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Kimberley & Pilbara

Kimberley Highlights No. 1

May 13 - June 9, 2018

Helicopter landing in the Cockburn Range; photo P. Benjafield Lily Pool Swim, Carr Boyd

Section 1: Bungle Bungles: May 13-19

Walking up lower Piccaninny Gorge en route to our base camp

We begin with the long drive from Kununurra to the end of the vehicle track at the base of Piccaninny Gorge. We then begin our walk up to a campsite about a few km up the gorge. The following day, we pack up and continue to a second camp about 12 km up the gorge. We use this camp as a base as we explore some of the beautiful side gorges.

Some of the walking is quite flat and easy. Some is more difficult and requires a bit of rock scrambling. Having a base camp means that we do not have to carry full packs over the roughest terrain. as the photo below right shows, parts of the gorge are quite shady for mush of the day.

Walking up Piccaninny Walking past a rock pool in Piccaninny Gorge

Purnululu was listed as a world heritage site in July 2003. The following quote is from the Australian Department of Environment and Heritage website.

"Famous for the 45 000 hectare Bungle Bungle Range, with its huge expanse of striking banded beehive structures, sandstone cliffs and towers, Purnululu has been listed as an outstanding landscape that is a superlative natural phenomenon, revealing the history of its formation over hundreds of millions of years. Purnululu National Park has such outstanding universal natural values that it enriches the world and should be conserved for the benefit of all people. Before 1982, when aerial pictures were first released, it was virtually unknown except to pastoralists, scientists and the local Aboriginal community. It is now seen as one of the scenic jewels of outback Australia."

See the UNESCO Description of the World Heritage listing.

If you would like more information about the Bungles, here is a 72 page PDF of the Australian government application for World Heritage status for Purnululu. The document contains a wealth of information (much more information than in the actual listing) as well as some beautiful photos. It's over 2MB, so you'll need a lot of patience if you don't have a fast internet connection.

See a gallery of photos of the Bungle Bungles.

Section 2: Cockburn Range: May 20-26

The Cockburn Range contains some of the most spectacular gorges in the Kimberley. Some of the walking is flat and relatively easy. Some of it includes rock hopping and walking along rock ledges.

As shown in the first picture on this page, we plan to use a helicopter to get to the start of the walk.

Walking on the flats Walking on a rock ledge

Not only is the scenery specatcular, we also find a number of Aboriginal art sites.

Enjoying the view Cockburn painting. Some of the paintings are in a very different style

These photos give you a hint of what the trip is like but they are no substitute for the actual experience.

Looking up from next to a pool Cockburn swim

See a gallery of photos of the Cockburn Range.

Section 3: Carr Boyd Range: May 27-31

Climbing up to the plateau

After a night in Kununurra at the end of the previous section, we take a boat back up the Ord and get dropped off near a series of waterfalls. After a swim at the first pool, we climb to the top of the plateau.

Once on top, we work our way north, stopping to enjoy the many pools and waterfalls along the way. At the edge of the range, we are met by the vehicle which drives us back to Kununurra.

Carr Boyd swim Packsaddle Falls

See a gallery of photos of the Carr Boyd Range.

Section 3: Keep River National Park: Jun 1-5

Walking through a rock arch

After another night in Kununurra, we drive across the NT border and into Keep River National Park, one of the least known yet most interesting parks in the Territory. We leave the vehicles, walk to a base camp and begin our exploration of this wonderland of rock formations.

Swim stop

As always, we know where the best pools are so there are plenty of opportunities to stop for a swim.

See a gallery containing more photos of Keep River National Park.

Section 5: Ord River Canoe: June 6-9

Paddling down the Ord

We finish the trip with a leisurely paddle between the dams on the Ord, watching the birds and doing some short walks to scenic views along the way. This is one of the easiest and most scenic canoe trips in the Kimberley.

Note. No previous canoe experience is necessary. This is as easy a paddle as you can find. The walks take you to some lovely waterfalls you can't get to in any other way. It's a really great way to finish the trip.

Pelican. The canoe allows you to get quite close to the birds. Another view of paddling down the Ord

Terrain and difficulty. The walking is a complete mix. Some will be flat and easy (just how easy depends on the current state of the vegetation which can vary dramatically from year to year). There will be some short, but steep climbs and some rock hopping. There are one or two places where floating your pack a short distance saves you a long and tedious climb. Overall, we rate this as moderate difficulty.

Your rewards are beautiful pools, gorges and an incredible Kimberley wilderness experience no other operator can offer you.

Kimberley Highlights No. 1 trip notes - contain detailed information about the terrain and difficulty on each section.

For more information about this trip or to find out how to book email us for Kimberley Highlights No. 1 Information

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Willis's Walkabouts, 12 Carrington Street, Millner NT 0810, Australia walkabout@bushwalkingholidays.com.au

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