Australia,  Oceania

Bungle Bungle Scenic Flight in Western Australia

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I dare you to find another geologic feature on earth that looks more like its name than the Bungle Bungle Range of north Western Australia’s Purnululu National Park. Though the origin of the term is unknown with any certainty, many think it’s the mispronunciation of the local aboriginal word for a type of grass that grows in the area. Regardless, they look like a bungle of bungles. And the best way to see them is from above on a scenic flight over the Bungle Bungle Range!

Here’s what you’ll find in this guide to taking a scenic flight over the Bungle Bungle Range.

Origins of the Bungle Bungle Range

The crazy striped mounds of the Bungle Bungle Range developed 360 million years ago as layer after layer of sand built up into dunes. Over time, gravel from mountain ranges deposited in the area, compacting with the sand, creating the weird beehive-like structures we see today.

Aerial view over the Bungle Bungle Range as seen on a scenic flight
Aerial view over the Bungle Bungles

Logistics

AVIAR offers these scenic flights over the Bungle Bungles from Kununurra, Western Australia for $399 AUD. It’s a full day activity. They provide water bottles before your flight. Since it can get warm both on the 12 seat prop plane and in the Purnululu National Park, you’ll definitely want to stay hydrated. The flight lasts about an hour each way. Since it is a small plane, you will feel more turbulence than on normal commercial flights. Bring motion sickness medication with you if you’re concerned about this. Bring sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat, as the hike in the park will be exposed to the sun!

What You’ll See During the Bungle Bungle Scenic Flight

Your trip is more than just a scenic flight over the Bungle Bungle Range. You’ll also see many other sights from above, including:

Lake Argyle & Ord River Dam

Lake Argyle is Australia’s largest man-made lake and the 6th largest in the world. It has a surface area of 1000 square km and a storage level of 5,797,000 megaliters.

Lake Argyle and the Ord River Dam
Lake Argyle and the Ord River Dam

Argyle Diamond Mine

This is one of the world’s largest suppliers of diamonds. Notably, this mine is the world’s primary source of pink diamonds.

Argyle Diamond Mine
Argyle Diamond Mine

Lissadell and Texas Downs Cattle Stations

These cattle ranches are home to an estimated 500,000 cows, which is 25% of all cows in Western Australia.

Cattle stations as seen from the Bungle Bungle Scenic Flight
Cattle stations

Carr Boyd Ranges

The peaks and cliffs of the Carr Boyd Ranges are dramatic against the otherwise stark landscape.

Carr Boyd Ranges
Carr Boyd Ranges

Hiking in the Bungle Bungle Range

Most likely you will be going with a guide on a short (4 km) hike into the Bungle Bungle Range to see them from ground level. Once you land from your scenic flight, your guide will meet you and drive to the trailhead. During the 20 minute ride, your guide will likely tell you about the native flora, aboriginal history in the area, and point out different formations in the honeycomb-shaped sandstone blobs all around you.

Hiking on the Cathedral Gorge Trail of the Bungle Bungle Range
Hiking on the Cathedral Gorge Trail

The hike is flat but exposed. Your guide will take frequent breaks in shadier areas, so it doesn’t feel strenuous at all. There, are, however, some rocky portions and a small ladder to navigate. The trail ends at Cathedral Gorge, a cave with a small lake inside, which is perfect for enjoying the shade and lunch.

Looking out at the Bungle Bungles from Cathedral Gorge
Looking out at the Bungle Bungles from Cathedral Gorge

Afterward, it’s back out the way you came, and back on the plane to return to Kununurra, for one last scenic flight over the Bungle Bungles!

More Australia Tips

If you plan on an in-depth exploration of Western Australia, make sure you check out (and bookmark!) my super-detailed Perth to Darwin road trip itinerary.

And while you’re in Perth, make sure you visit Rottnest Island on a day trip and spot adorable quokkas!

If you want to snorkel with manta rays or whale sharks (or both!) the Ningaloo Reef is the place to do it. My guide on snorkeling with whale sharks and manta rays has all the details.

If you want to get even more off the beaten path, I highly recommend visiting Tasmania. Day trips from Hobart to Port Arthur and Maria Island also fit perfectly in my comprehensive three-week Tasmania itinerary. Make sure you check it out and bookmark it for later!

Also, when you head to Cradle Mountain, consider doing the summit hike for a challenging but rewarding day!

Have a specific question about a scenic flight over the Bungle Bungle Range, or anything Australia? Leave a comment below or contact me!

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Hey, I'm Sarah! I'm a Virginia-born girl living in Wisconsin. I'm obsessed with organization, planning, and adventurous travel. I am a cat-person with a love for all dogs, and I can never decide whether I want a sweet or a savory meal for brunch. Most of my travels (and my brunches) are with my best friend/soul mate/husband, Tim.

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