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Published: September 2nd 2013
We often think of major cities and their impact on commerce and travel. Fitzroy crossing is very small, yet in its own way has contributed to the Kimberly economy and population very significantly.
The Kimberly region is criss crossed with many rivers, the Fitzroy being one of the more significant rivers, and one that has caused crossing difficulties on many occasions. The pictures we have are at the end of the dry season, but in the peak of the wet season, Fitzroy Crossing becomes Fitzroy Island.
The town name comes from the obvious; this is the main crossing point of the river, and you will see the steep access once endured by travellers down to not much more than a cause way. In the rainy season you will get wet crossing here, or in flood, the water will be 30 feet over your head.
This river is home to both fresh water and salt water crocodiles. While in the general river here we didn't see any crocs. (other than one dead one) However, when we visited the Geikie Gorge, we saw several freshies, and if I am not mistaken, one salt water croc as well.
The salty looks heavier built, particularly the front leg/shoulder. As it was diving into the river just in front of us, we couldn't get a clear look at the snout. You can decide for yourself, but I would stay clear.
We were talking to some people who have sea kayaks with them, and they wondered about using them on the gorge. I said they would be fine and warmly welcomed by the crocs and invited for lunch. They decided not to take the kayaks.
The Geikie Gorge is an ancient coral and rock reef, now many miles from the coast, and high and dry above the ocean. The photos are a reminder of both former times and the amazing water flows on the river. The grey/white areas are the general wet season and flood season water marks. You can see how the lower part of the gorge wall is hollowed out, honeycomb fashion, while the upper is showing general wind and rain erosion.
There is a lot of wild life in the gorge area, particularly in the wet season, and best seen around sunset. Thousands of bats come here to drink each evening. They skim along the
water, get their fur wet, and then lick the water from their fur. That's if a fresh water croc hasn't got both bat and the water. (Croc version of KFC meal deal.)
Fitzroy crossing is a great base for visiting Tunnel Creek and Windjana Gorge. However, be well prepared. See the tyre on the back of a 4WD that didn't fare too well.
We broke the journey from Derby to Fitzroy crossing by stopping at the Ellendale Rest Area. This stop over is elevated above the highway and has pleasant views across the land scape. There is a lot of beef farming in the Kimberley, and by Ellendale we saw evidence of quite large holdings with cattle bush grazing. At Ellendale, we were however surprised at the low amount of bird life - a few crows, one butcher bird family, and some very active and a little over friendly native noisy miner birds. We were having a cuppa when I heard a flutter by my right ear. The miner bird was eyeing up my macadamia nut cookie. You will see how tame these little birds are. Actually, they are also quite aggressive driving bigger birds away.
And that includes snakes and numerous other bitey things.
Along the way we stopped at a rest area for morning cuppa and a look at one of the larger boab trees of the Kimberley. This one is 22 large paces around the base, and as is typical, hollow in the middle. I don't think this one was used as a prison tree, but had the potential. Anyway, it is a big and beautiful tree.
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