Bungle Bungle - Purnululu NP

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesHalls Creek
FinishKununurra
DifficultyDifficulty 3/5
Suitable For4WD Camper 
Distance560.76 km
Minimum Days3
Average Speed59.03 km/hr
Travel Time9 hrs 29 mins
Page Updated: 16 Aug 2017
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Description

Purnululu National Park is located within the East Kimberley region and is only accessible for vehicles entering from the Great Northern Highway. Travelling time to the ranger station is approximately 5 hours from Kununurra and 4 hours from Halls Creek with the last 2.5 hours requiring four wheel drive. There is no accommodation other than camping and facilities are very limited - the wilderness aspect is one the park's main attractions. For those that wish to camp but are without access to a 4WD vehicle, tours operate out of Broome, Kununurra and Halls Creek. Visitors with limited time or those that wish to fully appreciate the immense grandeur of the Bungle Bungle range can pick up scenic flights from Kununurra, Halls Creek, or Turkey Creek. Established as a National Park in 1987, and listed by the World Heritage Committee in 2003, Purnululu (formerly known as the Bungle Bungle) is one of Western Australia’s best known tourist destinations. Our Trek Note provides self-drive information for visitors accessing the park by 4WD vehicle.

Visitors typically come to Purnululu to experience the visually striking Bungle Bungle - a range dominated by 450 sq. km of dome-shaped sandstone rock formations that are said to look like beehives due to their distinctive dark grey and orange horizontal stripes. Walks in the southern section of the park provide ground visitors with access to these famous banded beehive domes. However, Purnululu also contains numerous gorges, cliffs, sandy plains and surprisingly unique flora and fauna. The Livistona palms found in the Mini Palms Gorge and Echidna Chasm in the northern section give evidence that Purnululu was once a much wetter region.

Whilst off-road trailers are permitted into the National Park, the 53km access track from the highway to the park entrance is definitely 4WD only and is not suitable for caravans. The Spring Creek Track consists of around 50 creek crossings and some sections of the undulating terrain will require low range 4WD gearing. The track passes through the Mabel Downs Station who operate a caravan park, and tours for those not willing to self-drive further. If you do continue along the track, this part of the trip will take and around 2hrs without a trailer – and probably 30 minutes more if you are towing a trailer. The views along the route are sensational and if you are travelling in convoy, you’ll probably be tempted to get a few photos of vehicles making the river crossings. Many of the crossings are dense with vegetation and you'll experience sweeping views of river bends, beautiful river gums and pandanus. People who tow trailers will find themselves travelling at a slower pace so consideration and care should be given to other drivers along this often narrow single lane track. At the end of the Spring Creek Track you will come across the ranger station where you will need to pay your entry fee (or quote your park pass number) and pay your camping fees and select your camp ground.

Purnululu National Park has two distinct sections; the Northern section is noted for its steep and narrow gorges and its main attractions are Echidna Chasm, Kungkalanayi Lookout and Mini Palms Gorge. This part of the park is best experienced in the afternoon. The Southern section is quite different; here you'll be able to access the well-known beehive domes in the Piccaninny Creek area and the Cathedral Gorge, which are best experienced in the early morning.

You will need a minimum of two days to visit the main attractions.

How to Use this Trek Note

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Environment

The Bungle Bungle Range sits 578m above sea level. The range stands 200 to 300 metres above a woodland and grass-covered plain, with steep cliffs on the western face. Elsewhere, particularly where Piccaninny Creek has formed Piccaninny Gorge, the range is cut by deep gullies and breaks up into complex areas of ridges and domes, with prominent orange and black or grey bands.

The distinctive beehive-shaped landforms seen today have been produced by uplift and erosion caused during the last 20 million years.

More than 130 bird species are the park's most visible animals, including rainbow bee-eaters and flocks of budgerigars. The nailtail wallaby and euro live around the massif, while the short-eared rock-wallaby and euro are thought to live on top. Several species of rare animals also occur in the park.

History

European knowledge of the Bungle Bungle is relatively new - in fact it wasn't until a television documentary released aerial footage in the mid-1980s that people began "visiting" the area.

Prior to it's "discovery", Aboriginals lived in the Ord River region from at least 40,000 years ago. These hunter-gathers moved from the desert to the uplands in the wet season, to foothill pools after the rains and along the river in the dry season, when this became a vital resource and refuge. Today, the Bungle Bungle area is rich in Aboriginal art and there are also many burial sites.

Pastoralists began to use the area from 1884 and a wide area throughout the Ord River grasslands was used for grazing cattle. In 1885 the gold rush hit Halls Creek (just 100km to the south) and miners settled in the region. Yet still, only a handful of people ever came to see the wonderful Bungle Bungle range hidden deep within the East Kimberley landscape until a photographer took the air in the 1980s and shared the video footage of the Bungle Bungle massif with the world. It only took a couple of years after the release of this aerial footage for the government of Western Australia to setup a National Park to protect and manage the area and less than 16 years later it became a World Heritage site.
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Preparation

MUST READ: You are strongly encouraged to read the following articles prepared by the knowledge experts at ExplorOz for your safety and preparation before undertaking any published ExplorOz Trek - Outback Safety, Outback Driving Tips, Outback Communications, and Vehicle Setup for the Outback.

A well equipped 4WD vehicle is necessary to make the 2 hour long journey along the Spring Creek Track to reach the entrance to the National Park. Visitors must be fully self-sufficient with all food, water and camping gear to last the duration of their stay. Bore water is available from the camp sites, however it must be boiled before drinking. Bins are not provided so all rubbish must be carried out with you. A basic first aid kit should be taken on all walking trails as there are no services or facilities to assist people that become injured. There is no fuel available within the park. Nearest fuel service is Turkey Creek (Warnum). Plan to stay at least one night. You will need a minimum of two days to visit the main attractions.

Fuel Supplies & Usage

Fuel SymbolDoon Doon Roadhouse.
DieselULPLPG
4cyl 79 litres4cyl 91 litres4cyl 112 litres
6cyl 86 litres6cyl 102 litres6cyl 99 litres
8cyl 86 litres8cyl 93 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

Best Time To Visit

The park is closed each year from 1 January to 31 March due to the wet seasons impact on roads and park facilities.

Closest Climatic Station

Warmun
Distance from Trek Mid Point 1.75km SE
 JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Mean Max. °C37.336.135.835.132.229.429.532.336.138.639.338.4
Mean Min. °C24.824.423.220.617.213.612.614.919.423.024.925.1
Mean Rain mm178.7174.8121.025.310.46.25.41.34.623.660.3115.2
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended

Services & Supplies

Map

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What to See

A visit to the Bungle Bungle by vehicle will give you just one perspective. To truly appreciate the size and scope of the landscape you really must take a scenic air tour. During the dry season, an airstrip operates from within the park servicing helicopter tours.

Showing 2 Places

Where to Stay

Most visitors camp for several days so it is essential to be well equipped. Driving is required from either camp to access the walking trails and main points of interest in the park, however magnificent sunset views of the nortwestern side of the Bungle Bungle Massif can be enjoyed from the northern Kurrajong Camp. Both campgrounds (Kurrajong to the north, Walardi to the south) are set up the same way with water taps and toilets, but no rubbish bins - you must take all your own rubbish out with you. Set areas have been allocated for people with generators and all campsites are well spaced allowing you to enjoy the camping experience. Tour groups stay at a third camp called Bellbird.

Showing 9 Places

Directions

Halls Creek to Palm Creek, Great Northern Hwy
Driving: 27.16 km
Heading: 35°
Avg Speed: 86.26 km/hr
EST Time: 18:53
Palm Creek, Great Northern Hwy to Little Panton River, Great Northern Hwy
Driving: 20.99 km
Heading:
Avg Speed: 84.38 km/hr
EST Time: 14:55
Little Panton River, Great Northern Hwy to Upper Panton River, Great Northern Hwy
Driving: 9.84 km
Heading: 343°
Avg Speed: 69.29 km/hr
EST Time: 08:31
Upper Panton River, Great Northern Hwy to Leycesters Rest
Driving: 44.15 km
Heading: 24°
Avg Speed: 82.39 km/hr
EST Time: 32:09
Leycesters Rest to Spring Creek
Driving: 7.2 km
Heading: 36°
Avg Speed: 77.08 km/hr
EST Time: 05:36
Spring Creek to Great Northern Hwy & Purnululu NP Access
Driving: 0.67 km
Heading: 66°
Avg Speed: 42.69 km/hr
EST Time: 00:56
Great Northern Hwy & Purnululu NP Access to Frank River, Spring Creek Tk
Driving: 39 km
Heading: 81°
Avg Speed: 31.04 km/hr
EST Time: 01:15:23
Frank River, Spring Creek Tk to Three Way Junction
Driving: 12.79 km
Heading: 110°
Avg Speed: 28.76 km/hr
EST Time: 26:40
Three Way Junction to Piccaninny Creek, Spring Creek Tk
Driving: 23.89 km
Heading: 137°
Avg Speed: 39.25 km/hr
EST Time: 36:31
Piccaninny Creek, Spring Creek Tk to Cathedral Gorge
Driving: 2.59 km
Heading: 352°
Avg Speed: 27.53 km/hr
EST Time: 05:38
Cathedral Gorge to Piccaninny Creek, Spring Creek Tk
Driving: 2.59 km
Heading: 172°
Avg Speed: 27.53 km/hr
EST Time: 05:38
Piccaninny Creek, Spring Creek Tk to Three Way Junction
Driving: 23.89 km
Heading: 317°
Avg Speed: 39.25 km/hr
EST Time: 36:31
Three Way Junction to Kurrajong Camp
Driving: 6.25 km
Heading: 32°
Avg Speed: 35.39 km/hr
EST Time: 10:35
Kurrajong Camp to Echidna Chasm
Driving: 15.42 km
Heading: 53°
Avg Speed: 29.12 km/hr
EST Time: 31:46
Echidna Chasm to Kurrajong Camp
Driving: 15.42 km
Heading: 233°
Avg Speed: 29.12 km/hr
EST Time: 31:46
Kurrajong Camp to Three Way Junction
Driving: 6.25 km
Heading: 212°
Avg Speed: 35.39 km/hr
EST Time: 10:35
Three Way Junction to Frank River, Spring Creek Tk
Driving: 12.79 km
Heading: 290°
Avg Speed: 28.76 km/hr
EST Time: 26:40
Frank River, Spring Creek Tk to Great Northern Hwy & Purnululu NP Access
Driving: 39 km
Heading: 261°
Avg Speed: 31.04 km/hr
EST Time: 01:15:23
Great Northern Hwy & Purnululu NP Access to Fletchers Creek, Great Northern Hwy
Driving: 12.45 km
Heading: 31°
Avg Speed: 75.1 km/hr
EST Time: 09:56
Fletchers Creek, Great Northern Hwy to Warmun (Turkey Creek)
Driving: 40.41 km
Heading: 26°
Avg Speed: 86.37 km/hr
EST Time: 28:04
Warmun (Turkey Creek) to Telegraph Creek
Driving: 20.26 km
Heading: 23°
Avg Speed: 71.52 km/hr
EST Time: 16:59
Telegraph Creek to Bow River, Great Central Hwy
Driving: 9.27 km
Heading: 360°
Avg Speed: 87.97 km/hr
EST Time: 06:19
Bow River, Great Central Hwy to Doon Doon Roadhouse
Driving: 62.46 km
Heading: 356°
Avg Speed: 91.13 km/hr
EST Time: 41:07
Doon Doon Roadhouse to Dunham River Rest Area
Driving: 25.15 km
Heading: 36°
Avg Speed: 88.59 km/hr
EST Time: 17:02
Dunham River Rest Area to Great Northern Hwy & Victoria Hwy
Driving: 35.92 km
Heading:
Great Northern Hwy & Victoria Hwy to Cockburn Rest Area
Driving: 0.51 km
Heading: 266°
Avg Speed: 68.43 km/hr
EST Time: 00:26
Cockburn Rest Area to Kununurra West Rest Area
Driving: 32.12 km
Heading: 70°
Avg Speed: 96.77 km/hr
EST Time: 19:54
Kununurra West Rest Area to Dunham River, Victoria Hwy
Driving: 4.71 km
Heading: 129°
Avg Speed: 90.04 km/hr
EST Time: 03:08
Dunham River, Victoria Hwy to Kununurra
Driving: 7.61 km
Heading: 82°
Avg Speed: 72.64 km/hr
EST Time: 06:17
Distance is GPS recorded distance based on the travel mode shown (Driving, Straight, Cycling, Walking etc), Direction is straight line from start to end, Avg Speed & EST Time is calculated from GPS data.

Wildflowers

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