Tunnel Creek flows through a water-worn tunnel beneath the limestone of the Napier Range – part of an extensive fossilized barrier reef from Devonian times 360 million years ago. The tunnel is the most ancient cave system in Western Australia.
The 750 meter trek through the pitch black tunnel had us wading through waist high waters that most likely were inhabited by fresh water crocodiles. For those who do not know, freshies aren’t aggressive, rather shy, but if disturbed during the breeding season or if they feel threatened they may attack. Salt water crocs on the other hand are always to be feared! We kept a lookout for glowing eyeballs which we never saw, but we did see something very large moving through the water at the very beginning of the trek!
Heaps of bats dangled upside down from the massive stalactites hanging from the ceilings, their loud screeches eerily echoing throughout the cave in unison with Stacy’s whimpers. I thought the tunnel was cool, but wished I had a better torch as our LED headlamps were pretty useless and neither of us could see anything the majority of the time. Stacy on the other hand said “she is never coming back here” which is the first time I have heard her say those words on this trip! Everywhere else we have been she always says “I have to come back here again!” Needless to say, she didn’t enjoy the experience and found the cave creepy.
Watch this video of our attempts to navigate through the dark cave and waters.
It was mid-day when we made it out of the tunnel. We planned to hike through nearby Windjana Gorge later in the afternoon as it was way too hot. With hours to spare and both drowsy from the heat we fell asleep on our tarp under a tree. We are always searching for shade everywhere we go these days!
Windjana Gorge is a 3.5 km gorge carved out of the Napier Range by the Lennard River. The Napier Range is part of the same ancient barrier reef system that we saw at Tunnel Creek. It is crazy to think that over 300 million years ago, the entire area was under the ocean!
The walls on both sides of Windjana Gorge are steep and the paths quite lush and green. We stumbled upon heaps of more bats dangling from the trees. Stacy absolutely hates bats and I find them strangely cute, their faces look like teddy bears to me.
Large quantities of fresh water crocodiles inhabit the gorge but we only saw two small crocs during our hike.
We were both so incredibly hot after our hike and were dying to have a cold beverage. Sadly, we had not had any cold water available to us for days which was really starting to suck. There is nothing worse than having to drink boiling hot water after a strenuous hike! Ice lasts less than a day in our cooler given the extreme heat, and at $8 a bag it didn’t seem worth it to buy when we had the chance two days prior.
When we arrived back at camp I was determined to secure us some ice. Anyone heading west like us would not have ice by this point either; however, I was hoping to find a generous camper that was heading east that possibly bought supplies in Broome.
I approached a table of guys and asked if they could spare some ice. The older gentleman replied “I am so sorry, I would have shared but we just used the rest of our ice on our gin and tonics.” They all laughed but I was too thirsty to be amused. He redeemed himself moments later when he emerged from his tent with a liter of ice cold water that he insisted I take. Stacy was quite happy with my find and we agreed to buy ice any chance we could in the future.
To see photos of Tunnel Creek & Windjana Gorge CLICK HERE.