After a long walk towards the Manning Gorge, though we had a bit of rough walk in reaching it, it was worth the effort to be in the said place. Sometimes they call the place Manning Gorge waterhole or Manning Gorge Waterfalls. Because its dry season, the was a little bit of falls that can be seen in the gorge. When I saw where we were, I felt like we found a paradise because of its natural settings, the surrounding areas, the rocks astray in the ground, the walls in between that made the waterhole like it was a river in some part of the gorge. I was really amazed and enthusiastic that I got a chance to be there. These photos are part of Day 7 (Manning Gorge) of 9 Days Darwin to Broome Overland Adventure Tour October 2016.
Something To Look At (Post#12) : Toad in Western Australia
When we were in Mount Barnett Roadhouse to refill our tanks and to buy some stuff, I was able to capture something about toad. The information is dissipated so that people will be informed about it. After the adventure tour that I had, I learned that toad or specifically cane toad, has effect on biodiversity of Australia when it was introduced as fight for beetles threatening the sugarcane plantations because it has poisonous glands that resulted of reduction of other species. Therefore in Western Australia, one of the reasons why there is border between Northern Territory and Western Australia is to control such organism to spread in the said state. The photo is part of Day 7 (Manning Gorge) of 9 Days Darwin to Broome Overland Adventure Tour October 2016.
Arts and Craft (Post#19) : Aboriginal Arts at Manning Gorge
When we reached Manning Gorge Waterfalls, the surrounding walls while we were trying to reach the falls closer, shows some of the aboriginal arts drawn in the rocks. The said arts is a proof that ancient people lives around the gorge. And up to this date, the Australian Aboriginals keeps managing the area. These photos are part of Day 7 (Manning Gorge) of 9 Days Darwin to Broome Overland Adventure Tour October 2016.
The night before, the replacement truck we will use arrived, as the current truck we had still need repairing. We felt relieved because we knew that we can continue our journey in Kimberley Region.
It was 6th day of our adventure that day and our last day in El Questro Station. It was great to stay in the said station for the past two nights because it was a comfortable place to camp. The station has other facilities aside from basics, the camp provides washing clothes corner. It also offers accommodations, tours and it has bar-restaurant called “Swinging Arm Bar”. And even it was located in remote wilderness along Gibb River Road, I considered it as one of the best place to stay in the outback of Kimberley Region.
After we break the camp and had breakfast in the morning which become daily routine of the group during early hours of the day, we took El Questro Road to leave the camp to be back again in Gibb River Road. We were on our way to El Questro Wilderness Park within Cockburn Range. While in the road, watching the range so close was additional reward to enjoy.
Cockburn Range close snapshots captured while inside the overland truck along Gibb River Road
The group’s adventure for the day was spent in Emma Gorge where we had an exciting trek before reaching the waterfalls, where the whole group enjoyed swimming in a refreshing cold waterhole.
When we reached Emma Gorge, it is actually a resort where it also offers accommodations similar to El Questro Station. It has restaurants and swimming pool. When everyone were ready for the trek towards the waterfalls, we started the walk. At first it was easy, then it became rugged and followed by rocky terrain. After more than an hour, we reached the waterhole at the end of the trail. The entrance of the waterhole is fully covered with trees which I felt refreshing.
Everyone selected their own spots and prepared for the swimming. I took photos at first, then I prepared myself for the swimming and brought my phone inside the transparent bag so I can still used the camera of my phone while in the waterfalls. I walked towards waterhole and then my feet felt the cold water. Then, I felt the slippery rocks under the water. So I tried to walked first to a deeper part of the waterhole where I can swim a bit. I swam only in the shallow part of the waterhole as I am not that really good in swimming deeper part of the waterfalls.
At Emma Gorge Waterfalls
Enjoying the water
The group preparing in leaving Emma Gorge Waterfall
After swimming, we returned to our truck. We drove again in gravel road named Gibb River Road. Then, we crossed the famous Pentecost River where it only passable during dry season. After crossing the river, we had few minutes stop in Cockburn Range Lookout where the majestic Cockburn Range is viewed. After more than two hours continuously taking Gibb River Road towards our destination which was Manning Gorge camp site, we had another stop along the road where our group had to take lunch, the location was not far from the crossing of Gibb River Wyndham Road and Gibb River Kalumburu Road. After lunch we were set back again taking the rough road towards the next camp site for the night.
Cockburn Range from Cockburn Range Lookout
Lunch near the crossing of Gibb River-Wyndham Road and Gibb River-Kalumburu Road
After being in the road between 5 to 6 hours, we reached Manning Gorge campsite for almost sunset time. There was another group arrived at the campsite and they are earlier than us, they were touring Kimberley Region as well like us and in the same company but in a different direction. They came from Broome going to Darwin, while our group came from Darwin going to Broome.
We setup again our tent after we chose our spot. Then, some from our group went to the nearby Manning River and had some fun again in the water before ending the day. I joined the group a little bit late, I soaked my feet under in the river and took some photos of the river, then joined the group for swimming.
At Manning Creek
Then one by one were taking turns on the shower while I joined the group again for the dinner, where I met some people from the other group. One of them took 21 days tour and its their 14th day that time which was really amazing, it was our 6th day in our group. After dinner, I helped out in cleaning the dishes before taking the shower that night which I will never forget as the lights went off around 9 PM, it was good thing that I brought my head lamp, so I only panic at first then continued my shower as if nothing happens even though it’s totally dark in my surroundings. After taking shower, I returned to my tent and went to bed as conclusion for the day.
Though we were in Gibb River Roads for hours, reaching Manning Camp was indeed a relief to all of us. And aside from basic facilities that the camp is offering, it has nearby Manning Creek that helped to immediately alleviate the heat that we felt while we were on our way to the camp. And we had enjoyed this creek as there were colourful and small fishes to be found even at the shallow area. These photos are part of Day 6 (Manning Gorge) of 9 Days Darwin to Broome Overland Adventure Tour October 2016.
While we took Gibb River Road, it was a chance to me to appreciate the vast space that can be seen in Kimberley. The scenery photos were not the only thing to see, there are more but sometimes its beyond our reach to see it all at once. These photos are part of Day 6 (El Questro Station) of 9 Days Darwin to Broome Overland Adventure Tour October 2016.
After passing Pentecost River while taking Gibb River Road, we stopped a bit in Cockburn Ranges Lookout to appreciate the majestic beauty that it offers. The said range is also the most iconic views to see while in Gibb River Road. And please take note that Emma Gorge where we had swimming in waterhole is part of Cockburn Range. These photos are part of Day 6 (Gibb River Road) of 9 Days Darwin to Broome Overland Adventure Tour October 2016.
One of the main reason why Gibb River Road is closed during wet seasons or when it rains is because of Pentecost River. This river is crossing Gibb River Road or Gibb River Road is crossing Pentecost River. And when I checked the map of the river, it is the same river that partially parallels in the bush walked we did following Champagne Springs Trail. It is not surprising if El Questro Station is closed during the same season. The river named after John Pentecost – a surveyor of the river and geologist under the expedition led by Michael Durack in 1882. These photos are part of Day 6 (Gibb River Road) of 9 Days Darwin to Broome Overland Adventure Tour October 2016.
Staying in El Questro Station, there are lots of things can be done, but I knew that even that is the case, there are specific places that our group can go to and I was glad aside from Zebedee Springs, we went to Emma Gorge where we drove few minutes from the station. I love Emma Gorge even though the activities involved has swimming. I like the rocky trail we trekked towards the falls. And after the hike, all just wanted to plunge into the waterhole but be warned its water is cold. These photos are part of Day 6 (El Questro Station) of 9 Days Darwin to Broome Overland Adventure Tour October 2016.
Name Of The Place (Post#49) : El Questro Wilderness Park
When I visited Australia.com and when I installed its apps to my iPad, I read the name El Questro for the first and it happened when I arrived in Australia last 2013. It is one of the recommended tourist spot that the site is offering. Before, I wonder the reason why, but after reaching El Questro, I understand why. El Questro Wilderness Part is located at El Questro station that now both combines cattle station and tourism. And to come here requires permit to protect the ancient wilderness in Kimberley Region. The photo is part of Day 6 (El Questro Station) of 9 Days Darwin to Broome Overland Adventure Tour October 2016.
From “The Bungle Bungles” to Bellburn Airstrip Airport
Just past 9:00 AM in the morning of our Day 4 adventure, we left “The Bungle Bungles”. Then we drove towards Bungle Bungle Airport (Purnululu Airport or Bellburn Airstrip Airport) as few from the group had to take Bungle Bungle Scenic Flights via Helispirit. Then, the rest from the group waited at the ground and had a morning coffee/tea break while waiting. I did not join the scenic flight as it has additional cost and not included in the adventure tour that I paid. It is an optional activity being offered while in Purnululu National Park.
When the scenic flight adventure has been finished, we were back in the truck to continue our journey leaving Purnululu National Park. Leaving the park takes a while, same time when coming into it because of obvious reasons that slows down everyone – the unsealed roads or dirt tracks. And from what I learned, the management of the park wanted to keep it that way as part of protection program of the park. Before we finally left Purnululu, we had quick-lunch again at the same place where we had our lunch the previous day, not far from the gate.
To Warmun (Turkey Creek)
After hours in the road, we had a quick stop at Warmun (Turkey Creek) to rest a bit, to have snacks and to refuel our truck. I cannot forget the said station because it was the place where everyone craved for cold food like ice cream as the sun’s heat scorching in our body as we continue adventuring the region.
To Gibb River Road
As we move along, we drove hours again in Great Northern Highway going north towards Durack Range, passing Victoria Highway that goes to Kununurra where we came from few days earlier. We turned right towards Wyndham continuously taking the same highway.
From Great Northern Highway, we turned left towards Gibb River Road Wyndham, we stopped a bit before we started the longest and harshest road that we will take, the famous unsealed road in Western Australia named Gibb River Road.
Before we even started driving Gibb River Road, we had some troubles in our truck, but we are not aware of its gravity how we were troubled. But our adventure guide Scotty, were able to managed the truck to maneuver even we took Gibb River Road, we successfully arrived at El Questro Station.
At El Questro Station
Everyone had a good relief that we reached the station because we do not want to be in the middle of nowhere with our truck malfunctioning. Because the dry season was almost over, it means that fewer visitors were visible in the station. El Questro Station has complete facilities, we were able to take showers again which we were not able to do in Purnululu National Park, washing clothes are feasible because there are coin-operated washing machines available in the station. There was a restaurant that at least we have something to visit in the evening. We felt good that our truck gave up when we were in El Questro Station, for me it is the best place to be in that situation. Our group pitched the tent again which just near the Pentecost River. That night that we arrived in the station, we had a great dinner as if we never experienced problems along the way to the station.
The next day, it was definitely that our truck needs some repairs. Our guide Scotty did some arrangements of tour bus for the group so we have activities during our fifth day adventure. I checked that day’s itineraries of the group and to my surprise, we haven’t missed anything as part of the adventure up to our fifth day even we were spending a relaxing time in El Questro Station. Looking at the places that we had been for the past days, we are still ahead of the schedule which was really great. When everybody were ready, we left the station and went to a nearby and wonderful thermal springs.
We walked few minutes from the parking area, then we had an easy walk except for the slippery rocks near the pool. I liked the surroundings because the thermal springs are naturally covered by Levistona Tall Trees that makes the places so natural. It was not like hot springs that I had been with which mostly were developed and too commercialized as business. Because the thermal springs located in remote wilderness, it is able to maintain its natural surroundings which makes the place so beautiful and amazing. By the time we arrived in the location, there are other groups already taken the best spots at the top, therefore we have to take the lower part which our group still enjoyed because of the hot water that flows in the rocks. Everyone got relaxed though at first most were having fun together.
Because the Zebedee Springs always closed at 12 noon, we just spent an hour in the thermal springs.
We returned to El Questro Station where we had lunch again altogether. I quite like the stay of the group in the station because for me it was time to get rest and re-energized again and be away a bit from adventure. After lunch, the rest just slept and some went to Pentecost River and play with the water. I joined the group at later time after taking a nap inside the tent.
Champagne Springs Trail and Thousand Year Old Boab Tree
Champagne Springs Trail was not really an official itinerary adventure of the group. But while we were in El Questro Station, some from the group just don’t wanted to sit and do nothing while everyone were waiting for the next overland truck that we will be using to continue the group adventure in Kimberley Region. Some from the group decided to find the Thousand Year Old Boab Tree. Therefore, one of us inquired about the trail and was able to get some trail information. We reviewed the trail and because of the timing, we knew that we have to just target the middle of the trail where the old Boab Tree stands.
Boab Trees at the station
We started the walked between 3 to 4 PM. Initially, we thought that the walk was an easy one but we were wrong. As we follow the trail to reach the Old Boab Tree, the trail become difficult, there were sandy part, huge rocks to climb on, the trail information tells the truth, it was a difficult one. Some part of the trail is near the river where it was mentioned that possible sightings of crocodiles. Some of us saw snakes.
Road entry to El Questro where Pentecost River is flowing as well.
Some snapshots along Champagne Springs Trail
We reached the Boab Tree and there, we were amazed how huge the tree is. For me, its body can be a place or refuge for someone stay on. We rested and took pictures of the thousand-year old tree.
Thousand-year old Boab Tree along Champagne Springs Trail
After spending sometime with the old boab tree, we decided to go back. And we used the same trail. But before we even reach the camping station, even we knew we were almost back but we had a wrong turn as it’s already dark. We took a trail away from the station and we ended with the location where lots of vehicle were dumped. And along the way, we were a bit nervous as we felt we lost our way. But, we turned around as we followed the lights coming from the station, it’s just we took the farm just beside the station. When we reached the camp, we were all relief, because we knew were back and sound safe. Then we joined the group in preparing the dinner
I reviewed the trail and the Champagne Springs that we did not reach, then I realized how amazing that spring is. After seeing some photos of it, I felt saddened because we were already within the trail, but because it was late, I knew it was impossible to reach it. As per advise, going to the springs must start the walk not later than 11 AM and at that time were already enjoying Zebedee Springs. We started the walk past 3PM in the afternoon, so, it was really impossible to be there and the said spring is not official itinerary of the group as part of adventure activities while in El Questro.
Discovery (Post#44) : Thousand Year Old Boab Tree (along Champagne Springs Trail)
Our main target to reach while taking Champagne Springs Trail was Adansonia gregorii or commonly know as Boab Tree which can be found in Kimberley Region in Western Australia and eastern part of Northern Territory. The amazing thing about this kind of tree is having the broad bottle-shaped trunk where it was said that its trunk base can be really large which by the record can go over 5 meters. In my opinion, the more the base trunk is larger, the more it was fascinating. The Boab Tree we reached is said to be a thousand-year old tree which awesome as this trees tested through times and yet still alive in our time. These photos are part of Day 5 (El Questro) of 9 Days Darwin to Broome Overland Adventure Tour October 2016.
Name Of The Place (Post#48) : Champagne Springs Trail
The Champagne Springs Trail was the one we used to see the Old Boab Tree within El Questro Station. The walk in the trail is considered moderate to difficult even it’s only the halfway of the trail that we are targeting as the Old Boab Tree is the halfway point as describe in the trail. One from the group saw a snake within the trail and we were advised to be careful as the trail is beside the water stream or river that crocodiles sightings are possible. The photo is part of Day 5 (El Questro) of 9 Days Darwin to Broome Overland Adventure Tour October 2016.
During our fifth day, one of the things we did was visiting a thermal spring called Zebedee Springs where we spent a relaxing time. It just an easy walk except for the slippery rocks near the pool. And an amazing information to learn about the spring as it source is come from the water deep within the earth with average of 28-32 degrees Celsius and located in “King Leopold Sandstone” which dated as 1800 million years old. The photo is part of Day 5 (El Questro) of 9 Days Darwin to Broome Overland Adventure Tour October 2016.
We took Gibb River Road for days to reach other parts of Kimberly Wilderness. And based on experience while wandering on this unsealed and dirt track, this road goes to the last true wilderness on earth. The road is the gateway to be able to explore amazing wilderness that Kimberly Region is hiding. The road is restricted to 4WD vehicle, opens in dry season, closed in wet and rainy days as this road easily gets flooded. It is advisable to check the road condition before passing it. Traveling this road is not for the faint heart but for the brave one. These photos are part of Day 4 (The Bungle Bungles and El Questro) of 9 Days Darwin to Broome Overland Adventure Tour October 2016.
While leaving “The Bungle Bungles” within Purnululu National Park, I got a chance to take a shot of photos that includes Spinifex. This type of grass commonly called as Spinifex even though they are not part of the genus Spinifex as these grass are found at the inland of Australia and not along the coast. I find it really nice in the eyes as it is a rounded grass like balls, but be careful as they can bruise a skin. These photos are part of Day 4 (The Bungle Bungles and El Questro) of 9 Days Darwin to Broome Overland Adventure Tour October 2016.
Fourth day, the group woke-up early in the morning. We were busy for breaking the camp, packing all our backpacks and luggage back to the truck and these includes the group’s tents and swags. Then all had quick breakfast. It was the day that we let left the camp ground earlier than the previous days. We were on the road for adventure around 6:00 AM in the morning.
Because we had an overnight in one of the campsite within Purnululu National Park, we reached hastily the next destination of the group and that was “The Bungle Bungles”.
From the previous post that I had about Purnululu National Park, I already mentioned about Echidna Chasm. And the said chasm is actually part of the Bungle Bungle Range proper and is located at the north. Fourth day’s adventure was focused on other parts of the range which starts from Piccaninny which located at the south. The southern part of the Bungle Bungle Range features the one of the worlds most fascinating geological landmarks, the orange and black sandstone domes called as “The Bungle Bungles”.
On the way to Piccaninny in “The Bungle Bungles”
“The Bungle Bungles” From A Distance
While we were approaching “The Bungle Bungles”, it reminds me something that I saw while I was trekking in Kings Canyon in Northern Territory in April 2013 and below are the photos that I remembered which is called as “The Little Bungle Bungles” in Kings Canyon. I don’t have the photo of the park from the air so I used these snapshots to imagine what it looks like of “The Bungle Bungles” from the top.
The Little Bungle Bungle (Look alike of the Bungle Bungles from the top) in Kings Canyon
We reached Piccaninny Parking Area, same starting point of our trek in “The Bungle Bungles”. I was excited as we approached the domes sandstone. I started to witness up close and personal these giant rock domes that looks like mini hills. At the walking trail, I cannot stopped myself to take a lot of photos because I was so amazed of what I was seeing and I wondered how these rock domes were formed or created.
I remembered Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) that I trekked in Northern Territory which shows some similarity in some ways, as it has hilly rocky domes but different in colors and textures. “The Bungle Bungles” has lots of coarse rock domes in orange and black bands color while Kata Tjuta has lesser but more polished rock domes which mostly in solid orange color.
Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) in Northern Territory
There are number of walking options available for visitors at Piccaninny, these options differ on distance and views to appreciate along and within the trail, hikers must check the details first at the visitor centre before starting any walks. Our group was able to visit two locations, first is called as “The Domes” and second is called as “Cathedral Gorge”.
The trail surface is uneven and exposed to radiant heat from the domes. It provides close-up observation of the banding from layers of sediments, oxidisation of the iron content, microbial colonisation and exposure of the bleached sands within.
Source : At the Park’s Board Information
On the way to “The Domes”
The shorted and I can say the easiest walks is “The Domes”. It is a walk to see closer sediment layers exist in all rock domes in the park. It was surprising that along the way we saw sands in the ground like sands in the beaches. I just learned that the range said to be a former seabeds that rises due to earth’s movement million years ago.
At “The Domes”
Our guide Scotty explained the reason of black and orange colors that can be seen in the domes in “The Bungle Bungles”. It was said that the dark colors are parts which has more moisture where bacterial algae lives and the orange colors hase less moisture that dries fast and rusted due to oxidisation process.
Uneven surfaced, dry creek bed exposed to the sun before entering the Gorge that culminates in a natural amphitheatre with a permanent pool. There are some steep steps within the Gorge.
Source : At the Park’s Board Information
After staying a bit in “The Domes”, we left the place and moved to another one which they call it as Cathedral Gorge. We had a bit of trekking before we were able to reach the gorge. We stopped a bit in the middle of the trek to rest and our guide Scotty discussed something about the park such as the possibility of the formation of rock domes in “The Bungle Bungles”. It also mentioned the similarities of Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) and Uluru (Ayers Rock) in Northern Territory on how these fascinating hilly and mountain rocks were emerged and now all considered natural wonders of our world.
On the way to Cathedral Gorge
Resting before our final stop at Cathedral Gorge
At Cathedral Gorge
Cathedral Gorge Walk is considered one of the best walks in the southern part of the range. When we reached the place, we rested in the gorge for an hour and we were all silent while appreciating the natures that surrounds us. While the whole group was resting, I walked within the gorge and circling around the pool almost in the middle of it experienced the cooler condition underneath.
Going back to Piccaninny
When it was time to return to Piccaninny, we walked back to the same trail we took towards the gorge. But it was the same trail going back, looking at the surroundings we were in, it was still fascinating to observed that we were in the middle of “The Bungle Bungles”. I enjoyed the walk and the discoveries that I learned inside the range. And the said trip will be treasured as it was one of the best moments that I had in Purnululu National Park, followed by Echidna Chasm which I all called as experiencing “The Bungle Bungles”.
Discovery (Post#43) : Cathedral Gorge (of The Bungle Bungles)
The second and last stop within “The Bungle Bungles” was Cathedral Gorge. It is usually called as the natural amphitheater of red rock with a pool. But learning how the Cathedral Gorge was made is something profound. This part of “The Bungle Bungles” said to be developed thousand of years where a whirlwind of water circulates in the area during rainy seasons. These photos are part of Day 4 (The Bungle Bungles) of 9 Days Darwin to Broome Overland Adventure Tour October 2016.
Still Expression (Post#10) : The Bungle Bungles, WA – Walking
In traveling or exploring a place, walking is one thing that I wanted to do in a place. I am not content in just taking photos of the place from a distance, I wanted to walk on it whether it’s a city or a remote place such as national parks. Walking is the best way to see more things and to feel that the place is real. These photos are part of Day 4 (The Bungle Bungles) of 9 Days Darwin to Broome Overland Adventure Tour October 2016.
Discovery (Post#42): The Domes (of The Bungle Bungles)
Trekking within “The Bungle Bungles” was an exciting one for me as I thought that I was in the middle of unique landmarks that exist in the world. The first stop we had within “The Bungle Bungles” is called “The Domes”. One of the things that I learned even we were in adventure tour was the understanding what’s in with the domes. While we were resting along the trail, our guide Scotty instructed us to look at the domes that surrounded us and he followed an explanation of the domes having its multi-colored bands which if will be observed, its alternating black and orange. The black or dark-colored layers means that it has higher clay content and hold the moisture better and longer where a type of bacterial algae survives. While the lighter color or the orange one has less clay and dries fast and because of oxidisation, the rusting happened. These photos are part of Day 4 (The Bungle Bungles) of 9 Days Darwin to Broome Overland Adventure Tour October 2016.