Bungle Bungles, The Domes

24/6/14 – We packed up camp today and moved down to the Walardi camping area. We didn’t think this camp area was as nice as Kurrajong. It’s not as big and the roads are rougher. We were all setup by morning tea, so went at did the Domes walk.

The Picaninny car park is 17km from the campground and takes a little over 30mins to get there as all roads are 50km/hr in the park. The road is pretty corrugated. Care needs to be taken, someone rolled their Jackaroo just by going to fast.

The Domes walk is a pretty easy 700m loop. In the heat it feels longer. Wow wow wow, they are amazing, it’s like you can’t get enough of the Domes. The photos can speak for themselves.

Walking_Piccaninny Domes-Walk-5 Domes-Walk-4 Domes-Walk-3 Domes-Walk-2 Domes-Walk-1 Domes-Walk Domes-Cave-1 Domes-Cave Domes

Back to camp for the hot arvo.

Bungle Bungles, Piccaninny Creek

25/6/14 – We were up at 5am local time as we wanted to beat the crowds, the heat and we had a 10km walk ahead of us.

Whip Snake Gorge is a 10km return walk up the creek. At the end you are rewarded with a cool shaded amphitheater. We had the area to ourselves for 40min.

Whipsnake-2 Whipsnake-1 Whipsnake

The walk back was hot but really interesting. Surround by domes and interesting patterns in the creek bed.

Picc-Creek-13 Picc-Creek-11 Picc-Creek-10 Picc-Creek-9 Picc-Creek-8 Picc-Creek-7 Picc-Creek-6 Picc-Creek-5 Picc-Creek-4 Picc-Creek-3 Picc-Creek-2 Picc-Creek-1

Bungle Bungle, Cathedral Gorge

26/6/14 – Up again at 5am for the 2km walk to Cathedral Gorge. It was amazing and one of our favourite places at the Bungles. We were alone for over 1 1/2hrs and had great fun photographing it from every angle. There are some steps, some sandy areas but overall an easy walk.

Cathedral-Gorge-Steps-1 Cathedral-Gorge-steps Cathedral-Gorge-7 Cathedral-Gorge-6 Cathedral-Gorge-5 Cathedral-Gorge-4 Cathedral-Gorge-3 Cathedral-Gorge-2 Cathedral-Gorge-1 Cathedral-Gorge

Back to camp and pack up the camper ready to head off. The road was worst going out than coming in. More loose gravel seemed more corrugated and lots of traffic with a windy road with plenty of blind corners makes it slow going. Speed was 30 – 50km/hr took a little bit longer to get back to the hwy but still under the 2hrs. A lot of caution is needed on this road, the day before we came in a guy rolled his camper because he was going too fast. People come around blind corners on the wrong side of the road as well.

We were actually booked in to stay the night at the Bungles but we decided to leave as we had done all the walks we wanted, all we would be doing this arvo is sitting around camp as it really is too hot to go for walks. And we wanted to get into Kununurra a day earlier to see if we could get the car air-conditioning looked at, as it hasn’t been working too well since we left home. It is booked in tomorrow morning, so we will stay in a van park for a couple of days.

WA – Cockburn Rest Area

Cockburn Rest Area – F, N, B, T, DP, BR, D. Right on the junction of the Victoria Hwy and Northern Hwy. 40 km from Kununurra. Close to the road, some shelter, table and chairs, 24hrs stay you wouldn’t want to stay longer, only suitable for a one night stop. Rating – 2

Cockburn-RA Cockburn-RA-1 Cockburn-RA-2 Cockburn-RA-Dump-point Cockburn-RA-Loo

Kununurra

27/06/14 – We are staying at Kimberleyland Holiday Park, they are pretty full and the only site we could get last night was a water site at $40 right on the lake. Nice large site, some grass with great views. At night you can see glowing red eyes of the fresh water crocs. Some of the other sites are dirt and close together. The new toilet block is great, the old one very tired. The park is like an oasis in Kununurra. Across from the park is Celebrity Park where local celebrities and politicians have planted trees.

Kimberleyland-camping-view-1 Kimberleyland-camping-view

KDS Mechanical re gassed the aircon in the ute for us. They were great, very quick and fitted us in between jobs, so we now have cool aircon again.

Can’t say we were that impressed with Kununurra. Can’t bring fruit and veg or honey into WA and the local Coles runs out of supplies constantly. Honey is rare like liquid gold. Bread and other food item shelves would be cleared out by the end of the day. There is an IGA actually had better fruit and veg. Lots of locals roam the town and Coles car park at night. There are several security guards at the front doors and roaming around the car park.

We got fuel at Ordco Diesel which was 16c cheaper than filling up in town. It’s about a 5min drive out of town.

Tonight there was some entertainment at the park on the river stage. A local guy singing 70/80’s, country style music. He was pretty good. Was nice to sit under the stars and enjoy the show.

Thirsty-Birdie_2554

El Questro

28/06/14 – We topped up the jerry cans and topped off the fuel tanks again. Called into the Zebra Rock Gallery on the way out of town. Some amazing pieces but very expensive. By the time we did our bits and had lunch it was afternoon by the time we arrived at El Questro (ELQ).

Gibb-Road

We just missed out on getting a private site, we could have one for the next few nights but didn’t want to move camp. The check in process is very smooth and quick. Cost is $20 pp/pn plus $20 each for their Wilderness pass which lasts a week. Total cost $160 for 3 nights. The most cost effective is to stay 4 nights as you then get 20% off the whole 4 nights. Private sites are $28 pp/pn and we think they might be worth paying the difference. The main camping area gets pretty full, is very dusty, can be noisy from other campers and from the live music from the bar. At night with people’s lights on you can see the dust and smoke from fires sitting in the air. There is lots of trees and when the numbers are down it’s nice to sit, relax and enjoy the surroundings.

ELQ-Campground-3 ELQ-Campground-2 ELQ-Campground-1 ELQ-Campground

The amenities are little ensuite huts that are usually dirty, there is also one small amenities block with several showers and toilets. There are not enough amenities for the number of people staying here, there are often queues. Several times the hot water was cool and only a dribble came out of the shower. Many people were complaining about this. For the money you pay to stay here that is very poor.

Ensuites

Diesel fuel was $2.28L petrol was dearer.

El Questro, Springs, Gorges and 4wd Tracks

29/6/14 – We were up early as people packing up to leave were up early and making lots of noise, oh well we wanted to be up early anyway.

First up we went to Zebedee Springs which is only open to regular camping guests from 7am to 12. After that it is for ELQ tour groups. So it can get very busy. Fortunately it wasn’t to bad when we arrived but soon filled up. The springs are small natural rock holes surrounded by palms and cliffs. Temp is between 28-32 degrees, we think the lower pools are cooler that the top pools. It’s a 1.5km return walk to the springs.

Zedebee-Springs-3 Zedebee-Springs-2 Zedebee-Springs-1 Zedebee-Springs

It’s a 1 hour walk into the halfway point to El Questro Gorge from the car park, to a small crystal clear small swimming hole. The walk involves a bit of rock hopping, crossing the creek bed several times and walking in damp areas. The walk past here to the top pool takes a further 1 1/2 hrs one way. It involves walking through waste deep water and climbing up a large rock and more difficult terrain. It was a lovely shaded gorge but didn’t have the wow factor.

ELQ-Gorge-Walk-2 ELQ-Gorge-Walk-1 ELQ-Gorge-Walk ELQ-Gorge-2 ELQ-Gorge-1 ELQ-Gorge

We came back to camp to have lunch before setting off on some of the 4wd tracks. First stop was Saddleback Ridge and lookout, which was up a very steep hill, first gear low range both up and down. The view from the top was amazing with 360 degree views.

Saddleback-Ridge-Lookout Saddleback-Ridge

Chamberlain Gorge was pretty impressive. You can hire a boat to explore the gorge yourself or go on a ELQ tour which like most things at ELQ isn’t cheap.

Chamberlain-Gorge

We had to cross a very rocky and rough river to explore further to Explosion Gorge. Which again offered some pretty impressive views.

Explosion-Gorge

We had afternoon tea at Branko’s Lookout which gave great views over the river and towards the Station which is very high end accommodation. Which they keep you away from.

The-Homestead Brankos-Lookout-1 Brankos-Lookout

Then it was back to camp to put the Webber on for lamb roast for tea.

Emma Gorge

30/6/14 – The walk to Emma Gorge is a little bit more difficult than the El Questro Gorge walk. Some of the rocks towards the top are a little bit bigger to climb over. Allow 2 hrs return just for the walk. Once at the gorge you are greeted with a crystal clear cold swimming hole surround by red cliffs, a waterfall and a droplet waterfall. Even with wide lenses it’s still hard to capture it all.

Emma-Gorge-1 Emma-Gorge

Opposite the waterfall there are some red rocks with hot springs trickling down into a small bath size pool. Some rock climbing is involved to get to the pool.

Emma-Gorge-hot-pools Emma-Gorge-3 Emma-Gorge-2

Chris went for a dip in the water and said it was rather cool but refreshing.

Rock-Patterns-1 Rock-Patterns

We had morning tea at a picnic table back at Emma Resort on their nice green grass. Then it was back to camp to do some baking.

Mitchell Plateau

1/7/14 – The place was pretty full last night. The sites on our top side were on a decent slope and because of that hadn’t been used much in the time we were there. We had gone for a walk while some people were setting up their campers on the sites. When we came back we were told their camper had gotten away from them and was literally heading towards our camper. It took several people to move it and secure it back in place. Not sure we would stay at ELQ again we felt the main camping and amenities let ELQ down. We were packed up and on the road by 7.30am.

The Pentecost River crossing was pretty easy and not that deep. It’s a pretty awesome site from the west side of the crossing looking back towards the Coburn Ranges. Afternoon would be the best time of day to get that magic photo of crossing the Pentecost with the ranges lit up by the afternoon sun.

Pentecost Crossing-the-Pentecost

A few Kms past the crossing is a lookout where you can actually get a weak Telstra phone reception. Great views as well.

Lookout Cairn

Looks like there is plenty of free camping along the Durack River. So far the road is corrugated as expected, some pretty sharp rocks sticking up in places and loose gravel. We have seen 2 people with flat tyers, a rear tailgate on the road, a ute fiberglass canopy, a wreck and a stone has hit and split a John Guest water fitting on the trailer. Chris carries spares (which he will fix when we stop) we aren’t loosing any water unless we put the pump on. This is one of the reasons why we carry/have extra water tank in the ute.

Ellenbrae

The Kalumburu Rd to Drysdale Station was very rough in places, took 50mins to get the station turnoff. Just passed the station we came across a lovely creek that we stopped and had lunch at. It was just after that, that we noticed a small crack in the windscreen that had emanated from a tiny chip in the corner of the windscreen behind the GPS mount that we hadn’t seen. While we were stopped a car passed us at high speeds throwing rocks at us as he passed, mmm wonder how we got a crack windscreen. Chip we can fix, crack has to wait until we get home.

Kalumburu-Rd

We came across a heap of black birds in some trees with 2 dead cow carcasses in the long grass. A couple of dingoes near by with one of them eating from one of the carcasses. I (Kate) got out to take some photos and the smell was overwhelming. After half a dozen or so shots I started dry reaching the smell was so bad, I quickly got back in the Ute. That’s nature for you.

Feast Feast-Dingo

We turned off the Kalumburu road towards the Mitchell River National Park. The road quickly got worst with large rocks sticking up out of the ground. The King Edward River crossing was a rocky crossing with a bend in it. A few kms later we turned in to the King Edward campground now called Munura. The sites are large mowed areas that could easily fit a couple of campers in them. Well spread out, with several toilets spread around the camping area. Lots of trees, very nice bush setting cost $10 A. There is a self registration hut, but if you don’t get chance to fill it in before setting up a caretaker comes around and will collect it.

King-Edward-Camping King-Edward-Camping-1 King-Edward-Camping-2

We had planned to stay here one night then head to the Mitchell River National Park in the morning with the trailer and stay there a few nights. The caretaker advised leaving the camper here and doing a day trip as the road was so bad and she said the campground here was nicer. We walked around and chatted to a few other camping groups who had gone to the falls and asked them about the road etc. pretty well all of them said to leave the camper and yes here was much nicer and not as crowded. It was that here was a better campground that convinced us to do a run down in the ute and leave the camper here.