Fitzroy Crossing (including Noonkanbah, Tunnel Creek and Windjana Gorge)
Located 2686 km north of Perth, 258 km from Derby and 110 metres above sea level, Fitzroy Crossing is one of those places which sprung up for a single very good reason. It was a suitable place to cross the huge Fitzroy River which, during the wet season, was capable of stranding travellers for weeks. Once a decent bridge was built the town’s raison d’etre vanished. It is now a small, predominantly Aboriginal settlement, on the banks of the Fitzroy River with very little to commend it to the visitor apart from the beautiful Geikie Gorge which lies 15 km to the north of the town and the unusual Tunnel Creek and Windjana Gorge which lie 63 km and 95 km, respectively, from the town on the alternative Derby-Fitzroy Road.
Geikie Gorge National Park
Fitzroy Crossing’s premier attraction in Geikie Gorge National Park. Lying 18 km north east of the town it was named after Sir Archibald Geikie (a noted British geologist) by Edward Hardman who travelled through the Kimberley region in 1883.
Geikie Gorge, Tunnel Creek and Windjana Gorge are all part of an ancient ‘barrier reef’ which developed during the Devonian Period about 350 million years ago. It is estimated that the reef, which started to the east of Kununurra and swept around in a huge arc to the north of the Kimberleys before crossing the current land mass near Derby and becoming exposed to the south and north of Fitzroy Crossing, was 20 km wide and over 1000 km long. The waters of the Lennard and Fitzroy Rivers have cut through these ancient reefs exposing them and forming beautiful gorges.
Geikie Gorge abounds in wildlife which includes the harmless Johnson crocodile as well as Leichhardt’s sawfish and Coach-whip stingrays whose saltwater ancestors swam up the Fitzroy River millions of years ago. The gorge has good camping facilities. Swimming and bushwalking are catered for.
Tunnel Creek and Windjana Gorge
It is 63 km to Tunnel Creek and 95 km to Windjana Gorge from the main Derby-Fitzroy Crossing Road. Tunnel Creek is a unique formation created by waters from the creek cutting a 750 metre tunnel through the ancient reef. The tunnel is 15 metres wide and up to 12 metres high and offers visitors an excellent opportunity to see the ancient ‘barrier reef’ from an ideal vantage point.
There is a 3.5 km walking trail at Windjana Gorge which allows visitors to experience the beauty of the gorge.