El Questro Station and Surround

Fourth Day continues …

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.

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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.

Fifth Day

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.

Zebedee 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.

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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.

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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.

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Road entry to El Questro where Pentecost River is flowing as well.

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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.

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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

Note:

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.

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View At My Window : Spinifex (Triodia)

View At My Window (Post#36) : Spinifex (Triodia)

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.

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The Bungle Bungles – One of the Most Spectacular Landmarks in the World

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”.

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On the way to Piccaninny in “The Bungle Bungles”

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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 Domes

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

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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.

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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.

Cathedral Gorge

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.

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On the way to Cathedral Gorge

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Resting before our final stop at Cathedral Gorge

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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.

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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 : Cathedral Gorge (of 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.

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Still Expression : The Bungle Bungles, WA – Walking

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.

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Discovery : The Domes (of The Bungle Bungles)

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.

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Name Of The Place : Piccaninny

Name Of The Place (Post#46) : Piccaninny

Our trek within “The Bungle Bungles” started from Piccaninny which located at the south of the Bungle Bungle Range in Purnululu National Park, Western Australia. And a lot of walking options can be done from the place. The nearest and shorted walks can be done from here if visitor has limited time are “The Domes” and Cathedral Gorge. These photos are part of Day 4 (The Bungle Bungles) of 9 Days Darwin to Broome Overland Adventure Tour October 2016.

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Natural Wonders : The Bungle Bungles

Natural Wonders (Post#6) : The Bungle Bungles

I had known “The Bungle Bungles” at first in Kings Canyon in Northern Territory when I found the “Little Bungle Bungle”. And at that time, I dreamed to see it for real. “The Bungle Bungles” is the main feature of Purnululu National Park. Now, it is considered as “One of the world’s most fascinating geological landmarks”. These photos are part of Day 4 (The Bungle Bungles) of 9 Days Darwin to Broome Overland Adventure Tour October 2016.

It’s been around for 350 million years and revered by its Aboriginal custodians for at least 40,000 years, but the striking Bungle Bungle Range (‘the Bungle Bungles’) in World Heritage-listed Purnululu National Park was a secret from the outside world until 1983. Today this maze of orange and black striped karst sandstone domes, often likened to giant beehives, is one of the best loved attractions in Western Australia’s Kimberley region. It’s a spectacular landscape of sculptured rocks rising 250 metres (820 feet) above the surrounding semi-arid savanna grasslands and the most outstanding example of cone karst in sandstone anywhere in the world.

Source : australia.com

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Osmond Range

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.

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Echidna Gorge Parking

Echidna Chasm Information Board

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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.

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Chasm Entrance

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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.

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Narrow Chasm

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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.

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Escarpment Walls (West of Bungle Bungle Range)

Osmond Range

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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.

Until then.

 

View At My Window : Escarpment Walls (West of Bungle Bungle Range)

View At My Window (Post#35) : Escarpment Walls (West of Bungle Bungle Range)

During our first day in Purnululu National Park, after taking part in Echidna Chasm Walk, I thought that the adventure was over for the day but then our guide still gave us a chance to see the Escarpment Walls which is the Western part of Bungle Bungle Range during the sunset that was amazing to see at the ridge that we trekked shortly. The color was amazing pinkish or combination of red and orange. The color was changing while the sunset was happening. These photos are part of Day 3 (Purnululu National Park) of 9 Days Darwin to Broome Overland Adventure Tour October 2016.

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Discovery : Echidna Chasm

Discovery (Post#41) : Echidna Chasm

Echidna Chasm is one of the highlights of Purnululu National Park which can be found at the western part of Bungle Bungle Range. This part of the park gives the visitor a chance to walk in a narrow chasm to witness or observe a weak point or fault and how it was developed into a chasm. There were few steps provided along the chasm walk to ease the steps to reach the end. And experience few boulders found along the chasm that had been fell while chasm was developed happened millions years ago. These photos are part of Day 3 (Purnululu National Park) of 9 Days Darwin to Broome Overland Adventure Tour October 2016.

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Panoramic View : Osmond Range

Panoramic View (Post#37) : Osmond Range

When we reached Purnululu National Park, aside from Bungle Bungle Range (main feature of the park) to see, Osmond Range is there as well, a dry and rugged range which located on the western part of the park. When we entered the park’s vicinity,  after driving along unsealed road for an hour, we stopped to witness Osmond Range. These photos are part of Day 3 (Purnululu National Park) of 9 Days Darwin to Broome Overland Adventure Tour October 2016.

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Transportation : Purnululu, WA – Overland Truck

Transportation (Post#14) : Purnululu, WA – Overland Truck

Going to remote and desolate places in Kimberly in Western Australia does have requirements as not all roads are sealed roads. There are restricted roads which called to be unsealed roads or dirt tracks where only an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) and 4X4 vehicle are allowed to or can access to. And the first Overland Truck we took were able to manage to travel from Darwin to El Questro Station. These photos are part of Day 3 (Purnululu National Park) of 9 Days Darwin to Broome Overland Adventure Tour October 2016.

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Name Of The Place : Purnululu National Park

Name Of The Place (Post#45) : Purnululu National Park

Purnululu National Park sometimes confused with Bungle Bungle Range. But to be exact, Bungle Bungle Range is located within Purnululu National Park. But it is not a big issue to interchange it. It is recognized as World Heritage Site in 2003 because of its exceptional natural beauty that I witnessed myself for being in the park in two days exploring some part of it. The photo is part of Day 3 (Purnululu National Park) of 9 Days Darwin to Broome Overland Adventure Tour October 2016.

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