Purnululu National Park
24hrs in the Bungle Bungles
Time is a luxury we are grateful to have. Making the most of our time to see all we can, experience all we can, and learn. One thing we’ve very much realised travelling so far is that all these incredible places we’re visiting are made special by the people we share them with. So when our new friends, who we’d met on the road and started to travel with, only had one night to spend at the Bungle Bungles, we took up the challenge to see Purnululu National Park in 24 hours.
WE ARE HERE
24 hours to do Purnululu, sounds ridiculous, right!? But we were gonna make the most of it, as soon as we made it along the infamous road into the park.
This was the road we’d been dreading. We had heard it was the worst corrugations people had travelled. It was only 50km into the Purnululu National Park from the main highway, but it was a nasty 50kms. We had just been across the Gibb River Road, up to Mitchell Falls and beyond, and all the way to Kalumburu at the top of the Kimberley. We’d seen horrid roads, so we were preparing for a horror ride. But what we found was a surprise for us all.
The road was long and winding, but the corrugations were no where near as bad as what we’d been told (or comparable to Mitchell Falls road!). Thankfully everyone had revved us up for torture, so what we actually got was a much smoother ride.
After we had survived the ride, we had the afternoon to explore the south of the park. Purnululu National Park or the Bungle Bungles as they are also known, generally put an image of the beehive domes into peoples minds, so we started there.
This was the Bungle Bungles of our dreams, exactly like you imagine and we were finally here! Walking through the maze of giant domes towering around us, each one so different and unique. We made our way to Cathedral Gorge and enjoyed the serenity and ambience of the massive natural orchestral stage (they actually hold performances here!), before taking in the view at Piccaninny Creek Lookout.
The ladies at the Visitor Information Centre were absolutely incredible. They told us all the good things to see and what time of the day was best to see each of them. With this you can either choose to go at the prime times or avoid the crowds and discover each corner in a different light. We’d been told that the sunsets were amazing to watch from Kungkalanayi Lookout, but “don’t forget to look behind you at the colours the western side of the ranges turn in the setting light” they told us as we left the Info Centre. Lucky for us, because as we made our way towards the lookout for sunset we began to realise we weren’t going to make it. The cliffs gave an immense colour show, and that seemed even a bit more special. While crowds gathered at Kungkalanayi, we had a private show as we drove along the range.
Day 2 and we had the north of the park to check out before our whirlwind tour was done. Echidna Chasm was due to glow in the rising light at 11am, a sight that brings the crowds, so we chose to stroll through a little earlier than most, exploring this incredible centre of the earth place. The Dreamtime story of the Echidna Chasm is enchanting; a fight between a cockatoo and an echidna sees the echidna hiding in the crevice of the chasm to escape, he’s spikes becoming the palm trees you can see as you look up along the ridge of the slender gorge. A short detour is also worth the effort to see the amazing views of Osmand Range from the Osmand Lookout.
It is incredible the diversity of each corner of this park, it is like half a dozen different national parks all rolled into one.
So was the long haul in worth it for 24 hours in Purnululu? Let us leave you with the honest wisdom of our man Micky as he set out on the 2+ hour journey out of the National Park.
“It looks pretty ’cause the rocks are red…and a funny shape. If you’ve seen a picture of the Bungle Bungles, that’s it. Not a drop of water, hundreds of km’s of shit road.
Remoteness? Nope, there’s 800 thousand cars, every man and his dog, just ’cause ‘you’ve got to see the Bungle Bungles’.
But the wildlife!? What wildlife? We saw 3 birds and a cow!”
Disclaimer: Micky can sometimes be known to have impulsive over reactions all in the name of humour! But if you can, spend a bit more time in the amazing Bungle Bungles and make that bloody long drive worth it!
We also got some insider info into the condition of the roads; they actually get graded every 2 WEEKS! Their poor condition is due to people travelling too fast along them! So slow down and enjoy a smoother ride folks, and cross your fingers that you get there just after it’s been graded! (Like we apparently did)
Our next blog will be from: Australia's own Jurassic Park!
Until our next update - see you on / off the road 😉
Cassie and Micky