Geike Gorge, Crocs and Rocks

Trip Start Jul 08, 2008
1
9
24
Trip End Sep 11, 2008


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Where I stayed
Fitzroy Crossing River Lodge

Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fitzroy Crossing straddles the Fitzroy River, 2686km north of Perth and was a creation of necessity; early settlers to the Kimberley needed a place to ford the mighty Fitzroy River. The old crossing was the shortest and safest route.
 
Today, Fitzroy Crossing is a small settlement that services local stations and acts as a stopover destination for those exploring the rugged Kimberley and its nearby attractions of Geikie Gorge, Tunnel Creek and Windjana Gorge, or those en-route to the Bungle Bungles (Purnululu National Park), or Kununurra and Darwin.  It is the closest large outback town to Broome or Derby in the vast remote Kimberley wilderness.

18km northeast of Fitzroy Crossing is the Geikie Gorge National Park, a 3136ha world that more than hints at ancient times. We  had booked a tour on the river with the National Parks so after breakfast headed off to find out where to go. We arrived in the park well before our 9.30 start time so took time, while it was still cool, to wander around one of the many walk trails in the area which is dotted with large rock formations.

Just before nine thirty we headed back to the jetty to join the group ready for the trip up the gorge.. The sheer yellow, ochre and grey limestone cliffs forming the gorge are home to rock wallabies, euros and the many species of beautiful birds, each finding its own niche in the diverse ecosystem. Fresh water crocs are plentiful  and we saw many sunning themselves on the rocks as we cruised the river. The commentary by the National Parks Guide was very informative giving us interesting facts about the formation and history of  the gorge. The boat trip was soon over and we certainly recommend it to anyone intending to visit this area. Quite often tourists are taken advantage of in these remote areas and are charged exhorbitant prices for things like a river cruise but this trip was reasonably priced and well worth the money spent.

We learnt that The Kimberley was once under a shallow tropical sea during the Devonian Period over 350 million years ago. Geikie Gorge, formed by the Fitzroy River cutting through the  remains of this ancient reef, is 14km long and only accessible during the dry season, late May to October. 350 million year old fossils are clearly and easily seen throughout the gorge.
 
After the cruise we went for a walk along the cliff tops to get a different perspective of the area and met up with a couple from Mackay in Queensland,  We walked and chatted to Bernie and Marlene the 1.5 kilometres back to the carpark, exchanging notes and ideas of where to go and what to see.

On our way back to our caravan we decided to make a small detour and visit the oldest pub in the district called the Crossing Inn. As alcoholic drink is very restricted in the area to stop the over drinking and resultant family abuse, people are only allowed to drink in designated places.
Consequently the beer garden at the Inn was crowded with the local aborigines enjoying their beer. They were well behaved because there was a sign telling them that if they spat, humbugged or committed any of another thirty misdemeanors they would be banned.  We sat at the bar and cooled down with a nice cold shandy before moving next door to the art gallery to check out some of the paintings by the local school children. They had entered and won a competition to advertise the Sydney Olympics and it was amazing to see some of their works on display.

We were told that FC use to look like a tip with empty beer cans and bottles littering the streets but since one of the large recycling companies have taken an interest in the town and sponsor the transportation of the recyclable rubbish to their facility the town is clean and tidy.

Back at the caravan park we prepared our evening BBQ, had a good glass of red wine and sat back for the evening...tomorrow we make for Warmun via Halls Creek.
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