The Karijini Experience brings food, art and culture to a part of Western Australia best known for what comes out of the ground, not what’s taking place on it. 
Story by Terri Cowley, Photos by Dan Avila

On a red dirt road that once tracked its way to the asbestos-mining town of Wittenoom, WA, a row of frocked-up diners is seated at a long table covered with stark white tablecloths. Young waiters buzz around them serving emu salami, crocodile chorizo, sandalwood nutcracker and barramundi swim bladder. Chefs labour under spotlights producing other unusual culinary delights using desert lime, paperbark, bush tomato and native lemongrass.

West Australian company Fervor specialises in pop-up dining with fresh, locally sourced produce, but even for this outfit a starry April night on a back track of the Pilbara’s Karijini National Park pushes the envelope. It’s what the Karijini Experience, of which this event is a part, is all about.

The Karijini Experience was first held in 2013 as a small gathering and its program has grown each year. In 2016 it included a week of free, family-friendly events from nature walks to Indigenous culture workshops and children’s theatre, such as the specifically created Spinifex Express bicultural show for children under five. It also included popular paid events such as dining experiences by Fervor, Opera in the Gorge starring Indigenous soprano Deborah Cheetham and several art workshops. The next one is scheduled to run April 11–15, 2017.

This story excerpt is from Issue #110

Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2017