Deep Reach Pool in the Millstream Chichester National Park is a permanent water pool fed by an aquifer beneath the park keeping the water levels maintained during the dry.
The Deep Reach Day Use Area has the facilities to make a day of visiting Deep Reach Pool with disabled access toilets, gas BBQs and picnic tables under the shade of the trees.
Deep Reach Pool is part of the Fortescue River, a deep water hole that was said on a good day is so clear you can see catfish swimming around your angles before they dive down into the depths below.
About 5 years ago, Deep Reach was under threat of draining due to erosion caused by flood waters and feral cattle damaging the soil allowing it to be eroded quickly. The land was laid with a carpet for the cattle to walk on to prevent their hard hooves from damaging the soil and being eroded away. Thankfully these sort of programs are done to preserve such a beautiful place rather than being lost to introduced animals that shouldn’t be in the area.
Deep Reach is a significant cultural location for the Yandeyarra Aboriginal people in the area. How the waterholes and river were formed are told through a story.
Barrimirndi, How the Rainbow Serpent created the Fortescue River Long ago, a sea serpent, Barrimindi, became angry with two boys at Millstream who had cooked and eaten Gundamkurdam, a mulga parrot, which was forbidden.
The rainbow serpent smelt the singed feathers of the burnt bird and came out from the sea travelling inland. He made a trench in the land, cutting in half, creating Yandanyirra, the Fortescue River. Along the way he made many waterholes.
Travelling underground he would rise to the surface checking the scent and looking for the boys. Each time he rose he dug out a waterhole before going underground. He cut open Bargumarrinha, Palm Pool, then went near Himdawurrunha – where Millstream Homestead is – making a pool. He returned underground to where the red ochre edge is and made a pool in the red ochre.
Here at Njakangunha, Deep Reach, he got the boys. He took them on top of a whirlwind and swallowed them.
This land had no water before he got the two boys and swallowed them. Just before he did, the people cried and cried and using a stick, tried to get into the serpent to get the boys out, but they couldn’t reach. They returned to their camp by the river bed crying out, a big crowd of them. That was too much for the serpent, se he buried them in a flood of water. Finished! All drowned! He’s in the water now, which fills the whole trench.
Yirijibarndi people call it a yinda.
To get there
From Karratha, head to the highway and turn right (west). Follow North-West Coastal Hwy for 9km from De Witt Rd (or 300m if coming out along Madigan Rd) and turn left into Warlu Rd. Follow Warlu Rd for 88km and continue straight ahead (passing a brown sign to Python Pools) for another 20km on Roebourne-Wittenoom Rd. Turn right into Millstream Rd and follow for about 14.5km and turn right into the entrance of Millstream Chichester National Park. The entrance station where you can pay for permits is 200m or so on the left.
From Python Pool (see Python Pool for directions from Roebourne), head out the track and turn right onto Roebourne-Wittenoon Rd. Follow Roebourne-Wittenoon Rd for 18km to a T intersection. Turn left to continue on Roebourne-Wittenoon Rd for another 20km on Roebourne-Wittenoom Rd. Turn right into Millstream Rd and follow for about 14.5km and turn right into the entrance of Millstream Chichester National Park. The entrance station where you can pay for permits is 200m or so on the left.
From the entrance station, continue straight on for another 3km and the access to Deep Reach Day Use Area is on the right. Follow the track for about 400m to the parking area.