Bungle Bungles to Broome

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August 16th 2015
Published: August 17th 2015
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Sunday 9th August

An early start as we have a 53K drive this morning on a dirt road into the park to see the Bungle Bungles. Luckily the road had just been scraped and is in much better condition than usual. Nevertheless it's a challenging off road drive with 5 river crossings. Two are quite wide and deep!

We arrive at the Visitors centre around 10.30 and book in for 3 nights camping in the bush. The site has a long drop toilet and a tap, that's it!

We then drive another 19K out to see Echidna Chasm. We walk the 2K return trail into it. It's at huge steep sided sedimentary rock gorge with curved sides where the water has rushed through over the millions of years. It's between 1600 and 1800 million years old and we can see the different layers very clearly. Around mid day the sun is directly overhead and the light shines down through the small gaps between the sides at high level. It's a wonderful sight.

We then head off on a short trail to the Osmand lookout point where we get views of the Osmand Ranges. Another terrific view.

We drive off towards our camp site and stop at Stonehenge, a view of a range of mountains. We can't understand why it's called that as there's no similarity at all.

We reach our bush camp site and drive round until we find a nice shady spot and rest up from the heat for the afternoon.

Around 4 we go off on a short walk to a nearby look out point and get a great view of the valley with the mountains in the background and the bush where we're camping.

Feeling very hot and dusty on our return we try out our bush solar shower hung from a tree. It works much better than expected!

Dinner is a first for us, sausage fettuccine bolagnese !

Monday 10th August

Up at 6.30 and out by 8 for a drive to the southern part of the park. It's a 37K drive over a rough corrugated dirt road and we get shaken to bits most of the way there.

We park up and walk the 700m of The Domes walk. It's a spectacular walk around the bases of the banded domes. They're 360 million years old and formed by sedimentary rock. Good job it's early as the heat is starting to mount.

Next we walk a 2k return trip to the Cathedral Gorge. It's along a creek bed with lots of loose gravel and sand and is hot going. The walk goes into the Gorge which is steep sided banded rock and is again impressive. It's possible to see where millions of years of river erosion have taken place.

On we go for a 6K return trek to The Window. It's over loose sand and gravel and rock. It's not too difficult but is in the full sun all the time. The temp's over 35 by now and we're feeling REALLY HOT! Eventually we get there and what a disappointment, just a hole in a rock with no view. We even climb into the Window, despite the signs saying not to, and still no view. What a lot of time and effort wasted.

Finally we trek another 1.2K return to the Piccaninny Creek Lookout. Fantastic! What a superb view of the Domes. It's where all the magazines have photographs taken to show the Bungle Bungles.

We get back to the van very weary and out of liquid. Hot and thirsty we dive into the van for a drink.

The Bungle Bungles have been a real highlight of the trip so far. Just as impressive as all the books say. Only 37K of teeth shattering drive back to our camp site!

We spend the afternoon in the shade as it's been the hottest day probably of our trip so far.

Later we bush shower again and sit down for a beer.

Tuesday 11th August

A bit of a late start, 8.30 as all our neighbours have already left. Still only a 9K drive this morning to the sites. We pull in at theBloodwoods car park and take the Mini Palms Gorge trail.

It's 4.4K return path and is fairly easy going at first through palm trees but then leads to a dry creek bed of large gravel and finally a clamber over large boulders. One section we have to squeeze between the boulders and it's a good job we're thin!

We're now deep in a steep gorge of very deep red coloured rocks and it looks magnificent. We take a rest and then start back as the temp reaches over 30 degrees. It's a hot trek back and we use up all our drink.

Back at the car park we take a short break and a very long drink before filling our bottles again and go on the 4.4K return walk to Homestead Valley. The path is in the full sun and we soon lose motivation for the trek. We continue more because we think it must be done more than wanting to.

We get to the end of the trail and the view is ok but we're feeling weary and just want to get back. The walk is a real slog now the temp is 35 degrees.

That's it for the morning and we return to camp for lunch. It's so hot that our sandwiches go stale as soon as we take them outside.

The afternoon is spent sitting in the shade and reading, and falling asleep! Late afternoon we both have a bush shower and it feels wonderful to cool down and get rid of the dust.

Just before sun set we walk to a lookout at the back of the site watch the sun go down on the mountains. They go orange and red with the sun on them.

Wednesday 12th August

We leave this morning and are soon on the bumpy road out of the park. It takes us nearly 2 hours to reach the main road and then we set off for Halls Creek. Soon after getting on the road we nearly hit a big eagle that's too interested in eating it's road kill to notice us.

It's a fairly boring drive through flat land with scrubby trees everywhere and takes us another two hours to reach our intended stop for the night. Unfortunately Halls Creek isn't quite as we expected and is more of a one horse town, although I think the horse may also have left! We see a sign in a butchers advertising his meat, it doesn't look good!

We enquire in Tourist info about the size of Fitzroy Crossing up the road but the women says she's never been that far out of town!

We decide to drive on for another 3 hours and finally get to FRC. It's been a long drive, just over 300 miles in one day but not too tiring as we hardly ever see any other vehicles.

Luckily the women at Tourist info is really helpful and tells us of places to visit for tomorrow.

We relax with a beer before going out for dinner. Our first since leaving Darwin.

Thursday 13th August

A morning of wildlife encounters. First, at breakfast a large Kite swoops down and pinches the toast from my plate. Then on the drive out to Geike Gorge a Wallaby runs into the side of our van. Fortunately its not hurt and neither is our van.

We arrive at Geike Gorge NP and sort out a boat trip into the Gorge for an hour later. In the meantime we take a stroll along the river bank.

The boat's packed with people and we set off close to the bank. The skipper points out various rock formations along the way and we see lots of sunbathing freshwater crocs on the banks.

The scenery is stunning, some of the best we've seen. High rock formations looking like Swiss cheese with lots of green shrubs and trees. It's a lovely way to see the Gorge.

The skipper also explains how much water flows into the river in the wet season and that the water level rises 40 feet on average. Sometimes much higher!

An hour later and we're back.

We drive into town and stock up with provisions at the small IGA supermarket before returning to site.

Today's a wash day and everything gets laundered. Afterwards we have a swim and sit round the pool for the rest of the day. The pool's pretty cold but the temp's still over 30.

Friday 14th August

Before setting off we refill with water and diesel. I have trouble with the automated garage pumps and a local sorts me out.

We drive for 43K before turning onto a dirt road for the next 65K to Tunnel Creek. The road's much better than we expected but we still get shaken about quite a lot. After driving through a fairly deep water crossing we pull over for a rest next to another couple's van. The chap suggests we'd get a slightly less bumpy ride with less air in our tires and lets them down.

The remaining drive to Tunnel Creek is slightly better but not much. It takes us over 2 hours to do the 65K. A slow ride.

We prepare for going into the tunnel with waterproof shoes and torch. After paddling a short way in we find our torches aren't bright enough to go on. Still it's only a big cave and we've seen lots of them before.

Back on the road for another 35K of shuddering over the corrugations and we finally arrive at Windjana Gorge NP. We park in the bush campsite right next to the Gorge. It's a lovely setting and we're spoilt as there are showers!

Around 2.30 we set off for a walk through the gorge. There are magnificent limestone mountains on both sides of us as we walk along the dried up river bed. It's another wonderful gorge of black stained rock with deep red limestone showing through.

There are a few pockets of water remaining and these are filled with dozens of freshwater crocodiles. We've never seen so many in one place. Some on the banks sun bathing and others cruising through the water.

We walk for about an hour and see some wonderful scenery before returning to camp for a well needed shower.

The sun sets and shows the gorge in wonderful shades of red.

Saturday 15th August

A really early start for us as we leave camp by 7.50. It's a two hour drive over part dirt and part sealed roads until we reach Derby.

On the outskirts we find a Woolworths and do a bit of stocking up. It's then onto Tourist Information for a couple of leaflets before booking in at the campsite.

I'm waiting to hear from Don who I met on a couple of campsites about a fishing trip.

We have a look around town, that takes about half and hour as there's not much to see.

We read and then around 3 we drive out to the jetty to see the tide go out. It's the BIG thing in Derby! In fact it's the only thing in Derby. The water drops 11 feet, the largest tide in the southern hemisphere. After half and hour we get bored watching, it's like watching paint dry but not so colourful!

We pull in at the public swimming pool and spend the rest of the afternoon there. It's not been the most interesting of days.

Later Don rings to say the fishing trips off as it's too expensive. We're leaving tomorrow!

Sunday 16th August

We're off as soon as possible and it takes 3 hours to drive to Broome. The journey's pretty ordinary with the road dead straight for miles and just bush on all sides.

As we enter Broome I speed past a waiting police car doing about 10K per hour over the limit and will now have to wait and find out if I've got a ticket.

We call in at tourist info and get some useful leaflets before driving round to Cable Bay and parking up for the next two nights. It's a nice site close to the beach and very shady.

Early afternoon we walk down to the beach. It's a wonderful sandy one and for the first time ever we swim in the sea. It's always been either too cold or too dangerous before! Christine still manages to see a couple of jelly fish which we keep well clear of. After a couple of swimming sessions and laying on the very hot beach we walk back to the campsite and see camels on the way.

We spend the rest of the afternoon around the swimming pool.

It's been nice to relax after the last few days hard driving.

Monday 17th August

A bit of a lie in this morning as we're not driving off anywhere but staying around Broome. Our first stop Gantheaume Point to see concrete casts of Dinosaur footprints. The real ones are just off the beach but are only visable at low tide, 5am and we're not that keen to see the real thing! Apparently there are footprints all the way up the coast.

Next stop is Town Beach where we look at some pioneer graves. They're not all that old as some died in the 1970's.

We then make the short drive down to the Town Museum but are too early as they don't open until 10am. We don't want to hang around that long.So we drive to China Town.

First we see two Pearl Luggers from the 1900's and read about how Broome was developed because of Pearl diving mainly by the Chinese and Asians. We then walk through China Town. It's like no China Town we've ever seen. It may once have been Chinese houses but it's now full of luxury Pearl jewelry shops, art galleries and cafe's. It's all looks pretty new!

There are some statues around the town but we don't see them so we go off and stock up our supplies whilst we get the chance.

We spend most of the afternoon dipping in and out of the pool and then late afternoon I talk to the chap in the van next to our's about his fishing. He gives me some advice about some of the best spots and then gives me some bait and lures to help me along. Everyone's so helpful!

Just before sunset we go off to the beach to watch the sun go down and so do 100's of others! They even allow people to drive onto the beach to watch. There are lots of people enjoying a sunset ride on camels. It's a nice sunset over the sea.

Additional photos below
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18th August 2015

Too Hot!!!
Sounds like your having a good time but would be far too hot for me, I couldn't do anything in those temperatures!!! Just back from a lovely weeks holiday with John and Brenda on the Monmouth and Brecon canal in a narrowboat. Good weather and beautiful scenery with locks a tunnel and the occasional grounding to make it interesting. Looking forward to our week in Spain.
20th August 2015

Cooling down
hi Pleased to hear you had a good boating holiday. Have moved south now and it's cooling down to 26!. Went fishing today on the beach and the chap a few yards away caught a shark!! See you soon Steve & Chria

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