Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Bingles and Bungles

Stray – A Animals!

After weaving through the roaming cattle on the Northern Highway we headed towards the world heritage listed Bungle Bungle Ranges. ?The next bend revealed a long line of 4WD?s and caravans that had come to a halt. A traffic jam in the outback is so unusual that it usually indicates some sort of disaster up ahead.

We pulled off the bitumen and could see that three huge 4WD motorhomes had also pulled over up ahead. And a strange-shaped ?something? was plopped right in the middle of the road!

Proof I was there!

The driver jumped out to investigate and soon I could see the little fella helping to push the wreckage of the road. As he ran back to bounce he tapped on each drivers? door advising them to pull off the road. Some old codgers ignored him and must have got quite a shock when a road train marked ?wide load? carrying super-sized mining equipment came hurtling down the wrong side of the road toward them!

Our Tour Bus

Apparently, the three motorhomes had all been travelling together when one of them lost his custom-built 4WD trailer. It had broken clean across the drawbar and went spinning out of control, bouncing three times before it landed like a warped metal sculpture in the centre of the road. Luckily, no one was injured but all their belongings including eskies, bbq, tables, gas bottles, a generator and even a wheelchair were left strewn across both lanes.

After the road train had passed all the other nosey but unhelpful travellers were waved on through, while a gang of us continued to pick up the mess on the road. So many things were broken beyond repair but at least the wheelchair still looked okay.

The three motorhome couples in their late fifties were all in shock, especially the owner of the trailer. His wife was dying of cancer and it had been his idea to take this trip together. He wanted to fulfill her long-held dream to travel around the country before she got too sick.

But as they had all been following his vehicle, he?d almost killed his best friends in the process.

Mabel Downs Station, NT
Mabel Downs Station, NT

We followed them all the way to our next camp at Mabel Downs Station. This massive pastoral leasehold is the gateway to the Purnululu National Park with the recently listed world heritage Bungle Bungle Ranges at its heart. The park is accessed down a rough 53km track that crosses rivers and traverses deep rocky gullies. It?s notorious for bursting tyres, so we boarded a custom-built 4WD tour bus to take us into the park.

It was still a rough bumpy ride but we enjoyed the company of the group, the gourmet picnic lunch as well as the wicked sense of humour of our tour guide. The walks in and around the striped bell-shaped rocky ranges were all equally stunning from Cathedral to Echidna Gorges, The Dome to Chasm Trails and Osamand to Piccaninny Lookouts.


We topped off a ripper of a day with a camp oven dinner of beef stew and damper under the big top. Later, we all sat under a clear star-filled sky swapping stories with our fellow campers from all parts of the globe around a roaring campfire. Another tick on the drivers bucket list ? Cheers!







You really are touring with Fred Friendly aren’t you? Ian just can’t help himself, has to be involved in everything. You’re meeting some great people along the way 🙂

July 29, 2014 at 12:21 pm
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He’s such a hero… we should probably nominate him for Ian of the year!

July 31, 2014 at 5:52 am

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When Danielle?s not busy writing, she loves to read, attend writing events and travel as much as possible. Exploring also provides plenty of opportunity for Danielle to indulge in her favourite sports of eavesdropping and people watching, which manages to fill her notebooks with even more story ideas.

Meet Danielle



My Favourite Books

Past the Shallows
We Don't Live Here Anymore
The Last Ride
Darkness on the Edge of Town
The Ottoman Motel
The Shadow of the Wind
The Book Thief
On the Jellicoe Road
Dirt Music
The Broken Shore
Foal's Bread
The Midnight Dress
Burial Rites
Angel Rock
The Vale Girl