Tuesday, 14 August 2012

14 August 2012 - Tunnel Creek via Fitzroy Crossing

We decided to do a day trip from Fitzroy Crossing to Tunnel Creek, about 40km west on the highway, then 70 km of corrugated gravel. Basically it's 750m tunnel with a creek running through it. It's was much larger than we anticipated and once in the tunnel it's pitch black. You have to wade in and out of water and the depth depends on the time of year you visit. The deepest for us was about mid-thigh level, but given it's so dark, it's a bit freaky wading through. Freshwater crocs live in the tunnel buy we chose not to tell the girls this!

Of course, Kate freaked out at the beginning of the tunnel when we came across the first batch of water so Larry had to carry her on his shoulders. About 3/4 of the way through she realised she would be able to manage the water herself. As you walk through you see stalactities (hanging on 'tight' from the ceiling!) and some bats.
At the end of the tunnel was a separate pool, but it looked a bit gungy so we didn't venture in, instead the girls found some puddles to relax in.

The tunnel has an interesting history. It was once the hideout (for about 3 years) of an Aboriginal man, Jandamarra who was wanted by the police. In the end, he was shot and killed at the entrance to the tunnel. After wading back again, we had lunch from the back of the Cruiser before facing the long corrugated drive back to Fitzroy Crossing. If you are just camping, or towing an off-road van/camper, you could continue to Windjana Gorge about 40km away and it's campground and in hindsight, we should have combined the two in a day-trip from Derby instead, however, you often don't come to these realisations until AFTER you've done the travelling! Still, we all agreed the tunnel was something unique and worth the effort.

Travel Tips: Take a torch per person and have the torch attached to a lanyard for kids. Wear old sandshoes or reef shoes. Be prepared to carry littlies on your shoulders some of the way. Bit spooky in the beginning for everyone as it’s so dark. Can do as a day trip from Fitzroy Crossing, or Derby, or stay at Windjana Gorge campground and combine both the Tunnel and Windjana Gorge. All involve corrugated gravel roads.
About to enter the tunnel

Wading through one section of water.

This photo gives you an idea of the scale of the tunnel. During the wet season it fills almost to the top.

While the tunnel is only 750m long, because it's dark and you don't know where you are putting your feet, it took us about 40 minutes to walk the length of the tunnel.
Shows how dark it was inside.  Torches are an absolute necessity.

The story of Jandamarra.


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