The Gibb River Road
is the 4WD option of the 2 main routes that dissect the Kimberley
region and is the main way to access the numerous gorges that are the main highlight.
For most who come to explore the Kimberley
, the ruggedness of the landform and the large expanse of remoteness are major highlights. However, if you travel during the peak season May - September, you are more than likely to share your camp with scores of other campers. To find solitude you really need to get off the main route (such as north along the Kalumburu
Road, or south to Mornington) else you can consider travelling outside of the peak period - although check local conditions first, as the road is often closed in parts from Dec - March.
Having said this, there is no denying that the Kimberley
still remains a vast remote region, yet more and more people flock to see it for themselves. There was a time when only the toughest of vehicle and man would attempt to holiday along the Gibb River Road
, becoming real adventurers as a result. But with so many 4WD owners and the increase in tour operators visiting the region, over 20,000 people per season come through the Gibb River Road
either as self-drive tourists or in 4WD tour buses in just a few months.The Kimberley
experiences monsoonal rains (wet season) from December - March, which will often wash away tracks and bridges. The Gibb River Road
becomes impassable at crossings such as the Barnett, Hann, Durack, Pentecost and King Rivers. Road closures during the wet season are a part of life in the Kimberley
. Travel must be limited to the months of March - November and only then by checking current road conditions
and weather reports for possible effects of cyclone activity experienced.
Once the dry season has settled in, the graders will make a couple of attempts to smooth out the worst of the ruts but they cannot cut out the corrugations.
How to Use this Trek Note
Click the "Map" tab below to see the route we've provided. Icons on the map are the POIs you'll need for navigation purposes. Be sure to check the list of Nearby Places
on each POI page.
If you'd like to save this information there are a couple of ways to go about it, depending on what you're actually after:-
- Ideal solution - download the ExplorOz Traveller App from Google Play or the App Store. The app enables you to carry the ExplorOz Places, Treks, & Maps data offline in your mobile device ready for your adventures. It is a complete mapping, navigation and tracking app. For more details, read our ExplorOz Traveller page.
- You can print a paper copy of the text using the print icon button shown above, near the social media buttons. For the best output it is advised to open each tab/section to load all images and artwork. You will still need to click open each Place page (listed in Where to Stay, What to See) to print off all available information.
- If you have a Hema Navigator or use Mapping Software such as OziExplorer, or TrackRanger AND you are an ExplorOz Member, then you can click the Download Trek button at the top of this page to obtain the raw data files (eg. GPX) for this Trek.
- If you're not a Member, or you'd like to batch download the entire Treks database you can obtain this by buying a product called EOTreks Route Files from our online shop.
is an ancient region formed more than 1800 million years ago. During the Devonian era (375-350 million years ago) most of the Kimberley
was covered by a warm shallow sea and coral reefs. As the sea level has fallen to its present level, fossilised materials from old sea beds and coral reefs have been exposed by erosion and now form many of the spectacular gorges that you can access just off the Gibb River Road
region lies within the tropics although it encompasses many ecological zones: coasts, rivers, estuaries, semi-arid savannah woodlands
, lush rainforest and deserts. Accordingly, vegetation and wildlife vary throughout the Kimberley
. The climate and water supply varies significantly at different times of year making a huge impact on lifeforms. Surprisingly for most tourists, the region is said to have low rainfall (even though it experiences a wet season) and only hardy, drought resistant plants tend to survive. Trees tend to be small, shrubs and grasses die off in the dry season, springing back to life from seed at the first fall of rain.
The best known of the Kimberley
flora is the magnificent Boab tree. Boab trees live for hundreds of years and the trunk provides shelter for small animals.
Birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish are the more obvious creatures to be found in the Kimberley
. Most mammals are small and nocturnal and many are declining in numbers.
Until recently, this region was protected by its remoteness and travel difficulties. Now, with improved roads and frequent air services
, the Kimberley
is being discovered, by the rest of Australia
and the world. We urge you to be conscious of your impact when you visit this unique region.
The Gibb River Road
is actually an old stock route. It was originally constructed in the late 1800's as a beef road to transport cattle from surrounding stations to Derby
and in fact, although tourism now accounts for the majority of traffic, cattle stations continue to rely on the track as their only service route.