Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Kimberley’s

The Kimberley’s - 28th – 30th May

Boab Tree, Gibb River Road
Boab Tree, Gibb River Road Western Australia
From Gibb River

We spent the morning in Broome and were still umming and ahhing whether to do the Gibb River Rd (GRR), we drove to Derby and decided to stay there the night. We came to the conclusion that we would do the first section of the GRR and then make our way back to the highway as we wanted to see Windjana Gorge, Tunnel Creek and then The Bungle Bungles. After a bit of a hot and sticky nights sleep (the humidity) we headed along the GRR. It is only a 100ks or so to the turning to Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek and most of it was bitumen (it looks like they are going to bitumen a lot more of it too). We felt a bit cheated as we always thought the road was notoriously rough. We were told it was pretty good for about ¾ of the way and seriously considered carrying on, but with out a second spare and time issues we decided to keep to the original plan.

Windjana Gorge
Windjana Gorge Gibb River Road Western Australia
From Gibb River

Carl described Windjana Gorge as Mordor (from Lord of the Rings). I must admit, it was very strange looking and black. Many many moons ago it was a reef under the sea. It looked like a black wall of rock rising out of the ground, very spectacular looking. You can walk right into the gorge and it must be the best place in Australia to come face to face with Freshwater Crocodiles. These ‘freshies’ are considered harmless and are a lot smaller than and not as aggressive as their larger, dangerous cousins - Saltwater Crocs (unless of course you provoke them). We got our first sighting as we walked along the river bank and could see lots of freshies on the other bank. As we walked down a bit further and out on to a sand bank, we managed to get quite up close and personal with a couple.

Freshwater Crocodile
Freshwater Crocodile Gibb River Road Western Australia
From Gibb River

The gorge was quite fascinating to look at with the black rock and sandy bottom – it kept making us stop and look at it. Very different to anything we have seen so far.

After the hot walk back and a quick bite to eat we headed for Tunnel Creek. Tunnel Creek (the name describes itself very well) is a tunnel underground that has been carved by a river (or creek as you aussies say). After a quick clamber to the cave it was soon apparent that the advice to take some waterproof shoes was good advice. We stepped into the cold water and entered the dark of the tunnel. Then it was obvious that the other advice to take a torch was even better advice!!

Tunnel Creek
Tunnel Creek Gibb River Road Western Australia
From Gibb River

After 200m or so in the dark and what we discovered not to be a great torch, we arrived at a great big opening in the tunnel that rose away upward and let in a massive shaft of light. Trees and plants were visible at the top, their roots coming all the way down to the water in some places. All the while the bats buzzed around busily.
Whilst we thought this was nice to see, we couldn’t really understand why many people raved about this place. Never mind, we left by the same route and headed off down a rough corrugated dirt road to Fitzroy Crossing and our chosen campsite for the night.

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