Wild-at-heart Western Australia is home to Purnululu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where fascinating geological landmarks and ancient rock art weave a tapestry of unforgettable experiences.
Located 300 kilometres south of Kununurra, Purnululu is home to the burnt orange and black striped domes of the Bungle Bungle Range, an unmissable icon in the Kimberley region. Until the early 1980s, few people had heard of these bulbous sandstone mounds. Tucked up against the Northern Territory border, with a rough dirt access track and located about 150 kilometres from Halls Creek, the curved peaks and spinifex-dominated sand plains were mostly hidden from the world’s view.
Traverse through the valleys that wind through the Bungle Bungle Range. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
It wasn’t until an airborne documentary crew captured this 2400-square-kilometre slice of wilderness in 1983 that the Bungle Bungle Range was introduced to the world. No doubt the Gija and Jaru peoples were surprised to hear the Bungle Bungles had been “discovered”. In 1987, this treasure was declared a national park, and about two decades ago it was inscribed on the UNESCO list for its “outstanding universal natural heritage values.”
Top Purnululu National Park sights to see
This enormous swathe of wilderness offers a diverse range of experiences, from tranquil nature walks to adrenaline-pumping helicopter adventures.
Bungle Bungle Range
Walk among ancient sandstone formations that have been shaped by the elements over 350 million years, resulting in a unique landscape of valleys and ridges.
The Bungle Bungle Range is a natural work of art. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
Cathedral Gorge is a natural amphitheatre of red rock located within the Bungle Bungle Range. The acoustics within this chamber are extraordinary, and the towering rock formations create a cathedral-like atmosphere that is both humbling and awe-inspiring.
Marvel at the sheer size of Cathedral Gorge. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
Echidna Chasm is a narrow gorge with walls up to 200 metres high that offers a moderately challenging but rewarding hike. The pathway leads to a secluded area where the sunlight dances off the walls, creating a mesmerising display of light and shadow.
Enter the narrow gorge at Echidna Chasm. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
The largest of all the gorges in Purnululu National Park, in the wet season, water flows along the creek between the red and black beehive domes. In the dry season, visitors can walk along the dry creek bed to see more of the Bungle Bungle Range and the interesting shapes created in the creek bed by the flow of the water.
Mini Palms Gorge
Mini Palms Gorge is a hidden gem within the park, offering a moderate hike that leads to a secluded palm grove. The trail winds through a narrow gorge, flanked by towering cliffs, before opening up to reveal a tranquil oasis, complete with a natural pool and a grove of Livistona palms.
Top tours in Purnululu National Park
Guided tours offer an enriching way to explore the park’s many wonders, from its unique geological features to its rich Indigenous heritage.
APT Tours are led by experienced guides who offer valuable insights into the park’s diverse ecosystems and geological formations.
Journey through Purnululu National Park on a 4WD tour. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
After a full day exploring highlights including Piccaninny Creek and Cathedral Gorge, you can finish the day watching the sunset over the Bungle Bungle Range with a glass of bubbly in hand.
Fiery hues colour the sky over the Bungle Bungle Range. (Image: Tourism Australia)
A scenic flight over Purnululu National Park offers a bird’s-eye view of the iconic Bungle Bungle Range, providing a new perspective on the sheer scale and beauty of this natural wonder.
Get a bird’s-eye view of the monolith on a scenic flight.
Departing from Kununurra, Aviair offers short two-hour trips up to full-day tours that include walks to Cathedral Gorge, Piccaninny Gorge and Echidna Chasm.
Aviair offers a range of tours within Purnululu National Park.
For those looking for an even more intimate aerial experience, helicopter tours offer the opportunity to hover over key landmarks and even land in some otherwise inaccessible areas.
Book a memorable helicopter adventure with Helispirit. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
Helispirit has knowledgeable guides who can provide in-depth information about the park’s geology and history.
Hover above Purnululu National Park on a HeliSpirit helicopter tour.
Guided hiking tours
Guided hiking tours offer a more grounded way to explore the park’s natural beauty. Led by experienced guides, locally owned Bungle Bungle Guided Tours offer guests visits to hidden gorges, secluded waterholes and ancient art sites.
Indigenous-led tours will give you unique insight into the value of this iconic landmark. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
Choose from day tours from Kununurra, walks from Purnululu and Bungle Bungle overnight tours.
A hiking tour will give you an up-close view of the park’s natural wonders. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
Accommodation and Camping
Purnululu offers a variety of accommodation options to suit all preferences, from the rustic allure of bush camping to the luxurious comforts of air-conditioned cabins. See our handy guide to Purnululu National Park accommodation.
Camp near Purnululu National Park’s iconic attractions. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
Bungle Bungle Caravan Park
Located just off the main highway, Bungle Bungle Caravan Park offers a range of accommodation options, from cabins and safari tents to powered and unpowered sites. The park also offers 4WD bus tours and scenic helicopter flights, adding an extra layer of adventure to your stay.
Walardi Campground is a public facility managed by the Department of Parks and Wildlife. It offers basic amenities like bush toilets and bore water taps, but its real charm lies in its proximity to some of Purnululu’s most iconic attractions.
Bungle Bungle Savannah Lodge
If you want luxury and a top location, then make a beeline for the Bungle Bungle Savannah Lodge.
End the day beside the outdoor firepit at Bungle Bungle Savannah Lodge. (Image: CJ Maddock)
The 27 hard-walled cabins with timber flooring have ensuite bathrooms with eco-friendly products and the lodge is home to the only swimming pool in the park.
A stay at Savannah Lodge means you will get access to the only pool in the park. (Image: CJ Maddock)
Plan your trip to Purnululu National Park
How to get there
The journey to Purnululu is an adventure in itself. The park is accessible only by 4WD, and the drive offers numerous opportunities for scenic photography and wildlife spotting. Fly into Kununurra Airport, hire a car and drive three hours south to Purnululu National Park or join a land-based or air tour.
Opt for a helicopter tour to get the most of your trip. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
Best time to visit
The ideal time to visit Purnululu is during the dry season, from May to September. During these months, the weather is more accommodating, and the park’s various attractions are easily accessible.
Explore the park’s top attractions like The Bungle Bungle Range. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
Fuel and supplies
Before setting off, make sure you’re well-stocked with fuel and essential supplies. The nearest fuel stations and grocery stores can be quite a distance away, so it’s always better to be prepared.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the entry fees for Purnululu National Park?
A: The entry fee for Purnululu National Park is $15 per vehicle, which is valid for one day.
Step into the remote wilderness of Purnululu National Park. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
Q: Are pets allowed in the park?
A: No, pets are not allowed in Purnululu National Park to protect the native wildlife.
Q: Is it safe to swim in the gorges?
A: Swimming is generally not recommended due to the presence of freshwater crocodiles in some areas.
Freshwater crocodiles inhabit some of the gorges within the park. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
Q: Do I need a 4WD to access the park?
A: Yes, a 4WD vehicle is required to access Purnululu National Park due to the rugged terrain.
Q: Are guided tours available?
A: Yes, there are several guided tour options available, ranging from 4WD adventures to scenic flights.
Explore the majestic domes with Bungle Bungle Guided Tours.