Bungle Bungles overnight hike

by Cathy

We would like to do the overnight hike to Piccaninny Gorge in the Bungle Bungles and wonder how to camp out. Will a sleeping bag be enough protection (e.g. wildlife, snakes...) or is there a place to pitch a tent? A swag seems a bit too heavy to carry all the way...

Comments for Bungle Bungles overnight hike

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Jul 18, 2008
Keep the weight down
by: Birgit

Hi Cathy,

Saltwater crocodiles are the only wildlife you need to fear in this country, and there are none in the Bungles. Snakes only bite if you attack them :-).

The only thing you need to protect yourself from is cold weather and maybe mosquitoes. The latter depends on the time of the year.

I would only take a mozzie dome or mozzie net, a foam mattress or self inflatable mattress and a warm enough sleeping bag. In the Bungles the night temperatures can drop below zero for several months of the year.

During the colder time of the year I might even leave the mozzie dome behind and just take a bit of repellent, just in case.

On the other hand it may help to stay warm if you carry a dome with a fly (or a tent instead of the dome). This would also protect you from dew.

Is there a place to pitch a tent? I'm sure you will find one. It's a creek bed, so there are many flat, sandy sections.

What you take really depends on the time of the year. Take as little as you can get away with. It's a hard enough walk without unnecessary weight on your back.

You will need to carry a lot of water on that trip (and take some purification tablets or a filter). This will be even more of a problem if your trip is later, once it warms up again.

Have you done much serious bushwalking before? Hard to guess from your message... You don't want to carry more than 12-15 kg all up. 25% of your body weight is the max you should carry.

Try keep it down best as you can.

Make sure you register for the walk and have a chat to the rangers before you head off. They will be able to tell you more about the water supply in the gorge and the temperatures you can expect.

Jul 18, 2008
by: Cathy

Many thanks for all this info. That helps a lot with the planning. We will certainly not attack any snakes so should be on the safe side with camping out...

Oct 07, 2011
Piccaninny Walk -advice please
by: Anonymous

Hi Cathy, I am aware that it has been a while since your post but you know can't hurt to ask! I am planning a walk into piccaninny early next year say April, right at the beginning of the season. Kind of want to go up into one of the fingers but cannot find much info nor advice, by the sounds of it you have done the walk? If so can you give me some insight?

Oct 09, 2011
Amazing through a stunning landscape
by: Cathy

Yes we have done the tour - and it's been a wonderful experience. It feels like being in the heart of Australia - in the old ancient heart of nature itself.

We took two days - the first to walk in and the second to get back the same way. The walk starts at Catherine Gorge parking area from where you walk past the George to the riverbed. There you will see a few people who explore the first few hundred meters of the riverbed. Then you quickly find yourself walking in solitude stunned by the magnificent rock formations. You follow the many bends of the river and after each the scenery changes. Also the riverbed changes - from small pebbles that are easy to walk on - to bigger ones that are tricky to take - to big boulders you have to get around. Sometimes you get the chance to take a shortcut through the scrub which is a relief because the sound you make walking on the pebbles can be a little annoying. Then its good to stop for a while and take in the quietness and solitude of the place.

After the many bends of the river you can't miss the entrance to the gorge to your left. It's a wide area at the beginning, but it narrows pretty quickly and you have the towering gorge walls on both sides of the path. The further you go in the louder gets the noise you make yourself by walking. But when you stop it's like you are the only person on earth.

You can go as far as you are able to. At some point the walls open to the left and the right - here you can explore the fingers of Picanniny Gorge. We only went a few hundred meters further up. After that you will have to either climb over rocks or wade through water to get further. It's pretty rough terrain from there on. As I understand you can go and explore them but I'm not sure how much more you would gain from doing so. Through the main gorge you walk on the riverbed but in the arms it's more like scrambling through scrub and over boulders always reaching higher ground as you go. You need much more time as walking the main gorge. We were told there was another group exploring the fingers when we were there but we never met them. They spent 5 days to explore them all.

As for us, we were already pretty exhausted from the walk and we had already seen more than we expected so we stayed and enjoyed the scenery and prepared our dinner. We just rolled out our sleeping bags on the stones - underneath you need a sleeping mat - there are only a few sandy patches near the waterholes. We didn?t have any problems with mozzies so late in the season. The darkness came quickly and we were lucky to be there in August right through the Perseids meteor shower and watched it during the night (it was still very hard ground to sleep on so we woke every now and then).

Oct 09, 2011
by: Cathy

All in all there is little shade on the walk and you need enough water. In August there was no water what so ever in the riverbed, only a little in the gorge which I wouldn't recommend drinking. I'm not sure about the conditions in April though. As Birgit commented, there are no real dangers doing the walk but we followed her many hints that were very helpful. Make sure you wear shoes with a really firm and supporting sole. Otherwise your feet get tired quickly from walking on the pebbles.

I'm also not sure about spring floods in this area. But of the looks of the riverbed they must occur sometimes. Make sure you ask here in the forum or contact the tourist office of the National Park. It's also important to let them know you are doing the walk and check out when you have finished.

Enjoy your walk!

Oct 09, 2011
by: Cathy

It should say Cathedral Gorge instead of Catherine Gorge. Well I suppose you are right! it has been a while since our trip. But nevertheless heaps of beautiful memories.

Oct 09, 2011
Bungle Bungles overnight hike
by: Birgit

Cathy, thanks for responding to Anon's question, and for doing it in so much detail! I love it when people return here to tell us how things went :-).

Good to hear you had a good time.

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