When we designed this expedition we wanted to create a program that captured the very essence of the Western Deserts and their astonishing diversity. From the rugged ranges of remote Karlamilyi (Rudall River) National Park and the ironstone red ranges of the lesser-known East Pilbara to the botanical wonderlands of the Gibson Desert bio region. This was the last wilderness in Australia, it was only in the 1960s that any vehicle tracks were made into the area. Back then, Terry Long, the Woomera Native Patrol officer said, “No one had been out there. The desert, as far as the Department [WA Dept of Supply] was concerned... was an unknown, as it was to the whole of Western Australia. The Warburton Ranges [were] as far as anybody got. People in those days knew absolutely nothing about Aborigines.” This expedition takes you there. This tour has a relaxed pace and the four wheel driving is not extreme, but the locations are extremely remote and beautiful.
In 1971 the late Geoffrey Bardon arrived at Papunya in his combi van to teach art. Under his tutelage the artists translated the images they once painted on sand and rock into canvass images .These images represent the Tjukurpa (dreaming) and are an extension of ceremonial expression. Papunya Tula Artists are spread right across the Western Deserts in places like Kiwirrkurra, Haasts Bluff and Kintore. Different areas have developed different styles, the movement is constantly developing.
Karlamilyi (Rudall River) National Park is the second largest National Park in Australia after Kakadu. It is 1.3 million hectares in size, and contains the complete watershed of the Rudall River, from its beginning to its terminal sump at the salt Lake Dora. An extraordinary rugged and remote place. And the Desert Queen Baths are a great swim!
Until recently East Pilbara Shire, at 380,000 sq. km was the largest shire in the world. Alas no longer, pipped to the bpost by the creation of Qaasuitsup and Sermersooq shires in Greenland. No matter, its still bloody big!
They reckon there are a lot of nongs who arrive at the Cast Iron Pub in Marble Bar looking for a bar made of marble. The Marble Bar is a seam of jasper outside town that runs across the bed of the Coongan River. The bar in the pub is made of timber, but its still a good place to get a refreshment, and the first watering hole since Alice Springs.