Purnululu National Park is 110 kilometres north of the town of Halls Creek and 250 kilometres south of Kununurra in the north east of Western Australia. It is an incredible sight, a landscape of beehive-shaped sandstone formations, deep chasms with palm trees and long, deep Piccaninny Gorge with its fan palms adorning the rocks. To appreciate the overall aspect of this weird landscape, one has to take to the air and there are plane and helicopter rides available.
Although of course the Aborigines lived in this region for generations, Purnululu was "discovered" only in the mid-1980s. A television crew came upon the unique beehive-shaped domes in 1982 and in 1987 it was proclaimed a National Park. Geologists tell us that during the Devonian Era, 350 million years ago, a great marine deposit was formed here; it eroded away by the hundreds of millions of wet seasons to the present structure of domes, cliffs and gorges. Rather fragile, the orange bands on the rocks are of silica but the black bands are lichen, overlaying the white sandstone core. There are unique plants here, like a species of Livingstonia palm that has nowhere else been found.
Of course, to experience the Bungle Bungles properly you have to go on foot and that means first getting there by four wheel drive, as the road to this remote place is 80 kilometres of rough dusty track. The route offers views of boab or baobabs, the weird bottle trees typical of this area and of southern Africa and Madagascar. A hike through this landscape with its sandstone domes is unforgettable. There are breathtaking gorges like Cathedral Gorge and Piccaninny Gorge; the latter is best taken as an overnight walk, 30 kilometres in total, with sleeping in the open. Echidna Chasm is an easier walk, about 2 kilometres, a narrow gorge with walls towering 100 metres and adorned with tall palms. This is one of the most mysterious places of Australia.