WE ARE HERE
One of the many reasons we love having a 4WD and our Tvan is that we can get off the beaten track. We love the spots not many others have seen, where we have a piece of paradise all to ourselves. Sometimes, however, there’s a paradise that’s well known and fairly accessible for travellers and their big caravans and hire vehicles. Destination, El Questro.
El Questro is a station located on the eastern side of the Gibb River Road up in The Kimberley. It was opened up to tourists in 1992 and nowadays it is on everyones list to see if you’re heading across the Gibb.
After camping along the Pentecost River under a big old Boab tree, with the Cockburn Ranges in the background, we woke up early to drive the last 40kms to hit up ELQ for the day. At $12 per person for daily access onto the station, we wanted to make the most of our time, so first up were the infamous Zebedee Springs.
Only open to the public from 7am til midday, the Zebedee hot springs are very popular to say the least. Arriving at the carpark the sign reads “If the carpark is full, so are the springs. Come back another time”. Initially we were met with the sound of birdlife humming through the lush palms that lined the small stream. As you stroll over the boardwalks, the bird songs start to fade, and a sound similar to that of a public swimming pool starts to echo through the air.
It’s a short walk to get to the springs, so it is great for all ages to access. Once you arrive, you will probably see a crowd of people in and around the various little pools that these hot springs create. Mini waterfalls flow over the rocks with warm water streaming out from the centre of the earth. Despite the squeeze of people, you’ll find a spot to take a dip, and it’s a tropical paradise that is worth a visit.
When we asked for a hot tip on the best place to visit while at ELQ, the staff responded with El Questro Gorge… if you have a snorkel on your car. Lucky we did! We thought that a deep river crossing might deter some of the crowds, but there were still plenty of people through this gorge too (and if they didn’t have a snorkel, they simply waded through the waist deep water of the river). There are many points to stop along the gorge from Small Falls to Mac Micking Pool. As we were doing an express ELQ trip, we opted for the 2.6km trail to Halfway Pool. In our Aussie safety boots (aka thongs) we scrambled along the rocky path shaded by palms. The gorge walls towered above scattered with ferns. This place just keeps getting better! We found a pool to cool off in and enjoyed the beauty of this place. We can only imagine for now, how much more spectacular this place gets the further you venture along the trail.
The finale of our day at ELQ was Emma Gorge. Leaving the main station, you jump back on the Gibb and drive 12kms further east. The 3.2km walking trail is another trek filled with rock scrambling along the rivers edge. Alas, do not let that deter you. We saw plenty of oldies getting in there, and having a bloody ripper of a time! Remember, there is no age limit on adventure. And holy guacamole. When you arrive, Emma Gorge is the pinnacle of gorges along the whole Gibb River Road in our opinion. It has a flow of hot water feeding into rock pools to the right, with water trickling down the cascade of ferns and rock like gentle rain. It is SPELLBINDING!
It’s easy to see why so many make the pilgrimage to this place, and we’ve only just scratched the surface of treasures this place has to offer. Results are in, El Questro has got the goods.
Our next blog will be from: Purnululu National Park
Until our next update - see you on / off the road 😉
Cassie and Micky