Gibb River Road
22.06.2012 - 06.07.2012
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.
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...
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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...
... Definitely well worth the trek and detour up Kalumbaru Road.
Back onto the GRR it was a quick stop at Ellenbrae to sample their famous scones...
... 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.
El Questro station was our last stay on the GRR and other than red dust everywhere we felt happy to have survived it...
... 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.
Along the walk to Champagne springs we came across this 1,000 year old Boab worth hugging.
On the home stretch we visited Emma Gorge, a two hour (return) bush walk to a stunning waterfall deep within the gorge.
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