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Day 84 - Saturday 28 July 2012

Bungle Bungles Caravan Park

We were up early this morning for our 4WD Bus Tour into the Purnululu National Park, which is better known as the Bungle Bungles. Our transport was a 20 seat Izuz 4WD bus that was minus its bullbar that had been shaken off on the corrugations on a previous trip. The trip is 53 kms of badly corrugated road with 9 or 10 water crossings and more than 50 dry creek bed crossings - we were pleased that we had not travelled in the Navara. Our driver "Radar" has lived for about 9 years at Sheffield in Tasmania, and is one of a number of Tasmanians who are working the dry season at the Bungle Bungles. Radar's summer job is as a tour guide at Cradle Mountain in Tasmania.

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On the way into the National Park Radar maintained an almost non-stop commentary on Mabel Downs Station and the live cattle export industry. Mabel Downs, Alice Downs and Springvale are ajoining properties that are operated as one entity comprising a total of 1.7 million acres, with 16,000 head of mainly Brahman cattle bred for live export to Indonesia. About 12,000 calves are born each year, and the dingos account for about 2,000 of them. The National Park was excised from the Mabel Downs lease in 1987 and declared a World Heritage Area.

While most of the history of the recent live cattle export debacle and the failings of the Labor Government to support the industry are well known, what is not so well known is the fact that the minimum weight of cattle for export has been reduced from 350 kgs to 250 kgs which has handed Indonesia a major benefit at the expense of Australian cattle farmers.

It took about 2 hours to complete the 53 kms from the caravan park to the National Park Information Centre where we stopped briefly for a toilet stop and the opportunity to buy souvenirs. Back on the bus we headed for the Piccaninny Creek Car Park, a trip of about 25 kms to the southern end of the Park, where we had morning tea before heading off on a number of walks.

Re-boarding the bus at the Visitor Centre

Re-boarding the bus at the Visitor Centre

Elephant Rocks

Elephant Rocks

Rocky outcrop seen from the bus

Rocky outcrop seen from the bus

View of the Bungles from the car park

View of the Bungles from the car park

Another view from the car park

Another view from the car park

Di at the Bungles car park

Di at the Bungles car park

The Piccaninny Lookout was accessed by a short walk up Piccaninny Creek. Returning to the main track we continued on to Cathedral Gorge, a 3 kilometre walk that provided a good view of the striped beehive shaped domes the make up the Bungle Bungles. The walk ends at a large amphitheatre with enormous sheer walls. On the way back to the carpark we completed the shorter Domes Walk that gives a good close-up of some of the smaller domes. The beehive shaped domes are made up from alternate layers of different coloured sandstone, with the darker layers having less iron oxide than the lighter redder layers with more iron oxide.

View from the start of the walking trail

View from the start of the walking trail

Domes

Domes

More domes

More domes

Even more domes

Even more domes

Still more domes

Still more domes

View from the Piccaninny Lookout

View from the Piccaninny Lookout

Another view from the Piccaninny Lookout

Another view from the Piccaninny Lookout

Termite mound on the top of a dome

Termite mound on the top of a dome

Domes in the sun

Domes in the sun

More domes in the sun

More domes in the sun

Di posing again at the start of the Cathedral Gorge walk

Di posing again at the start of the Cathedral Gorge walk

Trail to Cathedral Gorge (looking back)

Trail to Cathedral Gorge (looking back)

Trail to Cathedral Gorge

Trail to Cathedral Gorge

Heading into Cathedral Gorge

Heading into Cathedral Gorge

Rock slide on the Cathedral Gorge fault line

Rock slide on the Cathedral Gorge fault line

Dry waterfall at the head of Cathedral Gorge

Dry waterfall at the head of Cathedral Gorge

Rock pool at the head of Cathedral Gorge

Rock pool at the head of Cathedral Gorge

Cathedral Gorge fault line

Cathedral Gorge fault line

View looking back from the head of Cathedral Gorge

View looking back from the head of Cathedral Gorge

Domes Walk

Domes Walk

More Domes Walk

More Domes Walk

Last view of the Domes

Last view of the Domes

Back at the bus we were provided with an excellent lunch before reboarding the bus for a 45 kms trip back past the Information Centre to Echidna Chasm at the northern end of the National Park. Echidna Chasm is a 2 km walk into a chasm in the red conglomerate rock that that has towering walls 200 metres high. The chasm gradually narrows until it gets to less than a metre wide at the bottom. The chasm is strewn with conglomerate boulders that have fallen down in years past. Best not to dwell on that too much!

Echidna Chasm car park

Echidna Chasm car park

Palms on the trail

Palms on the trail

Conglomerate rock

Conglomerate rock

Entering Echidna Chasm

Entering Echidna Chasm

Di in the Chasm

Di in the Chasm

200 metres to the top of the Chasm

200 metres to the top of the Chasm

The Chasm is very narrow in places

The Chasm is very narrow in places

David at the end of the Chasm

David at the end of the Chasm

Di resting near the end of the Chasm

Di resting near the end of the Chasm

Full moon not far away

Full moon not far away

View from the Achidna Chasm car park

View from the Achidna Chasm car park

Back at the car park we boarded the bus for the 70 kms trip back to the caravan park - a trip that seemed much longer and much rougher than on the way in. On the way out we passed a 4WD towing a Trackmaster Offroad Caravan that had lost a tyre from the caravan and had continued on for a couple of kms without knowing that he was leaving parallel wheel ruts on the road. Single axle offroad trailers and caravans are permitted on the road but nothing larger - not sure why you would want to risk destroying a double axle caravan in the creek beds.

Back at the caravan park we had time to freshen up for happy hour before a dinner provided as part of our tour - Pea and Ham Soup, followed by Beef Stew with Rice. After dinner we spent several hours swapping experiences with fellow travellers and getting information on things to do in Kununurra. One of our fellow passengers on the bus tour had fallen over and suffered a sprained ankle at 3:00 am that morning while visiting the toilet. She was accosted by Hercules the Brahman Bull who wanders the caravan park at will but is apparently quite tame.

Hercules the Brahman bull at the back of our van

Hercules the Brahman bull at the back of our van

The set - up for dinner

The set - up for dinner

A good fire in the fire pit

A good fire in the fire pit

Fellow travellers

Fellow travellers

More travellers

More travellers

Still more travellers

Still more travellers

The Bungle Bungles are a definite highlight of our trip so far and the photos bearly do justice to their magnificence!

Posted by TwoAces 05:37

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