Purnululu National Park – spectacular sandstone domes

Purnululu National Park

Description

Purnululu National Park was only discovered in 1983. It covers a spectacular landscape of sculptured rocks that reach up to 250 meters above the outback grassland. 

It is a maze-like formation with orange and black striped karst sandstone domes that look like huge beehives.

Located in remote east Kimberly Purnululu National Park (Bungle Bungle Range) has been Word Heritage listed in 2003 as an outstanding landscape that is an incomparable natural phenomenon. 

Twenty million years of weathering have created the eroded sandstone towers and banded beehive structures of the Bungle Bungle Range. 

The Gija and Jaru people are the Traditional Custodians of Purnululu National Park.

The best time to visit the park is in the dry season, between 1 May to 31 August.

There is a park access fee.

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Access & how to get there

Purnululu National Park is located 250 kilometres by road south of Kununurra and 100 kilometres from Halls Creek.

You can either drive or take a scenic flight from Kununurra.

If you decided to drive you can arrive by taking Great Northern Highway, but you must know that the final 56 kilometres Spring Creek Track is rugged, unsealed off-road track and you need to have a 4WD. 

If you have a caravan or bigger trailer you can leave it in Halls Creek, Warmun Roadhouse or Bungle Bungle Caravan Park.

Bungle Bungles - Spring Creek Track
Bungle Bungles - Spring Creek Track

Recommended 4WD equipment for Bungle Bungles

Accommodation

There are a few accommodation options in the park: camping, caravan park, or the lodge.

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Camping

Camping is the best option to explore Purnululu National Park. It is cheap so you can stay longer as some walks are quite long. There are two campgrounds; one on the north – Kurrajong and one on the south – Walardi. Fires are prohibited in the park.

Make sure you book your spot online before arrival and if you come in a peak season, do at least 180 days in advance.

Kurrajong Campground 

4 WD Access Only
Toilets
Bore Tap Water
Tent, Camper Site
Single Axe Camper
Site
Dogs NOT Allowed

Located 12 km south of Visitors Centre.  Suitable for 4WD camper trailers and tents. Located close to Echidna Chasm and Mini Palm Gorge. GPS position: 17 23 20 S  128 19 50 E

Caters for 70 vehicles. Kurrajong has been converted to only a non-generators site.

Walardi Campground 

4 WD Access Only
Toilets
Bore Tap Water
Tent, Camper Site
Single Axe Camper
Site
Dogs NOT Allowed

Located 7 km north of Visitors Centre.  Suitable for 4WD camper trailers and tents. Located close to Echidna Chasm and Mini palm Gorge. GPS position: 17 31 16 S  128 18 02 E

Caters for 100 vehicles. Walardi is the only campground with and without generators area.

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Caravan Parks

2WD Access
Community Fire Pit
4G Access
Power Sites
Tent & Cabins
Dogs Allowed

Located only 1 km from Great Northern Highway and accessible by 2WD. Offers cabins, safari tents, powered/unpowered sites. You can also leave your trailer or caravan and go exploring Purnululu National Park.

You can book a 4WD Bus Tour or a scenic helicopter flight.

In the evening you can enjoy outback gourmet food and a licensed restaurant. Bungle Bungle caravan park is open only between 1 April and 30 September.

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Lodges

4WD Access
Pool
Camp fire
Credit Card faclilites

Bungle Bungle Savannah Lodge offers luxurious accommodation in one of their 26 ensuite cabins. The cabins are designed for 2 people, but there is one family cabin for up to 4. Dinner and breakfast are prepared by an onsite chef.

In summary, their facilities include:

  • 26 ensuite cabins
  • Swimming pool
  • Licensed bar
  • Open outdoor fire and shaded deck area
  • Credit card facilities
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Walks

The main reason for visiting Purnululu National Park is its amazing landscape. You can enjoy it by attending several walks, either in the north or south part.

We recommend staying in Kurrajong campground first and do Echidna Chasm, Homestead Valley, Mini Palms Gorge, and the lookouts around.

Depending on your pace it takes 1-2 days to complete the walks.

Then, you can move to Walardi campground to do the remaining walks: The Domes, Cathedral Gorge, and Whip Snake Gorge.

Piccaniny Gorge is a longer walk but it is really worth it if you have time.

Echidna Chasm

Moderate 2km return walk from the Echidna Cark Park. Allow 1 hour. In our opinion best chasm in Australia.

Bungle Bungles - Echidna Chasm
Bungle Bungles - Echidna Chasm

Mini Palms

Moderately challenging 4.4 km return walk from The Bloodwoods. Occasionally you have to challenge big rocks on the way. Allow 2-3 hours. You enjoy soaring cliffs, Livistona palms, and two viewing platforms.

Bungle Bungles
Purnululu National Park (Bungle Bungles) - Mini Palms

Homestead Valley

Moderate 4.4 km walk from The Bloodwoods. Similar to Mini Palms you see Livistona palms and a stunning valley.

The Domes

Easy 700 return walk that goes around banded domes. Allow 30 minutes.

Purnululu National Park (Bungle Bungles) - The Domes
Purnululu National Park (Bungle Bungles) - The Domes

Cathedral Gorge

Moderate 2 km return walk with short steep slopes and narrow ledges. On the way, you challenge small pebbles and potholes but you will be rewarded with a majestic amphitheater at the end.

Bungle Bungles - The Cathedral
Bungle Bungles - The Cathedral

Whip Snake Gorge

Moderate to challenging 10 km walk to the end of Whip Snake Gorge. Occasionally you get uneven surfaces of soil, sand, and rock. 

Right at the end, there is a small permanent pool and shaded amphitheater with figs, ferns, and mosses. Allow at least 4 hours.

Picccaninny Gorge

Difficult to very difficult 15 km walk. The first 7 km part is relatively difficult, then it becomes even more challenging as you go deep in the gorge and have to negotiate fallen boulders and loose rocks.

The route is unmarked without any facilities.

If you decide to undertake the challenge you must register at the visitor centre and hire a personal locator beacon (PLB) from the office.

Then, take enough food, water, and clothing. During the dry season, the nights can be very cold. Prepare to stay for 1-night camping on the way.

Piccaninny Creek Lookout

Easy to moderate 2.8 km walk towards the Ord River. Allow 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Other Lookouts

There are many lookouts on the way to the main trails. Usually, there are located a short distance off the main track (with the exception of Piccaninny Creek Lookout walk).

North: Kungkalanayi Lookout, Osmand Lookout, and The Bloodwoods Lookout

South: The Window

Bungle Bungles Map
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Our Experience & Tips

We had an opportunity to visit Purnululu National park during our 10 month trip around Australia. Nell, our daughter was only 3 years old, but she bravely walked most of the trails.

In our opinion, there is nothing better but camping right in the park and going for walks every day. This way you are close to nature and you can enjoy it fully.

Below are a few tips from our visit to Bungle Bungles:

  • Bore water could be unavailable, carry your own water
  • Toilets are non-flush
  • There are no showers in the park
  • Park is very popular, advanced booking is recommended
  • If you arrive at your camping spot early, but still want to go for an  afternoon walk, make sure you leave your table and chairs so nobody takes your place

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