A Helicopter Flight Over the Bungle Bungle Range

By Lorna

The highlight of our trip to the Kimberley was to be a flight from Warmun (previously known as Turkey Creek) over the Bungle Bungle Range. Years had passed since our previous visit to the Kimberley, back when the Bungle Bungles were almost unknown, but time and tourism had since changed all that.

We drove from Halls Creek, a beautiful drive in itself, to the flight office at Warmun. After presenting our tickets we were weighed and taken through a short safety drill, then told we could carry nothing, absolutely nothing but a camera, on board. Any loose article could be a danger if it blew out and into the blades of the helicopter, they explained. We understood why something could blow out when we beheld the mini helicopter that was to fly us over the Bungle Bungles.

“Perhaps people could also fall out,” I couldn’t help thinking as I looked at the tiny open-sided craft.

We had chosen a helicopter flight thinking we’d be able to fly lower with closer views at a slower speed, and because we thought it would be more exciting than a conventional winged aircraft. It certainly looked exciting, and it was too late for second thoughts, so I climbed in and strapped up very securely next to the pilot.

Takeoff was silky smooth and straight up. After we had gained height, our pilot became our guide, communicating with us and his control centre through headphones. For me to speak to the pilot, I had to depress a foot-pedal on the floor while speaking.

We flew over Mabel Downs and Texas Downs cattle stations, which together cover one million acres. Over the Osmond Ranges and on to the western tip of the Bungle Bungles, forty kms from Warmun.

Until then the going was smooth and straight ahead, but we had to turn eventually. That’s when it became really exciting.

A lurching, lefthand bank, looking down into a deep canyon from a helicopter without doors was more than exciting. My hand of it’s own accord, clutched the framework and I averted my eyes. The pilot grinned sadistically, “No need for white knuckles!” he said. “I haven’t lost a passenger yet.” I determined not to miss the scenery, and at the next diving turn managed to look, but still held on tightly. It was well worth the effort. An amazing sight spread out over 320,000 hectares as far as the eye could see, lay beneath us.

We flew low over the canyons and gorges of the Horseshoe Valley, and over the circular structure of the Picaninny Gorges, all the while dipping and turning for closer views. By the time we had reached the famous Beehive Domes I had forgotten all about holding on, and clutched my camera instead, in an effort to catch what I could of the magnificent scenery below us. The dome-shaped Beehives, striped in orange, black and blue-grey bands, were a sight I wanted to remember always.

The final turn took us over Deep Gorge, a dark bottomless cavern with walls rising to 800 feet. Then regretfully, we were heading west to the last leg of the flight back to Warmun.

Our final view of the Bungle Bungle Range was the meandering West Wall, soft in the late afternoon light, and by that time if the helicopter had banked into a sudden lefthand turn, it would have gone quite unnoticed.

Archived Comments for "A Helicopter Flight Over the Bungle Bungle Range":

7th May, 2012

Bungle Bungle Range Scenic Flight
by: Western Australia Travellers' Guide

The helicopter flight over the Bungle Bungle Range sounds like an amazing experience. Thanks so much for this wonderful travel story.

8th May, 2012

The Bungles
by: Dale

I've also heard that this is a fantastic experience.
I'm saving to go next year.
Great info Lorna. Thanks.

8th May, 2012

Thank you
by: Anonymous

Your description makes me feel like I am with you in the helicopter. Thank you for sharing this.

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Landforms of Western Australia

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