Tunnel Creek National Park

Cave of Bats

Useful Information

Location: 125km east of Derby, 115km from Fitzroy Crossing, 30km south-east of Windjana Gorge. Kimberley Region.
From Great Northern Highway M1 Broome-Kununurra, 42km northwest of Fitzroy Crossing turn off onto Leopold Downs road to the northeast 68km.
From Derby east on Gibb River Beef Road, 125km to the park, 59km of the road is unsealed.
Open: MAY to OCT daily. Park is usually inaccessible during the wet season. [2006]
Fee: free [2006]
Classification: ExplainKarst cave Devonian limestone
Light: none, bring torch
Guided tours: L=750m.
Address: Tunnel Creek National Park, Department of Conservation and Land Management Kimberley District Broome Office, Box 65, Broome, WA 6725, Australia.
West Kimberley District Office of Conservation and Land Management, Tel: +61-8-9192-1036.
Ranger in Charge, Geikie Gorge National Park, P.O Box 37, Fitzroy Crossing, Western Australia 6765.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


01-APR-1897 Aboriginal leader Jandamarrakilled outside the cave entrance.


Tunnel Creek National Park is located in the Napier Range. The limestones here were formed by a Devonian reef about 375 to 350 million years ago. The limestone is karstified, and one of the caves - a huge tunnel - is open for visitors. It seems, this tunnel-like cave is also responsible for the name of the Park. It is generally called Tunnel Creek, but its real name is Cave of Bats.

Tunnel Creek is not developed, but rather easy to visit. A huge passage, 750m long, 3-12m high and 15m wide, offers no special difficulties but one. It is necessary to wade through several permanent pools where occasionally freshwater crocodiles are found. Obviously they are cave visitors (trogloxenes) and do not really live in caves. Freshwater crocodiles eat frogs, fish, and birds and are generally not a threat to humans if left undisturbed. Nevertheless we suggest some care, especially with small children.

Other cave visitors are hundreds of flying foxes, huge bats who feed on fruit. They enter the cave at a place where a section of the cave roof has collapsed. This place also allows the daylight to enter and is really a nice spot.

The cave is decorated by numerous speleothems and Aboriginal rock paintings. An Aboriginal leader known as Jandamarra used the cave as a hideout. He led an armed rebellion against European settlers, after they had been deprived of their traditional hunting areas and forced to work on the stations. He was killed in front of the cave entrance in 1897.

We recommend appropriate equipment, especially torches, two per person, water proofed ones are a good idea. Wellingtons or sturdy boots, sweater, old clothes, clothes to change, towel and so forth.