Three great Kimberley National Parks

The Fitzroy River in the Kimberleys is one of Australia’s mightiest rivers in terms of water flow, in the wet season that is.  During the dry season, it is much more manageable as water flow is inhibited by a severe lack of rain.  The amount of water which flows during the wet season, is responsible for the creation of some extraordinary landscapes, which can usually only be visited from April to November, when the waters recede.

Near the towns of Derby and Fitzroy Crossing are three superb national parks, which really must be visited if you are ever in the Kimberleys.

Windjana Gorge National Park is located about 150 kilometres from both Derby and Fitzroy Crossing.  It is part of a 375-million year old Devonian reef system.  Three kilometres in length, the gorge was carved by the Lennard River and has walls that are over 100 metres in height.  The gorge features many pools of fresh, cool and deep water which are ideal for swimming.  The area is rich in the distinctive flora of the Kimberleys, on which huge flocks of corellas feed.  There are also fruit bats and freshwater crocodiles in the gorge.  If freshwater crocs are of concern to you, they tend not to attack humans, preferring a diet of seafood.  Unlike the dangerous freshwater crocs, which can grow to several metres, freshies, as they are called, are reasonable small and inoffensive.

Tunnel Creek National Park is another very interesting geological feature, being set amid Australia’s oldest cave system.  Tunnel Creek gets its name because it flows through a huge water-worn tunnel, which runs beneath the Napier Range.  The walk through this tunnel is over 750 metres in length, which can seem much longer when you are in the middle of it.  You wade knee deep through several permanent water pools to enjoy really ancient stalactites and stalagmites, and lovely curtains of wavy flowstones.  You do need reasonable footwear to walk through this cave.  Tunnel Creek is home to a great variety of bats, Olive Pythons (it’s okay, they are non-venomous), and freshies.  Tunnel Creek national Park is about 35 kilometres from Fitzroy Crossing via an unsealed road.     

Geikie Gorge is another fabulous national park.  It was created by the floodwaters of the mighty Fitzroy River, and it too was carved through an ancient Devonian reef system.  Located at the junction of the Oscar and Geikie Ranges, it is a really spectacular waterway.  From the canyon floor you gaze up to soaring cliffs, which change colour throughout the day.  There are several walk trails through the national park, and you can also enjoy boat cruises from which you can truly enjoy the magnificent landscapes and see the abundant wildlife.

These three national parks give you a great insight into the ancient landscape that is the Australian Kimberleys.  Here you will find some of the harshest, most foreboding landscapes anywhere; but is can also be spectacularly awe inspiring to out in this wilderness where few other people set foot.

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