Cathedral Gorge and Dome Walk ex Purnululu (1/2 day)
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The landscape is extraordinarily majestic and we did a short helicopter ride showing the enormity of the park and amazing geological history. The camp areas were all excellent with plenty of room between each site.
The highlight of the visit and a must for all are the treks with Bec from Kingfisher Tours. We did the Echidna Chasm trek that included a short walk to the ridge that allowed Bec to explain her family and peoples relationship with Purnululu and included European history of the area. We then walked through the large Echidna chasm with Bec allowing us and the kids to all enjoy and learn along the way in our own time. Who knew that lying down on river rocks to watch the midday sun slowly (and then remarkably quickly) move down a large rock face would be so sublime, with Bec quietly encouraging us all to slow down and enjoy.
Bec is funny, relaxed and allows you to immerse yourself in this remarkable place. My partner did the full two day tour, flying in from Kununarra. She showed us through the Cathedral Gorge that she had spent the previous day exploring with Bec and others and was able to recount many of the incredible stories Bec told of her time growing up in there, where they slept, caught food and honey and played. It puts a profound context to visit and what is such a unique part of the Kimberley and Australia.
Don’t expect much park information about the indigenous history and their relationship to Purnululu, this was sadly (and surprisingly) lacking (unlike other areas including Geike Gorge) so the tours are an important part of understanding this amazing place. Thanks Bec and Kingfisher Tours for the great work.
Our pilot was excellent and provided the right level of commentary, also making sure that we could see from both sides of the plane.
We saw all the above, plus the Argyle Diamond Mine site, Wyndham and a lot of amazing scenery - folded landscapes, wilderness just going on and on, and the spectacular mangrove flats near Wyndham. Flying over Purnululu you realise just how vast the rocky mass is, and I have hundreds of great photos from this flight! Although I can't compare it to the heli flights at the park, I'd say that this was a fantastic way to see it!
All in all, I just can't recommend this flight enough. There was a great variety of things to see, the service was lovely (thanks for the Travacalm!) and if you do this you don't need to fly anywhere else in the East Kimberley because you will have already seen it and can laugh at the crazy expensive heli-flights you see everywhere! Excellent value ($480 p.p.) for all that we saw.
Once we landed and unloaded we share a hot cuppa before jumping into a beasty air coned 4WD that would easily seat 10 people heading for the base of the Punamii-unpuu trail. Happily greeted by the awesome staff and given a briefing for the helicopter flight back.
Each of us received a backpack filled with icy water, snacks, fruit and a devious roll for lunch — I loved how the team catered for our toddler with a ham and cheese sandwich and child appropriate snacks.
The walk was briefed at around 4.5kms and fairly moderate, I have to say I didn’t find it a strain, there were some areas where you need to watch your step — mainly wobbly rocks, however our amazing tour guide Jayden had these difficult spots covered and would jump ahead too assist. I noticed Jayden constantly asking anyone (not apart of the group) if they needed a hand, I was so impressed by his thoughtfulness. Jayden also breathed a wealth of knowledge, he was great to listen to and answered so many questions about the area, wildlife and culture.
We all including our 2 year old loved learning about the local ancient aboriginal rock paintings. We gradually moved on and explored waterholes and make our way through the tracks to Mitchell Falls.
We soon reached the falls where we set up a picnic under a shaded tree over looking the cascading water, it was flat and safe for our son to swim in little rock pools with dad, and lovely to cool off for myself.
Feeling refreshed we moved on to The Mitchell Fall lookout where we could see the 3 cascading falls, before our adventure helicopter flight back to base.
We had the best day! We cannot thank the team at Kingfisher tours enough, every stone was turned and the experience is one that we will treasure. The level of knowledge by Alex and Jayden was very impressive. THE BEST AND SAFEST TOUR COMPANY IN THE KIMBERLEYS BRAVO!