Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Purnululu NP

Purnululu NP is known by most people as the Bungle Bungles. This a spectacular national park and a World Heritage area. The road in has a reputation for being one of the worst in Australia. Many, we met, concurred with this. We found the roads however to be in very good order with some small corregations. Anything with duel axle and most caravans are forbidden to enter the national park.

The drive in takes you through Mabel Downs Station, a vast cattle station that has permanent water. You drive through five wet creek crossings in the way of Mabel Springs, Frank River, Bellburn Creek and Calico Springs.

We arrived early enough the be able to visit the north section first and visit the highlights of Echidna Chasm, Stonehenge, The Bloodwoods and Kungkalanayi Lookout.

The Kungkalanayi Lookout, gave us some perspective of the park as it was close to the middle of the park. From here you can get some sense of the geological formations that comprise Purnululu NP.

The northern part comprises escarpments with deep chasms, gorges, cliffs and deep valleys. The southern section is what the Bungle Bungle Range are renowned for; its striking banded domes, the world's most exceptional example of cone karst formations. They are made of sandstone deposited about 360 million years ago. Erosion by creeks, rivers and weathering in the past 20 million years has carved out these domes, along with spectacular chasms and gorges creating a surreal landscape.

The domes' striking orange and grey bands are caused by the presence or absence of cyanobacteria which grows on layers of sandstone where the moisture accumulates. The orange bands are oxidised iron compounds that have dried out too quickly for the cyanobacteria to grow.

Echidna Chasm

It is the home to more than 600 species of plants and more than 149 bird, 85 reptile, 32 native mammal and 12 frog species.

Unfortunately the wretched cane toad has now made its way to Purnululu and threatens the existence of many of these animals. In Walardi camp 40,000 cane toads were captured in 2 months. We met a guy who had gone on just one nights hunt of just two hours and in that time caught more than 400 toads!

These were some of the amazing places we visited during our two night stay at Kurrajong camp: Echidna Chasm; Stonehenge; The Bloodwoods; Kungkalanayi Lookout; The Domes; Picanniny Lookout and Cathedral Gorge.

We met a group of Dutch travellers, three couples each driving off road camper vehicles. They had had some trying experiences with equipment failing, car breakdowns and fridge problems. All of which had eaten into the precious little time that they had to spare for their holidays.



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