We have not just been to the unusual towns I described on January 10 in “Unusual Places”, Ruth & I have been to some offbeat destinations like The Bungle Bungles, Molokai, and The Aleutian Islands.
The Bungle Bungles are strange mountains in the Kimberley region of Australia. This is my favorite part of Down Under, and we have been there twice. We went to the Bungle Bungles by bus on our first trip there. It took 2 days just to get to these remote mountains from Broome on the coast of the Indian Ocean in Western Australia. They are in a National Park called Purnululu.
During the final 32 miles into the Bungle Bungles we were on the worst road I have ever been on. That’s why most people who visit them fly down to Kununurra and hop to these weird striped rock domes from there. But Ruth & I wanted to see this remote and sparsely lived in quadrant of Australia and its native baobab trees, so we endured the bus and were able to see the only 2 and very bedraggled towns, Halls Creek and Fitzroy Crossing, on the way there. Purnululu and these mountains are so far inland that they were not discovered by white settlers until the 1980s. The park wasn’t created until 34 years ago. Of course, the native Kidja people have lived in and near them for eons.
Among the few people there, Ruth, I, and our bus mates were able to tromp all over to see caverns, banded mountains, and viewpoints that are some of the remotest places seen by humans. We saw Echidna Chasm and Cathedral Gorge. This park is mostly administered by natives and is only opened to outsiders seasonally. It’s closed when it rains a lot from the spring to early winter.
Molokai is not especially remote, but it is the least visited of the Hawaiian Islands. There was only one town named Kaunakakai on the entire island and no traffic lights because they simply are not needed. We loved this island and its laid-back native lifestyle. We rented a car and mules and traveled all over the island like movie scouts looking for unusual places to photograph.
I went by myself to the Aleutian Island of Unalaska. It was halfway down this chain of islands, sparsely populated, and difficult to get to and away from. The Alaska Airline’s plane to it was 2/3 cargo and 1/3 passengers. There were more eagles it seemed than people on Unalaska, and it was small enough to walk around. I tried renting a car but had mechanical trouble with it and returned it quickly. Like a traffic light on Molokai, it simply was not needed. Iffy weather and a mountain at the end of its airport’s single runway made getting off Unalaska difficult. Most of the people living on this island worked in its fish processing plants. The 3 nicest buildings in Dutch Harbor, its only town, were a church, a library, and a fine, culturally rich museum.