Bungle Bungles…..Bush Birthday Bash in the Bungles
Sept 25th………..Eric’s Birthday
We awoke at 4:30am…..
Why you ask yourself? Because now that we’re in faraway Western Australia the clocks have gone back an hour and a half. We’d just all become accustomed to the sun setting at 7:30pm and rising at 7am when along comes this uncivilised start at 4:30am, first light. The crazy thing is that you find yourself back in bed at the ridiculous hour of 7pm………..sometimes one yearns for Spain………the restaurants don’t even start setting their tables until 9pm. Viva L’Espagne!!!!!!!!
Anyway…….now that we were all up so sparklingly early, we decided to see as much of the Bungle Bungles as we could. Echidna Chasm was to be our first stop where we in for a treat!
We headed out across the black soil plains between us and the range. Ahead the Bungles rose like a mighty wall, the scale of which can only really be appreciated when you are there in front of it. Gorge upon gorge cut deeply out of the face of the rock over millions and millions of years. We finally arrived at the start of the chasm walk. Having a vague idea that it was deep and narrow well what an understatement!
At one point you can reach out and touch each side of the chasm, whilst looking up an almost unthinkable 500m, to where it finally opens to the sky. This has to been seen to be believed.
The colour of the rock varies from a deep grey in the shade, to a glowing orange-red in the sun, with every tone in between. It took us two and a half hours to walk the 1 km track, and to be honest, we’re amazed that we made it back so quickly!
The next walk on our itinerary was Mini-Palms, a 5km walk around the corner and about three gorges along. It’s a bit of a tease because each gorge you pass looks so beautiful that it’s almost impossible to keep going on.
It was about 11am and the temperature was 37 degrees C and rising. We moved into the shade of the huge bluffs, finding some relief from the sun. The track started to steepen. A rope set up to help us over the worst of it. We noticed to the side of the track, a collection of stones unlike any others we had seen so far. They were all grey, every last one without exception, and they were neatly arranged about a tussock of grass that was also grey! It was like someone had turned the colour off in just that one little spot.
It turned out to be a Bower Birds nest site. The male Bower Bird produces this extraordinary home in order to attract the female. The stones inside are the finest he can find. He only gets to mate if the female thinks his creation is beautiful enough so very different from us!
We finally made it to the top and before us, opened out an enormous chasm/chamber with a massive cave at the end (if you look carefully at the photo above, the grassy stuff behind us is actually a field of palms!).
A helicopter ride over the Bungles Bungle range was to be the finale to the Grandest days of all. After a brief briefing on those essential safety procedures (jump and hope you land feet-first) we nervously scooted under the chopping choppers into our very open-aired, open-doored helicopter. Josh was so excited he almost forgot to do his seatbelt up. In the whisk of a second…..the chopper soared straight up into the sky and swept out across the land.
The astonishing beauty of these formations cannot be conveyed in words. The pictures barely do justice….but at least they give you a rough idea. This maze of towering sandstone domes and magnificent narrow canyons are breathtaking. The scale of the formations is so large from the air it’s like looking down on another planet. The phenomenal beehive domes were the highlight of the flight. The famous striped orange and black bands looked like giant slabs of honeycomb below. Ride of a lifetime!!!
Half an hour later we safely landed back upon the sturdy ground. As we drove out of the Bungles towards Halls Creek we reflected upon how wonderful it is that at the moment this area is thankfully protected by its inaccessibility (other than choppers)….but what lies ahead?
Resorts, coach tours, Bungle Bungie jumping?????????
One could muse for hours. It’s hard writing about one of the most beautiful places in Australia because in doing so, we are potentially contributing to its demise. Increased awareness of any beautiful wilderness area so often leads to over development. Next time we come back to the Bungles will there be a bitumen road, 25 different walks, a Sheraton and kiosks galore?????
Let’s hope not.