Karijini vs. Bungle vs. Kakadu

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Feb 16th, 2007, 08:10 PM
  #1
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Karijini vs. Bungle vs. Kakadu

Thanks to fuzzylogic's generous reality check, I realize that I will not have time to do all of the things that I wanted to. So, if I had to choose between Karijini National Park, Purnululu National Park, and Kakadu, and assuming I could spend 5 nights in one of them, which one should I choose? My main interest is wildlife/nature photography and hiking. I am leaning towards Kakadu...

Thanks for your input!
rpowellesq is offline  
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Feb 17th, 2007, 03:48 PM
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What a really tough question you've posted R.

IMHO I believe that Western Australia has THE most beautiful gorges in Australia. Those in Karrijini are absolutely spectacular and some feature some of the most unusual colours. I particularly liked Hammersley Gorge with it's purple hues.

Purnululu is also uniquely spectacular as well. The lichen encrusted, beehive formations will leave you breathless and of course there are many swimming holes etc.

Kakadu is quite different again with it's lush green colours and beautiful Arnham Land Escarpment.

I think there is probably more wildlife in Kakadu then the other two and perhaps more photo opportunities, though really it is so hard to say.

I'd be interested to read other posters comments to see what they think. I would personally, narrow it down between Karijini and Kakadu, and wait to see what the majority think.
stormbird is offline  
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Feb 17th, 2007, 10:36 PM
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A lot depends on how you are going to do it - by organised tour or self drive. There isn't any accommodation in Karijini - just some basic camping grounds, no shops, no eating places. The nearest accommodation is at Auski or Tom Price. The roads into the park are unmade and fairly rough. We took the comfortable option and stayed in Tom Price and took a day tour. While you are in the area, I'd also recommend doing a mine tour in Tom Price - we were fascinated. The gorges in Karijini are spectacular.
Purnululu NP has some tented accommodation and you could fly in from Kununurra. Again the roads are rough (I've heard of people taking over two hours to do 50 km) and no eating places etc. You can do an organised tour which would provide accommodation, guide and transport.
I think Kakadu would have perhaps more to offer for five days, although the scenery isn't as spectacular as the other two places. There's the cruise on Yellow Waters, the cruise on the East Alligator River, rock art, birds and crocodiles. You could stay at Cooinda for a night or two, then at Jabiru for the remainder. If you are driving from Darwin, the roads are good and well signposted, and you could do it easily with a hire car.
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Feb 18th, 2007, 12:33 AM
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Hi rp, I've never been to Purnululu - for the same reason as you may not. choices, choices. The only time I've been up in the Top End with wheels we decided on the Gibb River Road route instead.

I've not been to Karijini either - again for the same reason you may not - I was travelling alone. It was a few years ago and there were no tours I could join from Karratha - actually I think there just were no tours!! I thought of hiring a car but apart from the cost being prohibitive, there was the question of where to stay. I hadn't come prepared to be self sufficient with camping stove and tent!!

Most importantly, my prior visit to Kakadu had taught me, as a total neophyte, that it wasn't like the Lake District. In case you don't recognise the reference it's an English National Park - an area of outstanding beauty. But, hey, for that you can buy OS maps that show every contour, and every stream, every church, all minor roads, etc, etc.)

Karijini is enormous and a lot less accessible/amenable than Kakadu - and a visit to the latter is enough to discover that you need local knowledge.

You have your car; you can get to the campground that serves as a car park for Jim Jim or Twin Falls. What next? There probably will be signs from the campground but I don't remember too many thereafter.

And the trees will look different but you won't take too much notice. You need someone there to tell you about them. You probably won't notice all kinds of other stuff either not having the right eyes to see.

I'd choose Kakadu for a first visit, but I would not drive myself. Sure you can stay at Cooinda and do the overrated Yellow Waters Cruise; you can drive yourself to Nourlangie and Ubirr. But you will share those places with lots and lots of people.

I'd start researching for a company that does 5 day tours that go to places like Twin Falls, and stay away from the coach stop resorts - and take in Arnhemland too.

Now that would something.
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Feb 18th, 2007, 04:08 AM
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Yes Marg, I can confirm that it took us two hours to do the 50km trip from the bitumen into Purnululu. It was actually the roughest 'road' I have ever been on in my life. But if memory serves me correctly there were organised tours into the park and the companies use the 4WD Oka vehicles (which I've only seen in WA).

There are a number of places from which you can take a helicopter flight over The Bungles and that may be another option for you. We did it from Turkey Creek and we were thoroughly pleased that we did.

Regarding fuzzy's comments about Kakadu - within the park itself there is a wealth of free information readily available. Park rangers provide talks at various locations throughout the park and I remember that we travelled up to the caravan park one night for a free narrated slide show on the national park.

I believe that the Northern Territory provide exceptional services within their national parks - providing a lot of information in a very friendly environment. We even had hot chocolate and biscuits provided for a 'camp fire' talk at Ormiston Gorge. Free guided ranger walk at Uluru just to name a few. So the information is there and it's really not too hard to find.

Ubirr rock and Nourlangie Rock and Nourlangie Billabong are very popular for sure, but just because there are going to be other people there doesn't mean it is necessarily going to take away the thrill you will get when you climb and are rewarded with stunning vistas. If you go to Kakadu IMHO they would have to be a must see.

I agree with Fuzzy that a trip to Arnhem Land would be extremely special and worth the effort it might take to get there.

Do let us know what you decide.
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