick), inland from the Australian North West Coast in the middle of mining country. 627,442 hectares are declared National Park, which is lucky as otherwise the still small mine right in the park’s centre could have swallowed it up by now. Karijini is also one of the very few places on our travels in health & safety conscious countries where you have a real chance of dying if you don’t pay attention. Where other law-suit-paranoid attractions will shepherd visitors inside a child proof safety pen route and spell out the thermal nature of hot beverages available next to the overpriced gift shop, Karijini declares you an adult who can respect instructions and take responsibility of your own physical well being.


We scaled down through four of its gorges – scrambling over huge rocks, wading though chest deep water, hanging off smooth rock faces and basking in little pockets of sunlight. Each trek was unique. Joffre Gorge has an incredible 360 degree 100m high bowl at one end that you enter though a narrow corridor after wading through a stream fed by a giant S shaped waterfall. Weano Gorge’s bowl half way down is filled with water, and you have to clamber down a narrow crack at the top of the waterfall with a handrail for safety. Dales Gorge is a beautiful 1 hour walk through a botanical garden like river bed, from a mystical perfect circle pool (aptly named ‘Circular Pool’) to a wide cascading waterfall at the other end that provide nature-made sunbeds alongside the aquamarine waterfall pool. And Hancock Gorge (which is pictured above), lets you climb through the heart of the red rock to magical Kermit pool, and like a giant nature-made game of Tomb Raider, the part beyond Kermit pool is only accessible via abseiling.


And this is the most stunning part of Karijini. The rock is smooth and perfectly human size, making the whole place look like it was constructed (like a computer game) to be just right to scramble around. The cliffs are super-high, the colours are breathtaking, this place looks like a postcard from every angle, and you’re right in the middle of it. Never mind that you have some of the clearest night skies on the continent to marvel at the milky way whilst you listen to dingoes howling in the distance. Never mind that you can spot red kangaroos, wallaroos, echidnas, geckos, goannas, bats, birds and snakes (including pythons!) in between the wild flowers, ghostly white snappy gums and metre high termite mounds. Scaling through one of these gorges would make your jaw drop any time, and Karijini has more than 10, all with well marked descent routes and safety instructions.


Make sure you take shoes and clothes that can get completely wet (as in: you go swimming in them), a dry bag for your camera (that you can swim through a lake with), sunscreen and bug spray. You can camp or stay at the eco retreat, but remember there is no electricity (except at the reception building) or phone signal. Make sure to not enter a gorge too late to come back out again well before sunset, check the weather report and if it starts raining get out as quickly as possible as flash floods have killed people. Only hold onto solid rock (not trees that can snap!) and be amazed as you remember clambering around the world that was an adventure playground when you were a kid. Here’s the thing: it still is, and Karijini is one of the best places on the planet to re-discover this.