Halls Creek

Freshwater Crocodile in the shallows of the river at Windjana Gorge

Freshwater Crocodile in the shallows of the river at Windjana Gorge

Had a good stroll down Windjana Gorge this morning, as per the recommendations we set off early after getting up just after dawn. The last kilometre of the gorge is closed at the moment but the 2.5 km that were open were more than enough !
The track through the gorge was hard going, much of it vague or indistinct and we spent more time than want to pushing through undergrowth. We both have no doubt added to our growing collection of insect bites as a result. It seems every time one finally subsides and stops itching you get another two elsewhere to take it’s place…
Anyway the aim of the excursion was to see the fresh water crocodiles and we certainly achieved that so it was worth the effort and the inevitable scratching for the next few days. We didn’t see any crocs out of the water but saw them swimming and, the one in the picture, basking in the shallows.
The gorge itself is quite stunning when you take your eye off the water or the track ahead checking for snakes. We also picked up some info from the ranger that the other two NP attractions should be open on Friday/Saturday as he is the ranger for those too.

In the bottom of Windjana Gorge

In the bottom of Windjana Gorge

From Windjana we headed south to the Great Northern Highway as planned. As it was still early (a benefit of getting up at 6am I guess) we got to Fitzroy Crossing at around 1pm so decided to push on as the less days we spend travelling to the Bungle Bungles the better really.
We had a change of drivers at one of the free camp spots/rest areas on the way, notable primarily because of all the warning signs about crocodiles – staying 4 metres from the river edge etc… Looked a nice spot actually and quite busy but the timing was all wrong for us.
In the end we covered 437km today, calling it a day when we got to Halls Creek as pushing on to the Bungle Bungles in one go would have seen us traveling in the dark. Halls Creek strikes you as a sad town, struggling with many of the problems that the indigenous population endure. The caravan park is surrounded by high fences and barbed wire and notices and warnings that all valuables should be locked in a vehicle. Glad we’re only here for the one night although the camp site seems pleasant enough, almost like a gated community which is a real shame.

One side of the gorge - The Devonian reef that the gorge has been cut through.

One side of the gorge – The Devonian reef that the gorge has been cut through.

On the return journey, assuming we continue with our plan to complete the Gibb River Road, we’ll overnight at Fitzroy Crossing. The camp site there looked really nice as we passed it. We’ll also try and restock some of our food there as the diversion has stretched us a bit thin. We have enough food with our reserves but it’d be preferable to top them up as we won’t see another supermarket until the end of the Gibb River Road.
Tomorrow we’ll head into the Purnululu (Bungle Bungle) National Park. First stop will be the visitor centre to find out what’s open/closed and then expect to be camping in the NP. Probably no Telstra coverage again…. We’re expecting to stay for two nights before retracing our steps back to continue the Gibb River Road.

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