We had a nice quiet night, but it was very cold outside. Temp around 10C when we woke. Brrr – we are getting used to being warm obviously!
We left the Park around 7.30am and drove the 50 kms into the Info. Centre in the Bungle Bungles. Being a National Park we had to pay $5 to enter. The drive in took 1hour and 40 mins to the info centre – the road was extremely corrugated and bumpy with dips and bumps and rocks jutting out and a maximum speed limit of 50 kmph – that was no problem with the road conditions.
We had to cross over 7 creeks which had water flowing over the crossing – some reasonably deep – up to the running board of our car – and others just covering the crossing. We crossed over umpteen other creek crossings but they did not have water in them.
Our first sight of the actual ‘beehive’ formations which make the Bungle Bungles so famous was just as you see in the tourist brochures. They are so unusual and it is surprising to know they were only first discovered 30 odd years ago when a T.V. crew flew over and saw these formations – or so the story goes.
The first stop after the Info Centre was another 27kms further on. It was called Cathedral Gorge. There was a 1-½ km walk in but it was not hard. This is another spot which really wowed us. The gorge was absolutely beautiful. At the end is an amphitheatre about the size of half a football oval with great high ceilings of rock sloping over the area. There was a permanent water hole there. Just magnificent.
Coming out from the gorge, and before getting back to the parking area was a longer walk up a slight incline to Picanniny Gorge lookout viewing platform. That too was lovely. It was getting a little hot by then, but there was the odd section which had shady trees covering the walk so that made it less hot. The Mantons (who we met yesterday) were on a guided tour doing the same as we did so we had extra company to share the day. (We found out that Bob Manton used to play football for Garfield Football Club so he then knew people from Longwarry and of course people from Garfield that we knew.He is a retired Trade Teacher so he and Bruce really had a good chat. Amazing the people you meet!) Theirs was not the only bus load there were at least another 2 full bus loads, but lots of people like us in their private cars.
By the time these walks were finished it was lunch time and there was a lovely shaded area set up for picnics.
After lunch we drove back almost to the Info. Centre but veered just before there and then drove 19kms further on to a place called Echidna Chasm. Well, another W-O-W. This was absolutely amazing – the walk in was for a couple of kms but more than worth it. We were able to walk the entire length of the chasm and the height of the walls (up to 200 metres) was astounding. Some parts were narrow but most of it was quite wide.
We all agreed it was the best chasm compared to all that we have seen on our trip – mostly because it was so accessible, as most of the deep chasms in the McDonnell Ranges were only accessible for a short distance owing to blockages from large boulders or water, and the chasms/gorges in Kakadu etc were only accessible by boat. Mind you the walk in was a little rough as it was entirely along a dry river bed, the base of which was stones of all shapes and sizes so you had to be careful at all times. Absolutely worth all the travel just to see this.
We thought we were all ‘Gorge’d out” but no-way!
Just before getting back to our car we did a short climb up to another viewing platform. This was looking around the other side of the chasm, and it was lovely. We were not so very high but it is amazing just how far we could see in the distance.
We then drove back to the Info. Centre where Linda stopped and bought a few postcards to send away and we also bought a drink each as we had fully finished all the water we had carried with us.
We then headed the 50 kms back home and arrived here at the Park just before 5.30pm. A long, and quite tiring day and I think we shall all sleep well tonight. Ian quite enjoyed driving the Landcruiser over such rough terrain, but it was a little difficult driving with the setting sun in his eyes. Before coming in for tea Ian went and booked a helicopter flight for tomorrow morning over the Bungle Bungles. He will love it.
Weather warm (around 29C) in the day but it really cools down at night. Linda and Bruce pulled out their heavier doona for the night.
Love to all, Janese and Ian