30th May 2017–Fitzroy Crossing to Warmun

Distance: 468 km
Fuel: 55 L

This morning, before packing up, I went for a drive to the old Fitzroy Crossing. It is still there but the river silt either side has effectively blocked it off. There were some tyre tracks but they had come from the river sand flats. It is still only a metre above the water line now so one can understand why it was replaced by a higher level bridge.

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The drive to Halls Creek where I had originally intended to stay was pretty straight forward though there were many single lane bridges on the way which had to be approached with some caution.

170530 017 Near Halls Creek

At Halls Creek I filled up with fuel but because it was only 10.30am decided to press on to Warmun (Turkey Creek) Roadhouse only another 160km further on. Warmun is a small Aborigine community who own and run the roadhouse.

At Warmun I enquired about a site and was told to take one and come back to tell them which site it was – it was $35 for a powered site. Once I had set up I wandered over to the Helicopter Flight office and asked if there were anybody who wanted a flight but needed another to make up the numbers. Oh dear, nothing looking likely and at $400 per person I wasn’t going to pay for two seats. Will try again in the morning because Kununurra is only 200km away.

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What was an almost empty caravan park was nearly full by the time 6pm came round.

170530 025 Warmun Roadhouse

29th May 2017–Derby to Fitzroy Crossing

Distance: 308km
Fuel: 58 L

Was out early buying fuel for the journey to Fitzroy Crossing and was on the road by 7.45am.

Easy drive to Fitzroy Crossing  where I arrived about 11am. Found a Caravan Park right next to the IGA store, Checked in and the lady told me that there was a boat tour at the Geikie Gorge at 4pm.

The Geikie Gorge is only just over 20km from town and that sounded a good idea so at about 1pm I took off for the Geikie Gorge National Park. Of course I arrived in plenty of time for the boat trip, originally I had intended to suss it out and return later but there were a number of walks at the park so I decided to try out a couple – I was carrying plenty of water in the car.

History: Geikie Gorge is a reef from the Devonian Period (250 million years ago?) when the area was a sea. As I understand it it is limestone from a combination of algae and coral.

Anyway my first walk was in among the reef formations. BTW this is a story where too many rocks are just not enough.

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Then it was a walk along the side of the Fitzroy River to the sandbar and the Margaret River. (In case you haven’t working it out yet Fitzroy Crossing is so named because it was a place early settlers could get across the Fitzroy River).

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Here you can see both the start of the sandbar and where the Margaret River joins the Fitzroy to the left of the sandbar.

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These were not arduous walks being about a kilometre or so each but the path was mainly soft sand (silt from the river flood) which made it hard going. They were well marked.

Suddenly it was time for the boat trip…

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170529 056 Fitzroy Crossing Geikie Gorge NP Boat Trip

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These are birds nests made of mud and saliva stuck to the underside of overhanging rocks.

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The dark areas of the rocks are oxidised limestone while the light areas show where the river comes to at its peak. The limestone is eroded and scoured by the river. The ranger’s pagoda roof has been under 2 metres of water and it is not an insubstantial structure perhaps 5 metres high and many metres above the current water level.

The crocs are Freshwater Crocodiles much smaller and less threatening than the Salties further north, the river is quite safe to swim in they don’t attack humans.

This rock island is sacred to the local aborigines and is the only place where swimming is not allowed.

170529 093 Fitzroy Crossing Geikie Gorge NP Boat Trip

The boat trip finished just as the sun set so the drive back to town was at my least favourite time of day (for driving). As it happened I had to stop several times for wallabies with all the road sense of a two year old but I didn’t hit anything and got back safely.

I decided I didn’t want to cook so I went looking for a restaurant… Nope! the only food was at the servo but I really wanted a meal so I just bought fuel for tomorrow.

The diesel here is $1.43/L compared to $1.52 at Derby – how does that work?