If you asked me to name the most forgettable town I have ever been in I would respond, “Halls Creek”. This town of about 1,500 is in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia. It’s so isolated that the nearest town to it, Fitzroy Crossing, is 181 miles to the east. Turkey Creek, a largely Aboriginal community also called Warmun, is 162 miles north. Only about 320 people live in Turkey Creek. Ruth & I were in Halls Creek because we were on our way to see a sensational mountain range called The Bungle Bungles and had to spend the night somewhere. The Bungle Bungles are in Purnululu National Park east of Halls Creek. To get there we had to drive up the Spring Creek Track, easily the most awful road I have ever been on, but it was worth enduring it to see the Bungle Bungles shown above and below.
Halls Creek is on Australia’s Great Northern Highway. It exists because Charlie Hall found a huge 28 ounce gold nugget near where this town is now 136 years ago on Christmas Day. This event that occurred about 10 miles from the present town is still talked about as if it was recent. Herds of miners came to Halls Creek hoping to find their own gold, but many of them died and are buried in the town’s cemetery. Life is never easy here. We saw the gold strike site but not the cemetery. The place where the nugget was found was forgettable like the town, but we heard a great story about a man called Russian Jack while there. Russian Jack carried an injured mate for about 150 miles in a wheelbarrow to get medical attention for the man’s injuries. I often wonder if either of them returned to Halls Creek after treatment.
Halls Creek is at the northern end of the Canning Stock Route. Cowboys used to drive cattle up this 1,200 mile trail that crossed the Great Sandy Desert, so this town became and remains a hub for vast cattle stations. There is a visitors center in Halls Creek with a statue of Russian Jack outside.
The staff at the visitor center might recommend that travelers see about the only attraction near this town called The China Wall. This is not a brilliant idea. We saw this sub-vertical quartz vein and it was fairly forgettable like the town. Many come to Halls Creek to see this vein and the Wolfe Creek Crater between May and October when the road to it is fairly decent. It takes about 3 hours to drive to the meteor impact site from Halls Creek where a big rock from space made a giant crater in the Earth. This happened about 120,000 years ago but was not discovered until 1947 because this event that was not uncommon in Australia occurred so far away from everything. We did not see the Wolfe Creek Crater.
Between June and September the Tanami Road to this giant hole in the ground might be difficult because this part of Australia receives about 22.5 inches of rain during this period. This part of the world is also known for high winds and extreme heat, a high suicide rate, enforced alcohol restrictions, and indigenous art. Ruth & I don’t plan to return to Halls Creek.