Day 19. 29th June 2015
Only one more day to go before we return to reality, but today we head to Windjana Gorge, which we are told is a very special place. We've left Mount Hart and will end the day at Fitzroy Crossing. On the coach we watch "Fight for Freedom", a movie that tells the story of the 3 year fight by the first peoples, trying to repel the invasion of white settlers who were bringing livestock into their lands. There is a well balanced story on the Kimberley tourist page: http://www.kimberleyaustralia.com/story-of-jandamarra.html. The movie had quite a profound effect on us
When we arrived we saw a black wall of sharp rock with trees in impossible crevices. On closer inspection some of these turned out to be boabs. I'm not sure why I was surprised as we'd seen these trees in every sort of landscape. Once more braving the dry grass tussocks and with a sharp eye for movement, I led the way to get a better view. Photographically speaking, the very harsh near midday light wasn't my choice but I made the best I could of it. To my delight I found some Kimberley Rose bushes in almost approachable positions in the rocks and started climbing. We had all been warned that much of the rock in this area was razor sharp and, of course, I proved the point, even with uncustomary caution. I managed to get within 90mm macro lens range of the flowers and they proved to be at once both beautiful and weird, growing straight out of apparently dead branches.
Arriving at the tunnel leading into the gorge, way behind the rest of the folk, we entered an enchanted world of creamy white devonian period limestone, with trees forming a picturesque archway over sand.
The rock is pierced with tunnels and caves and forms the most grotesque forms. On the other side of the path we had glimpses of water and moving ahead noticed a large freshwater crocodile basking on the edge of a large sandbank. Moving on we were greeted by an amazing scene of dozens of crocks basking in and out of the water. What supports such a population is a mistery to me.
A much wider view revealed itself; rocky outcrops in the sands and more water. Our companions were returning toward the exit and back to the coach, much to my disappointment; this was somewhere I could spend much much longer, but Greg one of our group had been designated Tail End Charlie with the task of herding up the stragglers, so much to my disgust we turned around.
It's no wonder that "Pidgeon - Jandamarra" led his forces so successfully against what was a full blown colonial army in the end, with this hub at his back. It was only treachery by one of his own that led to his defeat in the end.
Tunnel Creek was the next stop for the adventurous among us. Tina and I didn't fit the criteria and stayed behind with the coach. On their return it was all aboard for Fitzroy Crossing and our last night under canvas. This campsite is one of the ones owned by the new owner of the tour and is quite extensive with excellent facilities. The layout is worth a mention, as the camp radiates around an extensive ablutions block.
As I found out later in the dark, if you start off in the wrong quadrant you can get totally lost, with the only option being to return to the hub and start over. A bit disconcerting in the early hours of the morning. I paid more attention the second time! It had been a long day and so we missed walking around the town and settled for a shower and cold beer.
I will combine tomorrows trip to Derby and on to Broome with our last day in Broome as by then we were ready for a day of and readying ourselves for the long trip back home via Perth and Sydney.
At Last a picture of the Kimberley Rose that does it justice. There are several more on the Flower and Alice to broome Galleries.
Keywords: Australia, Australian, Kimberley, WA, Windjana, birds, blue, brown, crocodiles, flowers, gorge, green, landscape, rocks, trees, water
Thanks again Peter
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