Friday, June 30, 2017

Last Days in WA

By Jen.

As we drove along the Great Northern Highway, I knew we were getting close to the Northern Territory. This always breeds in me a sort of excitement, eager to cross the border. However, there was still plenty to enjoy in WA. Before we got to those exciting sites though, we managed to get 2 chips within a few hours of each other. When fixing the first chip, it cracked! Fortunately, it was on the passenger side, so not a big deal. Then, we didn’t find the 2nd chip, but we heard it. When I was later cleaning the windshield, I found it. This one had resulted in crack as well, but fortunately wasn’t heading to the driver’s region either.

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Fixing the first chip, resulting in a crack.



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The first good pic we have of a Wedge-tailed Eagle. They are always on the road eating roadkill.

Turning off the highway, along the Tanami Road, there is a huge crater created by a meteorite. It is the 2nd largest to have been excavated (largest is in Arizona). So, I made Jonathan drive 3 hours along corrugated dirt roads to go see it.

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Because there is so little rain here, the crater hasn’t been filled with water and sediment. It is still very much defined.

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While driving along those roads, we discovered (when we were trying to get cows off the road) that our horn sounded more like a quietly whimpering puppy than its usual full-throated blast. Apparently the water from the creek crossings managed to get into the horn and make it gargle a bit. We had to unhook it, poke a hole in it, and let it dry for a while.

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From there, we returned to the highway for a few hundred kilometers before we turned off for another long corrugated road towards Purnulu (Bungle Bungle) National Park, at least this one had a lot more to do and look at. The park is designated as 4WD only, as you need high clearance and there are several creek crossings. From some pictures off a tourist website, we figured it would be about the same as the road from Tunnel Creek NP to the highway. However, the first creek crossing we came across was much wider than, and not as rocky as, we had expected. Fortunately it wasn’t very deep and fairly firm, and we made it across (horn removed until we were done with creek crossings).

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The actual creek crossing (first and worst one).

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Ominous foreboding from vehicles that had gone before us.

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You can see what is like from inside while going over that creek crossing.

First off, we hit up Echidna Chasm, which is a really unique gorge that is particularly narrow. At some points, it is only 1m wide.

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What the van looks like after a multitude of creek crossings.

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The Bungle Bungle Range at sunset.

Next day, we found the Bungle Bungles in the southern part of the park. These are the park’s main attractions. They are layered rock that has been worn away into the shape of beehives and domes, etc. Very photogenic and fun to walk through.

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One of the Bungles with a termite mound running up the side of it. They do this to avoid the floods in the wet season.
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Cathedral Gorge.

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A dry river bed made of solid rock. It had awesome lines through it made by debris scraping over it during the turbulent wet season.

From there, we decided to head towards Wyndham, to pick up its touristy items: 5 Rivers Lookout, aboriginal rock paintings, and Parry Creek Lagoon. While here, we decided to pull out the A/C for an afternoon cool-off. Shortly after starting it, we got an error. Jonathan went to investigate and found that our cooling fans (located under the van) didn’t like getting submerged and debris stuck in them. After clearing them out, the A/C worked, but we found that one of the fans no longer starts on its own, sadly. So we have to go and manually spin it when we want A/C, which is a lot up north.

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Five Rivers Lookout.

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Aboriginal rock art along a cliff face near Wyndham.

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Birds at Parry Creek Lagoon.

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Walking on lily pads.

From there, it was a stop in Kununurra for supplies and onto the NT border.

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