Smithsdownunder
Our journeys around Australia

Western Australia at the end of our journey

23-Jun-2005
   

After camping in the Bungle Bungles, we drove back out on the 4x4 track that was a bit worse for wear after the rain as it was getting a bit corrugated. We collected the caravan from the roadhouse and headed southwest towards our next stop at Fitzroy Crossing. We broke the journey with a nights free camping at Mary Pool. This is quite a popular stopover and the area beside the Mary River soon filled up with caravans and campers. The next morning we set off early to get to Fitzroy in time to do a cruise along Geikie Gorge in the afternoon. The gorge runs through limestone cliffs that were once an ancient reef. It is thought that the reef was much larger than the Great Barrier Reef.

The brown line at the bottom of the cliffs shows where the normal winter water level is. The white is the level of the water in the wet season so as you can see, there is plenty of water flowing through here in the summer.

Geikie Gorge

Geikie Gorge
Croc on a Rock

There are quite a few fresh water crocs living in the river together with bull sharks and swordfish who have adapted to the fresh water - not a good place for a swim!

A Crock on a Rock in Geikie Gorge.

Above the high water line we saw several nests built on the cliff face by Fairy Martins. Fairy Martin Nests
Tunnel Creek

The following day we drove to Tunnel Creek and Windjana Gorge, which is about 130kms from Fitzroy. The 4x4 track had just been reopened after some unseasonable heavy rains; a day or two previous several 4x4's and tour busses became bogged.

Tunnel Creek is just what it says on the label, a creek running through a tunnel! The tunnel runs through the limestone reef that extends up from Geikie Gorge. The tunnel is 'S' shaped and runs for about 750mtrs and was formed by flowing water. The watercourse originally flowed through a shallow valley on top of the range but in time it found its way underground. With torch in hand we waded through the tunnel, which got pitch black after the first bend a bit spooky too with no one else there. The tunnel is up to 12mtrs high and 15mtrs wide and the water was about knee deep. Half way through the tunnel the roof has collapsed allowing the light to flood in.

The collapsed roof inside Tunnel Creek

After drying out we drove on to Windjana Gorge. The 3.5kms long gorge was formed where the Lennard River cuts through the limestone reef.

Windjana Gorge

Windjana Gorge
Freshwater crocs in Windjana Gorge

There is a pool just inside the gorge that is home to about 70 freshwater crocs, they were everywhere.

Freshwater crocs in Windjana Gorge.

I think they are used to having their photo taken because we could approach them quite closely.

Freshwater croc - up close

Freshwater Croc
Crikey! Crikey! The croc proof hat still seems to be working OK!
There were also quite a few Archer Fish in the water. These fish catch insects by spitting a jet of water at them to knock them off overhanging branches. We had seen some a few days ago and if you held some bread about a metre above the water a jet of water would soon hit your hand. They were very accurate.