Home' Traveller : Scoop Traveller WA 020 Contents July - December 2011 Scoop Traveller 199
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the car park, sandstone shrike-
thrush and northern rosellas. With
over 140 bird species recorded
in the area, plus crocodiles and
water monitors, a boat tour down
the Ord River is not only about
spectacular scenery. Also check
around the arboretum and Lake
Kununurra in town for white-
browed crakes, jacanas, babblers
and many more.
After a huge Wet, locals expect
a cracking barra season – with
more water, the floodplains run
for longer, giving juvenile fish a
better chance to survive predators.
Early April, after floodwaters
have settled, is the best time to
try your luck and good fishing
remains until the middle of June.
Then, in June and July, the water
temperature drops down and
colder water means fish become
scarce. Days warm up again late
August, so barra get livelier and
fishing improves up until the end
of October. Although great fishing
continues throughout summer,
extreme weather conditions and
river flooding sees the fishing
camps close for a few months
over the peak of the Wet. Fishing
camps, day charters and tackle
stores are plentiful. Book ahead for
Wolfe Creek Crater
Forget the serial-killer movie,
this is an amazing site well worth
the journey. At over 880m wide,
it is the second-largest crater in
the world. A meteorite crashed to
Earth around 300,000 years ago
travelling at 15km per second, a
speed which would have taken it
across Australia in five minutes!
The crater is 145km from Halls
Creek via the Tanami Road and
a gravel access road during dry
season only – allow two to three
hours each way. Best time to view
is from May to October. Bring
good walking shoes and plenty of
water. Camping is permitted but
no facilities are available. If you
are still unconvinced about the
outback drive, view from the air
on a scenic flight from Halls Creek.
PURNULULU NATIONAL PARK
Long-time local Danelle Jackson has travelled widely throughout
the Kimberley and provides an insight into of one of her favorite East
Kimberley locations – the famous Bungle Bungle Range.
The Bungle Bungle Range is 360 million years old – incredibly, its
existence was unknown to white men until the mid 1980s. As you fly
over the unmistakable forms, the range seems to go on forever and you
wonder how on earth we missed it. The famous beehive-shaped domes
look like they have been placed by a celestial hand, the orange and black
bands wind so perfectly around them it’s as if they are painted on.
After an aerial circuit over the formation, descend into Bellburn Base
Camp – in true outback style this turns out to be a gravel runway and a
couple of tin sheds. A friendly smile and a firm handshake later, it’s off
on a bumpy 4WD track to the first walk of the day.
You have to remind yourself to look up: when you do, you feel dwarfed
by the towering domes. Close up, the orange and black stripes look
fragile, and indeed they are – just a thin layer of dried silica crumbling
under the lightest touch to reveal pure white sandstone beneath. Sadly,
they are disappearing; further erosion will crumble them to dust in 20
million years (still plenty of time for you to get a quick visit in).
There are three main walks in the park. Cathedral Gorge is a natural
amphitheatre so massive it’s impossible to get it all into the camera’s
viewfinder. The tunnel-like Echidna Chasm is over a kilometre long,
with narrow, high walls and a water-worn rocky floor. Shady Mini
Palms Gorge is studded with livistona palms – thought to have been food
of the dinosaurs. The park has cultural significance to the Kija and Jaru
Aboriginal people, with rock art and sacred burial sites off-limits.
World Heritage Listed Purnululu National Park is open from April to
mid-December annually, and with patience and a high-clearance 4WD
you can drive in by sealed, then unsealed road from Halls Creek
or Kununurra (definitely no caravans). Plenty of guided 4WD tours
include overnight stays as part of their extended itineraries, and scenic
flights operate daily. Kurrajong and Walardi Campgrounds offer basic
camping facilities, or, if you’re after a little more luxury, stay at either
of the parks’ two permanent safari-tent bush camps. For the ultimate
fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants experience, the heli-flight is a must.
Weaving through the ancient formations with the chopper doors off is
one hair-raising ride – don’t forget your camera.
Fishing off Broome
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