Hitchhiking Australia Part 3 – Bungle Bungle and Litchfield

In Australia majority of traffic starts at sunrise and dies at sunset. In remote places every single car is important. Getting up early pays off. Vince already learned about Polish hitchhiker who saw a snake. He takes me to Tunnel Creek National Park.

Vince grew up on a cattle range. Only 25 people around. Doctors and nurses were arriving by plane and supplies delivered twice a year.

The cave is not lighten and my head torch is not the best. The creek is not very deep and I force my way through the mud. I join a random Aussie exploring the cave. He tells me about sweet water crocodile lurking in the water. It is not really dangerous, but I feel uncomfortable not seeing it.

Tunnel Creek
Tunnel Creek

Beautiful rock structures were formed by water and time. We reach the end of the cave. The area around is very green. It creates a colourful contrast, I enjoy a lot.

Tunnel Creek National Park
Tunnel Creek National Park

Ken and Anne saw me hitchhiking previous day. We stop in Fitzroy Crossing. I buy more food and gather info about Purnululu National Park. It is known as Bungle Bungle due to shape of the range. I spend the night camping next to the highway.

Sunset on the road
Sunset on the road
My campsite in Bungle Bungle
My campsite in Bungle Bungle

I’m happy to arrive to Purnululu National Park before the sunset. Jeff is a ranger, he likes to be outside, but hates paperwork. He takes me to an excellent viewpoint.

Kungkalanayi sunset lookout
Kungkalanayi sunset lookout

I meet a cheerful group of tourists. I’m handed a cup of wine and enjoy the sunset together. They invite me to join them for dinner. Pete is a sonar technician, Sarah and Judith are nurses. Good music and happy vibe, I enjoy their company.

I aim to see everything in a single day. The sunrise finds me on the road. I notice bowerbirds and hawks during my hike. Mandy and Mark take me to the Picanniny Creek car park and refill my water bottle. At 7:30 am the temperature rises to 30 degrees Celsius.

I admire 350 million years old rocky domes from up close.

Cathedral Gorge is located nearby. It is a major attraction of Purnululu National Park.

Cathedral Gorge entrance
Cathedral Gorge entrance

The walls of the gorge are high, you feel small and feeble in front of them. Amphitheatre is made of red rock. It has amazing acoustics. I try it out and hear the echo bouncing off walls.

Cathedral Gorge
Cathedral Gorge

I follow Picanniny Creek to Whip Snake Gorge. Dry creek bed is fun to hike and explore. Numerous water holes create beautiful scenery. I visit Natural Window and a viewpoint located along the creek.

Natural Window
Natural Window

I rest at the car park and wait for a lift, I’m dehydrated. Booty and his wife are driving to Bloodwoods Lookout. We stop in the visitor centre, I buy water and chocolate bar. The flora around the viewpoint is stunning.

Bloodwoods Lookout flora
Bloodwoods Lookout flora

I hike through Mini Palms Gorge, it is lots of fun. Rocks in the area are made of hundreds of smaller stones, which rounded by water, were embedded in a sandy matrix. I haven’t seen anything like it before.

A rock structure formed by stones, sand and water
A rock structure formed by stones, sand and water

The hike requires certain level of fitness. Sometimes you need to squeeze in between or underneath rocks. You can see a variety of palm trees in gorge and high above.

Mini Palms Gorge
Mini Palms Gorge

Echidna Chasm is a massive rock structure. Soon I’m surrounded by walls up to 200 metres high. The sun shines through rocks. I love it.

Exploring Echidna Chasm
Exploring Echidna Chasm

Osmand Range Lookout is located nearby. It is the best viewpoint in the national park in my opinion.

Osmand Range Lookout
Osmand Range Lookout

Purnululu National Park delivers a unique experience. I walk back to my camp and take pictures of sunset. 35 km on foot and more hitchhiking. I’ve seen everything I wanted, what a day!

Sunset in Purnululu National Park
Sunset in Purnululu National Park

At 5:30 am I’m already packed and walking towards the visitor centre. I experience the sunrise and see a rainbow.

A rainbow
A rainbow

Tim and Tanya are on their holiday with kids. They reallocate some luggage to fit me into their car. We travel together to Kununurra. I find cheap backpackers hostel. A hot shower! I wash clothes, buy food and play table tennis with other backpackers. There is a rodeo outside of town, but I’m too tired and take it easy.

David  performed a gig during the rodeo. His band played Eagle Rock song. It’s a tradition in certain localities for people to drop their pants when the song starts. Suddenly, he sees a row of half naked people in front of him. David gives me a lift to Catherine. 500 km within a day is an average distance I aim to hitchhike.

Timber Creek Roadhouse visitor
Timber Creek Roadhouse visitor

Katherine is quiet. I grab a map with hiking trails from the visitor centre and hitch towards Katherine Gorge. It is late afternoon, but I don’t want to wait until the morning. Certain hikes are closed and taking a boat is too pricey for me. Camping on trail requires a permit, but the office is closed. 12 km hike should get me back before dark.

Katherine Gorge
Katherine Gorge

I find a tap with water, which boost my energy levels, but the trail gets tougher. The sun sets surprisingly quickly, I turn on my head torch.

Overnight hike?
Overnight hike?

I start to walk back to Katherine Gorge campsite. The trail is well marked with reflective signs and I don’t get lost. I safely arrive to my campsite, setup up my tent and rest.

Katherine is a frienly and chatty veterinarian. I notice a toy in her car that resembles her features and joke about it. It’s a gift from a little girl whose pet she helped. It’s not always roses. Playing with pets is one thing, putting down a suffering dog is not fun, but it needs to be done. She loves her job.

Ben and Rose are business partners from Sydney on the way to Darwin. They drop me at the cinema. I want to see the movie ‘John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum’. It’s a fast paced action film with great performance from Keanu Reeves and Halle Berry.

I walk to Darwin’s waterfront, relax and observe people around me. Kids are playing and adults socialising. I enjoy quiet time.

Mitchell Street in Darwin
Mitchell Street in Darwin

Many people told me to skip Kakadu National Park. ‘Kaka-don’t’ is an expression I hear a lot. The park is difficult to hitchhike and certain locations are closed, I decide to see Litchfield National Park instead.

Peter is travelling to Litchfield, he wants to sightsee the area and fancy company. 74 year old Aussie is energetic and passionate about travel. We have a lot in common, Peter’s grandfather was Polish. We stop in Batchelor and collect excellent detailed maps of the area.

We start sightseeing Litchfield with Cascades and a Plunge Pool. The flora remindes me of South East Asia, I feel nostalgic.

Cascades in Litchfield National Park
Cascades in Litchfield National Park

Beautiful Wangi Falls are a popular spot. People are camping and enjoying picnic. Some are swimming in the pool, the water is nice. The circulat trail takes me above falls, I don’t see much.

Wangi Falls
Wangi Falls

Lost City is a bunch of rock formations accessible only by 4WD car. It’s nothing great, but I enjoy Peter’s company. He offers to cook us diner, the pork stew is excellent. I go for a swim in Florence Falls, the water is refreshing. We enjoy conversation until sunset and surrend to mosquito.

Florence Falls
Florence Falls

Peter is heading the same direction, he offers me a ride. The road South is rather monotonous. We stop in Mataranka and visit Bitter Springs. The water is hot and the place is beautiful, but sand flies and mosquito are nuisance.

Bitter Springs in Mataranka
Bitter Springs in Mataranka

We find a place clear of bush and camp. Peter is cooking again, I take care of dishes. We  see an abandoned car on the side of the road. The cost of the toll and repair must be too high. We stop seeing a woman walking. She is going from Alice Springs to Darwin for charity. Her crew follows behind. We pass Threeways Roadhouse and turn East. A bunch of eagles is blocking the road. They protect their prey, a kangaroo.

Rest area at random gas station
Rest area at random gas station

We leave Northern Territory and enter Queensland. We find great camping in Camooweal. 1600 km with Peter. This part of Australia is very remote, I haven’t imagined to be so lucky.

With Peter at Camooweal campsite
With Peter at Camooweal campsite
My journey
A)Windjana National Park B)Purnunulu National Park/Bungle Bungle C)Kununurra D)Katherine E)Darwin F)Litchfield National Park G)Threeways Roadhouse H)Camooweal

28 thoughts on “Hitchhiking Australia Part 3 – Bungle Bungle and Litchfield

  1. I thought you were lost somewhere in the outback…..but no you turn up with another amazing blog of your travels……Look forward to the final one before you end in Cairns…..Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Majority of time I travelled by stopping cars and asking for lift, but sometimes you need to find good place for car to stop. I love to hike in forest and mountains. Sometimes 20 km or more a day. In New Zealand I walked 90 km in 2 days, Heaphy Track is quite special, you can see kiwi bird.

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    1. Bungle Bungle is one of the most beautiful and unique places in Australia. Sweetwater crocodiles shouldn’t attack you unless you annoy them, I didn’t test that theory though.

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    1. There are many tracks in Australia, but I find many of them boring. Tasmania supposed to be the best, comparable to New Zealand, which is superb.

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  2. Your post makes me excited about Australia. I will be spending the holiday in the Australian summer, and hope my experience will be great.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Depending on the area the most troublesome are mosquito and sand flies. In some places you shouldn’t really walk without a fly net, it can be really bad.

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