Western Australia: Gibb River Road, Windjana Gorge/Tunnel Creek, Bungle Bungles

(16/7/2018 – 19/7/2018)

To do the Gibb River or Not do the Gibb River Road????   That is question that we couldn’t decide on for some time!!!   After doing much research into it and talking to lots of people about it (all with varying opinions just to confuse you even more!!!!) well, we decided that we would only drive a short distance on the Gibb River Road (its actually about 660 kms in total!!!). 

We left Lennard River early in the morning and travelled on the Gibb River Road.   We then turned off on to Fairfield Leopold Downs Road.   Gosh, this road to Windjana Gorge was worse than the Gibb River Road!!!!    After a couple of hours, we finally made it to Windjana Gorge.   The Gorge Walk which begins at the Windjana Gorge camping area is about 3.5 km each way and is a pretty easy walk on drift sand.    The gorge is formed by Lennard River as it winds it way through an ancient limestone reef.     Freshwater crocodiles inhabit Windjana Gorge and we saw plenty of them sunning themselves on the banks.

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Olive Python – camouflaged in the sand
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Olive Python behind Mitch near the walking path

On the way back to the car, Andrew saw a huge 4.5 metre olive python (and about 5 inches thick) on the side of the walking path.    I was walking ahead of Andrew and Mitch completely oblivious to it when Andrew yelled out for me to come back and have a look at what I missed!!!  Oh Gosh!! Oops, can’t believe I didn’t see it, hmmm, must have been looking up at the unusual rock formations as I walked past it!!!! LOL.    Wow, it was huge!!!     After we made it back to the caravan we met up with a parks ranger and told her about the snake.

From Windjana Gorge we continued along this awful road to Tunnel Creek.   Tunnel Creek National Park is WA’s oldest cave system.

Tunnel Creek is 750 metre tunnel beneath the limestone of the Napier Range.     The wall of the Napier Range is towering above you and you have to climb over and between big boulders to get in to the cave.   Here we put our head torch lights on and walked in.   We also had to wade through some cold fresh water pools of varying depths too.    At least five species of bats live in the cave, including ghost bats and fruit bats, and stalactites descend from the roof in many places.

When you are entering the Kimberley or Pilbara regions, you are entering crocodile country.     Freshwater crocodiles inhabit Tunnel Creek.     We saw some baby crocs on the other side of the tunnel from where we were wading through the water!!!!  You could see their red eyes when we flashed the lights there.    Gosh, it was certainly a bit scary.    Once we reached the end of the tunnel we came out and saw some aboriginal art on the rock faces.  We hung out here for a little while before making our way back again.   It was certainly an experience walking through this tunnel!!!!

It was really big day today and we left Tunnel Creek very late in the afternoon and drove to a free camp at RAAF Boab Quarry campsite which was located about 55kms from the Great Northern Highway.   Another early night for us as Tuesday morning we were up and ready for another long driving day ahead along this dirt road and then back onto the Highway stopping at Fitzroy Crossing (filled the tanks up with water at the Visitor Centre), Halls Creek (shopping and fuel) and then onto Spring Creek free camp which was a few kms from the turn off to the Bungle Bungles.  Good free camp with toilets, bins and dump point.     We had 2 nights here with a 1 full day at the Bungle Bungles.

The Bungle Bungle Range is in the world heritage listed Purnululu National Park.  The black and orange beehive domes are very impressive, rising some 200 metres.  They are made of sandstone deposited about 360 million years ago.    The striped formations have a thin outer of black lichen and orange silica.  There many gorges and pools throughout here.   The Bungle Bungle Range formation occupies an area of approximately 450 square kms and was only discovered when film-makers arrived and produced a documentary about the Kimberley in 1983.

The free camp was packed.  Many people were leaving their vans here to drive in to see the Bungle Bungles which is exactly what we did too.   It was a 53 km corrugated dirt road in.   Yep, another bad rugged track and is for 4WDs!!!!!    It was going to be another hot day so we were up early.   Poor Mitch got car sick from the all the bumpiness and winding of the road.

Our first walk, from the Piccaninny carpark, was to The Domes.    This was a Class 3 (moderate) 700 metre loop walk winding around the domes.

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From there we continued on to Cathedral Gorge which was a moderate 2 km return walk.    This led us to an amazing amphitheatre.   Was just beautiful, nice and cool too!!

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Andrew attempting to sing Amazing Grace in the Cathedral Gorge!!

 

From Cathedral Gorge we walked out and back to the carpark where we had lunch and from there we drove around to Kungkalanayi Lookout.  This lookout had awesome panoramic views of the Bungle Bungle western range.

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We packed up on Thursday morning and continued along the Great Northern Highway.    We turned off onto the Gibb River Road and drove to El Questro Station.

 

(16/7/2018 – 19/7/2018)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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