Aussie Adventures 2015- Gibb River Road Pt 1

Wednesday, Jun 17, 2015 at 22:37

Member - Muncey 72

Stayed at Wyndham for 2 nights at the Wyndham Caravan Park which is very nice, lovely hot showers and a great pool to cool off in. The town itself is very small and quite, we had a fish off the town Jetty and caught a few small catfish. The tides are huge very strong. We also watched the sunset from the Five Rivers lookout which gave a great view of Wyndham and the Rivers. Got some shopping in Wyndham before we headed off to El Questro, or I should say we bought a couple of things and were charged a small fortune? $8.20 for a cucumber! Left wyndham and drove the 100kms to the El Questro Wilderness Park, stopping at the Gibb River Road sign for a photo. The road is sealed up to the turn off to El Questro and the 16kms to the resort is pretty good with 2 good water crossings.
Got booked in for 3 nights at one of the private river side sites and got set up. Lovely area next to the Pentecost River with no one else in sight. The boys had a fish in the river and caught a few black bream while I checked the car over for anything loose.
Wednesday 3rd June, Got up early and headed out to do the El Questro gorge walk. There are 2 water crossings on the way to the Gorge one of them was quite deep. Once through the water my daughter gets out the car and points to the back tyre and says “Whoa Dad that was a deep water hole because the whole tyre is wet”! I just look at her and laugh. The walk takes you through the gorge river bed amongst palms and large river stones. Two large boulders signal the halfway mark and there is a water hole here to cool off in. From here you climb over the rocks and continue up the river bed, this is when the fun starts. The rocks were getting bigger and the track steeper. After 2 hrs we get to a pretty large pool and the waterfall. Lovely serene place to cool off in and think about the walk back. The walk was 6.8kms return and rated difficult, heaps of signs and information regarding this but still people passed us as we were coming down in only thongs and no water! The walk took us a good 4hrs return, the kids done well and enjoyed the rock hoping and clambering up the waterfall. Got the fire going once back at camp and Maz made some scones in the camp oven and a chocolate cake which was lovely.
Headed out to the thermal pools at Zebedee Springs which is only a short walk from the car park. There is about 6 pools to hop into and the water is a constant 30 degrees surrounded by palms. On the way back to the car park I was leading the way with Alex and Harrison in tow. Whilst crossing a small boardwalk I see a 1.5metre yellow snake right there in front of me. Now as you know you’re supposed to stand still and slowly retreat, well I do the opposite. “Run, snake” I yell. I spin around and run back across the boardwalk almost knocking Harrison and Alex over. Once the heart had slowed we edge back across the board walk and spotted the snake slowly slithering away, I think the snake was laughing to himself.
After that excitement we walked up to see Emma Gorge which is back onto the Gibb River Road. It’s a 1hr walk in over the creek bed through the gorge. This time on the track Harrison led the way and would you believe it……”Snake, Snake, Snake “Harrison screams, turning around and running back into my arms. I could feel his little heart pumping whilst I held him. We edge forward and watched the same type of snake just slither away, again I swear he was laughing as well. 2 Snakes in less than an hour and now no one wanted to walk in front! Made it to the main pool and it was worth the mild heart attack a huge pool enclosed on 3 sides by 65m high walls and a waterfall cascading over. The water was cool and very refreshing and best of all there was no one else there when we arrived. Got back to the car without incident and went to the Station restaurant for tea. Absolutely beautiful food. Unfortunately Harrison felt ill and before we could do a thing he got up and spewed over the floor “Harrison you spewed on my thongs” was Morgan’s first comment. Fortunately the staff were great, cleaned the thongs and the mess up.
Packed up and left our little piece of paradise heading back to the homestead, to pick up our $10 cash deposit! They take $10 off you when you arrive and then when you leave and say goodbye they give it back. Only a short drive today to Home Valley Station where we checked in for 2 nights $108 for UN powered. Got set up and headed straight into the resort pool which was very nice. Watched the football in Duty’s Bar which was good apart from the Dockers Losing. Got up early the next day and done the 1 1/2hr walk up Mount Baldy awesome views of the ranges and mobile phone reception. I walked back with the boys whilst Alex and Maz stayed sending messages to friends. About 1/2hr later Alex got back to camp and said Maz wasn’t far behind, 1 1/2hrs later Maz arrived after taking a wrong turn on the track, I knew she was never a Girl Guide. The Girls went for a sunset horse ride in the afternoon and as they were walking out of the stables the lead horse let 3 of the biggest farts go we have ever heard. As you can imagine the boys and me were creased up laughing whist the girl leading the tour was saying “yeah it’s the dust they breathe in”
Left Home Valley Station and got back on the Gibb River Road, road so far is in pretty good condition travelling at an average of 60-70kph. Some people still think its bitumen travelling at ridiculous speeds spraying rocks and dust everywhere. Stopped just before the Durack River and found a great spot high above the river. Set up and went fishing with the boys catching a few bream and a nice turtle wasn’t sure how to cook the turtle so we let it go……kidding. Morgan went into the camper and noticed the internal light on and a funny smell. After a quick look we found that a bag had been up against the light which had switched on causing the casing to melt and melt part of the bag. Nearly our first fire! So I have removed the bulb from the light and taped up the switch, crap design really how the light covers get so hot. Got the fire going and had spaghetti and meat balls for tea and Maz cooked a slice for the next few days. The stars tonight were awesome with no moon they really stood out.
Up and Adam today and continued heading west. Stopped at the T Junction for the Kalumburu road and Gibb River Road and just watched how fast people were going past. Decided to head up the Kalumburu road a bit and stopped at the Gibb River crossing for a swim. Heaps of places to camp here as well, the swim was nice. Good to get the dust out of the hair. After some discussions with other people we headed north further up the Kalumburu road to Drysdale Station, our plan was maybe to got all the way into Mitchell Falls or maybe fly over them. No flights available until Thursday so that’s that option out, and the road is apparently pretty average the further you go. Whilst sitting around the camp a guy came over who had just returned from Mitchell Falls he said the road is good and the falls awesome. So we decided that’s it were going north.
June 9th Tuesday, Had a cooked breakfast at the homestead this morning which was perfect as it was going to be a long day. Packed up and headed north on the Kalumburu Road headed for King Edward campground. After about 15kms of bone crunching corrugations we could hear a banging noise coming from under the car. Stopped 3 times trying to find the source but no luck, decide to go back to Drysdale Station and get a better idea what the problem is. There was no hoist or mechanic on site so we emptied the back of the car out and found two of the brackets that hold the rear storage system in place had snapped thus causing in to bounce up and down. Was pleased it was this and not a major structural problem or suspension issue, had a team meeting and decided that we would leave Mitchell Falls for another time. Drove the 55kms back down the Kalumburu Road to the Gibb River and set up on the River bank for the night, great spot where we had a swim the previous day. Got the fire going and the VB out and sat back feeling better about not going any further north on those corrugations.
On the road by 8:00a.m and the first 15kms was pretty average but after that the road smoothed out. Stopped to collect some wood for the side of the road and then drove on to Barnett River Gorge for a look. The road in was very average and the area to camp in was busy so we continued onto Mt Barnett Roadhouse. Paid our camp fees and headed in 7kms behind the roadhouse to the manning Gorge campground. Lovely big campground, with showers and flushing dunnies. We chose a spot away from the crowds and set up. Walked down to the camp ground waterhole and had a swim to cool off it was very nice. The place had started to fill up now as we heard that the roadhouse had run out of fuel and a lot of people could not move on. Woke early made a packed lunch and headed across the waterhole via a boat. The walk to the Manning Falls is 5kms return and is a really nice steady climb up the escarpment and then down into the gorge. There is some Rock Art just before the end which looks good and then around the corner you see the Falls. Wow. They look awesome heaps of water flowing over and the main pool is very deep and clear. We spent about 3 hrs, swimming, tanning and jumping off rocks into the Falls. The weather made it perfect as well 30 degrees and not a breath of wind. Harrison spotted a Golden Tree Snake As we left the falls lucky he saw it from a distance so we watched him for a while. The walk back was good with the boys leading the way with sticks pretending they were guns and they were in the army.
I got the fire going and Maz cooked up some scones and some people we had met came over with the cream, very civilized. The boys went fishing with some lads they had met and we had a few more VB’s around the fire. Maz made a shepherd’s pie for tea which was a top effort considering she had no real oven.
12th June Friday running low on a few essentials so it was spaghetti for breakfast for everyone. Packed up and drove back out to the Mt Barnett roadhouse for Diesel $1:99, food and I topped up the water tank. 20kms down the road we pulled into Galvan’s gorge for a look. It’s only a short easy walk in to this paradise of a place. Small water fall cascading into a large waterhole with an overhanging tree which had a rope swing. Awesome, lucky the rope swing was rated to 90kgs. There was even a water monitor Lizard watching the fun we were having. Back on the road and the dust until we reach the turn for Bell Gorge/Silent Grove,20kms later we reach the campground $30 a night for us.
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