Our experience in Kununurra and our adventures at Purnululu National Park

Ahh the time has come to tell you all about our adventures in Kununurra…

It all began when I decided that we should stay at the caravan park right in town. Not realising it was a Friday night, coming from 9 days in the bush why would you remember. We arrived at the caravan park and secured the last site available in the park. It was a small place and as we realised it was right next to the Kununurra local pub, literally the caravan park was behind it separated only by a wire fence.

Not to worry, they had some good music on and while we cooked our lamb chops we enjoyed some songs. It was around 10pm, after we had had an hour or so with technology, we decided to head to bed. At this point the music had slowly increased to a club like level right next to us, but we thought oh well silly us we should have known it would be loud as it’s Friday.

While lying in bed, with the music pumping, we heard someone faintly yelling in the background, we didn’t think too much of it. We dozed off to the music until around midnight when it stopped and it went quiet, for a little while it was lovely. And then the screaming began.

A lady right across the road, we found out the next day, was yelling all wonderful words of the forbidden vocabulary and no joke she kept on going for 12 hours. At first it was quite funny, we thought someone must have got on her bad side at the pub, but when we realised the yelling was directed towards the caravan park and those in it, well it was just confusing. At points throughout the night and the screaming we heard police sirens, and at one point they even came into the caravan park as our neighbor had flagged them down, but in those moments the lady could no longer be heard.

There is so much more that adds to this very interesting night of ours, but in summary we did not sleep very much, if not at all and I am no longer allowed to pick the caravan park we stay at in big towns.

The next morning we bonded with our neighbours over the night’s events and got to chat with some very lovely people. After a few coffee’s we eventually packed up and headed towards the police station. Unrelated to the night before events, we were heading there to report our license plate missing, which had occurred whilst we were driving down from Mitchell Falls. Being a Saturday and a country town however, the police station was closed. Unable to do anything at that point in time about our number plate, we wrote on a piece of cardboard, shoved it into the spot where our number plate should be and decided to tour around, or away from Kununurra.

We stopped in at the visitors center, got some information about the Bungle Bungles at Purnululu National Park, called with my sister for a bit, did some food shopping and then hightailed it out of Kununurra. Safe to say our experiences in Kununurra were influential in our leaving very quickly after not seeing too much.

The drive to the Purnululu National Park turnoff was just over 2 hours, back on bitumen made the drive nice and easy, the km flew by. On the way there we found there was a free campsite just outside the turn off, we decided to stop in there for the night. It seems like we were not the only ones who had that idea, as the place was quite full. Nevertheless we found a little spot away from everyone in between the two sections designated for camping. We cooked some yummy dinner and played some games, on this occasion Alex won.

It got cold very quickly; we boiled some water and got out the hot water bottles again for the both of us. In our warmish tent, we read, wrote a little and then had an early night.

The next morning we were up early and ready to go. Just before entering the track to the national park we stopped to let our tyres down. At that same spot another couple stopped to do the same, and would you believe they were Dutch! After Alex had let down our tyres he went over to say hello, we had a nice little chat and found out they had been travelling the world for the last 3 years, touring Europe, South America, Australia and then they would continue onto the Pacific Islands. Again another wonderful couple who were #livinglife to its fullest, just as we wanted to. It definitely fueled our conversation for the 2 hour drive in, where we discussed other big trips like this Aussie one we wanted to do.

Along the drive in there were a large number of water crossings, the first one around 10km in was very large and very deep. We crossed it fine but it was the first crossing with a sandy base and it left Alex a little nervous for our return trip. The other crossings were not as deep but they were murky and until we passed them we had no idea on how deep or strong the bottom was.

Otis (the car) had no problems and we arrived after just 2 hours at the visitors center. There were two sides to the park so we first decided to do the north section, which was the Echidna Chasm. A lovely hour or so walk through provided us with a beautiful view of just how large the Bungle Bungles were.

With the Echidna Chasm seen we headed south to the Cathedral Gorge. The drive into the south side of the park was very spectacular, with many more views of the Bungles.

It was mid afternoon when we arrived at the gorge parking area, there were a few other cars but quite a few people were getting in and leaving. So a very quiet walk in gave us the gorge to ourselves the whole way till the end. It was a beautiful walk in, lovely and shaded with then of course the cathedral view at the end.

There was only one other couple there when we arrived, we sat in silence just taking in the nice scenery and the wildlife around. After a few moments we headed on back to the car, enjoying the picturesque stroll along the way.

That night we had decided to stay in the national park as the drive out would take 2 hours and the sun would be down half way along the track. We stayed at the Wilardi campgrounds and it was really lovely. Nice and shaded, we picked a spot close to the toilets but just far enough away that we couldn’t smell them too much.

It had been two days since our shower in Kununurra so we filled the shower bag up, hooked it up to the roof rack, got in our bathers and had a little bush shower, all the while an elderly couple set up near us just watched us, it was a little strange…

We played some games and this time I whipped Alex’s butt! Again the temperature had dropped quite significantly once the sun went down, so out came the hot water bottles, which we both used.

The next morning we got up with the sun, packed up and then drove the track back to the main road. Again we drove through many crossings, gearing up for the big one near the end. When we got there though the water had reduced significantly since the day before so it was not as high which was a relief. But there were still nerves. Alex did the driving again as I was just too unsure of my skill to get through, he did wonderfully and you could see the relief roll off him after we crossed.

Purnululu was a wonderful weekend trip, we definitely loved getting out of Kununurra, but it was also a place that we would have also missed. Don’t get me wrong, it was beautiful and we really enjoyed seeing it! But the people we had spoken to who had raved about the place had maybe clouded our expectations a little. It was not nearly as spectacular as we had imagined and in saying that we know that is because of the insanely beautiful gorges and spots already seen in Karijini and on the Gibb. We put it down to being spoilt with what we had seen already, but it was definitely a wonderful sight to see and something we can cross off our list and map.



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