Camping in Kimberley

Submitted: Friday, Nov 28, 2003 at 15:18
ThreadID: 8824 Views:1694 Replies:6 FollowUps:7
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I would appreciate feed-back about good camping sites in the Kimberley for next July. I understand that it will be busy. We will travel with kids, so good swimming holes are a must. I am interested in your thoughts about free roadside places as well as properties where they charge a fee to camp. I plan to give El Questro a miss at that time of the year, but I guess that I may have to pay to get away from the mobs on private property to make the trip worth the long drive. Comments on the value and quality of any of these private fee camping areas would be a big help.
Thanks in advance.
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Reply By: Rod - Friday, Nov 28, 2003 at 16:11

Friday, Nov 28, 2003 at 16:11

Stayed at the secluded campsites at ElQuestro and never saw our neighbours. Ours was shady, by the Pentecost River but dusty. True, spots like Zebedee Springs were very busy round lunchtime.

Windjana Gorge campsite was open and sunny. Amenities were good.

Manning Gorge had a good write up in Ron and Viv Moon's book but we were sadly disappointed. Stinking pit toiets that were overused, no drinking water onsite (drive to Mt Barnett Roadhouse), unfinished shower block and the whole campsite was a dustbowl. Most disappointing place we stayed.

Jacks Waterhole was OK. Amenities were basic and some distance from campsites by the water. Dusty again (but that's the GRR)

These experiences are 2 years old now so things may have changed.
AnswerID: 38819

Follow Up By: Member - Cocka - Friday, Nov 28, 2003 at 17:10

Friday, Nov 28, 2003 at 17:10
Jack's Waterhole is gone, the whole lot got washed out last wet.
Rod if you post your email address for me I'll forward you a copy of my diary notes, we were through there for two months last July & Aug.
We approached the GRR from Wyndham via the Kurunjie Track, it was a great drive and camped down on the Pentecost just before it comes out on to the GRR. We did El Questro as a day trip & were glad we had decided not to camp there. It was packed, queus for showers & toilets, tourist buses, helicopters coming and going, too commercial for me. And charge $$$$$$$, we were supposed to report to the info office to pay for our "park pass" just for being there. We did eat at Emma Gorge at a very civilised restaurant but couldn't wait to get back to our camp (which incidently, was on El Q land. Ahh well, we thought, they could only ask us to leave. They didn't) With all that El Q has, you can see it all & more further along the GRR. There's plenty to see.
Let me know your email.Carpe Diem
FollowupID: 82688

Follow Up By: Member - Cocka - Friday, Nov 28, 2003 at 17:13

Friday, Nov 28, 2003 at 17:13
It was Ian who I thought might want to see my story, but you can have a copy also Rod, if you want.Carpe Diem
FollowupID: 82689

Reply By: Member - Melissa - Friday, Nov 28, 2003 at 17:59

Friday, Nov 28, 2003 at 17:59

We're intending to do the GRR for the first time May-Jun next year so don't speak from personal experience but one place that got a good wrap in a mag awhile back and I've only heard good things about since is Beverley Springs Station. Apparently they have some real out-of-the-way bush campsites near good fishing and swimming spots. We'll be including it on in our itinery.

:o) MelissaPetrol 4.5L GU Patrol &
Camprite TL8 offroad camper
AnswerID: 38830

Follow Up By: Coops (Pilbara) - Saturday, Nov 29, 2003 at 01:47

Saturday, Nov 29, 2003 at 01:47
Have stayed there and it was okay. Bit of a rough & tumble track in. I'd recommend ringing them well ahead as they only allow one or two visitors at any one time. Well at least that was the case in 2002.

Absolute worst place I can ever remember for flies which was okay by me but the Minister for War insisted we move on after just 1 day.
They were doing some renovations to the house when we were there and it was looking like some kind of wet mess so I'd be interested to see what eventuated.Allyn
Some days we are the flies; some days we are the windscreen.
FollowupID: 82707

Follow Up By: Member - Melissa - Sunday, Nov 30, 2003 at 02:57

Sunday, Nov 30, 2003 at 02:57
Hi Allyn,

The fact they only let a few people in a time was part of the attraction but I get the impression you feel less than enthusiastic about the place??? Do you think the fly situation was fairly normal or perhaps something that varies from week to week?

:o) Melissa

PS: How are are you coping with a less namadic lifestyle these days?Petrol 4.5L GU Patrol &
Camprite TL8 offroad camper
FollowupID: 82776

Follow Up By: Coops (Pilbara) - Sunday, Nov 30, 2003 at 14:55

Sunday, Nov 30, 2003 at 14:55
I actually would have liked to stay a day or so longer at Beverley Springs purely for the solitude but when "she who must be obeyed" says go, well I only get to say "when?".

'tis true the heat is with us and things have slowed but I will still manage a Coral Bay / Exmouth trip before Xmas followed by a SW sojourn over the New Year period (including Mandurah) and then a Broome trip February '04. Sounds tough I know & hopefully that should get me through until the "winter" months are upon us yet again. Then it will be time to really get out & about again.

Next year's trips without too much thought at this stage = Karijini, Mount Augustus, Rudall River, Gary Junction Rd to Alice Springs, Darwin & return via Tanami. Am also hoping to squeeze in a Kalumburu fishing trip towards end of dry season.Allyn
Some days we are the flies; some days we are the windscreen.
FollowupID: 82805

Reply By: Barry B - Friday, Nov 28, 2003 at 20:38

Friday, Nov 28, 2003 at 20:38
We did the GRR in 2000 and thought it was great. We stayed at Jacks Waterhole and Mt Barnet Station and enjoyed them both.
Sounds like it's going to be crowded there next year, we're planning a return trip around July as well. We'll probably try some different places this time.
We might see you there???
AnswerID: 38836

Reply By: ian - Saturday, Nov 29, 2003 at 00:08

Saturday, Nov 29, 2003 at 00:08
Thanks for your offer. I would be pleased to get a copy of your notes.
My address is
AnswerID: 38853

Follow Up By: Andy - Saturday, Nov 29, 2003 at 17:14

Saturday, Nov 29, 2003 at 17:14
I would be very interested in seeing your notes also.
We too are heading to GRR June/July.
My email address is

Thanks in anticipation.

FollowupID: 82738

Follow Up By: Member- Rox - Sunday, Nov 30, 2003 at 00:06

Sunday, Nov 30, 2003 at 00:06
Me 3 but probaly will be there in Sept.
Sounds like a party! whose brining the beer????
Details for me 2 please don't save My daylight
FollowupID: 82768

Reply By: Member - John- Saturday, Nov 29, 2003 at 18:27

Saturday, Nov 29, 2003 at 18:27
Other places you have missed but are good value are;

Old Mornington Station - go south at Mt House turn off. Good facilities, use as a base camp to to Dimond Gorge andSir Johns Gorge (swimming OK). Suggest 2 nights here.
Drysdale Stn (on the Kalumburu Rd) has good facilities and diesel. Will be busy.
Bush camping is the luck of the draw due to the number of people, but there are several good ones on the eastern half of the GRR, plus he Gibb River itself just a few k's north of the GRR up the Kalumburu road.
Bells Gorge has good facilities and great swimming (long walk)

Call the Kununurra and Derby Visitor centres once you are in the area, they have all the latest info for tourists.

Save your dollars for one of the air tours outa Derby. The seaplane/speedboat adventure out of Derby to the Horizontal Waterfalls is right up there as one of life's great experiences (fabulous scenery plus high adrenalin). About $250 per person.

See yoos in Derby. I live opposite the west end of the caravan park.

Don't overload your vehicle and keep the speed down on the GRR.

Have fun!

AnswerID: 38896

Reply By: big john - Saturday, Nov 29, 2003 at 19:48

Saturday, Nov 29, 2003 at 19:48
Toured the GRR in July August this year lots of excellent spots on the road.

Windjanna is excellent although the swimming is not great
Bell creek is up there with the best gorges around don't miss it
camp spot was basic but the swimming and scenery at the falls is great.
I still reckon the manning gorge campsite is one of the best, The swimming at the camp ground is very kid friendly and a reasonable walk to a great wterfall
King edward river crossing is good swimming and has toilets as a bonus.
Mitchell river falls campsite is alright but not as good swimming as King edward.
We enjoyed our stay at ellenbrae station - basic facilities -there is swimming but loved speaking with the station people , a real kimberley experience.
I have been in this area 4 times now and every other time ive bypassed El questro because of people saying it is expensive, commercialized etc etc but can i say we were to stay 2 days and ended up staying a week .
The camp ground has lots of people but i never found it obtrusive, we were camped in probably the shadiest spot on the trip right next to the river and yes we had hot showers 200metres down the road - i loved it and will plan to go again.

we have three under teenage kids and they loved it and so did the other two families similar to ours that we were travelling with. i wouldn't miss it.
the scenery at el questro is first rate as well. We did not finf ELQ any more expensive than anywhere else we stayed ,and with better facilities

Hope you have as much fun as we did

Now about tyres and tyre pressure !

regards/hope this helps

Big John
AnswerID: 38902

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