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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Osmand Range Lookout is located nearby. It is the best viewpoint in the national park in my opinion.
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!
At 5:30 am I’m already packed and walking towards the visitor centre. I experience the sunrise and see 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.