Saturday 19th June 2004
A much more leisurely start to the day with 7.00am rolling passed
before we considered it time to face the morning... Then it was
at our own pace which would be sure not win any races.
At about 10.00am we set off into Fitzroy Crossing where we filled
the Patrol and an empty 20 litre jerry can with diesel in preparation
for our drive to Derby and Broome tomorrow.
Next we traveled the 20 kilometres out to Geikie Gorge where we
found a spot in the car park and went to check out the CALM gazebo
where there were information posters and directories. Fortunately
we arrived just as a CALM officer was setting up to sell tickets
for the 11.00am boat trip up the gorge, so we immediately purchase
tickets for this activity, costing $20.00 per adult person.
As it was only 10.30am we took a walk around one of the 20 minute
walk tracks that take the visitor in between some of the very interesting
cliff faces. The Gorge and the surrounding cliffs were created
about 350 million years ago when this area was covered by a vast
tropical sea. In what was then warm shallow waters, grew
an enormous limestone reef, winding itself across the countryside
for about 1000 kilometres at a height between 30 and 100 metres. At
Geikie Gorge the Fitzroy River has carved a 14 kilometre long
gorge deep into the Geikie Range, creating this spectacle of nature.
With true Australian Bush craft and knowledge (assisted by a
well worn path and direction markers) we made it back to the gazebo
lost or being devoured by fresh water crocodiles and were ready
for our boat trip before it departed.
At 11.00am we were on the boat and motoring up the river past
limestone outcrops, fresh water crocodiles basking in the sun on
the sand banks and listening to a very informative description
of the area. A short distance up the river we started cruising
along the bottom of what they call the 'South Wall' of Geikie Gorge,
at times a little nervously looking at the huge cracks in the limestone
and large chunks of stone sitting precariously at the top of the
cliffs. This wall of Limestone was a light limestone colour
for about 16 metres then changes to a darker stained stone colour
the rest of the way up. This lower section is just an indicator
as to how high the water rises during the wet season. Our
guide stated that the Fitzroy River is the second fastest flowing
river in the world when it is flowing during the wet, the Amazon
being the winner of the title. At it's peak, there is enough
water flowing through the Fitzroy River to fill Sydney Harbour
every 12 hours. (We think he also said 21 swimming pools per second!)
We continued up the river to the 'West Wall' which was perhaps
even more impressive than the South Wall and were provided with
a quite a few more sightings of fresh water crocodiles (saw 24
in all), unusual plants and rock formations, whilst also being
informed of the aboriginal
beliefs and culture of this land. It was then time to turn
around and motor back to the boat landing, all this over the duration
of one hour and well worth the time and money spent on this venture.
It was then time to return to the caravan and enjoy the afternoon
with our feet up and preparing for more of this hard life tomorrow
as we wind our way into Derby and Broome.