When we got to the Bungles it was too hot to do anything. We set up, of course – a process that resulted in me producing a litre of sweat. The girls sat in the air-conditioned car until we were done, then we lounged around all afternoon in the shade.
We watched a family movie for the first time in ages. ‘The Croods’ was actually very entertaining, although it’s funny, I can remember watching ‘ET’ when I was 12 or so, and totally relating to Elliott. The kid with the bike who saved the day.
When I watched the Croods, however, ‘Grug’ was my main man – the father who’s completely obsessed by keeping his family safe from dinosaurs, disaster and whatever else.
With frequent cries of “That’s just like you dad!” emanating from the kids, it appears I wasn’t the only one who thought that. That’s life I guess. Soon I’ll be empathising with ‘Grumpy Old Men’. Actually, no, already there.
The road into Purnululu National Park, we were told, was even worse than the Gibb. I had no desire to destroy the camper trailer so we set up camp before the road turned to shit, and the plan was to get up early the next morning, drive in, see the Domes, Cathedral Gorge and Echida Chasm, then hightail it back to camp.
Two and a half hours driving each way, and a good couple of hours walking. A big day. No need to set an alarm as the kids have been getting up at 5:30am since we crossed into WA and lost and hour and a half.
So, of course they choose this very day, to sleep into 7am.
We got ourselves together, packed lunch & a ton of water, and hit the road.
It was a bad road, but if you’re careful it’s fine. The landscape was dry, barren and pretty featureless to begin with, but gradually we started to wind our way through undulating folds of land. There were lots of dried out creek beds. A few river crossings. Lots of corrugations and very few other vehicles.
Not the kind of place you’d like to break down.
Some of it was enjoyable. The majority, a bit of a drudge. But the closer we got, the more interesting the scenery became. The striped rock, that’s kind of a signature of the Bungle Bungles, became evident the closer we came to the park – and eventually we arrived at the entrance. We paid our fees, drove along a much better road to the southern section, and parked right in front of the famous Bungle Bungle domes.
Wow. Quite unlike anything we’ve seen before. And kind of otherworldly.
We go out the car and it was like a furnace.
“Jesus. OK c’mon kids, let’s go.”
The walk round the Domes was only about 500meters, but it must have been pushing 40degrees. The kids struggled pretty much straight away, and ended up spending a good bit of time on our shoulders & backs.
It was worth it though, there’s nowhere else on the planet that’s anything like this. The ‘Domes’ are only one feature of the Bungle Bungle range however, so we headed off to see another part of it – Cathedral Gorge.
Although I’d never heard of Cathedral Gorge until recently, I think it was more impressive than the Domes.
During the wet season, the water runs down the gorge picking up all sorts of sediment and rock, and it swirls around in this great catchment at the end, slowly chiselling the rock away to create an even bigger Cathedral.
The walk up the gorge was really impressive, but nothing compared to what you saw when you got to the end. Unreal the power of nature. Humbling.
By the time we got back to the car it was getting on, and the kids were knackered so we decided against going to Echidna Chasm. Which is a shame really. God knows when I’m going to be there again, but we did have 2.5 hours on a bumpy track ahead of us to get home. Hey ho.
I guess the track must have been more than a little bumpy though, as we picked up a guy on the way back who’s Discovery had a broken axle! He dropped by later that evening to give me a bottle of Port.
“No need at all” I told him, as I accepted the bottle 😀
OK, Bungles done, back to Kununurra and off, to the Gibb River Road…