Redcliffe Pier

Friday, September 11, 2009

Kimberley and Top End (Part 5) Windjana Gorge, Tunnel Creek, Geikie Gorge, Fitzroy Crossing.

The next morning we left Derby and headed towards Windjana National Park on the Gibb River Road. We stopped on the way for morning tea provided by our tour guides, Ben and Kim. (Very few shops in the outback) and very warm outside the bus but OK in the shade.
The Windjana Gorge has been carved through an ancient reef. During the Devonian period, 350 million years ago, this area was under the sea and the range was a reef.

There were fresh water crocodiles. We were assured that they are shy and wouldn't attack if we didn't disturb them.



Bill and Joe are dwarfed by the cliffs of the old reef.


The other side of the gorge with Norma in the foreground.


Fossil of ancient sea life in the walls of the cliffs.

We drove on to Tunnel Creek National Park, where we had to don shoes for walking through water and arm ourselves with a torch. We follow our guide, Ben, to an opening in the cliff.

We scramble over some rocks and enter a huge cavernous tunnel with a creek running through it.


We wade through water and enter the bowels of the earth.


It was pitch black and we were glad of our torches. The tunnel is 750 m. long but .....


...half way there is a natural skylight where the roof has collapsed. By now Bill's feet were hurting badly. He was wearing a new pair of bright orange crocs with the strap at the back (see in left corner). The coarse sand on the bottom of the creek had lodged between the top of his foot and the shoe and was rubbing his skin like emery paper.
He soldiered on until the "light at the end of the tunnel." He took off the shoes and Ben, the tour guide put on some plasters. Everyone suggested putting the shoe strap at the front so he could easily wash out the sand on the return trip. We were a bit slower than the others going back and I lost sight of the group and we wandered into a deeper part of the creek. Then my torch lit up a huge eel swimming past my legs and I got the creeps but soon Ben came to the rescue and guided us to the shallows and we caught up. It was an exciting and wondrous experience.


Kim had prepared lunch for us and then we drove on to the town of Fitzroy Crossing and out to Geikie Gorge.

The Fitzroy River has gouged a 30m deep gorge through the ancient limestone reefs. In the wet season huge volumes of water flow through the gorge to the coast 1000k. away. The white markings are where the flood waters and sunlight have bleached the rock.

We floated along this beautiful gorge in an open boat. The colours and rock formations were exotic.


There was a big incentive not to fall overboard........


You can see more of my crocodile photos HERE.


Lots of bird life too.


Then we returned to Fitzroy Crossing to spend the night there after a big exciting day. The resort is built up high to keep above flood waters in "The Wet."


Our very happy group head off to dinner.


For a better look inside the tunnel see Bill's video HERE



View Kimberley and Top End in a larger map

19 comments:

  1. More wonderful memories for me. We were in a room to the left arm as you look at the picture of your group walking up to the restaurant. Just loved Geige Gorge and we had an aboriginal fellow telling us the aboriginal tales of the different structures. He was a very proud man and loved sharing his culture with us. Next stage of journey please. (I will have to get out my photo albums.) Did compare boab prison tree and it was very green when we were there after a big wet. Ann J

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  2. Wonderful trip Diane, brings back memories of the Top End, so very different. Our vehicle broke down at Geikie Gorge but got it going, only to break down again on our way to Broome.
    It's great you had wonderful experiences.

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  3. Phew, diane, I've just let out my breath (I held it while you walked and waded through the tunnel!) Stunning, stunning photos. I hope Bill's feet feel better. Thanks for sharing this maginificent tour. (((Hugs)))

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  4. Now this is my favorite day yet... I love that gorge and that deep, dark tunnel back into the earth. Amazing and breath-taking.

    Thanks again for taking us on this tour. It is phenomenal..

    Thanks again, Diane.
    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  5. Diane
    Are you sure this was the best photo that could have been placed on your blog: "Fossil of ancient sea life in the walls of the cliffs."????
    Certainly spiced up the blog!???
    Great photos - I really am enjoying your trip of the "Top End". Oh I am a wicked person, but I do try my best to have a "Weird" sense of humour. I think "yellow underwear" should have somehow be superimposed on that shot?
    Anymore surprises with later editions?
    Cheers
    "HB" ( Yellow Mellow)

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  6. Majestic country and wonderful photos that give the feeling of actually being there with you. Diane, you are very brave, I'm afraid I wouldn't have wanted to go underground. The last time I went cave walking I couldn't wait to get out, even though it was very interesting. I'll take the photo tour. Great!

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  7. Hi Diane and Bill...Its all just fabulous. a mystical journey that takes us to the most beautiful parts of our Australia...Thanks for sharing it all with us....love from Alma and Bill xx

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  8. What a spectacular place. I really like the reflected sunlight in that tunnel. And those fossils! The croc seemed to be a living extension of all that ancient history.

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  9. WOW ... what an amazing trip that must have been! Thanks so much for sharing here. I've just caught up on your last two posts and am most impressed with your photography and the lovely scenery. Great action shot of the bird in flight too. Thanks for dropping by Happily Retired Gal last night ;--)
    Hug and blessings,

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  10. Wow - looks like a great trip. You were VERY brave walking into that cave. And seeing an eel go by? Yikes! That would have scared the bejesus out of me! LOL! You guys are very adventurous!

    Excellent photos, by the way!

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  11. Wonderful photos Diane. You are getting GREAT with that new camera for sure.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  12. Amazing shots! This place is going on my "bucket list!" :)

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  13. More amazing photos!! This looks like it was a long and adventurous day alright! Poor dad though. I'll bet he was in pain. I hope it didn't ruin his day. I loved HB's comment about the fossil pic! hee hee I was thinking the same as him! But my favorite shot out of this batch is the one above the crocodile, the one of the colours of the rock reflecting in the water. magic! Right I'm off to see you other croc shots...

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  14. Thanks everyone for your interest.

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  15. These are beautiful pictures of the gorge. I would really like to see this wonderful place in person.
    Thanks for visiting my site.

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  16. The rock formations are beautiful and I love the cave. Fossil? You would have had to drag me away from fossils.

    This must have been a very exciting part of the tour with caves and crocs, of both kinds.

    I'm getting caught up sorry to take so long to get over.

    Judy

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  17. What absolutely amazing scenery and beautiful colours! A wonderful experience!
    Janice.

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  18. And I thought Arizona and Utah in the United States were beautiful! This place is on equal scale with what I have seen here. Great pictures.

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  19. Okay. I am going to read each one of these AFTER I put up my post of each day. Very interesting to read two reports about the same activity.

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