How difficult is Spring Creek Road (Bungles access)?

by Brian
(Perth )

I am planning on visiting Purnululu National Park and was wondering just how difficult Spring Creek track is for someone who has done limited 4WD driving. You mention sharp bends and steep gradients so please can you give me more details of what I am to expect, e.g. are there many difficult water crossings?

Birgit, great web site and e-books! I downloaded the free Pocket Guide and was so impressed that I bought and downloaded the Destination Kimberley.


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Related Reader Questions:
Can you take a 2 wd car into the Bungle Bungles?
4WD in the Bungle Bungles?
Road access to the Bungle Bungles

Comments for How difficult is Spring Creek Road (Bungles access)?

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Jun 20, 2009
Spring Creek Track
by: Birgit

Hi Brian,
You are to expect sharp bends and steep gradients :-).

Ok, seriously. It's a narrow road and because of the way it winds through the hills you have to go slow. Because if two vehicles came flying up each side of such a blind crest in a bend, then you'd get a head on collision.

And the track is unsuitable for larger caravans and trailers (dual axle) which are not allowed, period. (Neither are standard caravans or trailers, i.e. non off-road.)

There are many creek crossings, that's why a 4WD with a bit of clearance is needed. They may be difficult when they are full of water, like in April, maybe May after a big late wet. But not when they are dry.

If the track would require 4WD experience I would have clearly said so. There are precious few tracks here that require experience. All you need is a suitable vehicle, common sense and time. The only people who get themselves into trouble are those who rush and don't drive to the conditions. (That goes for the whole Kimberley, not just the Bungles.)

Jul 18, 2010
Spring Creek Road
by: Viv - Perth

Brian we recently drove the Spring Creek Road and return in a Rav4 with little 4WD experience and we had absolutely no trouble.
Having said that I don't think it is the ideal sized 4WD to use, but it was all we had. It even got us through a water crossing, although we did watch a few cars go through before us just to be sure.
We did get some funny looks from drivers in larger 4WDs and they didn't make allowances for us when it came to passing on narrow sections, many of them drove like they owned the road.
It was a fabulous trip and well worth the effort.

Jul 20, 2011
Public Transport
by: Rebecca

Is there a way of getting to the Bungle Bungles without driving a car? Can anyone recommend a good tour group (not large numbers, please) or another way of spending time here? Which is the best town to start out from?

Many thanks, :-)

Sep 06, 2011
Bungles access road.
by: Greg

As stated before, the road is winding and rough in some spots. Take your time and enjoy the scenery and the experience. We never had to engage 4wd and had no problems.

The biggest problem we had was with the tour buses that seem to have little respect for others on the road, they drive too fast, slow down little if at all when passing on coming cars and don't like to share any of the road when passing so just watch out for them, other than that it would be the most amazing place I have ever visited.

Cheers

Nov 30, 2016
the road going in and the the roads when you get there.
by: sweeneykev@yahoo.com

I did it in June in a Pajero, the road is a disgrace to the country and especially WA Gov!

Jan 17, 2017
doable in a normal SUV?
by: Marco

I am planning to visit Bungle Bungle in the late September 2017.

It is almost impossible to rent a 4WD in Darwin, and also have found no solutions close to the park entrance.

The rental companies charge "premium location fee", "one way fee", "only 100 km a day" and "unsealed road fee".

And... they do not guarantee that you get a 4WD if you rent just a "SUV".

Is there any decent solution to do a self drive tour?

The only thing I can do is rent a standard 2WD SUV in Darwin.

So, my questions are:
Is it ok at the END OF SEPTEMBER to go to the Park with a 2wd (of course with a lot of caution?)

A normal 2WD SUV has 20cm ground clearance (when a Toyota Landcruiser has 40).

What is the likely condition of the road at the end of September?

How many creeks are there to ford?

Are 20cm ground clearance enough?

Jan 17, 2017
Bungle Bungle Road
by: Kevin

My complaint about the road was mainly how rough it was. There's only a few creek crossings which are ok nearly 2 wheel drive stuff.

Jan 17, 2017
max depth creek crossing end September
by: Marco

Thanks for your comment.
What I need to know if you really need a 4wd at the end of September.

As probably I will have just a 2wd, can you tell me how deep are creeks in September?

It would be very interesting if you could just give an average figure.

example: depth in June, July, August, September...

Jan 18, 2017
Bungles in 2WD
by: Birgit

Hi Marco,

There is a lot of free information on this website, and even more so (and easier to find) in my free guide.
Please do read it carefully, and you should get an idea of what to expect.

There are no standardised creeks up here, so there is no such thing as an "average depth of creeks" at any time of the year.
Even if there was, it doesn't change the amount of clearance that may be required. That depends on the road surface beneath the water (if there even is water).
And nobody can predict that surface either.

Also, late September you may get the first thunderstorms if you are unlucky. Roads could be wet. Creeks could rise and fall quickly. (Every time water rushes down a creek, it changes the surface on the bottom of it.)
Everything could be bone dry, too. (More likely.)

I do not recommend visiting the Bungles in a 2WD.
I do not say it is impossible, either.

From the Parks and Wildlife website:
"The last 53 km into the park is via a rugged track that is accessible only to four-wheel-drive vehicles and single-axle off-road trailers. The nearest mechanical assistance available is at Kununurra."

And that is really all anyone can tell you.

NOBODY CAN PREDICT IF 20cm CLEARANCE WILL BE ENOUGH. MAYBE. MAYBE NOT.

How much experience do you have driving 2WDs in rugged terrain? Driving in the bush in general? On rocky tracks? In sand?
That is more important than anything else with those borderline decisions.

If you decide to risk it, do call them first to make sure they will allow you into the park with a 2WD. They may not. (Though I guess a SUV will not catch their attention like a sedan would.)

Again:
I do not recommend going to Purnululu in a 2WD.

Jan 18, 2017
closest 4wd rental?
by: Marco

Thank you for your advice.
I believed end of September was the driest time, so now you tell about possible thunderstorms.

Probably beginning of September is much better?

I am planning to do so beacuse I couldn't find a 4WD car rental near the park. (Maybe you could just tell me if there is any).

As far as 2WD driving on rough terrain I have experience in the USA. (Utah and Arizona)

I will really appreciate if you can link some pictures of the road as it is after the improvements.

I am mostly concerned by the depth of the creeks (you cannot see obstacles or the terrain condition under the water). And in addition a 2WD car with 20cm clearance could be easily flooded.


Anyway I hope you can recommend a car rental with 4WD car close to the park.

Or, maybe there are other solutions that do not include an organized tour. (I don't like tour schedules.)

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