Purnululu, or the Bungle Bungles, the park of the red rocks, unbelievable heat and isolation. It isn’t easy to reach. From the highway there’s a 53km long 4WD track that leads through private property. It’s like being on a boat in stormy weather. In the back of the car I was shaken and stirred and so was my stomach. One glance at the beauty in the background made it worth it though.
It was October and the park had already been prepared for the rain season. It was quiet, the visitor center shut, a fireban in place and the cloths that provide shade were removed from their poles. Walardi campground was still open, but deserted. I felt like we were the only ones in the park and had it all to ourselves.
We had an early start to beat the heat. Before starting our walks, we had breakfast at the start of the Piccaninni walks. Even though it was early, the sun made us sweat like pigs when we started to walk along a grey river bed, surrounded by red sandstone. Purnululu is a world heritage site since 2003 because of its geological value. It’s about 360 million years old.
At a view point we enjoyed not only the view but also the shade of the rocks. Our guide told us about the history of the place. Where we saw red rocks rising from the earth on a big open plain, there used to be only water. In the distant future, all that’ll be left is desert. This information definitely changes the way you look at a place.
Rested we made our way back and onto the path to Cathedral Gorge, a natural amphitheater. There was only a small pool of water left and a snake sat curled up close to it. The scenery of the walks was amazing. The tall yellow grasses, the white sand and the small green trees. The striped red and grey rocks looked different from every angle. The best part was, that we almost had it to ourselves and saw few other walkers.
Echidna Chasm, at the other end of the park, was another walk along a riverbed. This time the bottom was full of small, round rocks and palm trees. The walk got narrower the further we went, until we only saw a small stripe of blue sky above us. The colors of the wall seemed to change around every bend. They stood tall and made us feel as small as the many little ants crawling over the red dirt.
Leaving the park was the same as entering. I felt like one of those little men on the dashboard that shake their heads while you drive. It wasn’t just my head shaking though. Purnululu left me with some good memories and awesome photos and I can recommend going to anyone who’s up for some adventure and beauty.