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The Kimberley Gibb River Road


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Well since completing my first Trip report when I was last in Africa 12 months ago I have since travelled in my own back yard in Western Australia from Karratha in the Pilbara up North to the Kimberley region of Western Australia in July 2015.

The trek we undertook is quite a common 4WD trip in WA but you do need to be well prepared.

We travelled in 3 Vehicles which included 2 different families, my Dad made another cameo appearance and came along with myself , wife and kids.

We also travelled with a good mate and his wife and kids.

Our Vehicles consisted of 2 Land cruisers and 1 Toyota Prado.

We also had 2 camper trailers in tow.


Basic itinerary was as follows.


Day 1 - Travel from Karratha to Derby approx. 970km's.

Day 2 - Derby to Tunnel Creek and Windjana Gorge

Day 3 - Windjana Gorge to Silent Grove

Day 4 - Silent Grove to Mt Elizabeth Station

Day 5/6 - Mt Elizabeth Station - Probably my favourite place we stayed

Day 7 - Mt Elizabeth Station to King Edward River

Day 7/8 - King Edward River and the Mitchell Plateau

Day 9 - King Edward River to Home Valley Station

Day 10/11/12 - Home Valley Station

Day 12 - Home Valley Station to El Questro station

Day 13/14/15 - El Questro Station

Day 16 - El Questro to Lake Argyle (70km's east of Kununurra)

Day 17/18 Lake Argyle

Day 19 - Lake Argyle to Bungle Bungles

Day 19/20 - Bungle Bungles - Terrible track in :(

Day 21 - Bungle Bungles to Derby

Day 22/23/24/25 - Derby to Broome by the Beach ;)

Day 26 - Broome back home to Karratha


During this trip report I will not script to much but show a few photo's of each camping destination.

This trip is a real iconic Australian camping trip and great for the whole family.


Here are a few starter photo's before I get down to the reports for each location.


Sometimes the littlest things in life make the biggest smiles and the best memories.........











Edited by Hads
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It is an awesome trip @@Hads

One of the things I really loved about it was that there is fresh water almost every overnight stop and even better - i had no mobile phone signal for almost 3 whole weeks - yay!


If you want to compare notes - my trip report is here

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Thanks Soukous - I will read your report.

Certainly is a great trip - you need the freshwater to wash off the red dust :P.

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Hey Soukous - I started reading your report and it is fantastic.

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Epic journey! If only I could persuade my wife to do camping again; we have had lovely 2 weeks in Northern Territory, sleeping 3 persons in small campervan (Toyota Hilux based). But that was almost 25 years ago ....

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I really like the second to last photo, with a bit of imagination you could almost say it's proof of alien visitation!

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@@Tom Kellie


The paintings are Aboriginal rock paintings, more on them later.




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Ok lets keep this report moving.


Our first day or travel we planned to stay our first night travelling from Karratha to Willare roadhouse which is approx. 970km's in one days driving, we left home around 0300hrs.

We pre-booked our accommodation and once checked in and got our keys to our accommodation which is in a mobile transportable building or "donger" as us Aussie's like to call them.

Having travelled so far in one day we were hoping to have a decent shower and an early night so we could start our Journey on the Gibb River Road the following Morning.

Cutting a long story short the rooms did not have enough beds for us all and there was no running water as the diesel pump died we got a refund and travelled a further 60km's up the road and stayed the night in the Derby lodge, which was very nice.

We arrived late so we had a quick shower and went across the road to the Spinifex hotel for a nice meal and a couple of well earnt "frothies" (beers).


Day 1 for the Gibb saw us up early and did abit of shopping at the local Woolworths before heading off to the "real" start of our trip "The Gibb River Road".

Derby is a small town in the Kimberley region of WA , it has great history and the main street is lined with beautiful Boab trees.

An Insight into the Colonial and convict era of early Australia - we went visited Derby's Boab prison tree and the largest cattle trough in the southern hemisphere

We finally got on the Gibb and headed towards our destination for night 1 being Windjana Gorge, the first 90 odd kms are sealed road before hitting the dirt road which is quite corrugated, we stopped once we hit the dirt road and let the tyres down on the cars and camper trailers to approx. 18psi.

Arriving at Windjana Gorge it is hands on for everyone as we set up the camper trailers.

Windjana gorge itself is an awesome site as you arrive a beautiful rock wall like a massive wave or reef system standing up to 100m high and is a stunning back drop to the camp grounds.

It is a great spot to see the 'Johnson" freshwater crocodile.

The area has significant cultural value to the local indigenous Bunuba people.

Once set up we decided we would go visit Tunnel creek which is Western Australia's oldest cave system, it was famous for a hideout for local indigenous legend "Jandamarra" as he hid out from the early Colonialists. Sadly he was killed there back in 1897 near the entrance.

The walk through the cave is quite nervy for the kids and elderly as some stages you walk through knee deep water in the dark with the possibility of meeting a freshwater crocodile.

The drive from Windjana to Tunnel creek to me was a highlight of the trip with stunning boab trees and Capock trees.










Edited by Hads
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Tunnel creek photo's










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Windjana gorge pics









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Windjana Gorge to Silent Grove/Bell Gorge.

The trip from Windjana Gorge to Silent Grove is abut 148km heading through the Kimberley Highlands, very Dusty but beautiful scenery non the less.

We crossed a few small water crossings along the way.

Queen Victoria's head is one iconic land mark along the way.

Silent Grove is the main camp ground to stay at to go Visit the stunning Bells Gorge.


Once the camp was set up we decided to make the most of the afternoon and headed to Bell Gorge for a swim.

The trek down to the Gorge is quite steep and rocky but once we arrived we were rewarded with a beautiful sight and a stunning gorge.

The kids did fantastic trekking down to the Gorge in Conditions an Adult may find difficult.

The water was quite fresh whilst swimming but so refreshing as we would not be having a proper "shower for another day or so :P.











Edited by Hads
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From Silent Grove our next Destination was Mt Elizabeth Station - this place was to be a highlight for all of us.

Along the way we stopped to visit one of the less known Gorges in Adcock Gorge, a clear deep green pool with plenty of small fish called Sooty Grunter swimming around.

On our arrival there was hundreds of White cockatoo's making quite a noise. The kids yelled "Cocky Alert".









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It is amazing how the scenery does change on this Journey, getting closer to Mt Elizabeth station we travelled through a forest of Ghost Gum trees.

We stopped at the Mt Barnett Roadhouse for a fuel stop and get a snack.

Mt Elizabeth station is a family run working Cattle station.

It is a great place to explore some local wildlife and get friends with them and see the fantastic Aboriginal Rock art at the stunning Wunumurra Gorge.

The camping here was super as it was quite shady and we got to have a hot shower and do abit of washing.

Our camp fire was a treat as this place was very cold at night time getting down to around 6 degrees which is very cold for people from the Western Pilbara ;).

The walk to Wunumurra gorge took us about 1 hour one way, once again our kids did really well.

As you enter into the gorge you need to climb down a couple of mobile aluminium ladders.

As for swimming yes it was fresh but very rewarding.

The rock art here is the best I have seen anywhere - it was stunning.


The best thing about memories is making them ...........









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Photo's of around Mt Elizabeth station.









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Wunumurra Gorge photos........









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Okay here are the Wunumurra Gorge photo's......... The Aboriginal Art here was the best we saw all trip.










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Mt Elizabeth Station to King Edward River and onto Mitchell Falls...........

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@@Hads A fabulous trip in a great part of the world. Chuckled at the big foot warming the toes by the fire.

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Mt Elizabeth station to King Edward River - Big day of travel. This was our base to go and visit the famous Mitchell Plateau.


We were sad to leave this place as it was off the tourist track abit and was very peaceful and we met some great people, namely a young family from NSW who were travelling around Australia with there 3 kids, we exchanged phone numbers and a few weeks later they were travelling through the Pilbara and one night we had an unexpected phone call and it was them and they had car troubles.

The family stayed with us for about 3-4 nights which was great, we managed to show them a small part of our local area we live in.


On our way through to the King Edward river camp ground from Mt Elizabeth station took us past the Drysdale River Station which has very good amenities such as fuel, a restaurant and a small caravan park oh and yes they sell beer........So of course we had a couple over the wood!

Drysdale is the perfect stopover to recharge the batteries, good honest Kimberley outback atmosphere and a great place to relax before we tackled the corrugations :blink:.

We were lucky as the local grader had been repairing the roads for about 40km's of the 100 odd km's needed to travel.

Anyhow we chatted to a few travellers to get a gauge on what the road conditions were like up to King Edward River camp ground as it can be extremely corrugated the dirt road.

The group consensus was to take the gamble and drive to road conditions and head off we did

The scenery on the way up was very pleasant consisting of some palm forests and a beautiful river crossing before we got to the Munurra camp ground.

First night there our bath was in the King Edward River, oh yes our bath was also in the river again for the second night.

We got the camp fire going and had dinner before hitting the sack ( Going to bed )

Up early the next morning and headed up to the Mitchell Plateau which was a further 76km's away.

Once arriving we booked our Helicopter flight from the top of the falls back to the car park.

We decided we wanted to walk up to the top of the Mitchell falls and fly back. The walk up took us about 90 mins with great scenery along the way of Mertens falls and some billabongs.

On arrival to the top of we spent a good 2 hours on top of the Plateua having a picnic and a swim and enjoying the stunning views - the photos tell the story.

Our kids thought that the chopper flight was first class and loved every minute of the 8 minutes flying time.


On our way back to camp at the King Edward river we stopped to look at some more Indigenous rock art and cultural sites (Bradshaw Rock art near the Munurra camp site).











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Oh by the way we also saw our first Dingo at the camp ground which was pretty cool.

Photo's of around King Edward River and start of the trek Mitchell Falls area coming up










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The kids must so have loved this trip - I would have (and still would)! Really enjoying this.

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Here are photo's of around the Mitchell Falls mainly getting up on to the top.

The top is coming - so many photos, well they tell a better story.








Edited by Hads
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