Top Trail: Cathedral Gorge, Purnululu NP
The walk to Cathedral Gorge is 2km return. It has an astonishing natural amphitheatre of red rock located within the Bungle Bungle Ranges in Purnululu National Park. The unusual bee hive striped formations and deep gorges make it one of the most fascinating geological landmarks and one of two World Heritage sites in Western Australia.
About the Trail
From Piccaninny carpark, the walk winds its way through the iconic beehives, heading down between two walls of rock before opening up into Cathedral Gorge. Water pounding through here in the wet season has created a huge amphitheatre of red rock with a pool of water in the middle (be sure to bring a wide-angle lens for your camera). The acoustics are so good that music has been played within the gorge. On the return journey to the carpark be sure to take the alternative route through the beehives.
While in the area take a couple of days and a backpack to explore nearby Piccaninny Creek and Gorge, camping overnight. If you do this, make sure you are well prepared. The deeper you go, the more spectacular it gets, but for your safety, you must register at the visitor centre before setting out. On the northern side is Echidna Chasm, a narrow gorge different from those on the southern side.
The park is open only between April and December (weather permitting). Check with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions Kununurra office on 08 9168 4200 for the current weather forecast and road conditions before entering the park.
Access to the park by road is via Spring Creek Track, from the Great Northern Highway approximately 250 km south of Kununurra, to the track's end at the Purnululu National Park Visitor Centre. The track is 53 km long and is usable only in the dry season (April 1 to December 31), and only by four-wheel-drive (4WD) high clearance vehicles and off-road trailers. Safely navigating it takes approximately three hours. From the Purnululu National Park Visitor Centre, the trail is then located a further 27 kilometres drive south.
Access by air is less demanding; scenic flights over the massif by helicopter or fixed-wing aircraft are available within the park or from Halls Creek, Kununurra or Warmun. This is the best way to gain a perspective of the Bungle Bungle's massive size and spectacular scenery.