Tunnel Creek National Park
Tunnel Creek National Park, in the Kimberley’s Napier Range, is home to Western Australia’s oldest cave system. Like Windjana Gorge to the north, this area is part of an ancient barrier reef, formed during the Devonian period some 375 to 350 million years ago. The limestone rocks at the entrance to Tunnel Creek bear the markings of this fossil reef.
Tunnel Creek itself, ﬂowing beneath the limestone of the Napier Range, has carved out a 750-metre long tunnel. Visitors can walk through this underground passage to the other side of the Napier Range. It is essential to carry a torch, and wear sandshoes when exploring the cave, as there are several permanent pools of water that must be waded through. Keep a wary eye on these pools – freshwater crocodiles are sometimes found in them. On the journey you should also be prepared for encounters with bats; at least ﬁve species reside in the cave, including ghost bats, Australia’s only carnivorous bat, and ﬂying-foxes (the cave was once known as Cave of Bats). Also watch out for the stalactites hanging down from the roof of the cave, which are beautiful but potentially harmful to unprotected heads.
Late last century, Tunnel Creek was used as a hideout by the Aboriginal leader Jandamarra, also known as Pigeon. After avoiding the police for two and a half years, Jandamarra was killed in 1897 by an Aboriginal police tracker opposite the entrance to the tunnel. The best time to visit Tunnel Creek National Park is between May and September – the park is usually inaccessible during the wet season.
Location and access
115 km north-west of Fitzroy Crossing via Great Northern Hwy and Leopold Downs Rd; 180 km south-east of Derby via Derby–Gibb River Rd; 30 km south-east of Windjana Gorge via Fairﬁeld Rd
- DEC Broome (08) 9195 5500
- DEC Tunnel Creek ranger station (08) 9191 7076
Derby (08) 9191 1426, 1800 621 426