Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Windjana Gorge & Tunnel Creek, WA.

Our initial travel plan was to visit Derby for a couple of days then tow our caravan out to Windjana Gorge Camp Ground, stay there for several days and explore the area. All the advice we received from various people suggested to us that we would be far better staying in Derby and travelling out to the gorge as a day trip. We took this advice one step further and booked into an organised one day 4 WD Coach Tour with Bungoolee Tours Windjana and Tunnel Creek Tour.

We were picked up at our caravan park at 8 AM and arrived back at the front gate at 6 PM. It was a big day but I didn't need to drive 1 km. The commentary from Karissa, our coach driver, and K Y, our young Aboriginal Guide through Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek, was excellent. We learnt much of the Aboriginal Folklore of the Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek areas of The West Kimberley.

As we discovered, we could have towed our caravan to Windjana Gorge but it would have been a very slow and tedious drive. Also with the risk of damaged tyres or worse!

Our purpose built M.A.N. 4 WD Coach. Those large truck tyres absorbed most of the road corrugations but not all of them!

On the way out to Windjana Gorge we briefly stopped beside this Boab Tree. It is estimated that this tree is in excess of 1000 years old.

On arrival at Windjana Gorge we participated in a Smoke Welcoming Ceremony. Our Coach Driver, Karissa, is standing nearby.

Walking along the sandy creek bed of The Lennard River into Windjana Gorge.

Fossils are visible in the Limestone Cliff Faces. Tragically some of these fossils have been defaced or removed by shameless or ignorant vandals. The Aboriginal Rock Art that we weren't permitted to photograph has also been desecrated. A 'Wendy' scratched her name completely across one figure.

Part of the Limestone Cliff face along the Lennard River.

Shear vertical cliffs line the gorge.

This large Johnson fresh water crocodile was quietly sunning itself on our side of the river.

However, there were many others that would rather keep their distance.

The Limestone Cliffs were quite varied in structure.

During the Wet Season water would be flowing through here up to several metres in depth.

During our walk out of the gorge this large snake crossed our path. Some of us thought it was a non venomous Tree Snake but everybody kept their distance anyway.

K Y, from the local Bunuba Tribe, and Karissa outside the ruins of the old Police Station. They are recounting the legend of Jandamarra. Jandamarra can be loosely compared to Ned Kelly. Jandamarra was a rouge aboriginal that switched between traditional ways and white mans ways whenever it suited him. However, Jandamarra did shoot and kill Richardson the Police Officer at the time. Jandamarra escaped and camped in the Tunnel Creek Region for three years. 

Judy talking to K Y and Karissa about the Kapok Plants that we have seen in many places in the arid regions.

The Kapok Plant was introduced by Afghan Camel Operators in the very early days but now it has spread far and wide,

Inside Tunnel Creek, much of the distance we are walking through water up to knee height.

The roof has caved in at about the mid way point through the tunnel. Fig tree roots, that have come through the tunnel roof,  can be seen seeking the water.

A reflection pool at the point of the cave in. It was just past this point that we detected a Johnson Crocodile in the water. Half of our group of 14 were reluctant to enter the water again but we goaded them into it. We all emerged with all of our original equipment intact.

The exit of the Tunnel Creek walk. The entry point is not open and clear like this, some rock scrambling is required to gain entry.

1 comment:

  1. Noel and Judy

    What a great trip it must of been and no damage to the car or caravan and no driving so you could see lots more, how was the weather up there at this time of the year

    We are doing a house sit in Elizbeth Town in Tasmaina and having day trips out, the weather here is a bit cooler than were you guys are, I will send a few pics to show by email for you see.

    Be safe Jim and Lee