Hancock Gorge : A visual guide

Our visit in Karijini in April this year gave us 5 days to explore the gorges in the area. If you are keen to revisit locations , then this is a good period of time to spend exploring. If you are the type to visit the gorges sequentially for the experience alone, then you’d probably only need 3 days to visit the main gorges. We hope to write these guides to assist you with where you might want to place the emphasis on each particular gorge and how feasible it is for you depending on your activity level. We based our visits from the Eco retreat which is adjacent to Joffre Gorge.

Hancock Gorge is a short 10 minute drive away from the retreat. A visit to Hancock gorge is best done in the early morning such that the highlights of the gorge (Kermit’s pool and the chute) can be photographed in golden light but before the sun starts to infiltrate the gorge directly. A good way to start the day is to photograph dawn at Oxers lookout before heading into the gorge.

Red Gorge from Oxer Lookout

The initial descent into the gorge is down a steep rock staircase followed by a set of two ladders. From there, there are several sections of water which we found we could skirt around without difficulty but if you are not confident scrambling around rocks, they are easy to wade through and were about waist high at deepest during our visit. For this reason, a waterproof bag would be a handy accessory to bring while visiting Hancock gorge.

Skirting around the pools

At the end of the pools, there is a natural ampitheatre which is appropriately named as such. A beautiful small cascade (surrounded by black slippery rock) then leads into the spider walk and the deeper part of the canyon where most of the famous images are taken.

The waterfall in the ampitheatre

The spider walk itself can be safely negotiated by bracing each step with your arms along the sides of the narrow canyon. It isn’t too slippery but make sure you have your footing secure before allowing your weight on to each step.

Looking into the spider walk

At the end of this section, the canyon opens up a little into the beautifully green Kermit’s pool, complete with its own little cascade. The pool itself is deep and is a popular location for visitors to swim and jump in. You can walk around either side if you are confident, otherwise you will definitely need a waterproof bag to swim through the 10-15m of its length. This location is best shot with light coming in through the gaps of the canyon in the late morning and there are numerous compositions you can attempt to include the small cascade at its upstream point.

The length of Kermit’s pool

Directly past Kermits pool is the ‘chute’ which tumbles and winds ending as a waterfall into regan’s pool below. The area beyond the shoot is off limits without appropriate equipment and marks the end of the gorge for most visitors. This area is also best shot in the late morning and once again , you are hoping for clear skies such that reds of the cliffs are reflected in slick rock lining the chute.

The chute leading into Regan’s pool

Below the chute lie in our opinion the best parts of Hancock gorge but in order to visit the area you will need to arrange a tour with westozactive tours. Some of their tours take you down and up the same route while others only ascend through Hancock gorge after descending through Knox and Red Gorge. Regan’s pool and its waterfall is an area we’ve only seen in the afternoon light and it appeared to be a good time to photograph the location due to the golden light illuminating its chamber. Take care down here as it is extremely slick meaning camera gear is also at risk!

Regan’s Pool in the afternoon

Immediately downstream, the runoff from Regan’s is just as beautiful. While on a canyoning trip, you can then skirt around this pool leading into a narrow chute flowing to the base of the gorge and junction pool .

We can only speak with limited opportunities but it seemed that shooting looking down into the gorge was best shot in the late morning while shooting back up was far better in the afternoon with the backlit walls glowing red with reflected light. Without the red glow of the ‘bounced’ light, these scenes are not as vibrant though still interesting from a textural point of view.

Roping down during late morning

Coming back up during mid afternoon

These images give a more artistic impression of the area rather than what it appeared to the eye. To get an idea of what Hancock Gorge looks like according to a gopro, take a look at our video below looking at the sections between 2:10 and 3:40 for our guided canyoning trip , and between 4:00 and 4:40 for our own hike the next day.

It is no surprise the Hancock gorge rates #1 on our gorge preferences so if you only had a quick visit planned, this would be the place to go! Next up, Weano Gorge!


Posted on May 27, 2015, in Australia, Photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Spectacular location, beautifully photographed!

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