Previous Hot Spot - ANCIENT ART & an AGE OLD METEORITE CRATER, Western Australia
Waterhole on Coondiner Creek.
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Ancient Art & an Age Old Meteorite Cafter
Ron at the Hickman crater letterbox.
Pebblemouse nest and entry hole.
Seemingly in support of the Pilbara's vastness and the secrets it can still hide is the Hickman Meteorite Crater, which was only discovered in 2007 by Dr Authur Hickman ... who first found it on Google Earth!
Situated just 35km as the crow flies from Newman and the gigantic iron ore mine there, it is hard to believe that such a big, pretty obvious feature went undiscovered for such a long time.Maybe all the geologists who have been flying over the area or tramping the hills for the last 50 odd years were too interested in iron ore to see a mere crater the size of the MCG; maybe the geologists should be thankful that the iron ore comes in the size of mountains!
Getting to the crater and rock art sites though first demands you get an Access Permit to traverse the BHP Billiton road that you need to take for some of the distance to reach the crater. The permit is easily obtainable from the Newman Tourist Information Centre, which is a wealth of information for any traveller.
Viv overlooking the crater.
Track to Hickman Crater.
Once you have that and a bit of a mud-map you can find your way to the crater. On the way into the crater and the Punda rock art site you'll come to a set of cross tracks (GPS 22°59'50.3"S 119°39'36.8"E).
Left leads to the crater, straight ahead leads to the rock art site while right leads to Coondiner Creek.
On reaching the crater (GPS 23º02'17.7"S 119°41'0.7"E) the track climbs the eastern edge to the rim and gives you a good view over the 50-100,000 year old impact site, while a new track now also gives access to the very heart of the crater, where a few people have even camped.
Here amongst the jumble of boulders you'll find a large variety of etched figures on the red raw slabs of rock that have acted as the artists' canvas.
Human figures in a wide variety of forms, spirit characters, kangaroos and emus, along with the tracks of these animals, are interspersed with other animals and symbols denoting water, camps and more. Petroglyphs such as these are extremely hard to date but most opinion puts them at over 20,000 years old, and this was one of the best sites we saw on our travels through the region.
The Punda Rock Art site is in a narrow gap amongst the hills close to a small but permanent source of water marked by a worn out water tank and a well.
Rock Art at Punda.
Track along Coondiner Creek.
Track along creek is narrow and overgrown.
Punda Rockhole (sometimes spelt Poonda) in is a longer, tougher drive.
Once at the creek it would be best to leave any camper trailers behind (it's not a bad camp anyway) as recent flood waters have torn and twisted the creeks vegetation further upstream into a tangle which is hard to negotiate even with just a vehicle.
We persevered and after taking a few blind alleys ended up at a long set of pools below near sheer red bluffs. It was an idyllic spot, however the map indicated the rockhole was in a side creek just a few hundred timber and scrub shrouded metres away, but with the sun fast making tracks to the horizon and a cold beer back in camp we retraced our steps to our modern day luxuries.