Gibb River Road and Kimberly

Submitted: Sunday, Jan 30, 2005 at 10:31
ThreadID: 19903 Views:2677 Replies:12 FollowUps:8
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Planning 7 to 10 days in the Kimberly, along the Gibb River Road. I have been looking at various web sites, including this one for info. As a photographer I am hoping to photograph the gorges and the like. I am trying to convince my 70 yr old and very fit and active father to come along. He would love to do a bit of fishing.

Anyone got any recommendations they would make ie must see, must do.


David O
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Reply By: Coops (Ex-Pilbara) - Sunday, Jan 30, 2005 at 13:03

Sunday, Jan 30, 2005 at 13:03
You should be aiming for about a month along Gibb River Road.
If you're stuck with just 7 days then check these places out at the very least
Bell Gorge (the absolute best gorge on GRR), Lennard Gorge (no good for Dad though as it's mountain goat territory), El Questro & Emma Gorge (skip EQ & buy a postcard if pushed for time), Old Mornington Bush Camp & Drysdale River Station. With more time available don't miss Mitchell Plateau & Honeymoon Bay in Kalumburu for the fishing (these will add at least 4 days to your trip).

Hope this helps and send me a member message for further info.
Give me a while as I'm between houses at present and all gear is in storage.
AnswerID: 95627

Follow Up By: Member - Errol (York WA) - Sunday, Jan 30, 2005 at 14:15

Sunday, Jan 30, 2005 at 14:15
I'll second what Coops said . Did that all again last June. Need at least 2 weeks min to do it and that means from Durby to Wyndem , not including travel to and from.
FollowupID: 354413

Follow Up By: Member - David 0- Sunday, Jan 30, 2005 at 15:03

Sunday, Jan 30, 2005 at 15:03

Thanks for the info. I wil message you. Yes it would be great to have a month. I have four weeks, but given I have to get there from Townsville and then get back, I will not be able to have a full 4 weeks there. I will try to maximise the time in the Kimberly, but want to visit a few other areas on the way over and on the way back. Thnaks for the info.

David O
FollowupID: 354418

Reply By: Lynn2 - Sunday, Jan 30, 2005 at 14:52

Sunday, Jan 30, 2005 at 14:52
Hi David,

If 7 to 10 days is what you've got, then don't be put off by people telling you that you need a month etc. In an ideal world we would all have all the time we need!

There is plenty you can see and enjoy on the GRR in that time. I agree that Bell's Gorge is beautiful. If you arrive at the camping area early enough in the day, you take a tag from the board which gives you a camping spot which is yours alone. We were lucky enough to get a spot from which we could access the water in isolation. We fed the many tortoises which abound here and swam to our hearts content. I think the campspot was "Wattle Grove" from memory. The walk to Bells Gorge is taxing, it will depend whether your father is a fit 70 year old or not.

However, Manning Gorge, Jack's Waterhole and El Questro are also beautiful spots to camp and not a lot of walking is needed to access the beautiful scenery. There is also a spot called Galvin Gorge (just before Manning Gorge if you are coming from the West Coast) where we swam totally alone for a couple of hours. If you swim across the waterhole and look up you can see aboriginal art on the upwards side of the rocks. As you are a photographer, I would certainly go to El Questro - Zebedee Hot Springs, the Turquoise Pool at Emma Gorge as well as the Droplet Falls make wonderful photographic memories. The day trip to Explosion Gorge was also memorable.

Leave the trip to the north until you have more time. We loved the Kimberley.

AnswerID: 95644

Follow Up By: Member - David 0- Sunday, Jan 30, 2005 at 15:05

Sunday, Jan 30, 2005 at 15:05

Thanks for that information. I really hope to work out the best options.
We will be travelling west to east. We will get there from Townsville via Plenty and Tanami

David O
FollowupID: 354419

Reply By: Bob of KAOS - Sunday, Jan 30, 2005 at 17:33

Sunday, Jan 30, 2005 at 17:33
I agree the remarks about Lennard Gorge. However, I think it is so special it would be worth the effort of the challenging drive and climb to get there. At 70, unless he has a particular disability, he should cope. I can send photo if you are interested.
AnswerID: 95670

Follow Up By: Member - David 0- Sunday, Jan 30, 2005 at 17:55

Sunday, Jan 30, 2005 at 17:55
He will cope no problem. He retired this year for a liftime of farming. Probably walked 15 k or more each day. Can still outrun his grandaughter who had a shot at the AIS in athletics...I may cope less well.
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Follow Up By: Member - David 0- Sunday, Jan 30, 2005 at 18:54

Sunday, Jan 30, 2005 at 18:54
By all means send the photo. admin at djolsen dot com

David O
FollowupID: 354479

Reply By: Blackie - Sunday, Jan 30, 2005 at 18:00

Sunday, Jan 30, 2005 at 18:00
Whats the petrol purchasing situation like at the moment along the GRR?
AnswerID: 95677

Reply By: locallaw - Sunday, Jan 30, 2005 at 18:06

Sunday, Jan 30, 2005 at 18:06
Gidday,Been to the Kimberley twice and still havent seen all of it.The first time to EQ it was free to get in the next time $35 just to get in the gate and camp fees on top of that.There are some beautiful spots in there that I want to see so in 530 days when I retire we will go back towing the offroad van and looking forward to it.
Seeya Locallaw
AnswerID: 95679

Reply By: Member - Anni M (SA) - Sunday, Jan 30, 2005 at 18:32

Sunday, Jan 30, 2005 at 18:32
Hi David,

Lucky you!! We went along the Gibb River Road last August, and we both want to go again. I have a feeling that it would take a lifetime to explore it all - so I'll tell you where we went and why. I should preface this with saying that I'm not particularly fit and a very keen amateur photographer.

Windjana Gorge - fascinating place full of freshwater crocs. It is part of an old Devonian Reef and is quite spectacular.
Tunnel Creek (only a short diversion off the Gibb River Road) - its not often you get to walk along a creek bed through the cliffs, see masses of bats and come out at a little oasis at the other end. It is also very photogenic.
Bells Gorge - can't say any more than anyone else, except to encourage you to get a tag and camp by the river.
Galvans Gorge - this is a little gorge about 1km walk from the main road. It is an exquisitely beautiful little microclimate, full of flowers and birds. Shouldn't be missed. My photos weren't fantastic from here, but thats my fault I think.
Drysdale River Station and Mitchell Falls if you've got time (its worth making time actually) - incredible different microclimates on the walk in the Mitchell Falls. some fascinating aboriginal art, beautiful pools and spectacular falls. All worth taking photos of.
El Questro - expensive but worth the visit. We stayed in one of the private campsites down by the Pentecost River which was magic. The boat trip on Chambers Gorge and a look at the Bradshaw aboriginal art is well worth it. There are also some very good 4wd tracks. Lots of photos here - scenic, flowers and living creatures.
We'll see the other gorges next time. I think you can probably become 'gorged' out if you tried to see them all on one trip.
Have a great time
AnswerID: 95682

Follow Up By: Member - David 0- Sunday, Jan 30, 2005 at 18:52

Sunday, Jan 30, 2005 at 18:52
Excellent information Anni!
I have taken another look at the available days, and looks like I can stretch it to 14. I was under the impression that the Mitchell falls weren't worth it unless you can get in the air. Sounds like that isn't true. Thanks for all the information, I will definitely be spending some time planning now.
FollowupID: 354478

Follow Up By: Member - Anni M (SA) - Monday, Jan 31, 2005 at 10:36

Monday, Jan 31, 2005 at 10:36
Hi David

Mitchell Falls themselves are absolutely wonderful, and there is a little lookout where you can sit and enjoy them in all their majesty. (They must be amazing during the wet season). There are also helicopter flights available over the falls, which we didn't think was all that expensive (certainly compared to other places). I did fly over them and it was pretty special. Unfortunately I had taken the advice that you can't take anything loose with you, so my camera was put away in the back of the helicopter. For your info, you are allowed to take your camera!
Happy travels
FollowupID: 354601

Reply By: splatter - Sunday, Jan 30, 2005 at 20:39

Sunday, Jan 30, 2005 at 20:39
Lot's of good info on where to stay and what to see.

I was there in July 2003 and have to be the worlds worst fisherman. Couldn't catch a barra to save myself (without a local guide), but afew hard bodied lures and some advice from the locals on where to fish and pulled in quite afew Sooty Grunters. Not bad eating when cooked over an open fire.
AnswerID: 95706

Reply By: Hedonist - Sunday, Jan 30, 2005 at 22:42

Sunday, Jan 30, 2005 at 22:42

This is all good advice - I would strongly recommend making time to get in to Mitchell falls. The rosk art near the King Edward river crossing and on the way in to Mitchell falls is some of the best around, and is still largely accessable.

There are choppers flying from the camping ground all the time - last year there were four operating out of there in July. Most of the guidebooks tell you to carry cash, but all of the money spending opportunities accept credit cards now.

Some of our pics from the trip last year are at se,/a>

I'm sure you will have a great time - allow as much as you can!

AnswerID: 95731

Follow Up By: Hedonist - Sunday, Jan 30, 2005 at 22:44

Sunday, Jan 30, 2005 at 22:44
Whoops - the link got garbled!

Pics are at

FollowupID: 354532

Reply By: Tessysdad - Monday, Jan 31, 2005 at 00:24

Monday, Jan 31, 2005 at 00:24
David O,
your post didn't say what month you will be going. This may be the most important aspect of your trip in terms of what you plan. E.g. a trip out to Mitchell Falls may well be worth top of the list posting, but depending on what time you are going to be up there and the timing of the wet (or when it finally ends) you may or may not be ale to do it. Keep an eye on the track conditions reports on this site and perhaps take a look at Drysdale River Station site We began our trip on the GRR at the beginning of May last year and at that time it was touch and go as to whether Bells Falls would be open when we were to be there and onlt a hand full of campers were crossing the 800mm deep King Edward River a couple of weeks later, and then again about a month later. Apart from this matter of timing which doesn't seem to have been raised (unless I have missed something) I agree whole heartidly with previous posts.
Happy camping,
AnswerID: 95744

Reply By: Member - Ross P (NSW) - Monday, Jan 31, 2005 at 09:11

Monday, Jan 31, 2005 at 09:11
If you're pushed for time and your dad wants to do some barra fishing, I recommend you pay for a guide. I went with one other guest, and a guide from El Questro. Short drive from the campsite and launched the tinnie in the Pentacost river. Got quite a few Barra, catch and release most but kept one. Chef cooked up some lovelly fillets at the restaurant that night.
Sent a photo to my work mates with the caption "Greetings from The Top End" - nothing else. Really p#%%ed them off.
You'll need to check the dates for the season.
AnswerID: 95766

Reply By: Member - David 0- Monday, Jan 31, 2005 at 09:27

Monday, Jan 31, 2005 at 09:27
The best time of year for me is May. I realise that this can be a problem some years, but thats the time that suits me best. Living in the tropics as I do, I know that FEb / March is peak rainfall and as such creeks may still be up in May but not much I can do about it.
AnswerID: 95771

Reply By: Carreen - Tuesday, Feb 08, 2005 at 23:38

Tuesday, Feb 08, 2005 at 23:38
Hi David I went on an organised 10 day trip through the Kimberley/Gibb River road last year. On the trip was an 80 year old man who made all the walks except for the end of El Questro Gorge. A visit to Bell Gorge is a must and also up to the mitchell Plateau. You can hike in to the falls, we spent all afternoon swimming and relaxing and then helicoptered out for about $60 and then you get a true perspective of the magnificance of the falls that you can't get from the ground. Another great place to stay is Home Valley station. It has a lot of atmosphere in the bar and was our first shower along the way after 6 days so a great treat. We camped under a beautiful boab tree and stayed up watching the sun set/ the moon rise and the sun rise again beautiful! Emma Gorge with the droplet falls and turquoise pool is spectacular also. Have a fantastic trip we had a ball!!! Carreen
AnswerID: 97364

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