Our departure on Sunday from Kununurra threw up a great surprise and only demonstrating that the world is a very small place. We popped into town prior to our departure to pick up fresh milk and a few groceries and we ran into an old navy friend, Nick Pritchard. Nick and his wife Julie are doing a similar journey to ourselves but are working their way around Australia. Nick and Julie live and work in Halls Creek but were up in Kununurra on business. It was great catching up and we made a commitment to visit them as we passed through Halls Creek as we head west.
Our journey from Kununurra to the Purnululu National Park (Bungle Bungle) was along the Great Northern Highway and through the Mabel Downs cattle station. We were reliably informed that the station carried some 95,000 head of cattle and sheep. We would like to take this opportunity to inform the station manager that he now has one less head of cattle. We passed it on the side of the road with its feet firmly in the air some 40km east of the caravan park. We think it probably tried to take on a road train and came off a very second best (photo not necessary).
We passed through a number of ‘interesting’ settlements on the way that made our journey all the more interesting. Our home for two days was at the Bungle Bungle Caravan Park. The Park is located on the cattle station itself and formerly housed workers during a $92 million upgrade of the Great Northern Highway. It was nothing flash but very social and met all our needs.
The Purnululu National Park covers an area of 240,000 hectares and the Bungle Bungle Range is the Parks main feature. It is famous for its striking sandstone domes, striped with orange and grey bands. The Park was granted World Heritage status in 2003.
This morning we took the helicopter ride over the Bungle Bungle Range. I am not sure how well Dearne slept on Sunday night but this was her first ride in a helicopter and she was definitely suffering pre flight nerves. The recent air disasters were not helping. The helicopter was a relatively new Robertson R44 but that did not seem too help much. However she sucked it up and at 10am we were on our way.
Our flight time was about 40 minutes and we flew at around 900 feet for most of the journey. We both had a brilliant time. The flight to the Bungle Bungle Range was over the Mabel Downs Station and the return journey followed the Ord River back to the Caravan Park. The navigator’s verdict – “I would do it again in an instant”.
More shots of our flight HERE .
Monday night we did the social thing and rocked up to the ‘outback’ dinner put on by the station. Again it was nothing flash but we met some great people and it all forms part of the journey.
Tomorrow morning we continue westward to Halls Creek. We plan to drop in to see Nick and Julie on the way then make a decision as to ‘where to from there’. We are committed to being in Derby by the 28th July to catch a floatplane to the Horizontal Falls. The Falls are situated at Talbot Bay in the Buccaneer Archipelago on the Kimberley Coast.
Again we are not sure if we will have cell reception between Halls Creek and Derby. If you cannot get hold of us just leave a message and we will call you back when we are able.
Here’s a bit of useless information for you but it is the only time you will see this in your lifetime. August 2014 will have 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays. This happens only once every 823 years. The Chinese call it “silver pockets full”.