Packed the Engel and drove approx 2 hours on corrugated roads to the Crater. From the road, the crater just looks like a small mountain rise. After the obligitory plackard reading, we headed up a rocky path for about 100m. This brought us to the top of the crater rim. Wow! The crater is about 850m wide, with a perfectly formed rim. When the meteorite hit the earth approx 300,000 years ago, the crater would have been approx 120m, however in the intervening years, the crater has filled with sand and is now only 20m deep. We decided to walk around half the rim and then follow a track opposite us that led into the base of the crater.
The path was rocky and the spinefix grass prickly (tip: wear long pants) and it took us about an hour to walk half way round with plenty of photo stops and just pausing to enjoy the sight. Hard to describe, this near perfect ring of mountains in an otherwise totally flat landscape. When we reached the path into the crater we slipped and slided as the path was very steep with loose rock and lots of red sand. Made it to the bottom, walked through grass taller than Elizabeth and wandered across the crater floor. As cattle no longer graze in the crater, much of the natural vegetation has started to return and a number of wildflowers were evident. Once across the crater, it was a very steep walk up the other side, no sand this time, but lots of rock and straight up!
Some more photos and then time for lunch. Unfortunately, there are no picnic tables, so we made sandwiches from the back of the Cruiser before starting the 2 hour journey back to Halls Creek. On the way we stopped at some old buildings and wondered if they had been used in the movie set of 'Wolf Creek'. Not sure if I want to see the movie again to check. It was a long day, but we felt a sense of achievement knowing that not many people would make the journey given the road conditions, and even fewer would walk around and through the crater. Sure beats being at work on a Friday!!
Travel tips - the Crater has no picnic table/chairs, but has a drop toilet (BYO loo paper). Camping ground has toilets, but no water. Free to camp. Wear long pants as the spinifex is sharp and stings. Halls Creek has a good IGA supermarket for grocery supplies. Shell servo accepts Coles vouchers.
|Fortunately no weird looking men with tow trucks turned up to help us! Secretly, I was relieved that a few other tourists came and went while we were there! (Reference: Wolf Creek the movie)|
|Prior to our challenging walk around the rim and through the crater.|
|View of the crater floor from the rim|
|Grass on the outer rim of the crater base was over our heads.|
|Some ballet moves in the base of the crater. Why not?|