Piccaninny Creek is a 12km long gorge within the Bungle Bungles which only holds water for half the year. Piccaninny translates from the Kija Aboriginal language as ‘young black child’. The bee hive shapes of the range are particularly well defined around this creek and clearly show the alternate orange and black banding of the rock. The orange bands are conglomerate rock, a combination of river pebbles and boulders, while the black bands are sandstone and more porous. The sandstone layer provides a suitable habitat for cyanobacteria. However, as the outer surface of the rock is eroded, some bacteria are exposed to the sun and die. It is this desiccated bacteria which gives the black bands their colour.
Before the trip, I expected a hike along Piccaninny Creek to be a highlight. I was not disappointed. The erosion patterns of not only the domes but also the riverbed, along with the heat, vivid blue skies and gorges made it unforgettable.