The legendary Gibb River Road Top Trail is an icon of outback adventure through the heart of the Kimberley in Western Australia’s North West. The moderate 660 kilometre dirt track passes through remote station country with magnificent scenery and plenty of opportunities to get out of your vehicle to discover one of the many fresh water gorges. See freshwater crocodiles in the Windjana Gorge National Park and swim, bushwalk and camp at Lennard and Bell Gorges. Take a scenic flight over Mitchell Falls and the vast Mitchell Plateau. Stay on the one million acre El Questro Wilderness Park. From here you can go horse trekking, get up close to Kimberley wildlife and boat down Chamberlain Gorge past towering escarpments and Wandjina rock art.
You could even take in the sights on a mountain bike for the Brisbane to Broome Charity Bike Ride. However you take on this outback challenge, remember it’s one that needs planning.
The Gibb River Road leads you through a land of sweeping plains and rugged ranges. It’s the very land our national anthem sings off. The Kimberley rock formations & ranges change colour right before your eyes as the sun slowly shifts on its journey west. Along its entire length, deep creviced gorges provide picture postcard vistas as seasonal rains cascade down waterfalls to the cool crystal clear rock pools that settle below. The Kimberley is full of spectacular & picturesque gorges, waterfalls, rivers, ranges, rock pools, wildlife and people to experience and enjoy with each location as unique and as memorable as the last.
Gibb River Road 4WD Hire – Bucket List:
The Kimberley’s in Australia is one of the last true wilderness areas on Earth, with iconic outback landscapes and undiscovered secrets billions of years in the making. Covering nearly 423,000 square kilometres in north WA, with a population of less than 40,000 people, it’s here you’ll encounter some of the most extraordinary outback adventures in Australia. Discover ancient gorge country, vast cattle stations, pristine castaway beaches, one of the oldest surviving cultures on Earth and the world’s only horizontal waterfalls.
Two of Australia’s greatest 4WD Hire Adventures can be found here: The Savannah Way between Broome and Darwin via Kununurra and the 660 kilometre Gibb River Road. Derby, east of Broome, is the base for exploring the Buccaneer Archipelago – a thousand or so islands scattered across the Timor Sea. Kununurra Embrace adventure in a world of vast lakes, ancient ridges and ranges, rare pink diamonds and huge stations. It’s easy to see why the place was called Kununurra – it means ‘big water’ in the language of Aboriginal tribes who have roamed this landscape for thousands of years. There’s something about wild, remote Kununurra that fires the spirit of adventure in even the most timid of travelers. It could be the blue skies, scorching red soil and rugged bush scenery, or the fact it is the gateway to the East Kimberley and some of Western Australia’s remarkable natural attractions. From here you can visit World Heritage-listed Purnululu National Park and the beehive-shaped towers of the Bungle Bungle range, thought to be 350 million years old. Or see their miniature versions in amongst the amphitheaters, gullies and ridges of Mirima National Park. You can take a helicopter over the mighty Ordriver and man-made Lake Argyle, which is large enough to be classified as an inland sea. Trek Mitchell Plateau and see the majestic Mitchell Falls – a series of four waterfalls – cascade over layers of rock into a deep pool. Then visit the Argyle Diamond Mine and see the rare pink diamonds extracted from this ancient rock each year.
Nestled in the far north-west of Western Australia, the Bungle Bungle range in the World Heritage-listed Purnululu National Park is one of Australia’s best-kept secrets. For more than 350 million years, nature’s forces have shaped these mysterious geological features in this prehistoric landscape. Apart from the local Kija Aboriginal community, few people knew they existed until the 1980s. The giant orange and black striped domes rise out of the ground creating a bewildering landscape unlike anything you have ever seen. One of the best ways to appreciate the scale of this natural wonder is on a scenic flight.
As you sweep over the range, the intricate maze of tiger-striped domes reveal a hidden world of narrow, sheer-sided gorges lined with majestic palms and seasonal waterfalls and calm pools. According to Aboriginal Dreamtime legends, the amazing beehive-like domes that form the Bungle Ranges were created by the Rainbow Serpent as she slithered across the landscape. Aboriginal people have used the area for their sacred rituals for around 20 000 years.
Cruise or fish the expansive, wildlife-rich waters of Lake Argyle, near Kununurra, the biggest manmade lake in the southern hemisphere. Created by the Ord River Dam, it’s classified as an inland sea and at its peak in the green season Lake Argyle holds a staggering 32 million cubic metres of water. That’s more than 20 times the size of Sydney Harbour.
Set on the banks of the mighty Fitzroy River, 391 kilometres east of Broome, Fitzroy Crossing in Western Australia (WA) is a true outback town. Drive out to the original town site and visit the legendary Crossing Inn, built in 1897 as a shanty inn and trade store for long-distance travellers.
Today, Fitzroy Crossing in WA is a great base to explore Tunnel Creek National Park and Windjana Gorge National Park. It’s also the gateway to the Geikie Gorge National Park, a spectacular waterway with soaring weathered cliffs and abundant wildlife. Indigenous tours also offer an excellent insight to local Indigenous history and culture, including bush tucker and medicine.
Located in the east of the Kimberley and extending for approximately 80 kilometres north-south and 60km east-west, the station totals just under 1,000,000 acres in size. El Questro Homestead is an exclusive luxe retreat for maximum 18 guests, perched on a cliff top overlooking the Chamberlain River and Gorge. The El Questro Wilderness Park in Western Australia’s remote East Kimberley region brings to life an ancient land with an extraordinary diversity of landscapes. Here rugged sandstone ranges and deep weathered gorges surrender to pockets of rainforest and picturesque waterfalls. Covering one million acres, the El Questro Wilderness Park is five times the size of the island of Tasmania and around the size of a small European country. Around the fresh water springs and lazy salt-water estuaries in the northern part of the property, an abundance of Australian animals, fish and bird life gather. Take a private cruise or swim in the clear fresh waters. Soak in hot springs, or trek on horse-back and see the countryside from a new vantage point.
This May, head to Kununurra for the Ord Valley Muster, a vibrant two-week celebration of East Kimberley life. You’ll join thousands of friendly locals at more than 50 events across the region’s rugged and magical landscapes. Dress up for a 4WD adventure bash, swim across Lake Argyle or mountain bike along the Gibb River Road. Taste fresh Kimberley produce and enjoy Aboriginal music and dance. Get swept away in a street party, dig for diamonds or watch rough-riders at a rodeo. Not-to-be-missed is the Kimberley Moon – the flagship music concert on the banks of the Ord River. It’s a three hour flight north from Perth to Kununurra, the gateway to the wild, sweeping landscapes of the Kimberley. The region is most famous for its striking natural attractions such as the beehive-shaped towers of the Bungle Bungle range, vast Lake Argyle, the Ord River and cascading waterfalls of the Mitchell Plateau. Harder to portray on a postcard is the warmth, hospitality and maverick attitude of the locals – traits you’ll fully appreciate during the Ord Valley Muster.
Cape Leveque is a remote and isolated paradise hidden away on the most northerly point of the Dampier Peninsula, in Western Australia’s Kimberley region. Resplendent with sparkling waters and rich red cliffs, it is truly isolated from the rest of the world and only accessible by air or four-wheel drive from Broome. Cape Leveque has a strong Aboriginal heritage, which dates back some 7000 years. Kooljaman at Cape Leveque is one of a number of deliciously indulgent eco-resorts, dotted across this spectacular landscape. This unique wilderness style luxury camp is jointly owned by Djarindjin and One Arm Point Aboriginal communities. Here you can immerse yourself in the Australian Outback and enjoy a wide range of nature based and indigenous cultural experiences
Dampier Peninsula and Cape Leveque offer the perfect getaway for the adventurous traveller. Stretching 220 kilometres north from Broome, the only access to the area is via the partially unsealed Cape Leveque Road. Known to local Indigenous people as “Ardi” meaning heading North, a Dampier Peninsula experience offers the opportunity to stroll on secluded beaches at Middle Lagoon and Mercedes Cove and swim or snorkel in the sparkling waters. Spend the day fishing on a charter boat or hire your own dinghy at Cape Leveque. But best of all, it gives you the chance to explore and experience the unique culture, history and lifestyle of the local Indigenous peoples.
The Kimberley Gorges
Gorge Windjana Gorge is a 3.5 km gorge, carved out of the Napier Range by the Lennard River. The Napier Range is part of the same ancient barrier reef system that you also see at Tunnel Creek and Geikie Gorge. (Over 300 million years ago in the Devonian period this whole area was below sea level.) Makes you wonder a little about global warming doesn’t it? The gorge walls on both sides of Windjana Gorge are between 30 to 100 metres high, and the gorge is over 100 metres wide. The gorge is closed in wet season when the Lennard River is a raging torrent. Fresh water Crocodiles are plentiful.
Lennard Gorge is one of the little known and less visited Kimberley gorges. The 8 km long access road is 4wd only leads to a parking bay. Once parked you have a challenging walk ahead. The path is not marked but if you head to the right it will lead to a ledge overlooking the gorge and the falls and is a very rewarding view. If you head to the left it will lead to the top of the falls where you can swim and cool off. My recommendation is do both walks.
Bell Gorge is perhaps the most popular Kimberley gorge and is highly rated by all those who see it. A short stroll along Bell Creek leads you from the car park down into the gorge. A waterfall cascades between the V shaped cliffs falling to a deep pool that is perfect for swimming. Large rock patios line its edge making an ideal spot for a picnic lunch, laze after a cool swim or simply rest before continuing your trek.
Adcock Gorge is about 5 km off the Gibb River Road, along a very pretty 4WD track. The short walk leads you past a shady billabong covered in water lilies to a deep freshwater pool surrounded by grass & ferns. This is a truly beautiful and generally quiet spot.
Easily accessed, park your car in the car park on the main road and walk about a kilometre in. You will be greeted by a welcoming pool. Relax under the waterfall and massage those tired shoulders, swing from a rope to make a big splash or swim a few laps before the kilometre walk back. Because of its easy access this is a popular spot for tour operators and can be fairly crowded from time to time.
Manning Gorge is stunning when wet season rains cascade the full width of the gorge and as the flow slows separate waterfalls form and fall over the terraced rock formations until finally falling to the pool below. Great place to settle in for a few days and break up your drive.
Barnett River Gorges
This is the only “free” bush camp site along the Gibb River Road, and it’s fantastic. The track in can be very rough, and the gorges themselves are not best of the Kimberley gorges but the bush camp sites are beautiful. There are quite a few of them in individual clearings along the Barnett River. To get to Barnett River Gorges take the track and keep to the right until you get to the Barnett River. Your best advised to walk from here.
The Mitchell Falls and the Mitchell Plateau
The Mitchell Falls is one the most photographed icons of the Kimberley but I have never seen a photo that truly does The Mitchell Falls justice. As spectacular as every picture of the Mitchell Falls is it’s not just about the Mitchell Falls. There is much more to this very special place. There’s Little Mertens Falls, (it’s no so little) the natural spa pools above and hidden cave beneath are an absolute treasure. There is the spectacular open air gallery displaying the world renowned Bradshawrock art. There is a truly unforgettable bush walk that leads you over crystal clear streams shaded by pandanus palms, pools covered in water lilies, breathtaking cliffs and waterfalls. This walk will take you 4 to 6 hours return. It’s rough country and there are many sidetracks that can extend the length of your walk. Make sure you carry enough water.
Few Other Highly Recommended Attractions:
China Walls, Mimbi Caves, Tunnel Creek National Park, , Mitchell Plateau, Wolfe Creek Crater National Park,Broome, Cable Beach, GyornGyorn Paintings, Buccaneer Archipelago, the Horizontal Waterfalls. Ride a camel at sunset down Broome’s Cable Beach and soar over the towers of the Bungle Bungle Ranges. Cruise huge Lake Argyle and see tides taller than a building in the Buccaneer Archipelago. Four Wheel Drive the Gibb River Road past gorges and mighty rivers, or follow the red-dirt track from Broome to the remote Dampier Peninsula. Welcome to the Kimberley – a world of vast horizons, ancient gorges, weird rock formations, welcoming rock pools and golden beaches.
4WD Travel, Adventure and Camping
The wide open wilderness areas and warm climate of the Kimberley and Pilbara regions make them ideal destinations for caravan and camping holidays. Major town centres have a range of caravan parks and camping grounds. The main season is between May and September, so you need to book in advance to avoid disappointment. Start planning your holiday with Gibb River Road 4WD Hire and search for caravan parks and camping grounds.
Best travelled after the wet season rains have gone it is generally April/May when they reopen “the Gibb” to vehicles. A good deal of the wet season rains still flow early in the season so those out early will experience creek crossovers on the drive and waterfalls that make for spectacular reward at the end of each short walk. The Gibb River Road closes when seasonal rains commence in December/January. Always check current road conditions and warnings before you start your journey. Click here to see today’s Main Roads Kimberley. The first thing you need to plan for your road trip is a vehicle. A 4WD is highly recommended. If you are taking your own vehicle, make absolutely sure it is road worthy. Remember you have already driven your vehicle a long way to get here and if you break down on “The Gibb” parts are not readily available and towing is bloody expensive.If you want to hire a camper trailer, camping equipment, baby seats or cots, satellite phone, extra spare tyre, jerry can or anything else needed for your journey click on links Broome, Derby or Kununurra.
For the drivers, The Gibb River Road is not heavily dotted with service stations for refuelling, so careful planning is necessary to ensure you do not find yourself parked on the side of the road out of fuel. This is a guide only to the distance between refuelling stops to help assist with your planning. It is highly recommended that you carry additional fuel and of course a good supply of water.Generally the distances between the service stations are manageable. Although the direct distance between refuelling points will seem easily driven without refuelling, it doesn’t take into account the distance travelled exploring, sightseeing and engaged in 4WD. There is no one answer to total distance you will travel or how much fuel you require to complete the Gibb River Road, it really depends on how much time you have, where and how far you go, what vehicle you drive, how often you engage 4wd and so on so it makes good sense to be prepared. The two main roadhouses on the Gibb River Road are Imintji and Mt Barnett with Drysdale River Station and El Questro the other spots you can fill up if you and heading to Kalumburu or the Mitchell Plateau.
|Broome to Derby||222 km||Diesel & Unleaded|
|Derby to Imintji Roadhouse||227 km||Diesel Only|
|Imintji Roadhouse to Mt. Barnett Roadhouse (Manning River)||78 km||Diesel & Unleaded|
|Mt Barnett Roadhouse to Wyndham||402 km|
|Mt Barnett Roadhouse to Kununurra||407 km|
|Via El Questro:|
|Mt. Barnett Roadhouse to El Questro Station||337 km|
|El Questro Station to Wyndham||97 km|
|El Questro Station to Kununurra||102 km|
|Via Kalumburu/Mitchell Plateau:|
|Mt Barnett Roadhouse to Drysdale River Homestead||171 km||Diesel & Unleaded|
|Drysdale River Homestead to Kalumburu||206 km|
|Drysdale River Homestead to Wyndham||350 km|
|Drysdale River Homestead to Kununurra||355 km|
|Drysdale River Homestead to El Questro||286 km||Diesel & Unleaded|
|Drysdale River Homestead – Mitchell Falls – Kalumburu||376 km|
|Drysdale River Homestead – Mitchell Falls – Return||376 km|
(Drysdale and Kalumburu are the exact same distance from the Mitchell Plateau turn-off.) Indicative distances from Derby assuming you never leave the Gibb River Road. Make adjustments for each side trip. For simplicity we commence our journey in Derby. Clear your trip meter or what follows with mean nothing.
|0 KM||Derby. You access the Gibb River Road from the Great Northern Highway. The turn-off to the Gibb River Rd is just a 6 kilometres south-east of Derby.|
|16 KM||Birdwood Downs Station is a 5000 acre working cattle and pastoral station. Offering camping, accommodation, meals, tours and horse trail rides. Notify 24 hours prior to arrival.|
|40 KM||May River turn off (plus 12 km from turn off to camp site one way). Nice campsite and can be good Barramundi fishing.|
|79 KM||This is where the bitumen ends and the adventure begins.|
|119 KM||Tunnel Creek Road turn off. Turn right here to visit Windjana Gorge National Park (plus 21 km from turn off to car park one way) and Tunnel Creek National Park (plus 65 km from turn off to car park one way) Gieke Gorge.|
|120 KM||Lennard River Bridge and Lennard River Bridge Snack Stop. Cool veranda overlooks the banks of the Lennard River and Lennard River Bridge.|
|189 KM||Mt Hart Wilderness Lodge turn off. 49 km off the Gibb within King Leopold Range Conservation Park.|
|195 KM||Lennard Gorge turn off. No camping. Within King Leopold Range Conservation Park|
|214 KM||Bell Gorge and Silent Grove turn off. Bell Gorge within King Leopold Range Conservation Park is probably the most well-known attraction along the Gibb River Road. CALM operates two campgrounds here. One is for bush camping, the other one has the usual facilities.|
|225 KM||Imintji Store. DIESEL ONLY The first of the two main roadhouses on the Gibb. Diesel fuel only, general goods, gas bottle refills and ice. You can get hot food, drinks, ice-cream and a workshop if repairs on your vehicle are needed.|
|252 KM||Mornington Wilderness Camp turn off. Accommodation, camping, restaurant, bar and access to several gorges. The camp is 90 km from the turn-off.|
|256 KM||Charnley River Station turn off. Located 42 km off the main road. Working cattle station offering accommodation, camping, meals. Dogs welcome.|
|269 KM||Adcock Gorge turn off. No camping. Dogs allowed.|
|291 KM||Galvans Gorge carpark. No camping. Dogs allowed.|
|302 KM||Mt. Barnett Roadhouse. DIESEL & ULP , drinking water, ice, toilets, showers, laundry, small store and take-away|
|302 KM||Manning Gorge and campground turn off. Manning Gorge is owned by Mt. Barnett Station. The 7 km access track starts at roadhouse. A fee is charged for entry and includes the use of the camping facilities. Dogs welcome|
|332 KM||Barnett River Gorges turn off. No camping. Dogs allowed.|
|346 KM||Mt Elizabeth Station turn off. Located 30 km from the main road. Working cattle station offering accommodation, camping and meals. Dogs welcome.|
|413 KM||Kalumburu Road turn off. Turn here to get to Kalumburu or to the Mitchell Plateau. This the complete Gibb Road River experience. Drysdale River Station is 60 km from the turn-off and is the next place to get diesel or unleaded. Gibb River crossing, Plain Creek, Miners Pool, Mitchell Falls, Carson River all feature between turnoff and Kalumburu. Mitchell Falls 85km from turn off , Kalumburu 267km, and Mitchell Plateau 162km.|
|479 KM||Ellenbrae Station turn off. Another working cattle station that welcomes visitors, offering camping and basic bungalows.|
|508 KM||Durack River crossing. This one can be exciting at the beginning of the season. Prone to flooding in wet season so make sure you check Road Conditions and road is open.|
|593 KM||Home Valley Station. Accommodation, camping and tours. New accommodation. Great food & location.|
|602 KM||Pentecost River Crossing. Very scenic location. Like the Durack River this is one of the rivers that can be rather exciting to cross early in the season. Beware, this is serious crocodile country.|
|626 KM||El Questro Station turn off. Huge tourism operation. Main township is located 16 km from the turn off. Aimed at the high end market but offers facilities for all budgets and have some great tours, cruises, hikes and gorges. General store, diesel, unleaded, accommodation, steakhouse, bar and camping facilities are all here.|
|636 KM||Emma Gorge turn off. El Questro land. Entry fee applies.|
|659 KM||End of Gibb River Rd. From the bitumen intersection it’s about 48 km to Wyndham (north) or 53 km to Kununurra (south).|
Congratulations! You have conquered the Gibb River Road!
National Park Camping Sites
National Parks have serviced camp areas, many with onsite rangers, designated generator and non-generator sites, fresh water, toilets and shower facilities. These areas may have restrictions on length of stay and park fees may apply. See the Department of Parks and Wildlife website for more information about national park camping sites and fees. There can be huge distances between townships so you may have to camp on private properties or Aboriginal lands, make sure you obtain permission and permits before entering the area. Some roads are not suitable for towing a caravan and there are camping restrictions in certain areas. Please check road conditions and permit requirements with the local visitor centre before you set off on your journey.
Accommodation and Campgrounds
|BIRDWOOD DOWNS STATION||http: // www.birdwo oddowns.com /||+(618) 9191 1275|
|WINDJANA GORGE (CAMPING ONLY)|
|MT HART WILDERNESS LODGE||+(618) 9191 4645|
|SILENT GROVE (CAMPING ONLY)|
|CHARNLEY RIVER STATION||+(618) 9191 4646|
|MORNINGTON WILDERNESS SANCTUARY||+(618) 9191 7406|
|MT ELIZABETH STATION||http: // www.moun telizab ethsta tion.com /||+(618) 9191 4644|
|DRYSDALE RIVER STATION||http:// www.drysd ale river.com.au /||+(618) 9161 4326|
|ELLENBRAE STATION||+(618) 9161 4325|
|HOME VALLEY STATION||http:// www.hvsta tion.com.au/||+(618) 9161 4322|
|EL QUESTRO WILDERNESS PARK||http:// www.elque stro.com.au/||+(618) 9169 1777|
Gibb River Road 4WD Hire
welcomes you to explore one of the most pristine places on the planet.
http:// www.westernaustralia.com/ en/ Pages/ Welcome_to_Western_Australia.aspx
http:// www.westernaustralia.com/en/ Attraction/ Purnululu__ Bungle_Bungle__National_Park/ 9009440
http:// www.australia.com/explore/ icons/ kimberley.aspx
http:// www.australia.com /explore/ itineraries/ wa-gibb-river-rd.aspx
http:// www.kimberleyfoundation.org.au /fast-facts/
http:// www.australiasnorthwest.com /Destinations/ The_Kimberley
http:// ww.australia.com/ campaigns/ nothinglike/ au/ el-questro.htm
http:// www.visitbroome.com.au /
http:// www.australiasnorthwest.com /Travel_information / Visitor_centres
http:// www.derbytourism.com.au/ pages/ gibb-river-road/
http:// www.derbytourism.com.au/ pages/ self-drive-4wd-camping/
http:// www.australia.com/ explore/itineraries/ wa-savannah.aspx
http:// www.australia.com/ explore/ itineraries-ideas/ outback-journeys.aspx
http:// www.exploroz.com/ TrekNotes/Kimberley/ Gibb_River_Road.aspx#rqc_tabs=0
Australian 4WD Hire
Australian 4WD Hire has a national wide network of agencies which are strategically positioned in close proximity to all famous tourism destination and hot spots, as well as major regional and capital cities throughout Australia so you are never far from a pick up point or friendly service to make your Gibb River Road tripa memorable one.
Australian 4WD Hire is renowned for meticulously maintained vehicles and quality service. Our fleet is constantly being updated to ensure you enjoy the best in comfort and safety making it the ideal choice for your next self-drive adventure. 4WD Tourism is one of the best ways to see the sights of Australia and it offers you the freedom & flexibility to discover the outdoors at your own pace.