Fortescue River

Major Australian Rivers

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The Pilbara
Millstream-Chichester National Park

The 200,000 ha Millstream-Chichester National Park contains the Chichester Ranges which rise abruptly from the coastal plain. The Chichesters consist of a stony plateau with deep gorges and rocky pools along the edges. To the south of the park the
Fortescue river has created the Millstream oasis.
Permanent running springs feed deep pools with introduced date palms and water lilies. Millstream is the home on the Livingstonia palm, one of the few palm trees native to the northwest of Australia.

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fortescue RIVER



Fortescue River. A tranquil spot in WA's Pilbara. This river supplies the 
 water for Tom Price, hence swimming is not permitted. However there 
 are plenty of places for swimming in the area. Circular Pool is near by and 
 has also a great camping area.


14-Day Pilbara, Broome & West Kimberley Tour
Departure Date 7th July 2001

DAY 5 [CP] We continue north crossing the Ashburton and Fortesque Rivers to Dampier, Karratha, Roebourne and the historic Port of Cossack. In the afternoon onto Port Hedland.

DAY 12 [CP] Some of the gorges we see today in these ranges are as impressive as you would see in any part of Australia. We visit Yampire, Dales, Circular Pool and Fortescue Fall; onto Newman.


NATIONAL WILDERNESS RED INDEX Published by the Colong Foundation for Wilderness Ltd. 30/09/94 Level 2, 362 Kent Street, Sydney, NSW, 2000.

Fortescue River area consists largely of a series of low hills and streams based on Proterozoic basalts. The hills reach to 200 to 300 metres in height. The Fortescue River flows from east to west just to the south of the area. Hummock grasslands and scattered eucalypt woodland are the dominant vegetation types.
DAMS : A proposal exists to dam the
Fortescue River to provide water to townships of the Pilbara region.




Basin Name : Fortesque

Continent Name : Australia

Ocean Name : Indian Ocean

Basin Length : 712 km

Basin Area : 62775 km2


Hamersley Range -

Mountains in the Pilbara region, northwestern Western Australia, extending east-southeast for 160 miles (260 km) south of the
Fortescue River. Part of an ancient tableland broken by faults and gorges, the range terminates in rocky headlands and coral islets at the Indian Ocean. It includes the highest peak in Western Australia, Mount Meharry (4,111 feet [1,253 m]), which lies southeast of Wittenoom Gorge.

Hamersley Ranges

The Hamersley Ranges stretch for more than 400km through the Pilbara, forming wild and magnificent panoramas. Spectacular gorges have been carved by the waters of the Fortescue and other rivers. Sheer walls of rock are layered in colours from red to green and blue to pink in the changing sunlight. The gorges are up to 100m deep, with the water flow at their bases sometimes only one metre wide. Others have wide crystal-clear pools reflecting the blue skies. Lush green vegetation thrives and the gorges are cool oases to swim in and escape the brilliant sunshine. Within the huge Karijini (Hamersley Range) National Park there are many well known gorges, including Dales Gorge, its strata in horizontal stripes of blue, mauve, red and brown and dating back 2000 million years


Park of the Month - June 1997
Millstream-Chichester National Park

Most of the 200,000 hectare Millstream-Chichester National Park is a landscape of rolling hills, spectacular escarpments and winding tree-lined watercourses.
The Chichester Range rises sharply from the coastal plain and includes rocky peaks, tranquil gorges, and hidden rock pools such as
Python Pool. Scattered white-barked gums and spiky spinifex clumps cover the stony plateau, which gradually slopes down to the bed of the Fortescue River.
In the midst of this landscape is the remarkable oasis of Millstream, where fresh water springs from an aquifer to create the lushly tropical Chinderwarriner Pool. Paperbark and palm trees surround this deep pool on the
Fortescue River.


The park's shady camping areas near deep pools at Crossing Pool and Deep Reach attract tourists and locals all year round, but winter is the best time to visit. The cool season between May and August, experiences little rain, with day time temperatures around 26º Celcius.
The area has an interesting cultural history. It has long been a focal point for the Yinjibarndi people and was an active pastoral station for more than 100 years. Previously two separate parks, the area was expanded into one park in 1982, and it has significant natural, recreational and cultural values.

The broad area of land straddling the Fortescue River, from the Hamersley Range through to the Chichester escarpment is the homeland of the Yinjibarndi people. Ngarrari (Millstream) was an important camp site for inter-tribal meetings. Visitors camped beside Chinderwarriner Pool, where they feasted on fresh fish and edible plant roots, harvested wood for spears and collected rocks for ritual purposes. Today the Yinjibarndi people maintain close ties with their land and have been trained and employed as rangers and contract workers.
Millstream was named in 1861 by the explorer F T Gregory, who reported its favourable grazing prospects. The pastoral lease, first taken up in 1865 changed hands several times before Les Gordon assumed management of the property in 1923. In its heyday the station covered more than 400,000 hectares and ran 55,000 sheep. The homestead which now houses the visitor centre, was built in 1919 and was home to the Gordon family until 1964.



Millstream is in the Chichester National Park, and is one of the most beautiful spots around. A long drive on gravel tracks, through barren countryside, eventually leads to this oasis in the desert.
In thousands of years past, our ancestors called Millstream or 'Ngarrari' home and it was also an important camp site for inter-tribal meetings. At these meetings, visitors often camped beside Chinderwariner Pool, better known today as Crystal Pool. There they feasted on fish and plant roots.
Covering an area of almost 200,000 square hectares, Millstream-Chichester National Park is located about 150 kilometres from Roebourne. The entire Chichester Ranges and Millstream area are stooped in both
cultural & geological history. The water’s that feed the Millstream Oasis arrive via an aquifer or natural underground reserve which is contained within the surrounding dolomite rock. This huge reserve is believed to contain in excess of 1700 million cubic metres of water and cover an area of almost 2000 square kilometres. Aided also by the run-off from the Hamersley Ranges via the Fortescue River, with this vast water supply ensures Millstream to be a year round oasis with permanent water and inviting swimming holes. To our people (the Yindjibarndi people are the traditional Aboriginal people of the area), Millstream and its surrounding waterways holds great cultural significance. The lush oasis of the Millstream wetlands, stands in vast contrast to it’s surrounding landscape consisting of spectacular escarpments,

rolling spinifex-covered hills and winding tree-lined watercourses. The area also has its fair share of European history as the area was extensively used by early European settlers as an active pastoral station for more than 100 years. The Millstream Visitors Center is located in some of the original homestead buildings as well as the remnants of the gardens, cook house and other structures used by the homestead staff. Well maintained public camping facilities are located near deep cool pools, with gas BBQs and wood supplied for campfires.



Situated on North West Coastal Highway, Roebourne is a central base for touring the are to see such places as Cossack, Point Samson, Harding River Dam, Millstream, Python Pool, Karratha, Wittenoom and Tom Price. The many well preserved and restored historic attractions around Roeboume are a must for the history buffs.

Roebourne, the gateway to Australia’s greatest oasis Millstream, which emerges out of the stark rugged iron ore country of the Chichester National Park, is a tropical paradise set on the Fortescue River with tall trees, palms, water lillies and ferns surrounding a huge lake.