Gibb River Road

Hey Folks,
Just wondering if anyone can shed some light on travelling the GRR.
We are currently staying in Broome while a bit of the wet blows over and then wish to traverse this Aussie icon.Questions I have are when would be the best time to travel it as I`ve heard from this end that it`s best to go right after it`s had the first Grader over it.Secondly I`m getting mixed opinions as to whether it is suitable to tow our 24 foot van (non-offroad style) or leave it parked up in say Derby and camp our way across which is no stress as we have the 4x4 set up to do such a trip if we so require.Finally where are the favoured places along the way that you more experienced folk would suggest?
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Reply By: Member - Joe n Mel n kids (FNQ - Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 01:35

Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 01:35
when do you plan to travel, i would not plan for at least 4 weeks min yet given the wet still have to run it's course .....
All roads will be the "best" after a grader and that only happenes when they are able to get out there also and that could well be May with a "late" wet ....
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Reply By: Gary.L - Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 02:25

Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 02:25
All the gorges will be great: Lennard, Bells, Adcock, Galvins, Manning, Emma. Zebadee springs is also very nice.

Depending on how much time you have, and if you are getting gorged out, there are quite a few others, that are further off the track, that are available.

Mitchell Falls will be awesome, but if you are taking the caravan, best to leave it at Drysdale River Station. After that, the roads don't see much grader activity until the fuel truck refuse to go to Kalumuburu.
AnswerID: 444248

Reply By: vk1dx - Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 07:29

Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 07:29
Same as what Gary said. The GRR is almost a highway after its been graded. For a while anyway. Gary got it right about the Mitchell area. Some people take their vans to the Mitchell Falls turn off at the King Edward River and camp there. Then do a day drive into the actual Mitchell Falls in the car only. Personally it would be better leaving it Drysedale. But we never tow anything. Done that been there and found it too restrictive. Each to their own. But the road can be too rough for a lot of off road vans.

The other place to check out without the van is the drive around the Cockburn Range. Its towards the Wyndham end of the GRR. The Karunji Track. Its owned by El Questro. They have the details and when we were up there we just asked the girls in the Emma Gorge and they told us about it and off we went.Emma Gorge is also owned by the same mob who owns El Questro. It was good days drive. Niot hard. it also goes across the flats where some of Australia was filmed. If you start eatly in the day then you can follow the sun around it for some stunning views. I recommend staying at Home Valley though. ELQ is a total rip off. $66 for two to camp in a tent for one night and a cold shower to boot. Others swear by it.

We took two weeks to cross from Derby to Wyndham in June 2009. We will go back.

Enjoy. Its an iconic area.

Have a look at the Karunji and Kimberley albums here: My albums on photobucket


AnswerID: 444254

Reply By: Member - John and Val - Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 08:18

Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 08:18
In addition to what others have said, add Mornington to your list, thought I dont think Id take a van down there. Have a look at our blogs from 2008 for more details.


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Follow Up By: Member - bungarra (WA) - Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 10:12

Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 10:12
agree with adding Mornington to the list..a must see....also Charnley River

BUT DO NOT TOW A VAN down the Mornington access track
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Follow Up By: Kanga1 - Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 13:47

Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 13:47
Charnley River Station just changed hands last week, it is currently being managed by people from Mornington (AWC) apparently someone associated with the AWC has bought it and are unsure whether or not it will operate for tourists this season. Their Web site is still operating unaltered ATM, may need to call them closer to season to see if the Station will accomodate campers?. Kanga.
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Reply By: Member - Glenda and Max C (QLD - Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 08:56

Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 08:56
Sorry I didnt catch your name,but I would be very interested to find out how you get on with your van.We are thinking of doing the same trip towing a 24ft 5th Wheeler behind 4WD Navara in July.Please keep in touch
AnswerID: 444264

Reply By: Motherhen - Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 15:55

Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 15:55
The Kimberley and touring the Gibb River Road is the gem of Australian travel. I have just been re-doing my blogs for a website and thoroughly enjoyed re-living the adventure. The original blogs are in MyBlog under 2008 which mention most of the places we enjoyed. We went from Derby via the Highway to Fitzroy Crossing (and Geikie Gorge), back to Leopold Downs Road to visit Tunnel Creek and Windjana Gorge, meeting the GRR after Windjana. Our trip included Mitchell Falls and Kalumburu which were real highlights. We took 3½ weeks from Derby to Wyndham, having a very flexible time frame so were able to travel at a relaxed pace. Out there 100 kilometres can be all that is needed in a day, depending on the conditions, and with so much to see, you do not have to drive far to get to the next feature.

Leave the van in Derby and take a tent. Even when freshly graded, there will be parts not yet worked and once the tourist season is in full swing, people travelling too fast, particularly in hire campers, corrugate the road quickly. Should something go wrong, costs of recovery and repair can be huge due to the distances.


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Reply By: gmitch - Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 16:10

Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 16:10
What planet do you come from? Leave your 24 foot van (non-off-road style) in Derby!! Do more research!! You have access to the internet,. Try looking at "Destination Kimberley" "The only Kimberley guide you need by Bigit Bradtke"
or "Hemna Maps The Kimberley Atlas & Guide", or "Gibb River Road by Ben Knapinski". When you are prepared to venture beyond Derby first go to Windjana Gorge beautiful gorge, good camp, then to Tunnel Creek. By the time you have traveled these roads you will realize what you are in for, corrugation deluxe!!! Don't be deterred, make sure you visited Mornington Wildness Camp, relax there, take all in, that is offered. It is one of the treasures of the Gibb river road. It is the best camp site (in my opinion) on the Gibb River Road. From there it is irresistible to venture further. But be warned, it is one of the hardest roads you will travel! If you make it to Drysdale River Station enjoy their hospitality. If you decide to try your luck for the venture to Mitchell Falls, Stop at the King Edward River Camp. Whilst there be sure to explore the magic!!! It is a hard slog to the Mitchell falls.
AnswerID: 444315

Reply By: gungun1 - Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 16:25

Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 16:25
Hi CLBL068,
My wife & I did part of the Gibb River road last July/August. We went from Kununurra to the Mitchell Plateau & back to Kununurra; it was fantastic. I did a fair amount of research before we left & decided to leave the caravan at Kununurra & boy am I glad we did.the Gibb can be and often is "as rough as guts". The corrugations are really something to behold and they just seem to go on & on. We took our tent with us and spent the first night at Drysdale Station - a real "oasis" and then 3 nights at Mitchell Falls. If as you say you are starting from the Broome end I would have a bit of a look at Windjana Gorge & Tunnell Creek before I decided to tow the van along the rest of the Gibb. My two bobs worth, Good luck & have a great time
AnswerID: 444319

Reply By: vk1dx - Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 20:29

Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 20:29
In my earlier post I assumed stupidly that you had an off road caravan. I agree with the two previous posts. Leave it somewhere. Unless the suspension can handle the possibility of lots of corrugations it will fall apart. If you do want to take it forget any side road.

This is why we never tow. Having to return hundreds of kilometers to retrieve the van. No thanks. And if the car hasn't had any lift and suspension work I wouldn't try the Karunji Track. My apologies for getting your hopes up.

AnswerID: 444341

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 21:25

Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 21:25
Yeah we went down that track foolishly about 3pm one day after a guy we met at the Boab tree said it was a short way to the GRR so off we went, only day we had no maps.
Through the gate and on we went for about an hour and didnt seem to be getting anywhere.

We decided after 2 nasty creek crossings to turn back.

Luckily we did cos I found out on here about 3 weeks later it was 130k to the GRR and included some mud flats that we would have got to in the dark.

Last time we did something like that.

Did get to where you took the pic I think.


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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 22:22

Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 22:22
I hope you got the chance to do it the day time. It was tops. Bit worrying on the flats though. Luckily I had let the tyres down because we almost broke through a couple of times. I would do it again though. The scenery was worth it.

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Reply By: Member - TJ (VIC) - Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 21:52

Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 21:52
If you are considering towing a caravan, this video might help you decide where you want to take it. This is along the stretch from the GRR to Drysdale River Station. In August this was pretty good road compared to north of the Drysdale River and the Mitchell Plateau. Have a great trip. I wish it was me going again.

AnswerID: 444350

Follow Up By: vk1dx - Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 22:24

Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 22:24
Not a bad idea TJ. But when we went up there it was about 4: corrugations after Drysedale. I wouldn't take a van unless its a true off roader.

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Follow Up By: Member - TJ (VIC) - Tuesday, Feb 08, 2011 at 21:51

Tuesday, Feb 08, 2011 at 21:51
Does" 4: " mean 4 inches? I looked like this for us but this is a better bit where I dared to slow down and pull over. 70 to 75 kph was a good speed for us. Plenty were going much faster and some much slower.

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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Tuesday, Feb 08, 2011 at 22:32

Tuesday, Feb 08, 2011 at 22:32
Spot on. It meant 4 inches. Speed depends on your car. We like to travel at around 80Kph. She is a bit noisy but a cuppa in the console wont spill. Its just great. But not all corrugations are that easy.

Its horses for courses. But I will never forget the clown doing 15Kph on the Bungles road and bouncing around like he was at Luna Park. We were told that he broke a spring not long after we passed him.

Thats a bit slow but perfect for making the cream thicker. I wonder if the eggs would come ut scrambled as well.

And the Mitchell Falls road was worse.

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