I dare you to find another geologic feature on earth that looks more like its name than the Bungle Bungles of north Western Australia’s Purnululu National Park. Though the origin of the term is unknown with any certainty, many think it’s the mispronunciation of the local aboriginal word for a type of grass that grows in the area. Regardless, they look like a bungle of bungles. And the best way to see them is from above on a scenic flight over the Bungle Bungles!
These crazy striped mounds developed 360 million years ago as layer after layer of sand built up into dunes. Over time, gravel from mountain ranges deposited in the area, compacting with the sand, creating the weird beehive-like structures we see today.
AVIAR offers these scenic flights over the Bungle Bungles from Kununurra, Western Australia for $399 AUD. It’s a full day activity. They provide water bottles before your flight. Since it can get warm both on the 12 seat prop plane and in the Purnululu National Park, you’ll definitely want to stay hydrated.
The flight lasts about an hour each way. Since it is a small plane, you will feel more turbulence than on normal commercial flights. Bring motion sickness medication with you if you’re concerned about this.
Bring sunscreen, sun glasses and a hat, as the hike in the park will be exposed to sunlight!
What You’ll See From the Air
Your trip is more than just a scenic flight over the Bungle Bungles – you’ll also see many other sights from above, including:
- Lake Argyle & Ord River Dam
- Lake Argyle is Australia’s largest man-made lake and the 6th largest in the world. It has a surface area of 1000 square kms and a storage level of 5,797,000 mega liters.
- Argyle Diamond Mine
- This is one of the world’s largest suppliers of diamond. Notably, this mine is the world’s primary source of pink diamonds.
- Lissadell and Texas Downs Cattle Stations
- These cattle ranches are home to an estimated 500,000 cows, which is 25% of all of Western Australia.
- Carr Boyd Ranges
- These peaks and cliffs are dramatic against the otherwise stark landscape
Hiking in the Bungle Bungles
Most likely you will be going with a guide on a short (4 km) hike into the Bungle Bungles to see them from ground level. Once you land your guide will meet you and drive to the trail head. During the 20 minute ride, your guide will likely tell you about the native flora, aboriginal history in the area, and point out different formations in the honeycomb-shaped sandstone blobs all around you.
The hike is flat, but exposed. Your guide will take frequent breaks in shadier areas, so it doesn’t feel strenuous at all. There, are, however, some rocky portions and a small ladder to navigate.
The trail ends at Cathedral Gorge, a cave with a small lake inside, which is perfect for enjoying the shade and lunch.
Afterwards, it’s back out the way you came, and back on the plane to return to Kununurra, for one last scenic flight over the Bungle Bungles!
Watch: Flying Over the Kimberley