Home' Traveller : Scoop Traveller WA 019 Contents December-June 2011 Scoop Traveller 167
Windjana Gorge National Park
One of the Kimberley’s most
impressive gorges, Windjana Gorge
has walls that rise abruptly from
the wide alluvial floodplain
of the Lennard River, reaching
about 100m in some places. The
3.5km-long gorge cuts through
the limestone of the Napier Range.
Access to the park is restricted
during the wet season and it
usually reopens in mid-April.
Part of a reef that formed
underwater more than 350 million
years ago, the Mimbi Caves are
90km east of Fitzroy Crossing.
They feature rock art depicting
the hunter-gather lifestyle of
the Gooniyandi people, and it’s
one of the oldest-dated human
occupation sites in Australia.
The caves are important to
the Gooniyandi as a spiritual and
trading centre and were probably
occupied for more than 40,000
years until European settlement.
Access is only available with a local
guide and may include (for women
only) a visit to the spiritually
powerful traditional birthing caves
of the Gooniyandi women.
On the edge of the Great Sandy
Desert, four hours’ drive south
of Kununurra, lies the historical
town of Halls Creek. The site
of Western Australia’s first
payable gold discovery, Halls
Creek now hosts the closest
airport for scenic flights over
the Bungle Bungle Ranges and
Purnululu National Park.
Around Halls Creek
About 10km from Halls Creek,
on the Duncan Road, is Caroline
Pool, a lovely swimming hole and
picnic spot. Further along is Palm
Springs, where you can swim or
fish. Along the same road is China
Wall, a tall ribbon of dazzling white
quartz ‘blocks’ running for miles
through the landscape.
Wolfe Creek Meteorite Crater
National Park This is the site of the
second-largest crater in the world
from which fragments of a meteorite
have been collected. Access is
via the gravel Tanami Road, only
accessible to conventional vehicles
during the Dry.
The township of Kununurra,
gazetted in 1960, is the youngest
town in the East Kimberley and
now home to more than 6000
people. It’s an adventure paradise.
Nearby Wyndham, the historic
town of the region, was settled in
the mid 1800s to service the Halls
Creek gold fields and the outlying
The Wyndham Port, established
in the 1880s, provides a vital link
to the export of live cattle, sugar
and mining industries to this day.
While in Wyndham take a drive up
the Bastion (Five Rivers Lookout)
to see where the King, Pentecost,
Ord, Durack and Forrest rivers
all meet in the Gulf. And you
can get as close as you’ll ever
want to be to those big crocs at
Wyndham Crocodile Park and
The Hoochery, just outside of
Kununurra, is WA’s only legal rum
distillery and has the capacity
to produce more than 50,000
bottles of Ord River Rum a year.
It’s open all year round for
tastings and tours.
Bungle Bungle Range, Purnululu
The Bungle Bungle Range is
arguably the most popular
destination out of Kununurra.
During the Wet, the best (and only)
way to see it is via scenic flight
from Kununurra or Halls Creek.
After April you can drive to the
car park and camping ground but
many prefer fly-in tours (an hour
from Kununurra) for a half-day
trip or longer, staying in cabins or
the camping ground. Those with
caravans are advised to leave
them at Warmun.
Open all year round and accessed
by an all-weather road from
Kununurra, this is Australia’s
largest body of fresh water
(covering more than 900sqkm) and
home to an amazing abundance
of wildlife. More than 270 species
of birds have been recorded in
the area including the brilliantly
coloured and now endangered
Gouldian finch (which can be seen
regularly around the caravan park),
yellow chat and purple-crowned
fairy wrens. The lake is also home
to lots of (apparently) not so
dangerous freshwater crocodiles.
Swim at your own risk.
Wolfe Creek meteorite crater
A view from the caves, as seen on a
Girlooloo Tours Mimbi Caves excursion.
Trekking around the
Bungle Bungle Range.
A boab tree back-lit
by an amazing sunset.
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