Before Western Australia is left behind, I thought I’d mention that I have gotten back. On my third trip to Australia, I enjoyed a remarkable trek across an even wilder and more remote landscape than before, when I traveled through the Kimberleys, an area about three times the size of England located at the top of Western Australia. This region is so remote that they haven’t even named all the plants yet—and aren’t sure they even know everything that lives there.
In this region of astonishing beauty and strangeness, the Bungle Bungle Range is a standout. The size of the Bungle Bungles underscores the area’s remoteness: they cover about 173 square miles, but were only discovered by Westerners in 1983. The towering (600 to 900 feet tall), bizarrely eroded, banded range of rocks was named a national park in 1987 and was made a World Heritage site in 2003. While these formations are widely known as the Bungle Bungles, their official name, and the name of the park that contains them, is Purnululu, which is the word for “sandstone” in the language of one of the region’s Aboriginal groups (Kija).
It was a simply glorious area, though not easy to cross. Most of the area has no roads, and the road that does exist—the Gibb River Road—is almost proverbial as car wrecker. But with a good guide, it was possible, if not always comfortable.
I’m hoping to write a sequel to Waltzing Australia, to share with you more of what I discovered in this astonishing region. And, of course, I’m also hoping to get back to WA, as there is still more to see. But there must always be something for next time.