You would think that a place with the world’s largest amount of rock carvings would be popular and swarming with visitors. Murujuga National Park, however, in Australia’s northwestern corner, wasn’t even protected until 2013 (when it became Western Australia’s 100th National Park), and even today is sparsely visited because of its remote location. Located on the Burrup Peninsula outside the town of Dampier, Murujuga National Park spans 12,000 acres and houses rock art up to 30,000 years old. As is the case with ancient drawings, there’s far more here than what meets the eye when briefly glancing at the drawings—which in this case often depict wildlife and plant life that lived on the Burrup Peninsula. Look a little bit deeper, however, and visit with a local guide, and it’s possible to weave a human history of tens of thousands of years, from the types of weapons and tools used to hunt, to the changing proximity of land from the coast, caused by a rise in the seas. This corner of Australia—while largely industrial, with nearby chemical and gas plants —is truly fascinating for its wealth of drawings and windows into the past, and still remains largely under the radar, just waiting to be enjoyed.
You’ll need to provide your own food and drinking water, as none is available in the park. Summer months can be brutally hot, and the park has little shade, so try to visit in early morning or cooler months of the year. The city of Broome is about 9 hours north, and the town of Exmouth is about 6 hours south. A small airport in the town of Karratha services domestic flights.
Did You Know? Along with the islands in the Dampier Archipelago, researchers estimate the area could hold over a million ancient rock drawings.