This is 1 of the reasons why we also bought a sturdy Kedron off road van. To tour places like this in comfort for 7 - 10 days.
El Questro is the 1st cattle station along the GRR. This 1 million acre cattle station has tourism as 1 of it's income sources during the dry season. A township has been set up just for the rich & us mere mortals, in separate areas of course, to enjoy their piece of the Kimberley. The 'town' has a shop, bar, restaurant, eating area outside beside a fire, souvenirs, forgotten camp necessities like tooth brushes, milk, bread etc. This 1 building also does the checking in for campers & takes bookings for the scenic flights over their magnificent gorges.
The wealthy are accommodated near the main house, overlooking the beautiful Chamberlain Gorge. We didn't visit this gorge, as it required an expensive cruise up the river, so I've done the next best thing, take a pic of a post card :) the views look magical.
Our camp ground was along the upper reaches of the still flowing Pentecost River.
To save doubling back, we visited the pretty Emma Gorge up the road,on our way into El Questro. The walk down a rocky creek took 45 mins each way, but Rod enjoyed the swim near the falls.
Old Boab trees are every where in the Kimberley & were used by early explorers for drinking water, so this old 1 at Emma gorge has been tapped for our tasting pleasure. Slightly strange taste, but fresh none the less.
We had to give these springs a try. The area was pretty & the water was certainly warm as described.
El Questro gorge was given a tick to visit by the navigator. Walking in for 1 hr over this stoney creek bed was becoming the norm. At least the views held some distraction, when we could safely look up from our rocky path. Or take a break now & then just to soak up the views!
This larger boulder is the 1/2 way pt of the gorge. But unless you were superman / woman, you didn't go any further. Seriously, some people are able to go further, but only the more fit & adventurous rock climbers.
The Pentecost River is usually the 1 obstacle to stop drivers going any further on the GRR, unless you had flippers on your car. The water runs deep & fast at the end of the 'wet' season. So it may be several wks after the wet season has finished before any one gets through. fortunately for us it is now late July when we crossed after a very heavy & late wet season. The water should normally be much lower than this in late July.
This is another Kedron van (by co incidence) after he had crossed the river.
More views of the Cockburn Range with the sun in front of us.
The Durack River, not so deep, but still looks like trouble!!
Our next night after ElQuestro, was Ellenbrae, a 1 million acre cattle station. They make em big this way!!
They have small gorges, but they offer somewhere to stop for the night & server nice scones for something different - a novelty really.
maybe every 3 months or so :)
The amenities house was different as well - a boab tree incorporated in the building. The front door just a little different................
This is the Gibb River. It's on the Kalumbaru Rd to the Mitchell Plateau.
We had every intention of getting to the Mitchell falls, but after 37kms, we sadly turned around. The road was far too corrugated & we had already passed 1 tow truck recovering a 4WD. (we have heard on good authority, that the road is worse after Drysdale River station & that many vans were parked @ Drysdale waiting for spare parts etc to be repaired. (we were going to leave ours @ Drysdale as well)
We are almost past the 1/2 way pt of the GRR :))................... but the best is yet to come & most gorges are on the 2nd 1/2 of the GRR.
This beautiful lagoon is next to the Manning Gorge camp ground. The lagoon is along the track to visit the gorge. Hence styrofoam boxes being used to stash our camera gear etc when we crossed the deeper section near the other side of the lagoon. There's also a dingy there for those who don't want to get wet. Or the choice is to take a longer walk around the lagoon.
The track is well sign posted.........................
After 50 min walk, we climbed down into the gorge & were greeted with ................. you'd have thought we were at the beach - a beautiful white sand beach to lie on & soak up the area.
But there were even better views around the corner, as we could hear a water fall.
Getting closer now
& just around the corner, down some steep rocks, we found this magical view
The gorge is carving out the rock, leaving water pools ever where.
Rod, of course, doesn't take long to get himself wet.
I, on the other hand, had to wait to get hot before braving the cold water in a smaller rock pool. Chicken is me.
Walking back after 2 hrs sitting around there, soaking up the perfect scenery, we decided to see if we could find a view of the top of the falls away from the main track. Rod almost twisted his ankle, but we found the spot where we wanted to take our desired pic.
Galvin's Gorge is on some one cattle station as well. It is close to the road & just a short 15 min walk gets you to it. Rod must have tried every gorge water hole we visited, & this 1 was no exception, even at 0830 in the morning.
440 kms along the GRR & we visit the most popular gorge along this road. Bell Gorge is in the very large King Leopold Conservation National Park covering an area of over 400,000 hectares. The camp ground is 20 kms off the GRR & the gorge another rocky 10 kms further along . The camp ground was 1 very busy place for the 2 nights we stayed there.
This pic is from the other side looking down ...wow, can't wait to get down there.
Finally after climbing down some really steep rocks / boulders, we had this spectacular view
Bell Gorge certainly lived up to it's name of being the most visited gorge along GRR - we soaked up 2 hrs of it's delightful views here as well.
After we left Bell Gorge, we drove for what seemed like ages through the beautiful King Leopold Range. The escarpments are very near the road & just for a while you forget you're on a rough road as you soak up the spectacular views.
Here's just a sample of what we saw.
Over the range & on the southern side seemed very different
Further down the road is the turn off to Winjana gorge & Tunnel Creek.
The Napier Range is made up of limestone - an ancient reef of some 370 million yrs old. You can see fossilized creatures imbedded in the limestone.
This view is also what you have in the campground - magnificent. This is a sunset pic of just part of the very long 100mtr high escarpment - it runs for km's.
We took the Winjana Gorge walk early in the morning as temps get quite high in the area during the day.
We had very similar views of high escarpments for much of the 3km walk into the gorge along the Lennard River. The escarpments were approx 100mtrs apart.
More coloured limestsone apparently stained pink from an ancient algae
We found this olive python tucked away in front of a tree off the path, thankfully. 1 eye open making sure we don't come any closer.
There are also approx 2,000 freshies along the gorge / Lennard River
That's the entry pt.
Then we start wading through water, in some parts up to my waist.
Unfortunately my camera struggled to take good pics of the formations in many areas.
That's looking back into the tunnel
The entry pt again
On our drive to Tunnel Creek, we noticed some white rock not far from the road. It's not described in the brochures, confirmed by a ranger at Geike Gorge to be a calcite flow.
Along the road also, the high cliffs change to lower formations that have eroded more from the weather.
You can just imagine along here the beautiful colours of a coral reef.
More sunset pics from our camp ground.
The last 70 kms of the GRR was a 1 lane sealed road. More dangerous than the dirt road we had negotiated over during the past 10 days. The edges sloped downwards, so moving over for on coming cars made me more nervous.
Parked in the Derby van pk next to lilly white & clean vans just didn't look good
Geike Gorge, 1 of 2 gorges along the Great Northern Highway, is just north of Fitzroy Crossing township.
It is part of the Kimberley, so has been included here.
Geike Gorge is part of the limestone range of the Napier & Oscar range. Geike gorge is formed by the flooding gouging of the Fitzroy R.
During the wet season, Fitzroy R will drain 1 Sydney Harbour of water every 12 hrs.
DEC - WA govt equivalent of Qld natural resources dept - have regular boat cruises up along the river to get great views of the gorge. $20 for concession holders (seniors - & over 50's qualify, so don't laugh please :)
What a bargain for 1 hr of commentary - NT cruises were much more expensive than this 1.
The views of the gorge were magnificent. The paler colours are the true colours of the Limestone - it is also the high water mark from 2011 floods. ( 2002 flood was another 1.5 mtrs higher !!)
This is the exposed limestone that is eroding away. The little bubble like markings are from sand & water blasting the surface.
This is the eastern wall of Geike.
The western wall has lots of pink colourings through much of the wall. The pink apparently is an ancient algae.
might be the angle of the camera.
Someone always finds a famous persons profile in the rock - this is supposed to be of former USA president Richard Nixon - water gate is changing his profile every year!!!
Back on dry land / sandy river bank, we went for a difficult walk in sand - was also hot now as well - I got a view of the eastern gorge wall - even with lovely reflections & the next boat cruise after ours :)
Another beautiful gorge of The Kimberley.
We missed many more gorges along the Gibb River Road. They were 40 - 90 kms each way to get to.
Mt Hart, Mornington Wildlife Conservancy, Mt Elizabeth Station, Charnley River Station & Lennard Gorge & the Mitchell Plateau were passed up. May be for next time.................................. Besides, 10 days of dusty rough roads was enough!!!!!!!!!!!!
We got to see the best though & we're satisfied with what we experienced of the rugged Kimberley.
We had an awesome time seeing the Kimberley. Great scenery & spectacular gorges. Hard to pick 1 area as the best.