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Purnululu National Park Home of the Bungle Bungle Range


By Stephanie Williams

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 (also called 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.


Map of Purnululu National Park, Western Australia

See the Bungle Bungle Range from the air

The Bungle Bungle Range was only known to local Aboriginal owners and pastoralists until a documentary team brought it to the world's attention in 1983. Director Guy Baskin was filming a documentary called Wonders of WA (Western Australia) when the crew saw the incredible formations from the air. Take a scenic flight over the incredible sandstone formations of the Bungle Bungles, thought to have been forged more than 350 million years ago. The orange, grey and black stripes are the result of alternating bands of sediment, each with different clay content. Choose from several tours to see the striking sight, including the Aviair Bungle Bungle AdventurerHelispiritKingfisher Tours and Kimberley Air Tours

Rest and restore near Purnululu

Inside the park boundary you can stay at the tented Bungle Bungle Wilderness Lodge, camp at the public sites Walardi and Kurrajong, or at the private campground, Bellburn. About 100 kilometres (62 miles) from Kununurra is the private wilderness park, El Questro, a massive property boasting waterfalls, majestic gorges, forests, and four different river systems. You'll find camping and rooms at The Station and tented cabins at Emma George Resort. Or you can stay at the luxurious six-star retreat, El Questro Homestead. Alternatively, book a package with East Kimberley Tours, combining guided exploration with a night in the eco-friendly Bungle Bungle Savannah Lodge and a scenic flight over the area. 

Learn about the area's Aboriginal heritage

Aboriginal people are thought to have lived in this region for more than 40,000 years, and the park holds rich, enduring traces of their life. Ancient rock art and burial sites can be found across the park and you can visit some of the sites with a local Aboriginal guide on a Bungle Bungle Guided Tour. They offer three tour options, from easy to challenging. You’ll forage for bush tucker and hear stories of the Aboriginal customs of the area, the flora and fauna, and the six weather seasons life is rhythmically centred around. You'll also find tour operators based near the national park and others in the regional hubs of Kununurra and Halls Creek. 

Tour the park on foot

To explore the park at an even deeper level, you can join a multi-day guided walk with World Expeditions. For five days you'll be based at a bush camp in the upper Piccaninny Gorge and enjoy daily exploratory walks, finishing your week with a scenic flight over the region. Along the way, you'll stop at clear waterholes, caves and gorges.

See the park's other incredible highlights

In the southern part of Purnululu, hike into the enormous Cathedral Gorge, known for its incredible acoustics. Test out your vocal cords, then tackle the trail to Piccaninny Creek, a three-kilometre (1.8-mile) return loop. Experienced walkers can take on the Piccaninny Gorge, a 30-kilometre (18.6-mile) overnight trek. You can spend days exploring this remote trail to the spectacular gorge and you must register at the visitors centre before departing. In northern Purnululu the narrower gorges offer a completely different experience. An easy two-kilometre (1.2-mile) walk leads into Echidna Chasm. Or try the five-kilometre (3.1-mile) return hike to Mini Palms Gorge, home to clusters of Livistona palms and a traditional Aboriginal fertility cave.

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