7 June 2002
I rose with the sun the next day and made myself a coffee and went out for a walk to observe the area at dawn. There were dingo tracks in a clay pan close by the camp. You could hear the dingos howling at night, and we had spotted one on the drive in, a skinny but otherwise healthy-looking specimen that didn’t seem too fazed by the noisy four-wheel drive bus.
The dawn was lovely. A ridge to the west turned crimson and mauve as the sun rose in the east over the massif of the Bungles. A lovely native bush flower called Mulla Mulla glowed in the early morning light, and I poked around dry creek beds and clay pans, enjoying the colours and textures.
I went back to the dining room around 7.00 a.m. and had a hearty breakfast of bacon and eggs on toast. The others joined me soon after that. Clare lived up to her reputation as the Breakfast Queen, downing three bowls of tinned fruit, followed by bacon and eggs, washed down with Milo.
Ruby and Clare got on famously with the other campers, and won their affection very quickly. Roo organised some of them into a game on the bus, and they obviously enjoyed the kids’ good humour and lively personalities.
Our tour on the second day took us to the famous Beehive Domes on the southern perimeter of the Bungles. Walking around these strange formations was a joy. Our guide filled us in on the current theory as to their formation. They are carved by the winds that blow across the Tanami and Gibson Deserts. The black and orange stripes are features of the surface crust on the mounds. The black is caused by cyanobacteria growing in the layers of silt, and the orange is generated by iron oxide leaching onto the surface of the courser layers, and being fixed there by silica. We paused for morning tea on a platform that looked out over to the southern-most outcrops, and onto the flat plain out of which the Bungles arise, and which eventually leads to the vast expanses of the Tanami Desert.
From the rock platform we made our way across the carved bedrock of Piccaninny Creek to another chasm known as the Bat Cave, where the tour guide produced from off of a rock ledge the slender skin shed by one of the rock pythons that frequent this cool spot.
Finally we headed up Cathedral Gorge to enjoy one of the truly magnificent sights of the Bungles. We had lunch in the cool quiet of the Cathedral, and Ruby and I went for a quick dip in the ice cold pool that lay within.
After this we returned to the car park, and thence to the airstrip where we met Tony who drove us back to Turkey Creek Roadhouse. We arrived at 6.00 p.m. and filled up on fast food in the roadhouse.
The following day we did what we could to catch up on school. Tonight is our final night in Warmun. Tomorrow we will visit the Arts Centre, and then Halls Creek. We have yet to finalise our plans for the next leg of the journey.