Photos of the Bungle Bungles of Western Australia

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The Bungle Bungles of Western Australia

Purnululu National Park is 110 kilometres north of the town of Halls Creek and 250 kilometres south of Kununurra in the northeast of Western Australia. It is an incredible sight, a landscape of beehive-shaped sandstone formations, deep chasms with palm trees and long, deep Piccaninny Gorge with its fan palms adorning the rocks. To appreciate the overall aspect of this weird landscape, one has to take to the air, and plane and helicopter rides are available.

Flying over Purnululu
Steep sandstone cliffs
Watercourse in Purnululu
Flying over the Bungle Bungles
Steep sandstone cliffs
Flying over the plain
Piccaninny Gorge cliffs
Deep dark chasm
Flying over Piccaninny Gorge
Far end of Piccaninny Gorge
Down into Piccaninny Gorge
Over Purnululu NP
Bungle Bungles domes
Striped domes
Colour banded domes
Over the Bungles
Typical rock formations
Impressive landscapes
Cathedral Gorge
Road to Echidna Chasm
Red hills
Palms at Echidna Chasm
Echidna Chasm
Cathedral Gorge view
Typical rock domes
Rock domes
Piccaninny Creek
Piccaninny Creek rocks
Piccaninny Creek riverbed
Riverbed, Piccaninny Creek
Rock domes
Termite mound
Walking along the sandy bottom
End of Piccaninny Gorge
Piccaninny Gorge
Walking in Purnululu

Although the Aborigines lived in this region for generations, Purnululu was “discovered” only in the mid-1980s. A television crew came upon the unique beehive-shaped domes in 1982; in 1987, it was proclaimed a National Park. Geologists tell us that 350 million years ago, a significant marine deposit was formed during the Devonian Era; it eroded the present structure of domes, cliffs, and gorges by the hundreds of millions of wet seasons. Somewhat fragile, the orange bands on the rocks are silica, but the black bands are lichen, overlaying the white sandstone core. There are unique plants here, like a species of Livingstonia palm that has nowhere else been found.

Of course, to experience the Bungle Bungles properly, you have to go on foot, and that means first getting there by four-wheel drive, as the road to this remote place is 80 kilometres of rough, dusty track. The route offers views of boab or baobabs, the weird bottle trees typical of this area, southern Africa, and Madagascar. A hike through this landscape with its sandstone domes is unforgettable. There are breathtaking gorges like Cathedral Gorge and Piccaninny Gorge; the latter is best taken as an overnight walk, 30 kilometres in total, with sleeping in the open. Echidna Chasm is a more leisurely walk, about 2 kilometres, a narrow gorge with walls towering 100 metres and adorned with tall palms. It is one of the most mysterious places in Australia.