Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Bungle Bungles

Sunday, 20th June 2010

Took a run out to "Old Halls Creek", only 16 kms out of Halls Creek, but what a road! Narrow, twisty, rough and cattle trucks, I had to head for the bush a couple of times to avoid being run off the road.

On the way is a side-track to the "Walls of China". I wasn't expecting much, but it is actually quite impressive. It really looks like it has been built by humans and reminded me of the photos I have seen of Aztec ruins.

Anyway, made it to Old Halls Creek and it's a bit of a shambles. The "Lodge" has a display of old vehicles and machinery, but anywhere else it would be called a junk-yard or a tip.Not a very salubrious spot. The original settlement has just about all gone except for some street signs that the local historical society have erected. One ruin which does remain, it the old post office which was built from an adobe-like mixture of spinifex and ant-bed. It has eroded a lot from the weather, but has now been preserved under a roof. Built in the early 1900's according to the sign, I would have thought we had more sophisticated technology by that time, but maybe the remoteness of the area left no other choice.

Just a few kms off the track is Caroline Pool. It is shown in the camps book as a stop, so I checked it out. Very nice spot. The wet season hasn't been over all that long, so there was still plenty of water in the pools, but I imagine it would dry right out in the dry season.

Stayed for a couple of nights so as to have a chance to do a bit of exploring. There is a fairly high hill right next to the camping area, so I climbed up to get a view of the surrounding area. To my surprise, from the summit I could not only see Old Halls Creek, but Halls Creek itself, 16 kms away.
Tuesday, 22nd June 2010

Just a quick stop in town to buy bread and milk and off on the road. I have been using cryovac-ed meat, which only needs refrigeration, not freezing and I am amazed at the difference in attitude by some butchers. I stocked up with a load in Gawler (about $150 worth of meat) and the butcher didn't charge me anything for cryovac-ing it. I noticed when I was in Alice Springs, that a butcher there was charging 30c a bag, which is probably not too bad, but the guy (the only butcher) in Halls Creek wanted $2.00 per bag, so he got nothing - that's just ridiculous. At that rate, I might buy a machine when I get to a decent size town, I believe Sunbeam have one for about $150.00

Up the highway, and the scenery is magnificent. I may have mentioned it before, but this is my favourite part of Australia for scenery. I was going to camp at the Spring Creek campsite, right opposite the entrance to the Bungles, but I pulled into the Ord River site, 7 kms earlier, just to check it out and a couple of people told me that the Spring Creek site is usually chock-a-block, so I set up here instead. I last came through here in about 2001 and they have built a bridge over the Ord River since then, and blocked off the old ford across the river - probably got flooded too many times. I stayed for a couple of nights and then into the Bungles.

Friday, 25th June 2010

The road in is 53 kms and caravans are banned. I can well understand why - it takes a good two hours to get in and a couple of the creek crossings are really steep. One strange thing I noticed was that the signs said that all vehicles had to engage 4WD "to save the road", but didn't say anything about reducing tyre pressures. I noticed that the majority of vehicles didn't drop tyre pressures, but I dropped mine to 24 psi. Gives a better ride, reduces damage from sharp stones and gves better traction, as well as being kinder to the road surface. The road is pretty rough - a genuine 4WD only track. Somebody said it was as good as it has ever been, so it must have been crook in the past.

The camp sites are fairly large, good shade, fireplaces, toilets, untreated bore water on tap and they drop off a bit of firewood each night. $11 entry fee and $11 per night to camp - reasonable I suppose.

Saturday, 26th June 2010

Did the southern section today, Domes Walk, Cathedral Gorge and Piccaninny Creek. Now don't get me wrong, the Bungle Bungles are very impressive, but I have previously seen the "Mini Bungle Bungles" in Hidden Valley in Kununurra and that reduced the impact a bit, but it is still well worth the visit.

I took loooots of photos, but here are some of the better ones. I'm thinking of putting all of my photos into a Picassa Album, but it will take a bit of time, so watch this space.

The Domes

Cathedral Gorge

Piccaninny Creek

Sunday, 27th June 2010

Did the Northern section today, quite different to the southern section, not so much of the striped formations, a lot of conglomerate sandstone (looks like natural concrete).

Mini Palms Gorge. A very tight squeeze getting in here. Some people who are a little more robustly built would have trouble getting through.

Echidna Chasm. This was amazing. I have been to Standley Chasm near the Alice and it has got nothing on this. The chasm is a fault in the rock and goes for about 5 or 6 hundred metres back into the cliff. at times it was less than a metre wide and about 200 feet deep. I am not claustrophobic, but even so I could feel a little of what sufferers might feel. The light levels were very low, even though it was the middle of the day, but hopefully you can get an idea of the perspective. (The photos will probably be a lot clearer if you click on them)
Monday 28th June 2010

Drove out this morning and the track seemed even rougher than going in. The place seems incredibly popular - as I was driving out, I crossed 21 vehicles and 3 tour busses going in.

Fueled up at Turkey Creek (now called Warmun after the locals), but at $1.90 per litre, only took on enough to get me to Wyndham. Stopped overnight at Dunham River campsite and cleaned about 50 kgs of dust out of the van. Can't do much for the outside as yet, that will have to wait until I can get to a spot with plenty of water.

Tuesday 29th June 2010

I was listening to the ABC news this morning at 7:30 and they happened to mention that it was 4.3 degrees in Perth at the time. I hopped out and checked my thermometer and it was 22 degC here at the same time. It's getting up to about 32 degC here during the day, and surprisingly, it is still a bit humid, the dry season hasn't fully kicked in yet.

I have stopped at a roadside rest area just south of Kununurra for a couple of nights and than I will be heading across to Katherine and then on to Queensland.

See you soon.


Anonymous said...

Fantastic photos and what a jouney! Reading your progressive tale is a trip within itself! Thanks Mike.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mike where the hell are ya?