A Travellerspoint blog

The Kimberley

Gibb River Road

By now it was too late to question our decision to take on the GRR, it was time to farewell the comfort of bitumen road and begin the 1,500kms of dirt corrugated track - 8 gorges, 42 river crossings, 5 pools & springs and countless Boab trees over two incredible weeks. We'll share our favourite stories.
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The guy who took this photo offered his knowledge on tyre pressures - then shared his experience of three punctures on his latest trip... We saw him 70kms in with his first puncture; We felt destined to suffer the same fate.

Four river crossings within an hour and we were still a fair way off our first stop, Tunnel Creek. With so many crossings you soon become blazay; the naming of creeks made sense to us... 
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Windjana Gorge NP campsite was literally on the gorge. This is the only one the Bush Tucker Man (for those that can remember him) suggests no swimming due to the number of freshwater crocs. We heeded his advice and took the morning to walk the beautiful trail seeing plenty of crocs on the way. 
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Bell Gorge was another magic site. We began the 30min walk late in the afternoon and by sunset, had the place to ourselves. Both of us took a dip, colder than expected but a nice way to end the day after a long drive
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There was plenty to see around Charnley River, our top pick was Lilly pools. Being the only ones there, we made the most of the morning swimming, reading and relaxing. 
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Our biggest surprise packet was Galvins Gorge, only a kilometre walk off the Gibb. We weren't expecting much but the cascading waterfall, surrounded by aboriginal art reminded us just how amazing this area really is. 
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There was not a great deal of free camping along the GRR. We did find Hann Creek late one evening and awoke to this picturesque spot.
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Onto the magnificent Mitchell Falls, about 170km north up Kalumbaru Road from Drysdale Station where we unhitched the van. Rivaling the Gibb for difficulty, we reached Mitchell River NP a powerful place holding strong cultural and spiritual significance for the Wunambal people. We took our time on the 9km return hike to the falls, taking a dip and carefully crossing rushing water, our anticipation growing with every step...
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... Definitely well worth the trek and detour up Kalumbaru Road.
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Back onto the GRR it was a quick stop at Ellenbrae to sample their famous scones...
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... before settling in at Home Valley for a few days. It was the perfect place to watch the full moon rise over the Pentecost ranges. 
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El Questro station was our last stay on the GRR and other than red dust everywhere we felt happy to have survived it...
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... Or so we thought! Backing the van into a camp site a tree jumped out of nowhere and took out the bike rack and part of the roof panel. 

To help us cool off and lighten up we took a dip at the Zibidee springs.
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Along the walk to Champagne springs we came across this 1,000 year old Boab worth hugging.
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On the home stretch we visited Emma Gorge, a two hour (return) bush walk to a stunning waterfall deep within the gorge.  
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With the help of the graders, the condition of the roads was better than expected; still the GRR was tough. Like sea sickness the waves of corrugation stay with you. A mixture of good fortune and taking our time seemed to save our tyres and suspension. It's not for the leisurely traveler but the GRR is the best way to experience the true Kimberley, it has become such a highlight of our travels so far... Still, we'll be happy to stay off dirt roads for some time to come :) 
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Posted by Jenandbrad 00:27 Archived in Australia Tagged wa

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Comments

'Watch out!' says Jen, 'You might get tyred and never wake up!'

Magic photos & stories guys. Except there seems to be part of the story missing from the bike riding tree! Please explain.

by Trent

Aha, nice one!.. It was a small tree, about 20m high and 2m wide - very hard to see. I don't want to harp on it but it was Jen's fault. Had she been driving I never would have back into it! Not too much damage, just part of the roof and the bike handles. We bent the bike rack back into shape which took most of the brunt. To think we survived the Gibb, only to do damage in the last caravan park! It's funny now but earlier...

by Jenandbrad

I am done with dirt roads too!

by Mossy...

Looks magnificent guys, what a great experience for you. Glad you remain unscathed (your poor car) . . . Hope the next part of the trip is equally memorable. xx

by Lesley Pettigrew

Gday Brad & Jen,

Looks fantastic! Dont rush back - You are looking fit and HAPPY! Kids are still talking bout you guys and Tom pulled Freakonomics off the shelf yesterday and said "Havent you sent this back yet" - whoops.........

Cheers. CP

by Christian P

Thanks mate, we loved our time with you guys. Pity we're not doing a second loop. No worries about the book. Wayne's still on the shelf too.
Keep in touch.

by Jenandbrad

Jen and Brad, Amazing scenery. Not sure if you are both mad or brave. These areas are so remote, not the place to injure yourself or get bitten by something. Have you seen many snakes?
You should have set up a deal with Jayco. Great advertisement for their van. Why don't you email your link to Jayco to see if they might provide some financial support for use of your testimonial?
Looking forward to the next chapter. Keep safe. Dad
PS Jen - long way from the South of France.

by John Pettigrew

Jen I'm assuming the spelling error was actually a clever play on words . . . . xx

by Lesley Pettigrew

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