NOW: INTO WESTERN AUSTRALIA – THE BUNGLE BUNGLES AND KUNUNURRA.
After booking online for the Kurrajong campground in Kununurra we headed south down the Great Northern Road past Turkey Creek to Purnululu National Park, home of the Bungle Bungles. The campsite had some shade and a base of cut spear grass which had dried out and kept us out of the dirt. The road in to this World Heritage site was another story, very rough and slow going with the 53 kilometres taking nearly 3 hours.
Up early with the sunrise to walk the southern end of the park to Piccaninny Creek Lookout, Catherdral Gorge and The Domes. There were striped cliffs near our camp but these were the real striped domes or beehives that makes this area World Heritage listed.
We also took to the skies in a helicopter flying over the area we’d visited on foot the day before and beyond. The plains east of the domes were where Aboriginal burials took place for thousands of years and the stockyard formations were used by the Buchanan and Durack stockmen to corral cattle. The domes themselves were only recently “discovered” and listed as a World Heritage Site.
Up early again as it is very hot and dry. Our day started in The Bloodwoods with Mini Palm Gorge and Osmond Lookout. Further up in the range we took a rocky creek walk into Echidna Chasm where the sun lights up the chasm walls at 11.30am. There was quite a gathering waiting on the sun! This was quite a narrow chasm with several huge conglomerate boulders wedged between the cliffs above our heads. THE SIGN DID SAY “We value your safety but it is your responsibility.”
We set of early for Kununurra but we must have acclimatised to the road conditions and the drive out of the national park only took us an hour and a half instead of the 3 it took to get in! We needed to restock in Kununurra including some napisan to soak our dirty clothes and new boots for David – you really need your boots out here and David had had a toe blow out.
We camped near Lake Kununurra which is below the Ord River Dam, is used by waterskiers and swimmers and is home to freshwater crocodiles. The barbeque dinner cruise on the lake was very relaxing and we enjoyed having someone else do the cooking and washing up.
The water rushes over the causeway at the Ivanhoe River crossing which used to be the main road into the Kimberley. We’d come a long way so of course we had to make the crossing! There are groves of sandalwood trees and irrigated paddocks right along the Ivanhoe road. Sandalwood is replacing the vegetable crops as it is resistant to the pests and diseases which plagued other irrigated crops here.
What better way to finish our stay in Kununurra and start the Kimberley adventure than to sail on Lake Argyle. Would you believe it actually rained on us in July while we were out on the lake but it was a pleasant day anyway!
NEXT: THE KIMBERLEY – WYNDHAM TO HOME VALLEY STATION
See you on the emu track
Cheryl and David