Gibb River Road

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesKununurra
DifficultyDifficulty 4/5
Suitable for4WD AWD Camper Bike 
Distance929.29 km
Minimum Days3
Average Speed56.19 km/hr
Driving Time16 hrs 32 mins
Article By: ExplorOz - Michelle Martin
Page Updated: 10 Apr 2016


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.

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The Kimberley 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.


The Kimberley 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 Wyndham 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.


This is not easy country to travel in and requires significant preparation. Your dilemma will be in deciding when to travel. Climate wise, the right time is June/July, but that usually coincides with the school holidays, which can put up to 350 people a night in places like Manning Gorge and rougher corrugations due to the traffic load.

The compromise might be to travel a little earlier, such as in late April - risking deeper water crossings, and wetter conditions or even times of inaccessibility, or later in the dry when temperatures can be extreme, topping 40°C as the dry season moves towards the build-up in late October/November.

At any time, you should still consider that the area is very remote and you'll need a full compliment of , and be self-sufficient with foodstuffs, and outback .

In general, heavy-duty off-road trailers will be fine on the Gibb River Road and Kalumburu Road although you wouldn't tow a caravan.

Travel Planning tips: avoid the school holidays (if you can) and add side trips to places such as the Mitchell Plateau, Kalumburu, the Old Karunjie Road and to the rivers and coast beyond the stations (enquire ahead of time as access may not always be granted).


No travel permits required to drive along the Gibb River Road. Camping fees apply at Bells Gorge & Manning River Gorge (behind Mt Barnett Roadhouse).

Fuel Supplies & Usage

Fuel SymbolMount Barnett Roadhouse.Drysdale Station (58km north of Gibb River Road on Kalumburu Road).
4cyl 133 litres *4cyl 150 litres4cyl 186 litres
6cyl 148 litres *6cyl 206 litres *6cyl 232 litres *
8cyl 143 litres8cyl 154 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

Best Time To Visit

May to November would be the best time to visit Gibb River Road since very heavy rains occur during the summer months.

Closest Climatic Station

Mount Elizabeth
Distance from Trek Mid Point 18.95km NW
Mean Max. °C33.032.132.432.529.928.028.530.534.135.936.234.1
Mean Min. °C22.121.820.516.712.
Mean Rain mm255.7226.2163.339.414.712.
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended

Services & Supplies

The following locations have various services And supplies:Mount Barnett Roadhouse
Limited to very basic supplies along route.


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What to See

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This list may not be complete for the entire region. Places listed here are directly located along the plot file associated with this Trek Note. You can locate other nearby Places by browsing the map or searching Places.
The main attraction is the abundant freshwater gorges and majestic scenery. Photography, bush walking & safe swimming are the rewards after a tough day of driving in rugged country over heavy corrugations.

Some major highlights along the Gibb River Road are:

Bell Gorge

Beautiful camping at either Silent Grove camp ground (with facilities) or on banks of river closer to Gorge Walk. Walk to gorge has a steep loose rocky approach before following the creek to the top of the waterfalls. A further walk takes you down to the gorge as pictured, where you can swim and relax in the cool shade of the gorge. No crocodiles.

Upper and Lower Manning Gorges

Both of these gorges can be accessed (after check-in) from behind Mt Barnett River Roadhouse. The camping area is large and there is idyllic swimming on the sandy beach fringed Lower Manning Gorge. A one hour walk over exposed rock to the Upper Gorge is worth doing in the early part of the day. There is more swimming opportunities here with lovely deep cool rockholes.

Windjana Gorge

This gorge offers excellent long walks ranging from just a few hundred metres to where this photo was taken up to many kilometres deeper in the gorge. This is great location to observe freshwater crocodiles.

Tunnel Creek

if you take a torch you can walk for 750m along the sandy bed of a dark cave until it comes to an opening at the far end. In some places you might have to wade through waist-deep water.

Mitchell Plateau & Kalumburu Road

One of the more popular diversions is to head north to Mitchell Plateau and/or Kalumburu Road which heads north from a junction with the Gibb River Road just 290km west of Kununurra. The track leads all the way north to the coastline at the Kalumburu aboriginal outpost. Conditions, facilities and services are very limited.

For those that would like to experience the Kimberley Coast, without a major drive off the Gibb River Road, scenic plane flights can be organised from Drysdale station.

Showing 6 Places

Where to Stay

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Save time and download all digital map data for this trek (all places are included in the trek download).
This list may not be complete for the entire region. Places listed here are directly located along the plot file associated with this Trek Note. You can locate other nearby Places by browsing the map or searching Places.

Showing 11 Places


LocationsDistanceDirection Time
Kununurra to Kununurra West Rest Area8.95 kmW277° 6 min
Kununurra West Rest Area to Great Northern Hwy & Victoria Hwy32.98 kmW250° 21 min
Great Northern Hwy & Victoria Hwy to Gibb River Rd & Great Northern Hwy8.18 kmNW301° 5 min
Gibb River Rd & Great Northern Hwy to Esrine Range Rest Area4.75 kmN344° 3 min
Esrine Range Rest Area to The Grotto Pool10.03 kmNW331° 7 min
The Grotto Pool to Maggie Creek8.09 kmN348° 6 min
Maggie Creek to Great Northern Hwy & King River Rd21.09 kmNW336° 14 min
Great Northern Hwy & King River Rd to Wyndham5.61 kmNW300° 4 min
Wyndham to Anthon Landing5.57 kmNW316° 5 min
Anthon Landing to 5 Rivers Lookout10.18 kmNE58° 12 min
5 Rivers Lookout to Great Northern Hwy & King River Rd10.22 kmSE141° 11 min
Great Northern Hwy & King River Rd to Moochalabra Dam18.93 kmSW211° 29 min
Moochalabra Dam to The Diggers Rest6.05 kmS192° 12 min
The Diggers Rest to Prison Boab Tree - Wyndham0.65 kmSW242° 2 min
Prison Boab Tree - Wyndham to East Bank Pentecost River46.38 kmSW247° 1 hr 20 min
East Bank Pentecost River to Pentecost River, Gibb River Rd5.24 kmSE156° 17 min
Pentecost River, Gibb River Rd to Bindoola Jump Up25.97 kmW281° 29 min
Bindoola Jump Up to Bamboo Creek Crossing49.19 kmW253° 46 min
Bamboo Creek Crossing to Durack River, Gibb River Rd17.85 kmSW241° 16 min
Durack River, Gibb River Rd to Dawn Creek, Gibb River Rd23.41 kmW256° 20 min
Dawn Creek, Gibb River Rd to Gibb River Rd & Kalumburu Rd65.25 kmW255° 56 min
Gibb River Rd & Kalumburu Rd to Gibb River Rd & Barnett River Gorge Turnoff78.98 kmSW221° 1 hr 6 min
Gibb River Rd & Barnett River Gorge Turnoff to Barnett River Waterfront Campsites2.28 kmN4 min
Barnett River Waterfront Campsites to Barnett River Campsite1.36 kmNE33° 6 min
Barnett River Campsite to Barnett River Waterfront Campsites1.36 kmSW213° 6 min
Barnett River Waterfront Campsites to Gibb River Rd & Barnett River Gorge Turnoff2.28 kmS183° 4 min
Gibb River Rd & Barnett River Gorge Turnoff to Mount Barnett Roadhouse28.38 kmSW229° 23 min
Mount Barnett Roadhouse to Manning Gorge7.06 kmN360° 10 min
Manning Gorge to Mount Barnett Roadhouse7.06 kmS180° 10 min
Mount Barnett Roadhouse to Turn Off Galvins Gorge13.45 kmSW224° 10 min
Turn Off Galvins Gorge to Phillips Range Lookout0.64 kmSE145° 3 min
Phillips Range Lookout to Saddler Springs Crossing62.67 kmSW226° 48 min
Saddler Springs Crossing to Imintji1.02 kmW255° 1 min
Imintji to Turn Off Silent Grove & Bell Gorge8.21 kmW272° 6 min
Turn Off Silent Grove & Bell Gorge to Bell Gorge Carpark18.81 kmNW302° 19 min
Bell Gorge Carpark to Turn Off Silent Grove & Bell Gorge9.56 kmNW330° 16 min
Turn Off Silent Grove & Bell Gorge to Turn Off Lennard Gorge9.56 kmSE150° 16 min
Turn Off Lennard Gorge to Lennard Gorge Carpark18.81 kmSE122° 19 min
Lennard Gorge Carpark to Turn Off Lennard Gorge22.26 kmW273° 20 min
Turn Off Lennard Gorge to Mount Hart Outcamp6.32 kmSW219° 12 min
Mount Hart Outcamp to Inglis Gap6.32 kmNE39° 12 min
Inglis Gap to Macs Jumpup4.66 kmNW311° 4 min
Macs Jumpup to Stumpys Jumpup3.54 kmW276° 3 min
Stumpys Jumpup to Yammera Gap25.07 kmW260° 19 min
Yammera Gap to Gibb River Rd & Fairfield-Leopold Downs Rd7.79 kmSW236° 5 min
Gibb River Rd & Fairfield-Leopold Downs Rd to Windjana Gorge Camp Area20.6 kmSW210° 14 min
Windjana Gorge Camp Area to Gibb River Rd & Fairfield-Leopold Downs Rd9.24 kmSW229° 6 min
Gibb River Rd & Fairfield-Leopold Downs Rd to Derby Hwy & Gibb River Rd21.74 kmE95° 22 min
Derby Hwy & Gibb River Rd to Derby21.74 kmW275° 22 min
Kununurra to Derby929.29 km  16 hr 32 min
Distance is GPS recorded driving distance (not straight line), Direction is straight line from start to end, Time is calculated from actual GPS driving data.


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