The Gibb River Road, a uniquely iconic road and bucket list destination we always planned on ticking off the list on our travels around Australia.
Truth be told, the closer we got to it, we actually contemplated doing it or not. Not because of the road, but because we heard how dry it was due to the lack of wet season the past 2 years (nothing was running) We got to Derby and talked about it for all of 5 minutes and thought, you know what, we didn’t come this far to not find out for ourselves and to not do the Gibb! We knew we’d regret not doing it. Now having done it, we can confidently say, that we are so stoked we did it!
The overall road condition on the Gibb River Road, now this is a hard one because everyone has their own kind of “rough road”. To us, we can say that the Gibb River Road is not the worst road we have driven on in Australia. It was rough, bumpy, rocky & corrugated. Unexplainably dusty with loose rocks, but nothing like how we imagined, we thought it was going to be way worse. The Gibb sure does keep you guessing though, one minute you’re driving on corrugations, the next you get a bit of tar for a few hundred meters.
So, here we go! We’re hitting the Gibb, after leaving Derby, once we got to the dirt road, we let our tyres down to 25 PSI and headed to Wyndjana Gorge, caravan in tow. The road to Wyndjana wasn’t too bad, slightly corrugated but we’d say it was pretty good. We did a short Gorge walk which was an easy one. It was such a beautiful walk looking up at the tall gorge walls towering over you and there’s plenty of freshwater crocs about in here too!
From Wyndjana we headed to Tunnel Creek. This one was a fun one, so different to any of the other walks or hikes we’ve done, it’s pretty cool! It’s a little bit of rock scrambling to get into, but nothing too tricky. Make sure you walk all the way through to the other side of the tunnel, it’s so amazing when you walk out of the tunnel & into the sun filled gorge! You’ve got to walk through about knee deep water here too, apparently there’s a resident freshie about but we didn’t see him. Hot tips for this one: make sure you take head torches and when you first go into the cave, go to the right where the cave goes up a little sandy hill, look up and see if you can spot the Aboriginal Art.
Our second night on The Gibb was at Lennard River Rest Stop. Not a bad free camp at all that one. Right on the river with plenty of crocs to spot. From here, the next day, we hit the road and stopped at Galvan’s Gorge for some lunch and a swim, such a beautiful swimming spot! This one we’ll always remember as that swimming hole with the little freshie in the water, watching Jamie flip off the rope swing. There’s also some aboriginal art here too, across the other side of the gorge, over the rocks & look up, hopefully you’ll find it.
Our next stay was at the Imintji Community Campground, a great little stop! Toilets & showers, powered sites available and there’s a little general store with Diesel just up the road. From here, we headed out to Bell Gorge, what a busy one this was! Actually, the whole of the Gibb surprised us with how many people were about, but we can see why it’s a popular spot. Bell Gorge was so pretty! There were still some small cascades of water coming over the falls too, a real beauty this one.
We moved onto Manning Gorge the next day, this one is now up there as one of our favourites! This was one of the busier campgrounds we stayed at, but it was so good! Plenty of room, toilets & showers, fires of a night & a great sandy spot to swim in only a short walk away. The hike to the falls is a longer hike, about 2.5kms each way from memory. But well worth it! The gorges to swim in here are just incredible, the water was beautiful, there was good spots for the kiddies to splash around in & plenty of rocks to jump from for the Dad’s!
After 2 nights at Manning Gorge we went to Ellenbrae Station. What a little surprise this was on The Gibb! Not only did we rock up to green grass (couldn’t remember the last time we saw that) The guys that run this place are absolute legends and do an amazing job. They let us know about a little swimming spot on the property to cool off in, so we spent the afternoon there & the night around the fire. Chad was beyond stoked to see the bathroom had a full-size bath (it had been quite a while haha) Before we left the next day, we couldn’t go without trying their homemade scones either, delicious!
Our next night was at Home Valley Station, this is where we saw The Kimberley just as we imagined, picture perfect! Home Valley Station has got it all, bar, restaurant, pool, playground, powered sites etc. But we stayed away from the “caravan park” and camped on the river to catch the sunset on the Cockburn ranges and it was unlike any sunset we’ve ever seen, just incredible!
To finish the Gibb, our last stay was at El Questro station. A place that needs its own article, that’s for sure! I can’t even begin to explain how amazing El Questro is. We had heard a lot of people say it was too expensive, but in our opinion, it’s well worth it. The number of unbelievable spots at this place is just mind blowing! El Questro Gorge, McMicking Pool, Zebeedee Springs & Emma Gorge, just to name a few. All of it is just breathtaking, so amazing! We stayed 4 nights, but could have easily stayed longer.
That wraps up our trip across the Gibb and we bloody loved every minute of it! Seeing it without any good prior wet seasons, we can only imagine how much better it would be after a good one, something we would love to see! We would easily turn around and do it all again tomorrow if we could. But we’ll get back there one day, that’s for sure. We’ve still got Mitchell Falls & all the other amazing things we didn’t see to get to yet!
If you’re thinking about doing the Gibb, we say do it!
Follow 'Lap it Up's' adventures on Facebook and Instagram.