Wanna Munna Aboriginal Rock Art Site – Pilbara region WA

The main waterhole at Wanna Munna.  The rock art covers the surrounding rock faces and boulders.

In mid 2009 we explored the Pilbara region of Western Australia, travelling from the Pilbara coast to the Rudall River National Park in the Pilbara’s far east.  On our way from the famous and beautiful Karijini National Park to the mining town of Newman, we stopped at the Wanna Munna Aboriginal rock art site.


Aboriginal Rock Art of the Burrup Peninsula



The Burrup Peninsula, about two thirds of the way up the enormous Western Australian coastline, is home to the world’s most extensive concentration of rock art, yet is relatively unknown.  Although there has never been a full inventory of the petroglyphs in the region, bodies such as the National Trust of Australia (WA) suggest that there could be up to 1 million individual works.  I am astounded that a place of such cultural significance is not World Heritage listed.  But read on, and you will learn why.


Wandjina – Rock Art of the Kimberley

Wandjina.  Munurru art site,  King Edward River, the Kimberley.


Visiting a Wandjina site is, without doubt, the most dramatic experience in rock art.  The Wandjina is an ancient, powerful, mysterious and deeply spiritual symbol.


Wildflowers of Western Australia

Australian Desert Rose, Wittenoom Gorge

Western Australia is deservedly famous for its wildflowers.  One of the first things you notice upon travelling through  WA is the soil, if you could call it that.  Most of WA is sandy and dry, and at first glance appears unlikely to support much in the way of plant life.   Yet travel through the state during the springtime and you will be astounded at the range of wildlfowers on display, especially if there have been good winter rains.     We wondered whether the range of flowers was in some part due to the high mineral content of the sandy ground. 


The Kimberley

Manning Gorge

Is it possible to sum up the Kimberley in a few photographs?  Of course not.   Such a vast, untamed, ancient, uncompromising and varied landscape would take a lifetime to even begin to comprehend.  But what the hell, here a a few photos we took in various places around the Kimberley, which we hope will give you a glimpse of the moods of this magnificent region. The Kimberley holds a magic all of its own.


The Pilbara

Contrasts, Weano Gorge, Karijini Ntl Pk

Most of us would be hard-pressed to locate the vast Pilbara region on a map of Australia.  We might associate the Pilbara with iron ore mining and offshore gas rigs, but know little more about it.  Nirbeeja and I certainly knew very little about the region before we visited. The first time we looked at a map of the region, there seemed to be a few small settlements with vast distances between them, and huge areas of ‘nothing’ on the map.

The reality of the Pilbara is, of course, very different.  It is a beautiful region, perhaps with the greatest range of colours of any we have seen in Australia.  The deep red of the rocks and earth contrasted with the deep blue of the sky and the pale spinifex grass.


Blog 12 – More of the Kimberley, then we cross the border to the NT – October 2009

View across Cambridge Gulf from Five Rivers Lookout, Wyndham WA

We finished our adventure along the Kimberley’s famous Gibb River Road feeling a strange mixture of elation and flatness.  We were elated to have experienced such a rugged, remote and ancient landscape, surprisingly full of wildlife and beauty.  We were also elated and relieved to have survived with car and camper trailer intact.  But we both also felt flat.  How could anything or anywhere live up to what we had just experienced?  How could we rekindle the almost magical quality of that region?

It was with these mixed feelings that we left the dirt and drove up the bitumen highway towards Wyndham, the most northerly major town in the Kimberley.  We had expected to drive along river flats and past mangrove swamps, but the region was surprisingly mountainous.  This was another reminder to us that Australia is a country of surprises.  Wyndham itself is a small place, with two halves separated by several kilometers.  The more modern administrative half appears to be the ‘growth’ district, while the older Wyndham Port features most of the town’s historic buildings.


Blog 11 – We return to the Kimberley, land of the Wandjina and the Boab – August 2009

Manning Gorge


Our last blog finished with us at the DeGrey River campsite, north of Port Hedland.  We had a week to burn before we were to return to Port Hedland for some work on the car.  Where to go?  I know Nirbeeja would have returned to Carawine Gorge in the blink of an eye, but it was quite a distance from Port Hedland, so we opted to travel instead up the coast.  After a couple of false starts we arrived at the Cape Keraudren Coastal Recreation Reserve (try saying that after a couple of wines).  Cape Keraudren is at the southerly edge of the well-known Eighty Mile Beach, so we thought it might give us a taste for the area.

We planned to stay for two nights, but stayed for five.  We loved it.  The area was full of wildlife, the beach was beautiful, we had our first sighting of Brolgas on this trip and we saw many magnificent kangaroos.  We were camped beside Cootenbrand Creek, a lovely sheltered spot that kept us entertained with its massive tidal variations and pale aqua waters.  The only drawback was that the campsite was on a limestone shelf, making it impossible to use pegs to secure the camper trailer.  So we improvised, tying the ropes to large rocks and using boxes to support inside the walls of the bedroom. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.


Blog 10 – Working in Carnarvon, then on the road again – June 2009

Red Bluff, north of Carnarvon WA sunset

Contrary to what you may all be thinking, we are still alive, we are still travelling, we are still together and yes – we are still enjoying our adventure, loving it in fact.  It’s just that life, work and travel have all interfered with our capacity to write this blog.

Where did the time go?  Well, since our previous blog way back in October 2008 we’ve been pretty busy.  (more…)

Blog 9 – Karijini and beyond – adventures in the Pilbara – October 2008

The gorges converge at Oxer Lookout, Karijini National Park

We learned of Karijini National Park while we were still in Canberra.  A Tai Chi student of Peter’s showed us photos of his many travels around Australia, and we remember being struck by the ones of ‘that place with the magnificent gorges’.

Next, we heard about the park while staying in Ceduna, just before we crossed the Nullarbor.  A very friendly, enthusiastic lady from Mandurah, south of Perth, was going around the caravan park telling all of us easterners that we must visit Karijini.  This became a standing joke between us – “Young lady/man, you really must visit Karijini”. 

So we did. (more…)