It is pretty hot and dusty there but they have put an enormous amount of effort into making it as hospitable as possible with a huge shade screen area like a circus tent decorated with a number of very large pots which would make beautiful campfire stews, the biggest fire pit which burns all day and tables and seats for everyone to enjoy either your own meals or enjoy one of the evening meals provided by the staff for $20.00. We had pumpkin soup and a delicious stew with rice and damper which was a very pleasant surprise.
We set off for The Bungle Bungles quite early in anticipation of a long and tricky drive in of approximately 2.5 hours with many aforementioned river crossings which Ian was looking forward to no end. As we left the caravan park at 7am two tour buses pulled out in front of us and acted as a guide for the first few water crossings which certainly made it a little easier. After a few crossings it became quite enjoyable, although the corrugated road was a bit bone jarring and some of the driving with many vehicles on the road a little challenging for Ian. However the country as we drove through was just beyond description and made up for all the discomfort of the drive.
The Bungle Bungles are within the Purnululu National Park and it did take us about 2.5 hours to drive into the first carpark from where we were to start our walks. It gets pretty hot early so our start from the park at 7am was pretty good although earlier probably would have been cooler. We had chosen to do two or three walks which we felt we could do in the time we had allocated bearing in mind that we anticipated a long drive home.
Our first walk was the Cathedral Gorge Walk which is described in the helpful visitors’ notes as being a moderate three kilometre return walk with short steep slopes and narrow ledges. We were to allow one to two hours’ walking through striped domes, pebbles and potholes, towering cliffs and honeycomb rocks that lead to an amphitheatre. That’s where the notes stop and when you enter the amphitheatre it is the most incredible sight which made the walk all worthwhile. All along the walk we saw the beehive shaped cliffs which really look like they have come from some giant’s beehive and the colours are spectacular.
We had been told that in order to do a couple of walks we would have to ‘eat on the run’ or we would run out of time but lunch called and we were very glad to sit down for a break before taking on a second walk called the Echidna Chasm. This was described as a moderate two kilometre walk with a challenging short climb near the end. What they didn’t say was that the whole of the walk was through a river bed with rocks and pebbles of varying sizes. Very tricky and not one for those concerned with the stability of their ankles. However, the end result did not disappoint and we were very pleased to have done it. As we were leaving this walk a family were just starting and asked us if we were going to do the Mini Palms Walk ---- we were still able to speak and told them we thought we had seen enough!
Then came the road back with many cars still pouring in as we were leaving as you are able to camp in a couple of camps within the park which is a great idea if you are set up with tents etc. but as we aren’t we drove back through all the river crossings and just to prove it we submit for your edification proof. No, Peter, the fact that Suey really enjoyed the river crossings does not mean we need to get a snorkel for the car!
We arrived back at camp very satisfied and our car only slightly worse than the trip we had made out from Halls Creek so we figured we had done very well. We spent the night at the park and then moved ----- one kilometre to a free camp across the road for the day to recover and plan for our visit to Kununurra on Thursday.