Tunnel Creek, situated 36km east of Windjana Gorge in Tunnel Creek
National Park in the north of Western Australia, its takes its name
from the 750 metre long tunnel carved by flowing water out of the
limestone of the Napier Range, and is part of the 375 to 350
million-year-old Devonian Reef system. Western Australia's oldest cave
system, it is famous as a hideout used late last century by an
Aboriginal leader known as Jandamarra. He was killed outside its
entrance in 1897.
Tunnel Creek is, as the name implies, a tunnel, cut through one
section of the reef by a small creek with a collapsed roof in the
middle. To pass through it to the other side of Napier Range, you have
to wade through long waterholes up your waist and at times up to your
chest. In sections, it is pitch black so you need to carry a torch in
one hand and your camera in your other. At least five species of bat
live in the cave, including ghost bats and fruit bats, and stalactites
descend from the roof in many places. Freshwater crocodiles are
occasionally found in the pools through no one has ever taken attacked
or taken by them.
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The tunnel is extraordinarily beautiful and has all the features
you'd expect to see in a good caveflow stones, stalactites,
stalagmites, cave coral, bats, etc. It is not roped off from any part
of the formation, so visitors are free to explore to their heart's
content. It gives a real feeling of being free to explore nature in a
According to the Dreaming (the Aboriginal name for the Creation) the
creek was created by the big serpent snake, who went through the rock.
Once in there she lost the orientation and had to put her head out of
the tunnel, even out of the rock, in order to see where she was. We
stopped at the spot, saw the light, continued then through the dark of
the remaining part of the tunnel. There are Aboriginal rock paintings
at one end of the tunnel. Some have been dated to be 37.000 years old.
Nearby is Lillimooloora, which was a police outpost, and the place
where Constable Jandamarra Richardson (the 'Pigeon') was shot after
catching and then later releasing the Aborigines caught spearing sheep.