Atlas Obscura

Australia’s Bungle Bungle Range

The Bungle Bungles.

Photo (cropped): Bäras/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Atlas Obscura on Slate is a blog about the world’s hidden wonders. Like us on Facebook and Tumblr, or follow us on Twitter.

Rising out of the landscape of the Purnululu National Park, the terrifically named Bungle Bungle Range is made up of beehive-shaped rock formations that are thought to have been caused by the erosion of a very ancient meteorite crater.

The gem of the Purnululu National Park in Western Australia, the geologic range is one of the most impressive stone formations on Earth, and maybe even Mars, which is where they seem to be from. Forming rounded cones and cylindrical towers, the rocks are made of porous conglomerate rock, the texture of which gives them their oft-remarked upon beehive look. The sediment that formed the rocks is thought to have been deposited 350–375 million years ago, slowly eroded from the wind and rains of the surrounding desert. 


The “Bungle Bungles,” as they are often called, also have a distinct orange-and-black-ringed pattern running all down their surface. This is caused not only by the conglomerate nature of their makeup but from water getting trapped in denser layers, allowing algae to grow and form the darker colorations.   

The rocks have long been an important site of the Kitja people, who’ve lived in the region for some 20,000 years. The rocks were only “discovered” by outsiders in 1983, and they became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2003. Today, the rocks are still a fascinating feature, though their remoteness prevents them from being too overwhelmed with tourists.

Submitted by Atlas Obscura contributor samreeve.

For more on the Bungle Bungle Range, visit Atlas Obscura!

More wonders to explore: