North Kimberley Day 30 - Mitchell Falls to Gibb River Crossing

Saturday, Jul 21, 2001 at 00:00

ExplorOz - David & Michelle

Day 30 - Saturday 21/7/01
Start - Mitchell Falls
Stop - Gibb River Crossing
Trip Odometer - 245.5km
Stopped time - 1.19hrs
Moving average - 57.8km/hr
Moving time - 4.14hrs
Max speed - 5.35hrs

Although we originally considered driving to Surveyors Pool and Crystal Creek, once you have been in the area you soon realise that its probably not really worthy of just a quick visit. We spoke to 2 couples we met in Kalumburu who had just made the trip along that track. Their comments were as follows:

1) The drive to Crystal Creek currently takes 4 hours as conditions are very rough. The track is no longer visible – being just a plateau of rock ledges and rock steps.
2) The only access to Surveyors Pool (other than flying over) is on foot – a 4km walk from the car park. No facilities for camping.
3) Camping at Crystal Creek is on rocks (no facilities) – with room enough for about 3 camps only – at the time all were taken by fishermen out on boats. Land-based fishing seemed unsuitable.
4) And to top it off… there’s stacks of sandflies!

15km back along the Mitchell Falls access track is a clear sign indicating the turnoff to Surveyors Pool but sorry everyone, we didn’t drive out there to give you a first-hand report!

After a short stop at a clearing/lookout about halfway along the Mitchell Plateau Rd Colin checked his front shocks and confirmed that the suspected noises and sudden oily smell he had experienced this morning was 2 busted shocks – nor was he carrying spares.

He managed to “float” into Drysdale Station by mid afternoon by driving no more than 50 – 60km/hr. Other than feeling “sea-sick” they managed to hold it all together. Every bump was dramatic although they said the flat sections were almost worse, as the car would get up a harmonic vibration.

Unfortunately, Drysdale Station were unable to provide long-travel shocks to suit his Patrol, but they did have some Toyota ones…

Some options were considered:
1) Drive on “carefully” along the Gibb River Road to Broome with no shocks and hope no further damage is done.
2) Arrange for shocks to be purchased in Kununurra (over the phone?) and wait at Drysdale Stn for the next supply truck.
3) Contact the AN4WDRN and see if another member was currently in Kununurra and on their way to Drysdale Station within a couple of days – and could pick up and deliver a set of shocks
4) Or do what the people at Mitchell Falls car park were doing – “pay” for the shocks to be flown in from Kununurra.

In the end, he chose option 1 and took the chance of driving with no shocks, so with that decision made we moved on after a leisurely stop at Drysdale and setup a late afternoon camp on the sandy banks of the Gibb River just 3km before the junction of Kalumburu and Gibb River Roads – this is a highly recommended stop and one that I would like to plan to spend more than just one night. It is probably one the most popular spots we’ve come across but there are many excellent camps – all with shade, river access and an abundance of clean sand to pitch your tent upon. Firewood is the only thing lacking and we needed to drive out to get enough for our campfire as did most people.

The drive today back along the Kalumburu Road from the Mitchell Plateau turnoff was significantly better than last week as the grader had just come along. Lucky for Colin and Sandy, because the graded track was about as perfect as you could get for a car with no shocks! We just hoped we could follow the grader all the way to Windjana Gorge!
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
Always working not enough travelling!
BlogID: 490
Views: 7560
Blog Index

Sponsored Links