North Kimberley Day 24 - Pentecost River to Drysdale River

Sunday, Jul 15, 2001 at 00:00

ExplorOz - David & Michelle

Day 24 - Sunday 15/7/01
Start - Pentecost River
Stop - Drysdale River
Trip Odometer - 248.6km
Stopped time - 4.56hrs
Moving average - 61.2km/hr
Moving time - 4.03hrs
Max speed - 9.01hrs

After soaking up the beauty of the Pentecost River we turn onto the Gibb River Road and headed west towards Jacks Waterhole (65km). The corrugations were very rough and we later found out that the road had not been graded for the last 3weeks because the grader driver had an accident and has been in hospital – but he is due to resume again tomorrow!

We are amazed at how different this section of the Gibb River Road is from our last trip here in 1998 when we didn’t find any water at all, other than at the major gorges. Today however, we found water across the road at every creek, which made for a very pretty and enjoyable drive.

Jack’s Waterhole has been upgraded and they really improved facilities. David and I used to avoid station stays and established camping areas but that was when there were less people out here travelling. Things seem to be very different, with every man and his dog all wanting to camp by the water. We’ve changed our approach somewhat and would now fully recommended staying at the established areas such as the stations for a better way to enjoy the region. At Jacks’s waterhole for example you can swim, hire a canoe and explore one of the most beautiful rivers in the area.

Last trip we camped in the dry river bed of the Durack River – just look at it this year!


At Dawn Creek, we found brolgas and some good camps on western bank, but they were taken. In fact, every possible campsite was taken and just finding a vacant tree by a river crossing for lunch was quite a task, with campers occupying every available spot.

118km past Jacks Waterhole we came to the junction of the Gibb River Road and the Kalumburu roads. There is now a well setup roadside stop here with an information board, picnic table, shade hut and large clearing.

We turned right and headed up the Kalumburu Road – signposted 262km to Kalumburu. We aim to visit both Mitchell Falls and Kalumburu but with so many tourists still on the road, we will leave Mitchell Falls for the trip back down in the hope that some of the visitor numbers will have thinned out by then.

Coming across the mighty Gibb River at 3km past the junction, we were again surprised to find hoards of people frolicking about in cossies, scores of kids and about 20 campers set up on all sides of the banks. It is about the best river camp we have seen in this area, with water flowing over the causeway and lovely shady camps in the sandbanks.

The Kalumburu Road from the junction to Drysdale River was in much the same condition as the Gibb River Road at the time – very corrugated and not recently graded, with decent water at all the crossings and one very long stretch of bulldust on approach to the Drysdale Station.

Without getting myself into trouble, I should mention that I am using one of Ron & Viv Moon’s guidebooks, “The Kimberley – an Adventurers Guide” but have found that it contains a few errors, although I have the latest edition, that we stock in our shop. Without realising it, we camped illegally at the Drysdale River. There was no sign to indicate we were doing anything wrong and I was simply following camping advice from the book. Mind you, it was the single most beautiful camp we have had in a long time.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
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Always working not enough travelling!
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