We were only 30km out of Kununurra heading to Purnululu National Park or more commonly known as the Bungles, when we passed a road train (on sealed road) which threw up some stones that hit the front window hard. It wasn’t until we had gone another 10km when we noticed a crack on the window; it was slowly getting longer, so back to Kununurra we went. By the time we arrived at the repairer the crack was half way across the windscreen!! A few hours later we had a new windscreen.
Set off again the next day stopping for a break at Doon Doon roadhouse where we watched a large scrub fire that had just started. Mike offered to help but wasn't necessary. Drove onto a great rest stop at the turn off to National Park, a popular spot to leave your van or tent and do a day trip in, had a great night chatting to some fun characters! Early next morning we drove the van to Mable Downs Station for safe keeping. While booking in we heard the station owner chatting to rangers on the CB about a fire, so naturally we asked how bad and close it was. She assured us that it was nothing to be concerned about and so off we went. After 2hrs of 4WD driving we finally reach the rangers station and booked in to the Nat Pk. First stop was Echidna Chasm which was lovely and cool as it went deep into the mountain, quiet an exciting walk climbing over boulders, up ladders and though very narrow sections. We then went and set up camp for the night, completely unaware that the road in had been closed due to the fire. Packed up camp next morning and went on a hike to Piccaninny Creek lookout,Cathedral Gorge and the Dome walk. From the lookout we had a great view of the incredible Domes (rock formations) for which the Bungles are famous. As we were walking back we met a tour group that told us they had been flown in over the fire and were flying out!!! So we drove to the ranger station to find out that we were trapped in the park and everyone was to stay at the volunteers centre. The rangers were going to try and convoy everyone out at 5pm. The centre had a huge kitchen and lounge hall, showers and flushing toilets, luxury! We spent the afternoon lazing around meeting many people and trying to stay cool.
The wind picked up and so did the fire, resulting in the convoy being cancelled. We all had to camp there for the night, some set up camp while others like us laid out beds in the hall. It was a great night socialising with all these people, on tours, family holidays, interstate and overseas travellers. One great story of a Canadian couple from Adelaide and their parents visiting from Canada, who were stopped by a helicopter when they were driving out the day before! That’s not something you see every day!
Around 7pm it started to rain! The first rain we have seen in months and it was fantastic. The kids stripped off and ran around in it, we stood in the rain watching the red glow from the fire in the night sky.
It was a magic moment! The rangers came later to tell us that it missed the fire but that we would convoy out
at 5.30am before the heat of the day flared the fire up again.
We watched a great sunrise, swapped many email address and by 6.15 we started the surprisingly fast 1.5hr convoy out following Margie.
What an exciting few days!