Tuesday, 6 October 2009

The Bungle Bungles

An event we have been looking forward to for some time is a visit to the Bungle Bungles in the Purnululu National Park.

Purnululu National Park and specifically the Bungle Bungle Ranges were discovered by white men only in the 1980's. Ground access into the extremely remote range proved nearly impossible and attempts establish a trail were nearly abandoned.

Clearly visible from the air, but without tracks or trails, it took the pioneering ingenuity of an East Kimberley family man; a spotter plane; sacks of flour; lots of patience and a four wheel drive vehicle to find a reasonable and safe entry into the wonders of the Bungle Bungle Range.
The spotter plane flew over the area carrying sacks of flour, which were systematically thrown out from the aircraft to mark the most accessible route into the Bungle Bungles. The 4WD vehicle followed the white dusty flour trail through the brilliant red earth and found a way into this splendid natural creation. The track is still only possible in a 4WD vehicle.

Our trip started at 5:30am when we were collected from the Camping Park by minibus and taken to the airport. After sign-in and introduction we were shown onto a small Cessna aircraft for the 45 minute flight.The outward journey was slightly hazy. But it was possible to get a good impression of the grandness of the Ord River Dam project as well as a preview of the Kimberley Diamond Mines and of course the Bungle Bungles themselves.
A quick shot of our transport on the strip in the National Park.
We met our guide/ranger, Stacey and were soon on board a 4-wheel drive vehicle, speeding off to the walking trail.

The trail was hot and dusty, but Stacey was a mine of interesting information and before long the famous beehive domes came into view and the start of the trail - complete with conveniences! Are these the original 'rooms with a view'?
Another aspect.
Meeting the flood path in Picaninny Gorge.
The domes are so photogenic, that I'm afraid we just kept snapping.
The next point of interest was Cathedral Gorge. The photo below looks out from the cathedral where you can see some members of our party who are standing in the entrance.
The pathway out of the Cathedral into the Gorge.
In the afternoon we drove to Echidna Chasm. Not beehives here - just amazing rock formations.
Approaching the Chasm, the cliffs close in an get steeper.
An impressive lizard seen on the side of the track. He was about 2 feet long.
And finally, Echidna Chasm complete with a back view of Stacey lugging a large thermos of cool water for her 'charges'.
A bustard crosses our vehicle's path on the journey back to camp.
Aerial view of the Kimberley Diamond mine.
A sunset return to Kununurra.

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