Day 11. Kununurra to Mabel Downs & Bungle Bungles

September 05, 2015  •  2 Comments

We cadged a lift from Jamie when he went to fill up with fuel in the coach. He dropped us in the town centre to visit the cash card machines. He'd not long disappeared into the distance when we discovered the two machines at the Commonwealth were out of order. Helen, one of our companions, went on a search for alternatives while the others stayed to wait for our transport. It returned just after Helen, and off we went to the other end of town, where we got lucky at Westpac. Bungle Bungles ArielBungle Bungles ArielBungle Bungles Ariel

​Once more financial we loaded the rest of the people, hitched up the trailer and were on the way to Mabel Downs station and campsite, our home for the next 3 nights.  Morning tea saw us in the area of the Argyle diamond mine, but we didn't visit and we got to Mabel Downs in time for lunch.  There is a strange regulation on Cattle Stations in the Kimberley and presumably the rest of WA. They are not allowed to promote themselves as caravan parks. With some careful wording the message is conveyed, but the weird thing is the set up has to be "temporary" and capable of being moved at a moments notice
The result was quite efficient with demountable toilet/shower blocks, offices, a huge heavy dining tent.

Just beyond these confines were 2 helicopter pads and the first rush was to the booking room for a majority of the guests.  Me included. I'd never been in a helicopter and light aircraft flights have been banned by mutual agreement between Tina and I, ever since we lost 4 good friends in a crash in North Wales in the UK in the 1960's, I was to have been navigating but was called in to work that morning and pulled out. However I'd promised myself this flight over the Bungle Bungles and wasn't going to be deterred. Booked for 4.30pm to catch the sun and long shadows of the late winter sun. Fortunately the booking was moved to 4pm. Even then the shadows were long and harsh. Tina saw us off. Myself and the young pilot in the front seat, fellow guests Maureen and another Peter in the rear.  The unanimous vote was for no doors and with my little LX7 camera gripped firmly in my hands we lifted off for a fantastic flight of a lifetime. It took 10 minutes flying time to reach the rocks and we spent another 10 over the domes and incredible forms of the Bungles. By the time we turned for the flight back I had a grin from ear to ear and a sore index finger from continuously firing the camera. Without the doors I had expected some buffeting, but no. It was only on the first occasion I stuck my firmly gripped camera a little further out that the speed of the plane and wind made me jump. I was much more cautious the next time.

Bungle Bungles ArielBungle Bungles ArielBungle Bungles Ariel I've only included two aerial shots this time as we drove into the Bungles the next day and there are just so many wonderful views from above  and at ground level that I'm setting up a dedicated gallery in my website.

We had a great meal in the portable dining room. But the porta shower/loos were a bit of a challenge in the dark. The night skies were wonderful and we switched to morning showers which solved that problem.

I was amazed to hear that the Bungle Bungles were only discovered by white people in 1982. Perhaps the cattle station owners knew, but weren't saying, as they didn't want to be overrun by tourists. These days they need the tourists to supplement their incomes in hard times. The first people, of course, knew them of old.

Cheers for another day - Peter.


Maureen Bath(non-registered)
Fantastic photos reading your blog...thank you...Maureen Bath
Helen locke(non-registered)
Amazing photos peter. Love hearing about our trip
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