We got underway reasonably early this morning for the drive out to Wolfe Creek Crater. 6.50 am start.
The first 17 km was on a sealed road but from there on it was 135 km of dirt. This is the Tanami Track which runs all the way from Halls Creek in Western Australia to Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. It is a very rough corrugated track. We saw some interesting hills on the way out there.
At Carranya Station we turned off the Tanami onto a road through private property. We thought that the Tanami was rough but this private road was worse.
We finally arrived at Wolfe Creek Crater and had morning tea before starting the assent of the rim.
When I first caught a glimpse of the crater I was amazed. It is the second largest Meteorite Crater in the world. Originally (300,00 years ago) the inside walls were 120 metres high however over time sand etc. had washed in to start to fill up the crater which is 880metres wide.
One of Australia’s most remarkable outback landscapes, massive Wolfe Creek Crater National Park, lies on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert in the East Kimberley.
Wolfe Creek Crater is the second largest crater in the world, measuring 880 metres across and to a depth about 60 metres below the rim.
Go bushwalking and see the crater from the rim – you’ll feel dwarfed by its size.
Wolfe Creek Crater is located on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert (152 kilometres South of Halls Creek) in the Wolfe Creek Meteor Crater Reserve. The Crater is situated among low sand hills on a spinifex grass plain and is a feature that stands out on the flat and almost featureless landscape.
The crater is reputed to be the world's second largest confirmed meteorite crater. (Some books state that it is the fourth largest meteorite crater.) It has a diameter of 853 metres (another source says 880 metres) and is an almost perfect circle The bottom of the crater is 46 metres below the level of the surrounding plain and about 60 metres below the rim. The walls of the crater are still sharp and complete. They have probably remained that way because of the arid climate. The crater would originally have been about 120 metres deep but over time it has been slowly filled by wind blown sand and is now less than half that depth.
1 - 2 million years ago (another source says 300,000 years ago) in the Pleistocene period a meteorite weighing about 50,000 tonnes and travelling at 15 kilometres a second, came almost straight down from the north-east, penetrated the desert floor and then exploded with the force of an A-bomb. Experts believe this because of the even regular shape of the crater. If it had hit at an angle the crater would be oval and the rim would be of uneven height. Large lumps of weathered iron were found in the years after the crater was discovered. Some weighed over 150 kilograms. Parts of the meteorite were found as much as 4 kilometres away from the impact site giving some indication of the force generated by the strike.
The crater remained undiscovered or un-recognised as a crater by Europeans until 1947, when it was noticed by an aerial survey. Even today it is only visited during the dry season. It is accessible by a dirt road best suited to four wheel drive vehicles. Perhaps the best way to see it is from the air but it is a real experience to stand on the rim or even inside the crater. The Aboriginal people of the area knew the crater existed and called it Kandimalal.
The European name Wolfe Creek was given first to the creek in 1889 and later to the crater in memory of a Halls Creek store keeper named Robert Wolfe.
We spent an hour here before the return trip back to Halls Creek after a wonderful experience. We noticed an unusual OLD caravan and an abandoned house on Carranya Station on the way out.
Now we can cross this off our must do list.