Up at dawn and after a quick breakfast we board the 4WD Bus that is to take the 5 of us plus another 20 odd people for an organised 'tour'. This is a full day trip with expected time back in camp of about 5:30pm. In time for a prepared dinner. Morning tea, lunch and dinner are all included in the tour.
The road into the park is basic – parts have been recently graded, but the corrugations are still pretty bad. It's about 50km into the visitors centre, but the road winds through some pretty rough country, with lots of twist and turns and steep climbs and descents into the creek and river beds. A couple of creek crossings may have been a challenge on the bikes but otherwise I'm sure I could have made it OK on the Yamaha. Still – we're happy to let Peter (our tour leader and driver) take full responsibility for ensuring a safe and (reasonably) comfortable trip, as we will be spending a good few hours driving into as well as out of the park. Our trip will incorporate both a look at the southern end of the Bungle Bungle range (with it's famous 'Beehive' dome formations), as well as the northern section where the Echidna Chasm is located.
A brief stop at the visitors centre before we head to the southern end of the park and Piccaninny Creek parking area. A quick morning tea, then we have until 12:15 (lunch) to wander around and check out the sites.
Lunch and then back on the bus for the drive up to the northern section of the park and Echidna Chasm.
An astonishing landscape - littered with images that speak of seriously deep time. No photograph or words can come close to capturing the wonder of this place.
A bunch of weary but happy campers get back on the bus for the long slow drive back to camp.I find myself sitting next to Chris - one of the chopper pilots - who although he has flown over this place many times - has just made his first visit on foot. He tells us that it's just as amazing from the air. Celeste, Lesley & I immediately decide that we will do the chopper flight fist thing in the morning. Seems only fitting!