Tunnel Creek National Park
Jules Verne Eat Your Heart Out
by Brian Churchman
Tunnel Creek National Park.
It is a diminutive 90 hectares, but that is of little consequence; it boasts many other impressive statistics. It is a super secret shortcut that leads under an entire mountain range, but somehow it does so in only 750 meters. An aboriginal leader and outlaw used it as a hideout and was killed here. It is the most ancient cave in Western Australia. I heard that a yeti, a sasquatch and el chupacabra have been operating a top secret muffin facility deep within its…depths…
You will only need the bare essentials heading into the cave. Bring one of them newfangled headlamps to keep your hands free. Bring batteries that work. This is apparently the lair of many an entrepreneurial beast and you wouldn’t want to…ok, ok! I’ll stop! Wear shoes or sandals that you trust on uneven footing underwater. Anything that you would wear rafting or to clean a fairly dank bathtub should suffice. Bring some water and a tiny slab of butter. Bring a camera. There will be no shortage of mind-blowing opportunities in there to prove to the folks back home that certain unnamed monsters really do exist…[choke] Ack!
Your 1.5 km round trip through Tunnel Creek will hands down be one of the most amazing experiences you have in Western Australia, and possibly in your life, provided that you are not a professional spelunker. From the immense looming entrance, to the creepy dim vistas of enormous reaching stalactites, to the fact that you are wading through (occasionally) freshwater croc-infested pools; this moment will drill itself into your mind as singular and fantastic. As in like a fantasy. You will definitely be getting wet, so don’t get all persnickety and don’t wear that new cummerbund you’ve been strutting about in all day like a proud bustard. Do remember to keep shining around to see everything. Little Niagaras and Iguacus tumbling from hidden ledges. Boulders scattered all about. Gleaming red eyes in the darkness coming for you. No joke! There are innumerable tiny fish with eyes apparently adapted to the darkness (like Vin Diesel) that will reflect red at you in great numbers. It is terrifying, but adds to the thrill of Tunnel Creek. If you’re feeling brave, I suggest turning off the torches (or placing them back in their sconces) and walking in the dark for a bit. It is absolutely exhilarating, and a unique opportunity. Honestly, where can you hike and wade in pitch pitch blackness with demonic fish and possibly crocodiles? Enjoy.
How’s The Drive?
The drive is no problem. Tunnel Creek National Park is located on Leopold Downs Road that connects with the Great Northern Highway and the Gibb River Road. It is approximately 175km from Derby and accessible in a 2WD, though the road can be quite corrugated.