Part 4 – Broome to Bell Gorge along the Gibb River Road

Day 11 Broome to Windjana

We stocked the fridges before we left Broome for our adventure along the Gibb River Road.

The Great Northern Highway leads east out of Broome 160+ kilometres to the Willare Bridge Roadhouse, a kilometre past the mighty Fitzroy River.

We refuelled at the Roadhouse and headed north. The road continues straight to Derby and it is actually Great Northern Highway (Highway 1) that deviates to the east.

We took the road towards Derby. The Gibb River Road starts just outside Derby.

Windjana Gorge is an iconic destination along the Gibb River Road.

After we set up camp it was time for a walk up the Gorge. The track extends for 3.5 kilometres following the bed of the Lennard River through the Napier Range but as it was late in the afternoon we chose not to do the full distance.

Day 12 Windjana to Silent Grove

Leaving Windjana we took a 33 kilometre detour south to Tunnel Creek. Dusty conditions, unfenced road and wandering cattle equals hazardous driving.

Tunnel Creek is a 750 metre long underground passage carved out of the limestone of Napier Range by flowing water. The creek once flowed across the top of the Range but water seepage gradually enlarged fractures in the limestone until it reached today’s underground course. The Tunnel is up to 12 metres high and 15 metres wide and contains permanent pools of fresh water in which freshwater crocodiles are found.

In the late 19th century, it was a hideout for the aboriginal Jandamurra while evading Police for crimes of murder and robbery. In earlier times the tunnel was known as the Cave of Bats, as at least five species of bat are known to inhabit it.

Tammy was way, way out of her comfort zone. To her credit she made it all the way to end of the cave.

The bats did nothing to alleviate her fears.

I didn’t tell her about the resident crocodiles until after we had returned to the entrance.

Tammy’s realisation that she would have to make a second journey through the Tunnel was a real challenge for her. Brave girl. She kept her cool, conquered her fears and after she climbed back out to daylight was able to celebrate a personal victory.

The road back to the Gibb was in terrible condition, corrugated, pot holed and dusty.

We turned back onto the Gibb River Road, heading towards our planned overnight stop at Silent Grove. A few kilometres to the north-east we passed what is colloquially known as Queen Victoria’s Head.

Our next stop, Lennard Gorge, is a few kilometres past Inglis Gap. Lennard Gorge is a spectacular waterfall and swimming hole formed by the Lennard River as its cuts its way through the King Leopold Range. The track into the gorge is rough and the path from the carpark to the waterhole is indistinct.

The campsite at Silent Grove was nearly full. The resident Monitor lizard was fed by everyone.

Silent Grove is the campground for Bell Gorge, the most popular gorge and waterfall along the Gibb.

Go to Part 5 -Bell Gorge to Wyndham