Marvel at the wildlife that makes this a delightful destination for kids.
It is a glorious and sunny day in the Kimberley when we arrive at the large and spacious campground near Windjana Gorge, known as the best place in Australia to spot freshwater crocs in the wild – from a safe distance, of course.
The trip in is an adventure in itself as you’re likely to spot interesting wildlife such as brumbies or dingoes. There’s plenty of room for camper trailers, vans and big rigs, making it a popular destination during the dry season.
The solar hot showers are a wonderful luxury in this isolated destination where you are guaranteed to experience a magical sunset as the ochre-hued rocks are set ablaze by the sun’s last rays.
The walk into the 3.5km gorge is best started early in the morning while it is still (relatively) cool and you’re ahead of the crowds.
The gorge has been carved out of the Napier Range by the Lennard River, with the gorge walls rising up to 100m in places. The hike is suitable for smaller children, though you need to keep a close eye on them as snakes and other venomous creatures are common.
The crocs bake themselves in the sun on the opposite side of the river, making it perfectly safe. Further down the walking track, kids are likely to encounter a large population of bats.
A day trip to nearby Tunnel Creek (36km) is mandatory as a hike through the 750m cave system will undoubtedly be remembered. The tunnel is up to 12m high and 15m wide in parts. The kids will have to wade through several permanent pools and they will get to admire the stalactites that descend from the roof in many places.
Near the centre of the cave the roof has collapsed, providing the perfect opportunity to observe a colony of fruit bats. At least five species of bats are known to use the cave.
The kids will learn about the legend of Jandamarra, an Aboriginal freedom fighter who used the tunnel as a hideout in the late 1800s. He is sometimes called ‘the black Ned Kelly’ because he was an outlaw who symbolised the struggle against authority.
- Windjana Gorge is located in Australia’s far north-west along the Fairfield-Leopold Road and can be reached via Fitzroy Crossing along the Great Northern Highway or the notorious Gibb River Road.
- Croc-spotting: Take the 3.5km walk to Windjana Gorge, which is great for freshwater croc-spotting.
- Tunnel Creek: A wander through a 750m cave system is fun for kids who can look out for stalactites and bats.