Gibb River Road
660km of dirt, dust and corrugations. The Gibb River Road isn’t the isolated one lane track of old, but it’s still an adventure and holiday destination all on its own. From west to east, Derby to Kununurra, the Gibb has plenty of hidden treats. So many gorgeous places, you’ll start to forget all their names and simply fall in love with the entire Gibb River Road. (As long as you don’t break anything!)
WE ARE HERE
Here’s some of our favourite spots to explore…
Tunnel Creek and Windjana Gorge
These two stops are probably the most well known due to the distinct gifts they each offer. Funny thing is, neither of these are actually on the Gibb!
120km from Derby, turning right onto Fairfield-Leopold Downs Road, you will first find Windjana Gorge, then Tunnel Creek. Windjana is the place to go to see Freshies. It was stinking hot when we arrived, and the waters were getting low. So what was left of the water supply was shrinking into smaller pools where the Freshwater Crocodiles congregated, probably closer than any of them would have preferred.
You’ll likely spot a few more Freshwater Crocs at Tunnel Creek, except this time it will be in a dark tunnel. Trekking through the blackness, and wading through a couple of murky water crossing, shine your torch to find the glowing eyes staring back at you from the water. Hurry through with hast when the eyes disappear under the water!
Back on the Gibb, our next clue on our treasure hunt lead us to Bell Gorge. When imagining what the Gibb River Road has to offer, it definitely seems a bit more dusty in our imaginations. But when you find your way down into Bell Gorge, all that will change and you’ll wonder how many more of these gems are out here.
A waterfall trickled down into a big dark waterhole where the rocks were smooth and perfect for a waterslide. Watching some of the younger kids enjoying the natural slippery slide, us big kids jumped at the chance for some fun too!
Adcock and Galvans Gorge
Two little oasis’ hidden in the forest. These two gorges are not far off the Gibb, and only a short walk from your car to the pot of gold. Enclosed by jungles of ferns and shady tree top canopies, here we were wildlife explorers. Spotting docile Olive Pythons longer than our bodies, the big black puppy dogs eyes of Flying Foxes dangling from pandanus, Double Barred Finch at the waters edge and the skeleton of a crocodile too.
At Mt Barnett Roadhouse you’ll find a wicked good campsite (with no check out time – hallelujah!), a self powered ferry across the river and a 5.6km return hike into spectacular Manning Gorge. We got up at sunrise to beat the tour groups into the gorge, and hiking before the heat of the day sunk in was a plus too. With a group of people making their way in behind us, we scattered over the rocks with pace. And for 30 peaceful minutes, it was all for us. We got to the gorge just as the sun was creeping above the rock wall, when it belonged only to the quiet whispers of birds in the morning. Climbing to the top of the falls we found a whole new private water land with Brolgas and animal footprints.
The Top Pick – Emma Gorge
Gibb River Road isn’t just a challenging drive or a way to get from point A to B. It has got so many goodies from the Kimberley hidden in there. The pinnacle of gorges on the Gibb for us was Emma Gorge. Talk to anyone who has been there and their eyes will surely light up as they remember the magic of this place. You’ve got to go out and explore it! But for all of Emma’s secrets, found on El Quester Station, you’ll have to check in next time when we explore the big ELQ!
Our next blog will be from: The big El Q!
Until our next update - see you on / off the road 😉
Cassie and Micky