So what is www.bigaussieroadtrip.com all about? Well... hopefully, by the time we are done, it will be a comprehensive journal about a family of 5 who have travelled around Australia to see the sights and also do some volunteer work around the country! In Mid 2010 we started thinking about what it would take to fulfil a life-long dream... We wanted to bundle up our 3 kids, pack-up the house, jump in the car and hit the road - probably for about 12 months. It sounds so simple ... At the start of January 2013, after almost 15 months on the road; we finally completed Our Big Aussie Road Trip. We hope that you enjoyed following our adventures, trials and tribulations as much as we enjoyed having them!

17 June, 2012

The Bungle Bungles, Wolfe Creek Meteorite Crater & Derby

We had heard that the road into the Bungle Bungles was pretty rough, but after spending a week on the Gibb River Road, and doing some pretty serious 4WD tracks at El Questro, the drive into the Bungle Bungles was not too bad at all (and a bit of fun, with more water to splash through and some lovely scenery to view along the way). 
The road into the Bungle Bungles (Purnululu)

One of the water crossings on the way into the National Park

The Bungle Bungles in the distance
We stopped at the visitors centre, and then pulled into our campsite about 4pm.  After we setup the tents we went for a brief walk around the campsite.  We had some dinner and then sat around the communal fire for a short while and chatted with some other campers.  We went to sleep that night listening to dingos howling in the distance.

After a chilly night (2.5 degrees apparently) we were up early for brekkie on Wednesday.  We wanted to go to the Dome Walk early because we’d been told that it gets very hot during the middle of the day.  So we were on the road, driving to Piccaninny creek by 8:30am.  We walked along the Domes track and enjoyed being at the bottom of these amazing rock structures called the Bungle Bungles.  It wasn’t too crowded when we were there as we managed to time our visit between 2 tour groups.  We then walked to Cathedral gorge which was fantastic.  The acoustics in the gorge are brilliant and the kids had lots of fun creating echos and singing different songs.  We had morning tea in the gorge and had it all to ourselves for a while before heading back to our campsite for some early lunch.
The Bungle Bungles

Walking along the Domes Track

The Masons in the Bungle Bungles

Looking into Cathedral Gorge

Looking out of Cathedral Gorge

Some of the Amazing Dome structures
After lunch we drove to the Northern End of the National Park and went to Echidna Chasm.  This was truly breathtaking.  It was like God has sliced the rock with a huge butter knife because you walk along the floor of a very narrow chasm, but when you look up you see the top of the cliffs 180 metres above you!  It was quite amazing.
Walking into Echidna Chasm

Looking along Echidna Gorge

Sam hitching a ride out
On the way back to the tent, we drove into Mini-palms car park, but decided that we wouldn’t cope with a 5km walk after all the walking we’d done in the last week.  The kids were all exhausted after a week of tenting, and doing many kilometres of gorge walks in beautiful places around the Kimberly.  We went back to the tent for some downtime before heading up to watch the sunset over the ranges from the sunset lookout near our campsite – it was quite remarkable watching the colours change and fade on the Bungle Bungles as the sun sank below the horizon behind us.
video

We sat around the communal campfire for a short time again that night before flaking into bed (very early) because we were all exhausted.

Camp life normally starts pretty early (especially when the sun is up at 5:30am, so we were up and got packed pretty early on Thursday because we wanted to try and make it to Derby from the Bungle Bungles National Park.  We drove out of the Bungle Bungle National park (its real name is Purnululu National Park) and we re-inflated our tyres and disengaged 4WD before we hit the Bitumen.
One of the water crossings heading out of Purnululu
We had a good run to Halls Creek and only had to overtake one four-carriage road train! 
You certainly want a good stretch of road ahead to overtake these huge road trains!
When we got to Halls Creek, we wanted to fill up with Diesel, but the service station was out of Diesel!  We heard over the UHF radio that the Toyota Dealership had some, so we headed over  there and joined the queue to fill up (hoping they wouldn’t run out while we were waiting!) 
The Diesel Queue at Halls Creek (at least they had some left!)
We filled up with Diesel and then thought we’d go to the visitor information centre.  At the Visitor centre, we asked about the Wolfe Creek Meteor Crater.  It was only 150Km down the Tanami Track, so we decided to totally change our plans and head out to the crater to have a look (as we wouldn’t be able to do it with the caravan in tow in a few days time when we passed back that way).  So we went to the IGA, re-stocked with some food and supplies and drove out to the Crater.
We took the Tanami out to Wolfe Creek Meteorite Crater
Once we got to Wolfe Creek, we walked to the top of the meteorite crater and then walked down the inside of the crater (which was really steep) and went right into the middle.
Driving down the Tanami
 
Looking across the rim of the crater


Mike, Natalie, Sam and Josh in front of Wolfe Creek Meteorite Crater

By the time we were out of the crater, it was 3pm, so we decided to strike camp at the crater campground instead of trying to drive further on that day.  So we setup the tent and cooked dinner.  We were so glad we stayed out there because it was a beautiful campground with a lovely sunset and brilliant stars.  The kids (and Mike and Liz) were all tired again – camping with the tents was fantastic, but it is much more exhausting than with the caravan; and living out of the back of the car is challenging at times, but we pretty much got it down to a fine art by the time we had finished at Wolfe Creek.
Our campsite out at Wolfe Creek Meteorite Crater

Another beautiful sunset on Our Big Aussie Road Trip

Looking across the Tanami Desert

We were going quite early again on Friday the 8th June because we knew that we had a pretty long day ahead of us to get to Derby (~650 Km) so we packed up the tent and left Wolfe Creek Crater National Park by about 8:30am.  While we were packing up; Josh, Natalie and Sam had a quick play with 2 kids who were on a tagalong tour of the Canning Stock Route - it's great that the kids can make 'new friends' so many places as we tour around.  We spent all of Friday in the car and arrived in Derby at about 4:30pm.  We picked up the van from the storage facility at the start of the Gibb River Road and checked into a Caravan Park in Derby.  Once we had dropped the van, we went food shopping because our supplies were fully depleted after 10 nights out on the road.  By the time we had finished our loop of the Gibb River road (and back to Derby via Wolfe Creek) we had covered over 2,300Km’s (in 10 nights!).  We would definitely recommend that anyone coming to this area of Australia does the Gibb River Road, the Bungle Bungles and Wolfe Creek Meteor Crater – they have so much to offer.  We were very glad we didn’t take our van on the dirt roads because our old van would have shaken apart for sure (and it was quite nice having the freedom of just a car to be able to do detours (like the Wolfe Creek Crater).  We had applied for leave from school so that we weren't trying to lug all our schooling gear with us in an already tightly packed car, so we all really enjoyed our “camping holiday” and really didn’t mind living in the tents for a week and a half;  However it was nice to be back in our ‘own beds’ in the caravan that night in Derby. 
Early on Saturday the 9th June we decided that we didn't need to leave Derby that day, so we re-booked into the van park and spent the whole day re-sorting the van, unpacking the car and cleaning up all the camping gear.  We all had a very low key day around the caravan park. We were all very tired and Josh, Natalie and Sam did some beading (which they'd wanted to do since we bought some beads in Broome) and just played around the caravan park (including riding bikes up and down the park).  It was great to be able to re-organise the car and the van before we moved on because it would have been a bit difficult to get back into the 'normal' swing of things without fully re-organising the car and caravan.
Sam showing off some of his beading

Josh and Sam building some kits that Grandma sent - thanks Grandma

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