Tunnel Creek

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 wild place.

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.

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