The Kimberley - Breaking the "Kununurra Curse" and heading south to Purnululu (The Bungle Bungles).

Monday, Jul 17, 2006 at 00:00

Mick O

Monday 17th July
Purnululu National Park WA
(The Bungle Bungles)

It was with no small amount of nervous trepidation that we arose this morning. It was going to be a bit of an effort to beat Ross of the wounded Patrol up to the Nissan place and sure as eggs he snuck off at 5 past 7. LOL I tell you. That’s what you get when you tell people it actually opens half an hour before its true office hours. Anyway, after packing up (again), grabbing the washing and saying good bye to Bob (again) we headed up to Nissan arriving at 7.25 and seeing Ross and a few others standing outside waiting. Doors opened at 7.30 and I casually strolled in as everybody else pushed and shoved to be first through the door and in line. Matthew, head of service, sees me standing four back and says “Mate, what’s wrong? “Matt…., Mate, Blah blah” and the car is on the hoist within 2 minutes much to the disgust of the rest of those in line. I saw the look on Ross’s face and whispered “That’s what happened when you’re a local mate…Good luck!” (Earliest Opportunity for Ross is Thursday).

As per any dealership, despite offering to identify the exact problem, the ignored me totally and returned the car within 20 minutes with profuse apologies for the slack workmanship. I immediately enquired just what it was that they had rectified to be told it was a couple of hoses banging and all was now OK. “No no no no no, bleep ! The actual tank is banging on the bodywork in a specific location as I earlier indicated. It’s not any Flaming hose so get it back on the hoist and I’ll show you!” Problem identified and solved. JT and I headed up the street for a coffee while the work was being done and ran into Bazz the unlucky Prado owner and his wife so we coffee’d with them and found out that he knows JE very well through the TPI association and others. Returned, picked up the car and then got a few last minute shopping bits out of the way. Caught up with Harold and Dale in Coles while JT was over at the post office. A quick trip to the hardware store for some silicone, fuel and we were on the way, hopefully to break the “Kununurra curse”.

About 15 kays out of town I turned off the highway onto a dirt track and gave the vehicle a workout over some corrugations. As JT and I could still hear ourselves speak, we knew the problem was solved. It was with no small amount of relief and newfound sense of anticipation that we turned south to Halls Creek let me assure you.

The trip south was a revelation. The ranges continued in various forms and you never tired of them. JT was busy snapping photos from the car as we moved on. The changes in formation was often startling. In one place we wound through crags of granite. Next it was back to the shaly sandstones. The picturesque green slopes belied the fact that the green was actually spinifex that nothing can walk through or eat. At Warmun (Turkey Creek), we stopped and booked our Bungles helicopter flight for tomorrow. From there we only had to brave several more single lane bridges and a crazed semi driver before we hit the Purnululu turnoff. We had been advised that the 53 km in was going to be a three-hour drive but we found the road is surprisingly good condition. Well maybe that’s overstating it but it wasn’t anything particularly challenging. Our only problems were the other bleep s using it. "Fritz–in-Britz" going too fast the other way and three chaps travelling in convoy who refused to acknowledge the least of bush etiquette. No radio, no mirrors, no consideration and no bloody idea! Enough said!

The road passed through the station country often plunging into creeks and then improving no end once we hit the National Park boundary. It was quite spectacular scenery as we wound our way through, over and along various ridge tops towards the huge escarpment that forms the western wall of the Bungles.

We’ve set up camp in the Kurrajong campground, which is on the western side of the ranges and will afford us some good sunset viewing. Set-up took us 35 minutes (and that includes prep time for marinating tonight’s meat!) and I must confess to a bit of pride in our setup. It’s great. Even better, the purloined wine glasses survived the days travels and have provided a most suitable vessel from which to consume a superb red with our dinner of Greek lamb and salad. We ventured to the nearby hilltop to take in sunset, which was spectacular. Again it’s one of those places that I fear no photo can do justice to the enormity and visual splendour of it all. We can but try. We also gave our bush shower its first work out with fantastic results. It’s a very enjoyable sensation to be clean at the end of a dusty day.
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903
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