A Travellerspoint blog

Day 81 - Wednesday 25 July 2012

Derby to Fitzroy Crossing

Up at 6:30 am today for a full pack up to get away early - we were on the road by 8:15 am for our trip of 265 kms to Fitzroy Crossing. We arrived at 11:15 am and were allocated a shady powered site for 2 nights - they do not do reservations at the Fitzroy Crossing Lodge for caravanners, and it is first come first served. As we left Derby we realised that we would not see the ocean again until we get to Darwin in a couple of weeks time.

By the time we had done a full set up it was 35 degrees in the shade under our awning. Once we were set up we headed off to the Information Centre to book a Geikie Gorge cruise for tommorrow. When we got to the Information Centre there were 2 signs on the door - "Closed from 12:30 to 1:30 pm", and "No Geikie Gorge Cruises on Thursday". Shock - Horror - What are we going to do now! We walked around the corner to the shopping centre - an IGA supermarket, a Newsagent with yesterday's papers and a Post Office. We bought ourselves a can of Baygon surface spray as the ants in the park are Singapore Ants and they get into everything. It works as we have seen no ants in the van!

Back at the Caravan Park we went into reception to find out what else was available for the intrepid tourist in Fitzroy Crossing, only to find out if we hurried we would make it for the last Geikie Gorge tour of the day. As we had a 4WD they sent us on a gravel road via the low level crossing (the original crossing) of the Fitzroy River. We arrived in plenty of time for our cruise and chatted to other travellers - just about everyone else that we talked to are going the other way (south). The Cruise rotunda had flood markers up the frame, however the 2002 and the 2011 floods were 1 metre and 500 cms above the roof, which itself is about 6 metres high.

A dusty approach to the crossing

A dusty approach to the crossing

Fitzroy River Low Level Crossing

Fitzroy River Low Level Crossing

Fitzroy River refections from the Low Level crossing

Fitzroy River refections from the Low Level crossing

More reflections on the Fitzroy River

More reflections on the Fitzroy River

Geikie Gorge Cruises Rotunda

Geikie Gorge Cruises Rotunda

Our tour guide was a young indigenous woman who was also the skipper of the boat, which was 2 flat bottom boats connected together and each able to carry about 25 people. The cruise lasted for 1 hour and is operated by the Department on Environment and Conservation and was very informative. Our indigenous guide was very knowledgeable and able to point out all the features of the Gorge that are important to the local indigenous people.

Boarding the cruise boat

Boarding the cruise boat

Nearly ready to go

Nearly ready to go

The part of the Gorge where the cruise operates is above a large sand bar that holds the water back, and that part of the Gorge has a water depth up to 18 metres against the rock walls. In the week before our tour the rangers had found a drowned 2 metre long King Brown Snake floating in the river - it had swallowed a small crocodile and bit off more than it could chew!

Balancing rock on cliff top

Balancing rock on cliff top

Balancing rock up close

Balancing rock up close

Gorge cliff face

Gorge cliff face

Cliff Face - White rock shows highest flood level

Cliff Face - White rock shows highest flood level

Fresh water crocodile

Fresh water crocodile

The cliffs along the Gorge are sandstone and are white from the water up to the highest point of recent floods, and much darker above that level. At one point 2 logs were jammed against the rock wall to show the levels of 2 of the most recent floods. In 2002 and again in 2011 Fitzroy Crossing was completed isolated by flood waters. While it had not rained at Fitzroy Crossing the water flowing from nearby mountains had risen by more than a metre an hour. At the caravan park water had flowed more than waist deep through the park at at 50 kms per hour.

Eroded lower cliff face

Eroded lower cliff face

Rock islands

Rock islands

Colourful cliffs

Colourful cliffs

Rock island

Rock island

Fresh water pandanus

Fresh water pandanus

Logs show high water marks from 2002 and 2011 floods

Logs show high water marks from 2002 and 2011 floods

View down river

View down river

River bank

River bank

Sand dunes

Sand dunes

Tree clinging to life

Tree clinging to life

Hope that it does not fall

Hope that it does not fall

Cliff erosion

Cliff erosion

Swallow mud nests

Swallow mud nests

Weeping Rock

Weeping Rock

Coolabah Tree

Coolabah Tree

River Red Gums

River Red Gums

Large F W Crocodile

Large F W Crocodile

River gums

River gums

Bird life

Bird life

another crocodile

another crocodile

Cliff face

Cliff face

More colourful cliffs

More colourful cliffs

Rock island

Rock island

Even more colourful cliffs

Even more colourful cliffs

More cliffs

More cliffs

South American passion fruit vines (a weed)

South American passion fruit vines (a weed)

More Passion Fruit Vines

More Passion Fruit Vines

Posted by TwoAces 23:41

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