Fitzroy River (Kimberley)

We just got back from a fun 6 days and about 130km on the Fitzroy River in northern WA, from the Leopold Ranges down to the highway.
With a few repairs my mate managed to nurse his $30 pool toy the whole way, but was thrilled to give it away to some local kids at the bridge. My Yak took the beating in its stride of course, was faster on the pools and narrower to squeeze through the log jams. The floor is not what it was but what a great boat!
As you may know the last Wet was a record up there and the flight in from Fitzroy Crossing showed about 75% of the river was paddlable which was more than we were expecting. It flowed all the way too, though at times not deep enough to actually paddle. We must have got in and out of our boats over 40 times a day, but it was all good exercise. The interesting thing was that the cattle country stage before Geicke Gorge was actually more diverse than Dimond Gorge and the ranges at the start. And the river feels 5-10 degrees cooler than the baking savannah to either side. Glad we didn’t end up walking through that. Although it had been forecast, we were surprised to learn it had hit 39°C on the shadeless Geicke day. Under the canopy it’s another world of beaky birds, crocs, bats and lizards, as well as jumpy steers, enervating quick sands and log jams. We probably paddled about 90km, hauled another 40, and portaged only a couple of kms over sand banks as well as gnarly boulder jams up in the ranges - the later was by far the most dangerous and tiring aspect with the heat, a headwind and a boat on your head!

There’s a report on my paddling blog, and here are two out of three vids

Gorges & Portages ~ Fitzroy 1/3
Quicksands & Crocodiles ~ Fitzroy 2/3



Sounds a great adventure Chris, glad to hear you got through unscathed :slight_smile: Look forward to the pics and vid.


Looking forward to seeing some pics!
Sounds like an awesome trip.

The Fitzroy is a huge river, volume-wise - very dangerous in the wet season, but a pleasant waterway in the Dry. In my younger days (1986) I walked from the Fitzroy Crossing bridge all the way up the Fitzroy, into the Hann River, then into the Barnett River, finishing the hike a month later at what was then Mt. Barnett Station (I was fit and silly then - I would definitely do it in a packraft today!) The whole walk took a full month. Dimond gorge has steep sides (hard to walk), but Sir John Gorge was impressive. It’s a sandier river than others further north which tend to have more rocky country.


Kevin Casey