After packing the car ready for a few nights in the tent, we spent an excited night at the Spring Creek free camp before storing the caravan at the Bungle Bungle caravan park the next morning. Leaving by 7:30 we let the tyre pressures down and headed for the Purnululu National Park and the Bungle Bungle Ranges. The first half of the 53kms road in was badly corrugated due to the heavy traffic in the peak season but the second half, while still rough, was much easier going and more interesting with four creek crossings and narrow winding, hilly parts.
First calling into the park visitors centre to get our passes, we were given great advice by the ranger to do Echidna Gorge that afternoon then set up camp at Walardi campsite before getting an early start the next morning to trek to the Cathedral Gorge and the other tracks. The hot and tricky walk into the Echidna Chasm was through a dry creekbed of pebbles and large riverstones but it rewarded us with the incredible split rock chasm and a gorge that was less than a metre wide in parts, cool and very interesting. We were able to get right to the end of the gorge by skirting huge boulders of amalgamated rock and passing under rocks the size of small cars wedged above us, which was a little scary.
After taking in the view of the Western Bungles at Kungkalanay Lookout we found ourselves a nice spot at the Walardi campsite grounds and relaxed in the tent until the hot afternoon sun had begun to set. A short drive took us to the sunset viewing area for some photos before an early night. Next morning we awoke before sunrise, had a quick breakfast and headed futher into the Bungle Bungle Ranges. There were many stops for photos on the way, including Elephant Rock and we were lucky to see the colourful beauty as the morning sun shone on the incredible rock formations. We were early enough to be alone at Cathedral Gorge for half an hour and were able to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the acoustics of the gorge – we could hear leaves falling into the pool it was so quiet.
Next we trekked along the deeply ridged and crevaced creek bed of Picanninny Creek where the enormous river flow in the wet season has gouged out deep grooves in the rock and upward to the Picanninny Lookout. Here we saw the beautiful views and expanse of the beehive domes that make up the Bungle Bungle Range rising steeply from the dry river bed and surrounding plains; it was an awe inspiring sight! As we made it back, tired and thirsty (even though we had taken 3 water bottles each!) to the carpark there were cars and buses of tour groups arriving so we were glad we had taken the advice of the park ranger to get there as early as we did.
Early next morning we sadly had to leave the Park, re-hitch the caravan and move onwards to Halls Creek, AKA “Hells Creek” by the locals, which is a small township near the turnoff to the Wolfe Creek Meteorite Crater which was to be our next stop. It is 800 metres across and the 2nd largest crater in the world. However, reported constant corrugations and bad road rutting for most of the 170 kms in forced a retreat and we drove on to Fitzroy Crossing instead. Here we enjoyed a long lunch before we kept driving to a lovely free camp at Ellendale Station with a herd of friendly cows to keep us company. Our journey was halted at times as we stopped to be amazed at huge Boab trees along the way. Next morning we looked forward to new adventures in Derby, Broome and Cape Leveque.