Where are we now?

Where are we now?
Where are we now? Tahmoor, NSW. Updated 7th December 2011

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Day 150. Derby

The mighty 'Gibb River Road'

Ready to tackle the western end of  the infamous Gibb River Road
We were up and out bright and early this morning, ready for a huge day on the Gibb River Rd. Our destination today was Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek; and being nearly a 400km round trip along with a bit of exploring thrown in, we had a big day ahead of us.

I was really surprised to find the road was mostly tarred (except for about 60km's worth) all the way to the Windjana turn off. For some reason it is tar for about 30km's then dirt for about 30km's then tar then dirt again...Weird! The main road wasn't as bad as I had imagined, but when we turned onto the Windjana road (about 30km's worth) it was terribly corrugated. The same conditions were encountered again from Windjana to Tunnel Creek; not a road I would want to take a caravan on - but we did see some???

Looking back at the entrance from inside Windjana Gorge

Boab in the gorge
Windjana Gorge is 3.5 km long, and has been carved out of the Napier Range by the Lennard River. The Napier Range is part of the same ancient barrier reef system at Tunnel Creek and Geikie Gorge. (In the Devonian period, over 300 million years ago, this whole area was under the ocean...) The walls on both sides of Windjana are 30 to 100 metres high, and the gorge is over 100 metres wide. It's an impressive sight, but it would be even more amazing to see during the wet season when the Lennard River is a raging torrent. Of course you can't get near the gorge then... pity, as I would love to come back up here in the wet.

Scarlett's fist glimpse of croc's in the wild ever

It didn't take long for Scarlett to find her first ever wild freshwater crocodiles, as they were sunning themselves everywhere along the banks. Shane and Scarlett even managed to sneak up close to one for a photo; apparently he wasn't real happy about them being so close and hissed at them both.

Scarlet and Scarlett - playing on a fallen Boab Tree

We weren't far down the gorge trail when we came across Martin, Nikki and Scarlet. We knew they were staying here but didn't think we would see them again. The girls had a great time walking together and trying to hide and jump out and scare us. We left Scarlet and family  at the end of the trail, where we made a hasty retreat back to the car, as we still needed to get to Tunnel Creek.

Scarlett excited to enter Tunnel Creek
Tunnel Creak is W.A's oldest cave system; in Tunnel Creek National Park. It's famous for being a hideout (used late last century) by an Aboriginal leader known as Jandamarra. He was killed outside its entrance in 1897.  The creek flows through a water eroded tunnel beneath the limestone of the Napier Range. We walked the 750 mtr's through the tunnel to the other side, wading through several deep permanent pools. We were lucky enough to see some Ghost Bats clinging to the roof and heaps of stalactites. The tunnel is up to 12 metres high, and 15 metres wide in parts. Near the centre of the cave the roof has collapsed letting in some natural light before, you descend back into darkness again, that is until you get to the far end.
It was up to Scarlett's neck in some places

How high did the water get I ask you??

We had an excellent time wading through the water, and I'm so glad Shane thought to bring us all our own torch as it was really, really, dark. Poor Scarlett was up to her neck in water at one stage and just decided to pick her feet up off the floor, and float across the water with me dragging her.

We made it to the end

Aboriginal paintings at the end of the tunnel

The trip back to Derby was a long one, with a couple of water crossings and trying to avoid the random cattle that were slowly making their way across the road. Scarlett slept most of the way home, as after doing almost 7km's walking today she was just a little buggered...

Another beautiful Boab

P.S - Tomorrow we go on our tour of the horizontal water falls. From there we will be spending some nights in free camps out in remote areas without Internet, keep an eye out and will do another bulk upload as soon as we get signal again.

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