This evocative landscape has a solitary grandeur that makes it easy to remember that not so long ago; this region was known by only a few.
Walking on one of the many tracks around the grandeur and distinctive beehive-like Bungle Bungles is one of those moments when you realise the sheer power and magnificence of Mother Nature. In addition to Uluru and Kata Tjuta, the Bungle Bungles are a bucket list essential for the adventurer and nature lover alike. It is a truly special experience to walk around these massive natural structures and watch the sun change their colours to golden hues towards the end of the day.
Pack your walking shoes and camera, as there are abundant incredible walking tracks throughout the Bungle Bungles, all featuring have eye-catching and memorable scenery! Some paths are suitable for all-abilities, while others range in difficulties and lengths. The tracks can be accessed from either the north or south of the park and are all marvelous in their own right. There is also the option of a scenic flight to capture the size and grand scale of the rock formations.
This evocative landscape has a solitary grandeur that makes it easy to remember that not so long ago; this region was known by only a few. Now with the right kind of vehicle and some preparation in advance, its wonders are open for all.
The Bungle Bungles offer adventure for everyone, from the most energetic to something more sedate. Come prepared with the right shoes, insect spray, sunscreen, hat and camera.
Walking around these giant ancient rock formations is by far the best way to experience the area.
If a relatively easy walk for the family to enjoy is what you need, then the Cathedral Gorge walk is for you. Located at the southern end of the park, the gorge is a huge natural amphitheatre with amazing acoustics. Its sheer magnificence and beauty makes it an essential sight while you visit the area. It is not unknown for the odd traveller to bring a musical instrument to experience the acoustics in the gorge, much to the surprise of fellow travellers!
Follow an eroded creek bed, stepping over ancient rocks and experience the amazing Piccaninny Creek. The Piccaninny Creek walk is by far the most scenic and also the most challenging of all the walks available for bushwalkers. This is perfect for those who would like to hike in and set up camp for the night at one of the campsites along the creek. Don't forget to register at the Purnululu Visitor Centre first.
If you have the time, why not visit the Black Rock Pool on your second day? Here you will find a large, deep waterhole that is surrounded by black cliffs. Dip your toes in the freezing water! Camping under the clear starry skies is allowed and a must if you want to experience all the moods this region has to offer.
Pack your daypack with a picnic to enjoy the Cathedral’s majestic standing. This is not a sight to rush, so take your time, relax and enjoy.
Echidna Chasm Walk
The Echidna Chasm Walk at the northern end of the park is easier than some of the other walks in the park and fascinating with its abundance of palms, boulders and rock chasm. There is a more challenging section of trail to climb towards the end and as you continue walking through the gorge it becomes narrower and narrower until it is only one metre wide!
If you time your walk and arrive by midday you will see the sunlight creeping through the chasm, bouncing off the walls above and highlighting the colours of the rock face. Otherwise the walls are shaded throughout the day. Now's the time to enjoy that picnic you packed.
Walanginjdji Sunset Lookout
Panoramic 360 degree views await you at this stunning lookout. If you are camped at the northern end of the park, a short walk near sunset or sunrise will take you to the stunning Walanginjdji Sunset Lookout. Pack your daypack (or mini-esky!) and enjoy pre-dinner nibbles and a cold beverage (it is best to check with the ranger about whether the traditional owners mind alcohol in the park), while admiring the colours as they change while the sun sets lighting up the western escarpment with brilliant shades of orange. Early birds can fire up the billy at your campsite and view the sunrise over the escarpment with tea or coffee in hand. Regardless of whether you see the sunrise, sunset or both, the escarpment with its spinifex covered ridges is a brilliant sight and a must for those good with a camera.
There are two main areas for camping at the Bungle Bungles that have spaces allocated for quiet, generator and tour sites.
The Walardi campground is at the south section and is close to the helicopter pad. This is great for scenic flights but perhaps not ideal if you want a quiet campsite during the day.
The Kurrajong campsites are located at the northern section of the park. Both areas have basic camping with bush toilets and a bore water tap. The bore water is suitable for cleaning, but not for drinking. Campers need to provide all of their own water and food into the sites, leaving only footprints behind to keep the natural area clean.
There is also a commercial campground in Bellburn.
The Bungle Bungles are made of sandstone and conglomerates, shaped into giant beehive towers by centuries of natural erosion.
The domes are characterised by orange and dark grey stripes, caused by layering in the sandstone. The darker bands are the result of a dark green algae growth, and the orange bands are due to deposits of iron and manganese. The result is a visibly impressive sight!
The southern section of the Bungle Bungles are characterised by the large beehive domes that the area is renowned for. The walks at this end of the park include: Cathedral Gorge, Domes Walk, Piccaninny Creek Walk and The Sunset Lookout.
The northern section of the park does not have the domes and is therefore visibly different, but no less spectacular. The walks at the northern section of the park include: Mini Palms Gorge, Echidna Chasm and Walanginjdji Sunset Lookout.
The best time to visit is between May and October during the dry season. While the days are warm to hot the nights can be cold, dropping to below zero occasionally due to the cold air blowing from the Tanami Desert, so pack accordingly (e.g. thick jacket and sleeping bag). Around May the Acacia are in full bloom and the fauna are quite active.
Check prior to travelling to ensure the Purnululu National Park is open, as the park is closed during the wet season (November to April). The exact dates vary depending on the conditions.
Amazingly the Bungle Bungles only became well known in 1982 after a film crew filmed a documentary about the Kimberley's. Prior to this, only local indigenous people and stockmen knew the area. It became a national park in 1987 and in 2003 was listed as a World Heritage area. The Purnululu Visitor Centre provides more information and is a great place to stop in to obtain maps and to register for camping.
The last 53 kilometres of the track into the Bungle Bungles is rugged and only suited to four wheel drives and single axle off road trailers. The track is slow going but the scenery at the end is definitely worth it. Check local conditions prior to travelling.
Supplies need to be purchased prior to entering the park, as there is nowhere nearby to go grocery shopping.
Watch out for cattle on highways surrounding this area as some cattle stations are unfenced and wandering livestock can be a hazard for unsuspecting travellers.