Most of the Bungles pictures you find below were taken just after a wet season, around May/June. I can warmly recommend a trip into Purnululu National Park at that time of the year.
The park is a lot more beautiful when everything is still lush and green and the acacias and grevilleas are flowering.
There aren't as many tourists as during peak season and there is still water in the creeks and waterholes along the hikes in the park.
Yes, there will also be more water in the creeks that you have to cross on your way into the Bungles. Look at it as a good thing. It adds to the sense of adventure!
Luckily, you don't need to worry about crocodiles in any of those creeks. The one below is the only crocodile that was ever spotted in Purnululu National Park...
The track into Purnululu National Park does not have a very good reputation. It's supposed to be awful. So the last thing I expected on my first visit was an exceptionally beautiful drive.
It is not a fast drive though. The road surface is not exactly smooth (unless you are lucky and it has just been graded)...
...the road often winds through steep hills and tight corners so you can't see who or what's ahead...
...and last but not least there are many little creeks to cross.
But personally I wouldn't want to go fast anyway.
The views as the track winds its way through the hills as well as the Bungles ranges in the distance are incredible, especially in the morning or evening sun.
Full disclosure: In the above photo we are camped highly illegally outside the national park borders. We had had some trouble on the way in and had to stop. I managed to fix what needed fixing and we got going again early in the morning. Beautiful as the place was, I didn't want to get into trouble so we didn't hang around!
Once you reach the park you will stop at the Visitor Centre and check in. And once you get going again you might be pleasantly surprised...
The maintenance of the roads inside the Bungle Bungles National Park is funded out of a different pot and the tracks are usually much better!
Purnululu National Park is divided into two sections, a southern and a northern part. Let's go south first...
As you drive towards the start of the walks you will for the first time set eyes on the beehive domes that the Bungle Bungle range is so famous for.
Morning or evening, the drive down to the southern part of the Bungle Bungle ranges is stunning.
Once you reach the first car park you'll also see the first (small) domes close up.
A short walk that starts here is imaginatively called the "Domes Walk". It takes you towards the domes...
...and on narrow paths right into the maze between them (where photography becomes a challenge).
As impressive as it is to walk between the domes like this, you'll have a hard time getting great pictures of them. Hard to do when standing right underneath! But fear not, you'll have a chance for great dome photos later on at Piccaninny Creek (see below).
But first you'll probably want to see Cathedral Gorge, the most well known sight within the Bungles. (Not least because it is so easy to reach.)
Cathedral Gorge is the most famous and popular location within Purnululu National Park. For many visitors it's the only place that they see on the ground. (They'll take a scenic flight to see the rest and be done.)
Similar to the Domes Walk that got you here, Cathedral Gorge is an impressive place to visit but an impossible place to photograph...
These photos may give you an idea about the shape of the gorge at ground level (hint: it's round), but they can not convey the massive dimensions and especially just how tall the walls are above Cathedral Gorge.
Cathedral Gorge is an impressive place, no doubt. Yet I personally find every single other hike in Purnululu National Park more interesting...
This is my favourite hike: Piccaninny Creek. It's also located in the southern part of Purnululu but starts from a different car park.
The Piccaninny Creek walk takes more time, even when doing only part of it, so most people (who always seem to be in a rush) see this part of Purnululu National Park only from the air.
(You can find information about the Piccaninny Creek walk here.)
Last but not least, if you time it right, you can stop at this little sunset lookout as you return from your walk to the car park.
The northern part of the Bungles looks different. Sure, the rock is still red, but it's neither beehive dome shaped nor striped.
It also harbours a different type of vegetation in its cool valleys.
Mini Palms Gorge is one of several hikes in the northern section of Purnululu National Park.
The walk leads you along a riverbed into a narrow, boulder strewn gorge filled with Bungle Bungle Fan Palms. The track becomes steeper and you'll have to squeeze through and clamber over boulders. Eventually you get to a viewing platform overlooking a palm filled valley surrounded by 150 m high cliffs.
Echidna Chasm, another hike in the northern section, is a fun walk but once more it's near impossible to photograph. The hike leads up a narrow gap in the rock and then gets narrower and narrower, and then narrower still.
Overhead the midday sun is blazing and at the bottom of the chasm it's very dark. But at least it's cool...
And to finish things off, here are some photos showing some of the many creek crossings on the way in and out of Purnululu National Park. This is what you may encounter early in the season.
More Kimberley Photos:
More Kimberley Photos: