2nd June 2017–The Bungle Bungles

Distance: 1.5 km

Another brilliant day… Was standing outside the caravan park at 8.10pm when the little bus picked me up to go to Kununurra airport. At the airport we were briefed on where we would be flying and the day’s schedule. The flight was due to leave at 9am so we didn’t have long to wait before we board.

170602 002 Bungle Bungle Tour Plane

The flight to the Bungle Bungles airstrip at Bellburn took about one hour and flew down the western side of Lake Argyle (the lake is far more impressive from the air than from a boat), over a couple of cattle station homesteads before reaching the Bungle Bungles.

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Those rectangles (above) are the tailings dams from an abandoned alluvial diamond mine. It took this mine a year to produce the amount of diamond that the Argyle Diamond Mine produces in a week.

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At the airstrip we were met by a 4 wheel drive truck to take us the 10km drive to Piccaninny Creek Carpark and the start of the walk into Cathedral Gorge.

170602 091 Bungle Bungle Tour Coach

The beehive shaped mountains have red and black stripes where the blonde coloured sandstone has either reacted with algae to form the dark colour or the iron has oxidised to form the red. When you find a flake of the surface rock the colour is only as thick as a fingernail over the underlying yellow sandstone. This coating protects the rock and slows down erosion.

Millions of years ago these northern ranges were as high as the Himalayas, in 30 million more years they will be gone and northern Australia will be a coastal plain.

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The guide took us on a slight detour to see where the Qantas ad was filmed in Piccaninny Creek.

170602 118 Bungle Bungle Tour Cathedral Gorge Walk

The walk is only about 1.5km to get to the gorge but the path is very uneven and is often just soft, dry sand (it was hard to walk on).

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The Cathedral Gorge is immense and the acoustics are unbelievable. It was so cool and an incredible place to sit, relax and have the packed lunch provided for us.

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After hiking back to the carpark we were driven to the company’s Savannah Lodge for afternoon tea.

170602 158 Bungle Bungle Tour Cathedral Gorge Walk170602 163 Bungle Bungle Tour Cathedral Gorge Walk

After cake, biscuits and tea it was time to return to the airstrip for the flight back to Kununurra which included passing over the massive Argyle Diamond Mine.

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The plane landed at about 5pm so it was a pretty full day.

170602 251 Bungle Bungle Tour Plane

BTW I remembered to count the seats on this plane – there are 12 plus the seat beside the pilot.

1st June 2017–Kununurra Day One

Distance: 4 km
Fuel: 33 L

Up before 6am presumably because, being on the edge of a time zone, the sun rises unreasonably early. Anyway I showered, washed yesterday’s clothes, had brekkie etc while most people were still asleep.

170601 003 Kununurra Town Caravan Park

At a far more reasonable hour drove into town to the Visitor’s Centre where a helpful lady booked me on a flight to the Bungle Bungles with a walking tour of Cathedral Gorge. Pretty pleased with that, there is also a chance of a helicopter ride when I get there (hoping and clutching my credit card). Actually I thought it was another seaplane ride but reading the brochure it is a normal plane and we land on a dirt airstrip in the National Park.

While I was in the shopping centre I also bought, wrote and sent postcards to all the usual suspects as I had a coffee and a vanilla slice (haven’t had a vanilla slice for years).

As I will be away all day tomorrow filled the car up with fuel too.

The main event today was a cruise on Lake Argyle; the bus picked me up at 1pm and drove half a dozen of us to the lake. On the way it stopped for 15 minutes at the Argyle Downs homestead. This was the original house built by the Durack family when they first started grazing in the region in the mid 1800s. It was dismantled when the property was to be flooded by the dam and rebuilt on higher ground.

170601 009 Argyle Homestead170601 013 Argyle Homestead170601 010 Argyle Homestead

The cruise itself was so so. Everybody else seemed to enjoy it but personally I thought it was a bit dull, no dolphins just a few freshwater crocs, some short eared wallabies, the odd wallaroo and lots of water. The dam wall itself is made of locally quarried rocks and clay there is no concrete except in the pump towers.

170601 051 Lake Argyle Cruise

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Just before sunset some of the passengers went swimming in the lake, the water temperature is 26’C.

There was one redeeming feature – two cans of free beer. Yes, I know it is me but cruises and water don’t excite me much.


It has been six weeks since I started on this trip so time for some statistics (you know… those things made up on the spur of the moment) rounded to the nearest whole number.

Total Distance travelled: 10995 km
Fuel Used: 1099 litres
Fuel Cost: $1510
Accommodation Cost: $1384

31st May 2017–Warmun to Kununurra

Distance: 332 km

Was in two minds whether to go to Wyndham or Kununurra today but I was ready to leave very early (7.30am) so decided to go to Wyndham for a look then continue on to Kununurra.

The journey to Wyndham was through a series of interesting ranges and winding passes.

170531 001 Ranges Near Kununurra170531 006 Ranges Near Kununurra170531 008 Ranges Near Kununurra

Just outside Wyndham is an area called The Grotto which is a hole in the ground with very dodgy looking stairs.

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Wyndham has a Big Croc…

170531 028 Wyndham Big Crocodile

I did want to go to the Five Rivers Lookout BUT there was a sign which said, “No Caravans” so that was that.

Kununurra is only 70km from Wyndham so it was an easy drive. Found a caravan park right in the centre of town where I booked in for a few nights and also booked a cruise on Lake Argyle for tomorrow arvo. There is a dinner cruise on Lake Kununurra but I think I have eaten enough Barramundi for a while.

After setting up my camp including my gazebo and doing my laundry I went for a drive. First stop the Kellys Knob Lookout with its views over town.

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Then it was down to Celebrity Park and Lake Kununurra.

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Lake Argyle and Lake Kununurra are part of the failed Ord River scheme. I have read the signs but still have only the vaguest notion of why the scheme needed two separate dams so you will have to Google it.

When the sun went down I was feeling pretty hungry so I wandered into the town centre looking for a restaurant and eventually found an Asian one opposite a Subway when I had almost given up. The meal wasn’t bad at all but I think I need to do better preparation in future; wandering about in strange towns is not the best way to find a feed.

Kununurra is only about 40km from the WA/NT border. The next town is Katherine on the Stuart Highway 500km and a time zone away.