Having had a great adventure on the eastern side of the Gibb River Road, we decided that we should check out the western side whilst in the area (also, it would allow us to take photos from both end and thus we can tell people we had done the Gibb River Road!). To do this, we decided to base ourselves in Derby (home of the mudcrab!) for the next few days.
So after studying a few maps, reviewing all our options and getting the word on the street, it seems the two must do areas on the western side (which can be easily reached just off the tar) were Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek. Done, locked in.
With our caravan safely resting in the park, we headed off early the next day (noting the return trip would take 340kms) for our first stop, being Windjana Gorge. The attraction of the gorge is not really the landscape/water (although it was still great), but the volume of freshwater (the 'friendly' ones) crocodiles which reside in the gorge as well as how close you can get to them.
Upon entering the gorge and seeing a crocodile just across the other side of the river (about 20 metres), and being the sceptical person that I am, I thought 'close, yep, just like barramundi being everywhere!). BUT THEN, we walked another few metres and there were dozens!, and you could get close! We were able to walk up to within a few metres of them. (probably could have got a bit closer still, but Bec said I should set a good example, be a responsible parent, and stop the boys from trying to pat them). Probably a good thing too, because as it turns out, we met a couple the next day who spotted a saltwater (the not so friendly) crocodile in with the freshwater ones. Who would have known being responsible is a good thing.
Anyway, after taking a zillion and one crocodile photos, we decided to head off to Tunnel Creek. For those who don't know, Tunnel Creek is just that. A creek (ie water) in a tunnel (approx 750 metres in length). The word on the street was that the wate levels at this time of year were OK, but you would still need to wade through water to get to the end of the tunnel. Additionally, we were reliably informed that is it rare to see crocodiles in the tunnel (and being the analytical person that I am, thought told barramundi is plentiful but seen, caught zero on trip, thus rare croco is rare, must mean not in a million years).
Although not 100% sure what to expect, it was great. With torches in hand, or on head (knew those work farewell presents would come in handy) we entered into the tunnel. It wasn't long before it was completely dark and your shoes were completely wet (also wasn't long before you couldn't feel your toes as well..............gees and water was cold!). But after a while, we started to see a small light in front of us and knew we had made it to the other end of the tunnel. And talk about value for money, you get to do it all again!, simply because the only way back is the way you came.
Again, just another reason that makes doing the Gibb River Road a must!
Other derby rumours;
- Packed up the car and headed to Derby's famous wharf to try our luck at mud crabbing. In all honesty, was really just an excuse to have a few ales while watching the sun set. (translation...caught nothing again! Lucky we packed plenty of steak!)
- Had a flashy dinner (flashy for Derby anyway) at the local pub. Great seafood platter, although no prawns?
- Talked Bec into going for a quick walk along the boardwalk from the caravan park to the wharf Forgot to mention it was over 3kms one way.
- Did some school work with the boys. (definitely a rumour, no truth in this one. Think mum and dad needed a day off!)
Keep safe, Next stop Broome.