Windjana Day Tours

Windjana Tours feature incredible day trips that showcase the Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek stories.

You are transported on the Windjana Tours  bus and picked up from your desired location (see pickup locations). You will hear the amazing true story of Bunuba man, Jandamarra, and be shown the places he went to during his three year warfare with settlers and authorities. You’ll experience where Jandamarra hid in the caves and where the first gun battle was located. You’ll follow the storyline through Windjana Gorge to its finale in Tunnel Creek.

Windjana
Gorge

Napier
Range

Lillimooloora
Police Station

Tunnel
Creek

Windjana Gorge

70 freshwater crocodiles reside in the pools of Bandingan Rock making it the perfect location to observe the crocs basking in the sun.

The gorge is an ideal place for photography, birdwatching, walking or relaxing, particularly in the late afternoon when the gorge walls are reflected in the water.

The park covers over 2000 hectares including Lillimooloora Police Station ruins.

The main attraction of Windjana is the scenic gorge carved by the Lennard River, through the Napier Range, which exposes the ancient reef system, regarded by geologists as a classic feature of world geology.

The Lennard River runs through the gorge in wet weather, but during the dry season it forms pools surrounded by trees and shrubs.

The deep, moist soils of the riverbank support the tall broad-leaved leichardt tree, native figs and the paper-barked cadjeputs. These trees also provide shelter from the hot sun for many waterbirds, a colony of fruit bats and a large group of corellas. Freshwater crocodiles can often be seen in the pools.

The walls of Windjana Gorge rise abruptly from the wide alluvial floodplain of the Lennard River, reaching about 100 metres high in some places. The 3.5 kilometre long gorge cuts through the limestone of the Napier Range; part of an ancient barrier reef, which can also be seen at Geikie Gorge and Tunnel Creek National Parks.

(Information supplied by the Department of Conservation and Land Management)

Napier Range

The Napier Range exposes the ancient reef system, reputed to be one of the best exposed fossil reef complexes in the world.

Lillimooloora Police Station

In the 1890s an Aboriginal man named Jandamarra, often referred to as ‘Pigeon’, gained a notoriety that rivalled that of the Kelly Gang in Victoria. Using the caves and surroundings of Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek as hideouts, he led an organised armed rebellion by Kimberley Aboriginal people against European settlers. These activities prevented pastoralists from opening up a large part of the Kimberley for some time.

Tunnel Creek

Western Australias oldest cave system, in Tunnel Creek National Park, is famous as a hideout used in the late 1800s by an Aboriginal leader known as Jandamarra. He was killed outside its entrance in 1897.

Tunnel Creek flows through a water worn tunnel beneath the limestone of the Napier Range, part of the 375 to 350 million-year-old Devonian Reef system. You can walk 750 metres through the tunnel to the other side of Napier Range, wading through several permanent pools and watching for bats and the stalactites that descend from the roof in many places.

The tunnel is up to 12 metres high and 15 metres wide in parts. Near the centre of the cave the roof has collapsed and is an excellent place to observe the colony of fruit bats. Take a torch, wear sneakers and be prepared to get wet and possibly cold.

Fauna

Tunnel Creek was once known as the “cave of bats”. At least five species of bat are known to use the cave. These include the Western Cave Bat, the common Bentwing bat and the rare Ghost Bat, Australias only carnivorous bat, which preys on frogs, lizards, small birds and mammals including other bats.

The Yellow-lipped Bat, found only in the Kimberley, has been little studied but appears to be a strict cave dweller. The Orange leaf-nose bat named for its golden fur prefers limestone caves that provide warmth and humidity to help maintain its body temperature when resting. Unlike other bats, Orange leaf-nosed bats do not huddle together to keep warm.

Many of these bats are particularly sensitive to disturbance. Ghost bats aand the orange leaf-nosed bat may abandon their refuges if too much artificial light penetrates the cave.

At times a colony of Little Red fruit bats roost where the roof of the tunnel has collapsed. During the day the tunnel provides a protected retreat. At dusk they leave en masse to seek out the blossoms of woodland trees.

Small Freshwater crocodiles are sometimes seen in the tunnel where they feed on small fish, cherabun (a crustacean), frogs and insects. Rainbow fish, bony bream, spangled perch and fork-tailed catfish are found in the pools.

Birds such as the Black bittern and Nankeen Night Heron are sometimes seen just inside the mouth of the cave, looking for small fish and cherabun. Nankeen kestrels are often seen and heard flying about the cliffs at the entrance to the cave. Tunnel Creek is also home to many other bird species.

Geology

The limestone reef is made up of calcium carbonate, which is readily dissolved by rainwater seeping from the surface into the rock. Over many thousands of years, water flowing along cracks, joints and bedding surfaces dissolves the limestone away, opening them out to form caves. Cave systems have formed wherever the reef has been exposed at the Earths surface. This first occurred 250 million years ago, and the present system of active caves may have reused the same channels they created over the last 20 million years or so.

Tunnel Creek follows a prominent joint through the limestone. A old river valley on top of the range formed at a time when the climate was wetter, and the water table (the level to which rock beneath the surface is saturated with ground water) was higher. Erosion has since exhumed the reef, preserving the old river course.

The presence of underground pools along the floors of the cave is due to the water table being just below the present erosion surface. Water only flows through the cave after prolonged heavy rain during the wet season. During the dry season, water dripping from the roof of the caves and onto the floor precipitates calcite to form stalactites and stalagmites, or flows down the walls to form curtains of flowstones.

(Information supplied by the Department of Conservation and Land Management)