Purnululu & The Long Shortcut

Blog #22 – The Bungle Bungles & The Long Shortcut – Days 183 to 189 of 220 (Maybe)

The Bungle Bungles

On the road again!  My first thoughts were to drive down to Turkey Creek, now called Warnum, although I like the character of the former name.  There was supposed to be scenic helicopter flight company based there but when I arrived, I found it to be closed and had moved down to Spring Creek and a further 60 klm down the road.  In hindsight I should have fueled up there as you tend to use more fuel on rough dirt roads than you imagine.  Still, I had enough as I had topped off the three 20 litre plastic jerrycans when I left Wyndham which adds 340 klms to my range.

The Bungle Bungle Range was formed over 350 million years ago, the gradual weathering and erosion of the range has resulted in the dome formations. These rock formations were not known to the public until the early 1980’s when a film crew from Perth were in the area and were told by local stockmen that there is an area that they should check out. Since then, it has become increasingly popular with tourists and tour operators.

The Bungle Bungle Ranges are located only 53km (plus an extra 20 klm to the campsites) off of the Great Northern Highway, though due to the rough road conditions it generally takes about 2 hours to travel into the National Park. 

The name Bungle Bungle is what the area is commonly called, though it is located inside of the Purnululu National Park. The word Purnululu refers to the range, meaning sandstone in the local language of the Kija people. The name Bungle Bungle or Bungles is now what the range is now known as, though the origins of the name are not well known, some say it is a reference to a Kimberley grass called Bundle Bundle grass.  My helicopter pilot had a far more colourful story on the name in that setting up the National Park that there were multiple bungling and inept attempts to classify the area that it became known as the Bungle Bungles – I like this story better.

The domes are famous not just because of their shape but also the prominent black and orange bands that wrap around them. The darker bands are from an algae growth on the outside layer, while the lighter orange band is an oxidised iron compound.

Onto Spring Creek and the Bungle Bungle Caravan Park.  I booked in for 2 days before I realised that the flights that I wanted (doors off) were only done from the Bellburn Airstrip a further 73 klm into the park (their office was closed otherwise I would not have stayed here).  Once I had paid for the booking, I was staying whether I liked it or not.  This was one of the most expensive caravan parks I have stayed at costing $50 a night for power and one person.  I had been reading that the road in was a shocker with the ranger station some 53 klm from the caravan park.  After talking to the helicopter pilot at the park he recommended I drive in and make my booking in person as they couldn’t do it. 

So camp setup it was then the trek into the park.  What a goat track!!  Six water crossings with one up to the top of the wheels it was very rough & corrugated.  I was so pleased to finally reach the ranger station.  More surprises for me in that I had book online to stay in the campground closest to the airstrip but they had no Telstra service out there.  I would do this on my return later that afternoon.  A big thanks to Robin at the station for helping to get this sorted.  She didn’t charge me a park entry fee as I was only coming in to book a flight then I would be returning in two days.

The road past the ranger station, whilst corrugated, was not as bad out to the airstrip.  They even have car stickers at the ranger station saying ‘I survived the road into the Bungle Bungles’.  It is good to see Aussie humour still working in the Outback.

I always knew that it would be no mean feat to get a helicopter flight at short notice and was not surprised when the young lady told me the earliest, they could do would be on Thursday at 10am as they did not do any doors off flights before that time.  The cost would be $550 so not cheap but it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity.  Surprisingly they told me not to pay just in case something went wrong and they could not get another person to share the cost as they needed a minimum of 2 passengers.  Now that would be disappointing after waiting 4 days to do the trip.

The tortuous drive back out with the road not improved (wishful thinking on my part) seemed never-ending.  The 150 klm round trip took 4 ½ hours of driving.  I now realised why the caravan park existed out near the highway as only high clearance 4WD & single axle off-road camper trailers were allowed on the road in.  All the ‘normal’ tourists could only fly in or travel in on large offroad tourist coaches as their vehicles would be wrecked on this road.

This road was so bad that my front right bash plate shook two of the bolts out and was hanging by the last bolt.  This had happened once before out on the Mereenie Loop when the same thing happened to the front left bash plate on my birthday.  That time Greg had fixed it for me and I just need to find the right sized nuts and bolts plus some soft ground to lie on and affect the repairs – I am getting soft in my old age!!  Before I left home 6 months ago, I had purchased a roll of No 8 wire and pair of fencing pliers.  It goes to show if you watch enough videos about bush mechanics that a length of No 8 wire can fix just about anything.  A short length of wire through the bolt hole and around the edge with a few twists and it is as good as new.  Given that I am facing 1100 klm of the Tanami track in the next week I will wait until I get to Alice Springs to make a more permanent fix.  The other problem was the accumulation of dust once again into the rear door locking mechanism.  I used my small compressor to blow out as much as I can but will need to research a more permanent solution once I get home if I want to do more long dirt roads.

Managed to get back to the caravan park just on dark.  Logged onto WA Parks site and tried to book my stay at Walardi Campground for 3 nights but could not get it to work.  Decided dinner was more important and would try again in the morning.  Next morning, I was up early to try and make the booking again with no success.  Obviously, the site was having difficulties so I found the contact numbers for the park plus the regional office in Kunnunurra but as it was only 0630, I would have to wait until normal people went to work at 0900!!

Managed to reach a lovely lady named Shannon who took all my details and would check with their main office and ring me back.  It took a couple of hours but she did ring back and confirmed that the site was down but she could take my booking over the phone.  Excellent news and I soon had three days booked in at Walardi Campground @ $10 a night plus I would need to stop in at the ranger station and pay the $8 park entrance fee.  Very cheap compared to the caravan park although there was no water out there for showers.  I could live with that and settle for bush baths using the bore water out there.

That afternoon we had a windstorm rip through the park smashing people’s awnings, tearing down the awning over the bar and causing mayhem.  It only lasted about thirty seconds but did cause some damage to people’s campsites. I had pegged down my awning quite well using 30 cm steel pegs and spring-loaded ropes so my campsite was OK.  The family across from me had their guy ropes ripped out of the ground and the awning on their second vehicle collapsed.  I knew that they had gone into the park on the early morning tour so I went over and reset everything for them as good neighbours should.  I had not realised but this was a very windy place but it may just be the season.

Early to bed again for another camp shift the next morning.  The wind was still roaring around the campsite gusting to 40 klm/hr so I hadn’t been able to pack up as much as I wanted to do.  It was still gusting when I woke up but my weather apps said that it should die down by 0800.  One thing I do have to be careful with my awning is it can be dangerous if the wind gets under it when I am stowing it away.  I have had a couple of mishaps where the poles have ripped out of the centre buckle and snapped a couple of plastic joiners.  The lessons I have now learned is to fold up the poles but just loosen the tie down ropes so that they will stop the wind from lifting the awning.  Then the trick is to release the ropes as you walk the sections around to stow them.  Very clever of me!!!  I am sure others have learned this trick.

Given the poor state of the road I also dropped the tyre pressure on both the car and the trailer to help dampen down the rough road.  Finally underway at 0830 with wind still gusting strongly.  I would definitely be going slow so as not to beat up the equipment. 

Dropped in at the ranger station and paid my park entrance fee plus had my booking confirmed.  Very odd this booking system for this park as there are two campgrounds – one with bookings handled by the ranger station and the other (Walardi) only booked online but confirmed at the ranger station – weird.  Walardi Campgrounds has two sections – one for ‘quiet’ campers i.e. no generators and the other some distance away so campers can run their generators to run their electrics.  Given the raucous noise of flocks of Corellas & Red-tailed Black Cockatoos from 0500 in the morning until sunset I think they should re-define quiet!

Now the wait.  In the two days I drove around the park taking photos from vantage points but due to the heat did not do any walks into the chasms.  Even the younger people who did those walks told me it was quite debilitating doing the 2 – 4 klm treks in and out due to heat radiating from the rocks.  I would love to come back but it would be much earlier in the season when it is cooler.  Still, I did take some nice sunset shots of the glowing rocks but the piece de resistance would be the aerial flight.

An aerial flight with the doors off sounds quite exciting when I made the request but the reality was very different.  That day began quite windy at ground level so I was expecting a bit of turbulence.  I was up early in anticipation and arrived at the airstrip an hour before the flight.  Luckily for me there was another couple to make the trip worthwhile.  The aircraft was a Robinson R44 Raven I which could take the pilot and 3 passengers.  As a child growing up in the Territory of Papua & New Guinea the locals called all helicopters “Mix Master bilong Jesus Christ” which I always took to mean that no-one in their right mind would fly in these skyriding buckets of bolts especially with the doors off. 

After we had our mandatory safety lecture about not stepping out of the aircraft in flight – as if you would – it was time to fly.  I was settled in behind the pilot and buckled in with a three-point harness.  I had decided to take two cameras with a wide angle (16-35mm) and a zoom (100-500mm) to get the most of my opportunities.  In the end I rarely used the 100-500mm as we flew quite low.  Both cameras were set (Canon settings) using Auto ISO, f11 (for depth of field) and 1/1250 sec on the 16-35mm + 1/2500 sec on the 100-500mm and AI Servo plus High-speed Continuous (this means 14 frames per second (fps) on the Canon 1Dx II & 20 fps on the Canon R6.  An article from another photographer recommended the settings when flying in a helicopter due to the amount of vibration you experience.  Fingers crossed that this would be work as it was almost impossible to chimp the screen on the backs of the cameras due to the vibrations.

It was the longest 42 minutes of my life and I almost got off and kissed the ground when we returned.  The ride was very shaky due to the winds but also exhilarating as we toured over the range.  From the air you do really get a different perspective of what the landscape looks like.  I hope you enjoy the photographs.  In that short flight I took nearly 1500 shots most of which I relied on the camera settings being correct and the back button focus doing its job as you could not lift the heavy camera due to the slipstream roaring past the door.  The camera was handheld as steady as I could get it (not easy with a 3 kg weight handheld continuously) and pointed in the general direction of the rock formations.  Talk about pray and spray.

The next day I was to pack and leave so it was also time to plan the next step.  This meant getting the maps out checking mileage down the Tanami Track to my next stop at Wolfe Creek to see the meteorite crater and avoid Mick Taylor!  Luckily for me the actor John Jarratt was in lockdown in Melbourne so I was relatively safe.  The distance from Halls Creek to Alice Springs is 1050 klm plus the 180 klm from my campsite to Halls Creek.  The game plan was to do from my campsite to Wolfe Creek on the first day on the track a distance of 332 klm.  Fuel management would become critical on this leg as the WA government had closed the two Aboriginal settlements for visitors at Billiluna & Balgo due to the fear that tourists would bring COVID to these communities.  This meant that the next fuel stop would be at Yuendumu 800 klm away (760 klm + 40 klm for the diversion into Wolfe Creek).  My normal range with full tanks towing a trailer is around 850 klm plus the extra 48 litres in jerrycans on the roof should see me OK even without another fuel stop at one of the aboriginal communities.

Early next morning I was up and about with the help of nature’s alarm clock with the cockies raucous calling as they woke the woke the world around me.  All packed and on the road by 0700.  The trip out had not improved but at least I could pick the best road lines out and through the water crossing after my three previous trips on this goat track.  Just short of the caravan park near the highway I spotted a large caravan on his way in.  I flagged them down as I knew they would not survive the drive in with the water crossings and steep in and out paths.  It turned out to be Ken & Christine from Perth whom I had met in Wyndham the previous week.  They had only seen the blurb saying the track was suitable for single axle trailers (but not the part about no caravans) so agreed to find a turnaround and come back out.  They might have made it in but it really is not worth the potential damage in thousands of dollars to vehicle and caravan.  I was airing up when they came back and were looking for a place to stay near Halls Creek when I remembered that there was a waterhole called Palm Springs on the Duncan Road outside Halls Creek which would be a relative safe campsite being 27 klm out of town.

At this stage I had a fuel filter error pop up telling me something was wrong with the fuel feed so I rang the Toyota dealership in South Australia who had done the last replacement and spoke to their head mechanic.  The vehicle had only done about 12k since the last one had been replaced and I had thought they should last about 20k before replacement.  The mechanic told me that he recommends they be replaced around 12 to 15k if you do a lot of dirt road driving using country fuel.  All good now all I needed was to find a mechanic to replace it with the spare I was carrying.  But that would be in Halls Creek.  Luckily for me there was a Toyota dealership in Halls Creek but I would have to wait two hours for the mechanic to get back from another job.

Stocked up on groceries, beer & fuel then back to wait for the mechanic.  All fixed in 20 minutes but by now it was well after lunch. I told Ken & Christine I was going to head through to Wolfe Creek rather than drive out to Palm Springs and bid them farewell to continue my journey.

When I started this journey, I had been hoping to tick off some iconic drives which had been on my bucket list forever.  Now I was about to do the second of the iconic 4WD tracks on this trip – first the Oodnadatta Track and now the Tanami Track although these days it is more regarded as a road than a track.  So just south of Halls Creek I turned off the tar onto a dusty but well-maintained dirt road and headed for Wolfe Creek Meteorite Crater.

Before I had gone far, I came across four young people standing beside an old Toyota troop carrier.  They were three teachers and the social worker from the Aboriginal settlement of Balgo on their way to Halls Creek.  They had totally destroyed the rear tyre and it was in shreds.  They had gotten the jack out but had no idea how to use it.  Most hydraulic jacks have a small bleed unit which must be tight for you to pump up the hydraulic ram to lift the vehicle then undone to lower the jack when finished.   Then we found the jack was too small to lift it high enough as this model jack was designed for cars not 4WDs.  By this time another ute pulled over and it was driven by one of the teacher’s student’s parents from Balgo. Luckily, he had a much larger jack so I didn’t have to use my airbag jack.  Finally got the tyre replaced and started packing everything away after a ½ hour and some slips (those Troopies are notoriously top heavy and can be dangerous working on them especially on a slope).  The foursome looked rather buggered after their long day, traveling up from Balgo some 250 klm away, so I gave them a beer each to tide them over until they got to town.  So, I left them smiling and enjoying their cans as I headed west.  My good deed for the day was done!

After I left them, the road became pretty ordinary then slightly worse once I reached the turnoff to Wolfe Creek 140 klm later.  Instead of the 15 klm I was expecting it was actually 20 klm and it was badly corrugated in patches.  Finally, I made the campsite on dusk.  I was too tired to put the awning out that night and settled for 2-minute noodles for dinner then bed.  But not before checking that there were no Mick’s in the other two camps – there wasn’t so it was safe to go to bed.

Up early the next morning to go and check the crater out.  I saw the others were also up but packing to leave and by the time I returned from walking up to the crater and taking the obligatory photos they had gone.  I was going to camp here for 2 days but having taken my photos and my knees would not take the 3 klm hike around the crater rim I too, decided to pack and leave after a leisurely breakfast.

Wolfe Creek Meteorite Crater

Back on the main road by 1000am time to head for the state border with NT some 220 klm away.  Yuendumu, my next fuel stop was 655 klm away and my tank range was saying 545 klm plus the 3 jerrycans on the roof so I should have plenty.  Just got back to the road when the car stopped with no power. Not what I was expecting so opened the bonnet and started investigating.  Culprit was easy to find as the corrugations had shaken the main wire loose from the battery terminal.  Soon had that tightened and crimped back into place.  Car fired up and I was best pleased that it was an easy fix.  Back on the road again. 

I drove past Billiluna & the Balgo turnoff then came across the WA Police patrolling closer to the border.  I was asked to pull over for a licence check and asked where was I going.  Happy to oblige as I knew they were doing their job keeping the state safe.  I had also noticed an improvement in the road conditions since leaving Wolfe Creek and when I asked them, they just laughed and told me that the grader crews had been working on that section from the border back to Billiluna only in the past two weeks so I was lucky.

Finally reached the border not that you would notice.  Just a small sign on the side of the road with WA on one side and NT on the other.  Ten kilometres past the border it was time to have a late lunch as the road on the NT side was getting rougher and more corrugated.  After a lovely fresh fruit salad that I had purchased in Halls Creek time to start again but I could see a large dust cloud approaching from the east and thinking large road train decided to wait until he had come and gone so I was engulfed by dust.  Ten minutes later the dust was closer but it was not a road train but three graders taking up the whole roadway.  This was my lucky day as when I contacted them, they told me that they had just finished grading the road from The Granites to this spot in the last 5 days.  Now was the time to be on the road as it was as smooth as tar.  You could maintain 90 klm along this fresh section of road which was excellent.

WA/NT border

I had hoped to do some bird photography whilst out on the Tanami as this was the home of the Princess Parrot, one of Australia’s most beautiful and rarest birds, there is only an estimated 5000 of them left in the wild I knew I would need to be extremely lucky.  Sadly, never saw a feather of them or any other bird but raptors along the track. 

As it was getting late in the afternoon it was time to look for a campsite.  On my maps there was supposed to be a bore and a campsite at Renahan’s Bore which was a 100 klms past The Granites where there is a huge gold mine.  Amazingly they have a huge 4G tower so I stopped to message friends that I was OK and where I was before continuing.  After the mine the road deteriorated badly and became very corrugated.  Fuel consumption was now becoming a concern as the burn rate had increased dramatically whilst straining through the soft sand then hard corrugations on this section.  In the end I pulled into a works area carved out of the bush and siphoned the fuel from the jerry cans into the tank.  When I got back into the car I was happy to see I still had 440 klm range to do the next 250 klm.  Speed was now down to 20 klm but with nowhere to pull off and rest I just kept going.  There was no traffic at this time of the day and I still had another 100 klm to go.  It took nearly 2 ½ hours to do that section and I was exhausted by the time I reached the bore.

This whole track is all about big skies and vast desert plains stretching to the horizon that have a uniquely Australian appeal. Breaking up the endless spinifex vistas are termite mounds, odd rocky outcrops and river gum-lined sandy creek beds but it can be lonely out there.  Sadly, Renahan’s Bore was nothing special just a parking bay on the side of the road.  It was only 155 klm short of Yuendumu but I could go no further.  I was out of the vehicle having a stretch when I could hear a car rattling along the road.  A battered commodore with one headlight and what sounded like a flat tyre rolled into the parking bay and pulled up beside me.  An aboriginal woman popped out and asked if I could give her one of my spare tyres.  I was gobsmacked to say the least.  4WD Off Road Tyres are a lot larger than sedan tyres which I pointed out to her.  That plus the nut patterns would not match.  Even more amazing was that her car had even got this far with the amount of damage I could see in the fading light.  The front side headlights were smashed along with crumpled panels along the right side with the rear panel missing altogether.  The front passenger window was smashed and now covered with a black plastic bin liner taped on with 100 mph tape.  The passenger mirror was hanging by its electrical cable.  The woman was quite upset that I wouldn’t help her out – I couldn’t as it would not work getting a 4WD wheel on this heap of junk.  There must have been other damage underneath the vehicle as well as I could hear the muffler rattling as she pulled out and I could now see the drivers side tyre which was flat but not yet shredded as she headed north.

For the first time on this trip, I felt uncomfortable bush camping this close to the road.  Luckily, I had not unhitched so it was time to push on into the dark and try and find another bush parking bay further from the road.  It took another hour crawling along the corrugations before I came to a truck parking bay which was much further off the road.  I know you not supposed to camp in these but I drove to the very back of this one then out into the spinifex clumps to an open patch a further 50 metres into the scrub.  That was it I was now exhausted and I had had enough driving for the day.  I left the chains and electrics hooked up to the vehicle but lowered the jockey wheel and raised the trailer to level it out for sleeping.  The wind had picked up so no awning out tonight.  Dinner was Jatz crackers and dip washed down by Cascade Light beer (For the past 12 years you can only buy Light Beer in Halls Creek under their Liquor Licencing laws).  All I cared about at that stage was that the beer was cold!!!  Didn’t even raise the awning over my rooftop tent, at least until wind banging the poles, woke me at 3am.  So out of bed to fix that and noticed whilst I had been sleeping a quad fuel tanker road train was now parked in the parking bay 50 metres away – never even heard him come in.  Went back to bed but awake again as my alarm had gone off on my phone – it was only 0430 goddammit!!!  I had forgotten that whilst the 4G tower at The Granites was a boon for messaging friends it had also updated the phone to Central Australia time from WA time – 1 ½ hour difference so it was now 6am in Central Australia.  Turned that off but now could not sleep so started packing up and had an early breakfast.  Hit the road just as the sun started to rise and continued on this piece of rubbish road. 

All was going well until 16 klm from Yuendumu the car lost power and I came to a rolling stop.  I had not seen anyone for the past two hours.  They always say that under no circumstances do you leave your broken-down vehicle in the bush.  I had plenty of water and food so I would be Ok.  In the interim I would try and troubleshoot the problem.  Initially I did not suspect that I had run out of fuel as the gauge was showing just under a quarter full and the range was saying I should be able to drive for another 227 klm according to the fuel burn rate – the system lied to me!  After opening the bonnet, I checked over all the wiring as I had a wire get pulled out killing power once before on this road which was easily fixed so that wasn’t the culprit.  Next, I checked the small pump on top of the fuel filter and found that it was soft i.e. no fuel.  So, I had some sort of fuel flow problem but not sure how bad this would be.  So, I pumped it a number of times until I could feel that it had filled up and was now tight.  Jumped back in the and fired it up – Eureka!! – engine fired up and that took me another 5 klm until it stopped again.  Out of the car, opened the bonnet and repeated the exercise.  Again, the engine fired up and I managed another 5 klm.  Once when I was doing this, I turned around to see a large 2 metre brown snake wriggle across the road 15 minutes away just to put the wind up me – at least he kept going and left me to my own dramas.  I repeated this pump trick without any more snakes until I finally rolled into Yuendumu and conked out again just on the edge of the community.  I tried the trick again but this time it did not work.  I had managed to get the car & trailer off the road and turned on the hazard lights.  According to my HEMA maps the service station here would not open for another hour but there was a 24 hr pump where I could get diesel.  At this stage I knew I had a fuel lift pump problem but was not sure whether it was the main pump or the one between the front and back tanks with no way for me to check that.

At this stage a young aboriginal bloke drove up and asked if I needed help.  I told him I think I had run out of fuel so he offered to drive me to the 24 hr diesel pump and get 20 ltrs.  Fuel here was $2 a litre but when you needed it you would pay anything.  I was grateful for the help as I hadn’t fancied the walk there and back lugging a full jerrycan in the heat.  Got back and poured the fuel in (the kid insisted I was too old to do it so he did it himself – cheeky sod).  Opened the bonnet again and primed the fuel filter and got the car started again.  Off the kid went followed by me but in another 300 mtrs the engine stopped again and this time refused to start.  Time for Plan B.

I rang RACV as I had paid for their Ultimate Care package for both car & trailer prior to this trip and told them of my troubles.  They contacted the NT roadside assist team and told me to wait whilst they found a mechanic in Alice Springs I could talk too.  In a way I was lucky I had reached here as they have Telstra phone coverage for the town.  In 15 minutes, a mechanic rang me and asked again what had gone wrong.  When I told him I had surmised a fuel transfer problem he agreed but that the 20 ltrs I had put in was nowhere near enough and I needed to give the car a bigger drink of fuel.  His reasoning was if this all failed, I would be sitting there for four hours whilst he organised a tow truck to get out there from Alice to recover me.  I was happy to try anything so I told him I would get the 3 jerry cans off the roof and fill them up and try again.  I promised to ring him back when it was done.  Then I got the fright of my life when this aboriginal lady practically yelled in my ear was I OK.  I hadn’t even seen her walk up to the car!!  I told her that I had run out of fuel and would need get more fuel.  She said you wait here and I will get my husband and she popped back in this old beat-up bomb that I had not even seen drive up and away she went.  Back in 5 minutes with her husband and we manhandled the jerrycans off the roof and drove around to the shop service station that was now open.  Filled the 3 jerrycans to the max at $1.95 a ltr (slightly cheaper but I wasn’t complaining).  Back to the truck and one by one siphoned the fuel into the tank.  Re-primed the fuel filter and this time the engine fired up straight away.  Rang the mechanic back and he asked me to drive around town for the next 5 minutes to make sure I could keep going.

Did the tour of Yuendumu with no problems.  Rang the mechanic back and told him the good news.  He recommended that I head for Alice and get the Toyota dealership look at the vehicle ASAP.  Well, that killed the enjoyment of spending any more days out on the Tanami without taking one bird photo.  On the bright side the car was running and I was safe so it was time to go but not before rewarding the two people who had helped me get the car fueled up.  Drove back to where the first young bloke lived and gave him $50 and thanked him again then drove back up to the shop where I knew the other guy was and also gave him $50 and thanked him again for the help him and his wife had given me.

On the road again to another welcome surprise in that road from Yuendumu to Alice Springs is now tar so no more dirt.  I had over a ½ tank of fuel and a promise to ring the mechanic once more after I safely arrived in Alice Springs.

Four hours later I was in Alice phone call done and booked back into the Alice Springs Tourist Park on the same site I was on back in June.  On the Monday I booked the car into Toyota for a service and check on the fuel pumps.   This trip was becoming expensive as the front door seals and the rear door seal had to be replaced as well as dust was leaking into the cab plus the fuel pump was replaced along with a regular service.  Another $1500 to keep me on the road – from my perspective I am happy to pay so I can keep enjoying my travels.

Being in Alice for an extra week whilst I also wait on a replacement solar blanket that was replaced under warranty.  This gives me more time to plan for the next step as I am in no rush to come home due to the weather and COVID situation in Victoria.  Maybe Streaky Bay & Coffin Bay in SA chasing whiting & eating oysters sounds good to me right now.

I am happy to say that I survived the Tanami Track!!! Next blog will be the trek home & Gluepot as all adventures must come to an end – at least for this year.

6 Comments on “Purnululu & The Long Shortcut

  1. Wow, David , you are a dare devil. So glad you got some help when you needed it and you kept safe. You’ll be giving your mum a heart attack. You brought back memories describing the road into the Bungle Bungles and the helicopter ride. We went in there with Outback Spirit 4WD truck / bus
    I took some great shots from the helicopter with no doors. It was a struggle to keep the camera still in the wind. But we loved it. The vehicle needed attention in the campsite workshop while we stayed there two nights in the tents with floors and beds. It was 40*C inside the tent. An amazing experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What an adventure Dave..you have ticked off 2 rough roads on your bucket list and seen some amazing scenery..the Bungle Bungles sound and look amazing..how great taking all those photos out of an open door helicopter….you have met some kind folk along the way that have helped you and you have helped people too….you must be getting a sniff of home..if covid wasnt an ongoing issue you would probably come home now..stay safe and keep on keeping on….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh Wooly, you have done so much in this stretch of your travels, and had so much excitement.
    I love the photos, you have some awesome shots of our amazing country.
    I was a little worried with your fuel problem, and so happy for you when you made it to Allice.
    I find it’s always a happy, sad feeling, when you are nearing the end of a journey. Happy to be coming back to the comfort of home, but sad because you know there are so many more places you want to see.
    I look forward to your next entry.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love your blog Dave; it really shows what you need to be prepared for on such a trip and you are on your own too wow! The trip of a lifetime for sure

    Liked by 1 person

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