Windjana and Tunnel Creek National Parks, off the Gibb River Road

Friday, October 9, 2015

DSC_0606My birthday today – and to celebrate – a walk in Tunnel Creek. It sounds simple enough but it involves walking into a creek that finds its way through a rock formation, and over millions of years the water has created not only a creek but also caves and a tunnel.

DSC_0627I have to admit that we both felt just a wee bit intimidated by it. Donning our Tevas/Keens, making sure the headlamp was working and carrying the backpack with water, camera, a compass (not sure why really), we stepped into the clear water to wade across to the first sandy bank. DSC_0573Leaving daylight behind we were in total darkness gazing up at the cave whose roof was sometimes not far above our heads then opening up into a 20 foot cavern. The water crossings were never more than 15 feet across and the water was never more than knee deep. Still, there DSC_0579was a sense of stepping into the unknown, even though others had told us what a fascinating experience it was. Because we were in the off season we met several other people, but mostly we were entirely alone.

The cave is where an aboriginal leader, resisting the pastoral encroachment of Europeans on traditional land, fled for safety after killing a police officer. Eventually he eschewed violence and resolved to overcome the land use of the early settlers by using non-violent resistance – and this was long before Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. In the end he was killed when a fellow aboriginal tracker led police to him.

Late afternoon when the heat of the day was beginning to dissipate back at the campsite we went on the same walk as last night only further along the now dry gorge riverbed. We saw the carcass of a cow who had likely fallen from the path on the embankment. Again we gazed in awe at the black and orange vertical rocks that began life 360,000,000 years ago as an underwater barrier reef several kilometres high. The seas receded, the cliffs eroded and now they are only (!) at a guess 300 – 400 feet high.

One thought on “Windjana and Tunnel Creek National Parks, off the Gibb River Road

  1. The scenery and water falls at Tunnel Creek National Park are amazing; what a nice birthday present! Sorry that I am slow in replying, but Mom ended up in the hospital with congestive heart failure.


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