Purnululu National Park – A Park With One of the Most Striking Geological Landmarks in Western Australia
I woke up around 6AM in the morning the next day which was the Day 3 in 9 Days Darwin to Broome Overland Adventure Tour. It was a typical morning where it was automatic that we took showers and prepare our breakfast. Nothing different from my first morning in Katherine Gorge. When everything was finished from having breakfast to cleaning, from breaking the camp to putting back all our tents, swags and our backpacks or luggage back to the truck, we were ready to leave the resort behind.
It was around 8AM or before 8AM, we left Lake Argyle Resort and drove northward towards Kununurra. We took Lake Argyle Road to reach Victoria Highway. At Victoria Highway we turned left. After an hour of driving, we stopped in Kununurra to refill our truck not only for fuel but also for our food supplies as we were moving to a more remote and desolate wilderness of Kimberly in Western Australia.
While crossing Kununurra Dam Wall along Victoria Highway, I got a chance to see the Kununurra Lake from one side and Ord River from the other side while inside the truck which said to be helpful as it supplies the town and surrounded plains for its sustainable development and Lake Argyle supplies the water to the lake and to the river.
Ord River at Lake Kununurra (Ord River Diversion Dam) Wall along Victoria Highway
After leaving Kununurra, the next thing followed was driving for at least 4 hours before we reached Purnululu National Park. From Victoria Highway, we took Great Northern Highway. Then, we turned to the unsealed road, one from our group and Scotty our guide left the truck to open the gate so we can pass it. Then, not far from the gate, there is huge tent with parks information where we took our lunch that day. We had a quick-lunch which does not really need us to cook but just allow us make our food such as fresh salads, sandwiches and wraps.
After lunch, we move forward and drove towards the park. When we visited the park, it was almost end of the season which means few visitors can be seen in the park, as far as I remembered it seems only our group was present in the park. We reached the Parks Visitor Centre but unfortunately it was closed. No one assisted us anymore in the park, therefore Scotty our guide just left some messages in one of the window of the visitor center. Then we go back to our truck to continue our adventure to the World Heritage site Purnululu National Park.
We continued driving to the unsealed road, then we stopped after an hour as our guide gave the group a chance to see and appreciate Osmond Range from a distance.
Then we returned to the truck and followed again the path of unsealed road. After more than an hour, we reached the parking of Echidna Gorge. I was excited to get off as I saw the gorges outside my window. I saw some part of Echidna Gorge from the vehicle and I really liked what I was seeing at that time. We got off the truck and followed the walking trail of Echidna Chasm Walk from the parking.
Echidna Gorge Parking
Echidna Chasm Information Board
The Chasm Walk
At first, I was not familiar with what kind of discovery we will be seeing while following the walking trail. All I knew was we were walking towards the beautiful gorge. From the parking, there were introduction information that was displayed along the walk. Then, while walking as I was enjoying the scenery that I was seeing, I took many photos as I can, though some resulted to be blurry shots because I was trying to catch-up with my group.
At Chasm Open Space Area
We reached the entrance of the chasm that looks like we were entering a cave. It was a starting point of Echidna Chasm. Next, we passed a wide open space area where we found a long wooden chair. Then, we saw another narrow chasm where fewer people can walk altogether. So if there are too many visitors, it will be too congested along the chasm and will result like a queuing people inside the trail between the two high walls. Before the entrance of narrow chasm, there was information board again displayed that explains how chasm is formed. I walked towards the narrow chasm and it was a different experience. And I had fun inside the chasm. We reached designated metal stairs to make the trek easier which has at least 2 meters height. There was a bit of struggle near the ends of the chasm because of boulders astray on the ground but we were still able to passed to reach the end of the chasm.
Chasm Information Board
After I returned to the open space area where the narrow chasm starts and ends, I read the board explaining how the chasm is formed? Then, I realized from there that I walked directly to a weak or joint part in a gorge or huge rock which developed because of erosion and water flows through time. I can imagine, that a chasm is like a huge crack in a rock but this type of crack was created million years ago. Echidna Chasm is one of the features of Purnululu National Park and one of the reasons why it became a World Heritage Site.
After Chasm Walk, we returned to our truck. Then, Scotty our guide drove faster than the usual, we drove towards a lookout called Kungkalanayi (which means lookout). Then, we trekked few meters up until we reached the top of the ridge that gave us a chance to see the late sunset towards Escarpment Walls of Bungle Bungle Range and Osmond Range.
Escarpment Walls (West of Bungle Bungle Range)
At Kungkalanayi (Lookout)
The adventure for the day was over. But I remembered that before we even reach Purnululu National Park, our guide Scotty informed the whole group that the camping site that we will be having for that night provides only the most basic facilities, meaning only bush toilets and bore water taps are available. He also advised we were not able to take shower at the camping site as no shower available. Last advised was not to drink the bore water tap around the park as it said to have bacteria lives in the water within the park.
We reached the campsite and we started selecting our tent spot. Next, we picked up again all our tents and swags from the truck. We pitched the tent and we helped the group for preparing the dinner for the night. After dinner, we helped in washing the dishes and cleaning up the group’s dinner mess.
The thoughts that we were only the group in Purnululu National Park was wrong. During the pitching of our tent, there was another group similar to us staying in the campsite. Our guide Scotty knows the guide in another group and the amazing about the guide was, it was a woman. The thought to lead 20 people in the wilderness and remote places such as Kimberley for a woman is really something unusual. It’s not because adventure tour guide is men’s job but, its having a strong will and physical readiness is required to be an adventure guide in remote places driving a 4WD vehicle for multiple days seems to be a tough job for a woman.
Then, after meeting them, there was such funny entertainment that two groups involved. Both group prepared some numbers to show to each group and at instant it felt like we had an entertainment and party in wilderness of Purnululu National Park at once. The night ended where people were dancing all night and I just recorded the activity since I was not good in dancing and we laughed so much because the funny side from the group were shown that night. A night to remember with the group.
When things were all over, we finished the night with happy faces and we came back to our tents to rest for the night.