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Geikie Gorge National Park

Geikie Gorge National Park Review

Twenty km (12.5 miles) north-east of the township of Fitzroy Crossing, Geikie Gorge is part of a 350-million-year-old reef system formed from fossilized layers of algae—evolutionary precursors of coral reefs—when this area was still part of the Indian Ocean. The limestone walls you see today were cut and shaped by the mighty Fitzroy River; during the Wet, the normally placid waters roar through the region. The walls of the gorge are stained red from iron oxide, except where they have been leached of the mineral and turned white by the floods, which have washed as high as 52 feet from the bottom of the gorge.

When the Indian Ocean receded, it stranded a number of sea creatures, which managed to adapt to their altered conditions. Geikie is one of the few places in the world where freshwater barramundi, mussels, stingrays, and prawns swim. The park is also home to the freshwater archerfish, which can spit water as far as a yard to knock insects out of the air. Aborigines call this place Kangu, meaning "big fishing hole."

Although there's a 5-km (3-mile) walking trail along the west side of the gorge, the opposite side is off-limits because it's a wildlife sanctuary.

National Park Ranger Station. The best way to see the gorge is aboard one of the 90-minute boat tours led by a ranger from the National Park Ranger Station, departing at 8, 9:30, 11 and 3. The rangers are extremely knowledgeable, and helpful in pointing out the vegetation, strange limestone formations, and the many freshwater crocodiles along the way. You may also see part of the noisy fruit-bat colony that inhabits the region. The park is open for day visits daily from 6:30 am to 6:30 pm between April and November. Entry is restricted during the Wet, from December to March when the Fitzroy River floods. Great Northern Hwy, 6728. 08/9191–5121 or 08/9191–5112. parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au/park/geikie-gorge.

Updated: 01-15-2014

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