Bungles vs mini-bungles

1. Purnululu National Park (The Bungle Bungles), Western Australia
2. Keep River National Park (The mini bungles), Northern Territory

Permits: None
Costs: National Park Fees apply
Difficulty: Easy-Moderate (the road into Purnululu had recently been graded and when we drove through it was a very easy to drive. I have however heard horror stories from earlier in the season). The access road to Keep River is gravel but accessible to 2WD.
Days required to do it justice: 2-3days in each park

Most people will have heard of the Bungle Bungles (Purnululu National Park) in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, even if its only from when Helen Daniels went to live there on the TV show Neighbours. Most people will not have heard of the Keep River National Park on the Northern Territory side of the WA/NT border. Keep River is often referred to as the ‘mini’ or ‘baby’ bungles as both parks contain very similar geological sandstone formations. The difference?

Bungles or mini-bungles?

Bungles or mini-bungles?

Keep River (above pic) is a small park with big scenery. Being small it is an easy 34km drive to the far end of the park from the Victoria Highway. Keep River is still relatively unknown and not visited by the tourist hordes. It is therefore possible to complete the likes of the  8km hike around the Jarnem sandstone ‘bungles’ and rock art and not see another soul. The two campsites are handily positioned near to the main rock formations and have toilets and drinking water available. For National Park campsites they are very well located and actually quite welcoming. We also completed the Gurrandalng walk which weaves through the mini-bungles providing some spectacular views of the surrounding country and wildlife.

Sweeping escarpment views at the Jarnem walk, Keep River

Sweeping escarpment views at the Jarnem walk, Keep River

The Bungle Bungles is a much bigger park with big scenery, big driving distances and big crowds. But it is spectacular, especially from the air at a dawn or dusk flight. We were lucky to have the echoes of Cathedral Gorge to ourselves for about 10minutes before the tour buses rolled in. This gorge is awe-inspiring. Echidna Chasm is another wonderful wander through narrow rocky passages which throw orange light shows across the shadows. The campsites can be busy, the road in can be windy and rough but the Bungles attracts inspiring people – we managed to jag a coffee from the ‘outback coffee van’ which had parked up at the entrance to the long and winding road in….best business idea ever 🙂

The dramatic Cathedral Gorge

The dramatic Cathedral Gorge, Bungle Bungles

In short, both parks are a must-see but make sure Keep River is on your agenda as its a hidden gem of an opportunity to get up close to ‘bungle’ formations.


2 Responses to “Bungles vs mini-bungles”

  1. Incredible photography and place mate – love it.

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