Bungle Bungles Walking Trails

  • Posted by Rosemary on 6 February 2018

The World Heritage Listed Purnululu National Park in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia is where you will find the famous Bungle Bungle Range – a highly prized ‘bucket list’ destination for many travellers.  

The 239,723-hectare (592,370-acre) national park is located approximately 300 kilometres (190 mi) south of Kununurra and was declared a World Heritage Site in 2003.

Famous for the striking “beehive” sandstone domes with their alternating orange and grey bands, visitors can walk on designated trails to explore this wondrous area.

Some of the walks are quite easy and others more challenging but you can decide what is the most suitable for you and below are our observations of the most popular walks in the Bungle Bungles:

Bungle Bungle Ranges Purnululu National Park

Walking along Piccaninny Creek (Photo credit: Bungle Bungle Guided Tours)

Cathedral Gorge (Allow approx. 2-3 hours)

The most popular walk in the Bungle Bungles, located in the southern section of the park, is an easy to moderate 3km return walk. 

Beginning easily in the Piccainny Creek car park, the Cathedral Gorge walk is shared with Piccaninny Creek, until the trail splits with one trail leading to Cathedral Gorge where the walk is more moderate. 

Visitors will pass over rock ledges, some with steps and handrails, sandy tracks, eroded potholes and negotiating a large step ladder before arriving at the stunning, natural amphitheatre that is Cathedral Gorge.   Returning to the car park is on the same trail.

On warmer Kimberley days, early morning or late afternoon walks provide more shade.

Cathedral Gorge

Stunning Cathedral Gorge (Photo credit: Bungle Bungle Guided Tours)

Piccaninny Creek Lookout:

You can walk to this lookout, 1.4km from the Piccaninny Creek car park to gain great views of the Bungle Bungle Range as  Piccaninny Creek winds its way down to the Ord River.

It is enjoyable at any time of the day.

Piccaninny Creek car park has toilets, shade shelters and picnic tables.

Cathedral Gorge Piccaninny Creek R McGuigan

The trails splits into two - Cathedral Gorge & Piccaninny Creek (Photo credit: R McGuigan)

Domes Trail (Approx. 1 hour)

This 1km easy walk commences at the Piccaninny Creek car park and is perfect for visitors who perhaps do not have the stamina or mobility for the more moderate walks, as this walk trails amongst the “beehives domes”.

Wander through the Beehive Domes at the Bungle Bungle Ranges R McGuigan

Wander through the “Beehive Domes” (Photo credit: R McGuigan)

Echidna Chasm (Approx 2 hours)

Located in the northern section of the park, this moderately difficult 2km return walk, begins at the base of a sandstone dome and wanders along a rocky creek bed into the long, narrow chasm that is almost 200 metres high.    A high level of mobility is required for  1.5-hour walk as it includes walking up ladders to viewing platforms at the end of the chasm.

Because of the striking colour variations with the angle of the sun beaming into the chasm, this walk is popular with photographers, especially in the early morning or late afternoon light.

Osmand Lookout:  You can walk to this lookout from the Echidna Chasm Car park to gain fantastic views of the dry, wild and rugged Osmand Range.  It is enjoyable at any time of day but spectacular in the early morning or late afternoon light

Echidna Gorge car park has shaded picnic areas and toilets.

Walking into Echidna Chasm Landi Bradshaw

Walking into Echidna Chasm (Photo credit: Landi Bradshaw)

Mini Palms (approx 4 hours)

A 5km moderate to difficult walk which starts out easy in the heart of the main Bungle Bungle Range.  

Commencing in a wide, open are, the walk becomes more difficult as the walk narrows and visitors must slide between and over some boulders.  At the end of the walk, visitors are rewarded with a natural amphitheatre and a viewing platform dwarfed by Livistona Palms.

The towering Livistona Palms Tourism Western Australia

The towering Livistona Palms (Photo credit: Tourism Western Australia)

What to take when walking in the Bungle Bungles: 

Even in the cooler, dry season months in the Kimberley, you should always take a water bottle on any walk or guided tour.   We recommend you wear comfortable/sturdy walking shoes (no leather soles) and bring a small daypack with snacks, sunscreen, camera and 1-litre water bottle.  We suggest you wear light clothing that offers sun protection.   Some visitors may choose to use a walking pole to assist in stability of uneven surfaces.

Visitor & camping fees apply to Purnululu National Park and are payable at the Purnululu Visitor Centre which provides information on the other walks in the park and recreational activities, cool drinks and souvenirs.  The Visitor Centre is located at the end of the Spring Creek Track. 

If all this self-guided walking seems a bit too much, then perhaps you might wish to consider a guided Bungle Bungles scenic air safari from Kununurra or Broome or a low-level helicopter flight! There is a range of guided tours available ranging from 2 hours to 3 days!