WINDJANA GORGE  - Page 4

View from our tent of the outside of Windjana Gorge.
On Sunday 11 August 2001 we left the comfort of the caravan in Derby and embarked on the major part of our Kimberley adventure.  First stop was Windjana Gorge which is a total of 139 kms from Derby.  The Lennard River runs through the gorge and it is home to numerous freshwater crocodiles (more about them later on this page).  The panoramic photograph above shows the view we had from our tent.

Whilst the days are very hot, I discovered that first night in the tent, the nights can be freezing cold in the Gibb River Road area.  Consequently at 1am I found that I had to don thermal underwear and a complete tracksuit before climbing into my sleeping bag to try and get some sleep.  I'm an early riser and by 7am by my second cup of coffee, I had peeled off the many layers of clothing I'd slept in and changed to shorts and a light T Shirt.  

 
We left the campground early, before 8am Monday, to escape walking too far in the heat.  The temperature was over 30 degrees C (over 90 F) by about 10 am.  The 3.5 km. walk to the end of the gorge was a sheer delight.   The Lennard River was as still as a mill pond and the reflections from the walls of the gorge were superb.  There were huge flocks of corellas quarrelling in the trees, hundreds of fruit bats jostling for the best roosting spots and of course the ever present freshwater crocodiles sunning themselves on the sandy beaches.  They were mostly on the other side of the gorge but as you can see from the photograph below there were a few on "our" side.  We did NOT go swimming despite the heat. Reflections in Windjana Gorge.

The croc and me.

I managed to get up close and personal to this particular croc, or at least as up close as I cared to venture.  Not only do crocs and feathered and furry creatures inhabit the gorge but it's also home to some pretty impressive snakes.  We found a track, which we took to be a croc track, leading up from the water.  As there were no signs of feet marks we were curious and asked a Park Ranger about it.  He took a look and informed us it was probably the track of an Olive Python which had been fishing for its supper and then headed into the scrub to digest the meal.  He estimated this snake would have been around 15 to 18 feet long!