Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Bungle Bungles -- 5 Sep 2018

Now I can die... I have seen the Bungle Bungles, and am a happy man.

The campground was magic at night, so quiet and the canopy of stars mesmerising.  I sat outside the tent for ages taking it all in, and trying to spot a satellite.  No luck.  Actually so many bright stars I couldn't even identify the pointers for the Cross until after the moon rose and I could identify east.

An elaborate continental breakfast awaited me at 6 am, and at 6.30 I joined 15 others for the day trip into Purmulula National Park, home to the Bungle Range.  The tour is run by Mabel Downs Station itself, using a very high clearance 4WD bus .. Comfortable with aircon etc,  but nonetheless it is a bone-shaking ride on the tracks through the park.  We drove for 90 minutes to the National Park visitor centre .. Toilet break etc.. Then continued to the southern end of the Bungle Range, stopping at Picaninny lookout (is that name PC these days?) which had a nice picnic area for the bus.  Here we were in the midst of the famous bee-hive banded cones.  The guide gave us a good rundown on how they came to be formed, result of erosion of the Osmond Ranges further north depositing layers of sandstone which were then shaped over millions of years by rain and wind and sand blowing from the desert.  From here we took to walking, destination the Cathedral gorge.  Very rough track, much of it over dry creek bed full of rocks and pebbles.  The end of the gorge is shaped like an amphitheatre, the sheer walls rising up to a circular opening far above.  I am sure the acoustics would be fabulous there if an orchestra ever managed to haul there gear in there to play.

Lunch on return to the bus .. Individually packed salads with bread fo sandwiches, cold juice, watermelon and tea/coffee.  The young fells driving/guiding earned his keep, hauling all these goodies in and out of the bus' baggage holds.  We then drove north the length of the Bungle range, some 50km.  The geology at this top end is very different, being much closer to what remains of the eroded Osmond Range.  Huge boulder-like structures everywhere.  Stopped at Enchidna Chasm, and set off on the walk in.  Along a very rough creek bed.  I soon fell far behind the group, so at halfway mark I sat down in the shade then did a strategic withdrawal back to the bus to join three couple there who had decided not to try the walk.  I missed seeing the ridge that featured in the Qantas "I still call Australia home" ad where the kids from the Australian Children's Choir were stood along it looking out over the Kimberley.  The return trip to the campground took 2 hours.  We were away fro 10 hours, and 5.5 of that was driving.  I would never dare try to cover that visit in a car.

Dinner tonight was a huge mixed grill .. Too much really!  And dessert too.  A cool shower when we arrived back was in order:  but the generator had failed and no power meant no water.  However all was back in order before dinner and will be heading to bed early for me.

You will find photos of today's trek here.

Today's photos are to be seen 

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