Windjana Gorge

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Windjana Gorge is a 5.0 kilometer out and back trail located near Old Napier Downs, Western Australia, Australia that features a river. The trail is good for all skill levels and primarily used for hiking and walking.

5 km
106 m
Out & Back

kid friendly





historic site

Windjana Gorge is a highly spiritual place to Bunuba Aboriginal people and the Wandjina are the powerful creation spirits that reside in the area. Hence the name Windjana, which was (mis)recorded by William Forrester, who took up a nearby pastoral lease in 1884 and built Lillimilura Homestead. Pigeon's Rock shows the place where the Aboriginal leader Jandamarra was shot during a gun battle with Europeans in 1894. Windjana Gorge National Park was once part of an ancient barrier reef that teemed with a myriad of ancient life forms. It formed around 380 million years ago, in the Devonian period, when a large part of the Kimberley was covered with a tropical sea. Perfectly preserved within its rocks are amazing fossils of a huge diversity of marine animals, including the world-famous Gogo fish, named after nearby Gogo Station. Just as today's coral reefs are constructed largely of dead coral skeletons, the Devonian reefs were built up from the remains of many kinds of creatures: cyanobacterial mounds known as stromatolites, layered sponge-like creatures called 'stromatoporoids', many kinds of algae, early corals, shells of diverse shapes and sizes, echinoderms, sea mosses (bryozoans) and single-celled microfossils largely form the main Devonian reef structure. Swimming in the waters around the reef were schools of shrimp-like crustaceans, as well as the squid-like ammonoids and nautiloids. Trilobites, small creatures with jointed legs, burrowed and swam around the muddy sea floor. The deep, moist soils of the river bank support the tall broad-leaved leichardt tree, native figs and the paper-barked cadjeputs. These trees also provide shelter from the hot sun for many waterbirds, a colony of fruit bats and a large group of corellas. Freshwater crocodiles can often be seen in the pools.