With a cold beer in hand, the sky turns from a hazy red sunset to a clear night sky with a thousand twinkling stars above. The only sounds that can be heard are the crackles of the warming fire and the trickle of the creek passing through the rocks. We couldn’t be further from creature comforts but as we gaze into the distance I could imagine spending eternity right here, camping in the middle of the Kimberly region, on the Gibb River Road.

– Shanaee Falzon

The Essentials

Distance

660km from the town of Derby (West of the Gibb River Road) to Kununurra (East of the Gibb River Road).
This distance will increase each time you venture off of the Gibb River Road to different stations, homesteads, waterfalls and even beaches. Most locations are 30 – 50km off of the Gibb River Road.

Best time to go

The Gibb River Road is not accessible to tourists during the wet season and the opening of the road is dependent on the amount of rainfall prior to the dry season. It can open as early as April and as late as Mid May. There are Pros and Cons to each month that it is open. We went in May and personally thought that it was perfect – freshly graded, minimal people, huge cascading waterfalls. However, the water crossings were deeper and sharper rocks were turned up from the grader.
AVOID the June to July school holidays if possible, it is packed.

Fuel



Water

Derby – There are multiple fuel locations
Imintiji (diesel only) – 227km from Derby
Mount Barnett Roadhouse (diesel and petrol) – 80km from Imintiji
El Questro (diesel and petrol) – 300km from Mt Barnett Roadhouse
Kununurra – 81km from El Questro
If you are heading Mitchell falls, there is fuel at Drysdale station.
Kununarra – Multiple Fuel locations

Mt Barnett roadhouse, Drysdale station and El Questro. If you have a water pump there are a lot of creeks, rivers that you could also fill up at – BE CROC WISE

Budgeting for the Gibb River Road

This going to depend on your vehicle, set up and family size. Here is what we spent for two adults with a Mazda BT50 and an 11ft Hybrid off road caravan.

What we spentWhat we spent it on
Food (including eating out): $460$240 groceries, $220 eating out (Ellenbrae scones, chips at Mt Barnett, drinks at Mount Hart, fancy dinner at El Questro)
Camping fees: $250 4 nights of free camping and 10 nights of camping at stations and national parks.
Getting van/car ready: $337 $50 for tools to align the wheels, $32 on corflute and tape to protect the back window from stones, $15 on bearing grease, $40 on new seal bearings, $200 on air filter, fuel filter and oil
Repairs: $225 $120 on new shock absorbers, $105 on new leaf spring bushings and grease (these were old and needed replacing but including it in the cost as they had a fair workout on the Gibb)
Fuel: $70117L per 100km @ an average of $2.75 per litre. The most expensive was $2.90L for diesel at Mt Barnett Roadhouse. We travelled around 1500km.
TOTAL COST FOR 14 DAYS $1870

2 Week Gibb River Road Itinerary

Optional places to visit in the daily descriptions when extending it to a 3 week trip

Day One

Drive to Derby and stay at Birdwood downs station.
Open from the 1st of April until the 30th of September.
$35 for a campsite for 2 people.
Extra adult – $16 dollars
Extra child 5 – 12 year old $8.00
Children under 5 – FREE

Communal campfire each night at 4.30pm
Showers and toilets
Different birds roaming around
Birdwood downs has a dump point so that you are ’empty’ before you leave.

This is the perfect opportunity to top up fuel and pick up any groceries that may have been forgotten. Go around and make sure that all of the bolts are nice and tight and double check that everything is secured.

Day Two

Drive from Birdwood Downs Station to Mount Hart Homestead 223km

This section of the Gibb River Road is pretty well maintained. Once you reach the turn off to Mount Hart Homestead it is a slow 50km. This section of the road alone took us 2 hours (this was prior to the homestead road being graded). There were multiple creek crossing and some washed out areas.

Visit Dolerite Gorge in the afternoon for a swim after a long day of driving and then to the bar for a cold ginger beer!

Mount Hart Homestead
$30 per person per night for an unpowered site.
Large grassy areas and shared fire drums by the river.
Hot showers and toilets are available.
There is a bar and restaurant onsite.
Safari style glamping tents are also available
Helicopter rides
Lots of swimming holes to to visit

Day Three

Stay another night at Mount Hart and spend today exploring all that Mount Hart has to offer. You came all of this way, there’s no point leaving after just one afternoon!
Head to Baker Pool in the morning and swim in the crystal clear water, venture to the other side of the station to see Annie’s pool and then head back to Dolerite Gorge.
In the evening head to sunset hill and watch the sky put on a magical show.

Day Four

Drive from Mount Hart to Bell Gorge (96km) and camp at either Silent Grove (paid but close to Bell Gorge) or camp at March Fly Glenn (free, located back on the Gibb River Road).

Bell Gorge is one of the most beautiful waterfalls on the Eastern side of the Gibb River road. It can be really busy so it is worth getting there early on. Spend the day swimming here and gazing in awe at the sheer amount of water falling in front of you.

Silent Grove Campground
Flushing toilets and fire pits
You will need to have purchased a WA national parks pass
$35 per night for 2 people

March Fly Glenn (our recommendation)
Free

Day Five

Drive from Silent Grove or March Fly Glenn to Adcock Gorge (40km)
Camp at Rodgers Hollow (day use area on Wiki camps, opposite the turn off to Adcock gorge)

This is a short day and differs from most itineraries. Unhitch your van at Rodgers Hollow (where you will camp for the night) and then drive into Adcock Gorge. The road in is washed out, muddy and rocky but there are usually tracks that you can follow which will avoid the major washouts.

Spend the day relaxing at Adcock Gorge, swimming under the waterfall and living your very best hair commercial life. Bask in the sun along the rocks and if you’re organised, enjoy your lunch with one of the best views in Australia.

Head back to Rodgers Hollow and enjoy the clear skies, peaceful night and the best part is, you’ll probably have it to yourself.

Day Six

Rodgers Hollow campsite to Manning Gorge campsite with a stop in at Galvans Gorge and Mount Barnett station(46km).

Get up bright and early and stop off at Galvans Gorge. If you’re here early, you’ll get it to yourself. Walk along the old 4wd road and turn right onto a small dirt path. Don’t give up when you see the river, continue along this path until you reach the waterfall. You’ll be rewarded with a gorgeous big boab at the top of the waterfall, shaded areas, fresh water, a rope swing and a tree to jump off.

Head back to your car and drive to Mount Barnett station. Fill up with fuel, water and pay for your night/s of camping. We recommend two nights at Manning Gorge, oh and the hot chips! Absolutely delicious.

Once you have set up camp, cool off at the creek. Save the Manning Gorge Hike for tomorrow morning.

Manning Gorge
$10 access pass
$25 per person for the first night
$15 per person for the following nights
Children under 14 are free.
Flushing toilets and showers.

Day Seven

Hike to Manning Gorge – 5.6km return. It will take 2-3 hours and you’ll need to add on time at the waterfall. I recommend harnessing your inner lizard and spending all day lounging on the rocks. As per usual, get up really early. You’ll want to beat the heat.

Head to the creek and place your belongings in one of the tubs, this helps to keep them dry as you swim across. Definitely pack snacks, water, towel and lunch if you’re spending the day like we did.

The trail requires some rock scrambling and trending through long grass, don’t wear your sandals!

After spending the day swimming in the gorge, under the waterfall and jumping off of rocks, head back to camp for fire in one of the fire pits and enjoy the clear star filled sky.

Day Eight

Drive from Manning gorge to the Gibb River, our favourite free camping spot along the Gibb River Road. Type ‘Gibb River Day Area (East Side Of River) into wiki camps and you’ll find the spot. Use today to rest and enjoy swimming the creek (be croc wise), light a camp fire and relax. It has been a big week so far.

Day Nine

Today you will either start making your way to Mitchell Falls or continue along the Gibb River Road. If you are not heading to Mitchell Falls, skip to day 11.

Drive from the Gibb River campsite to Drysdale station to fill up on fuel and even treat yourself to one of their delicious burgers. Continue on to King Edward River Camp where you can leave your van while you day trip to Mitchell falls tomorrow. You’ll need to spend two nights here to use it as your base.

King River Camp
$17pp per night

Day Ten


Another early morning as you drive from King Edward River Camp to the start of the hike at Mitchell Falls. This drive will take you around 2hrs each way as the road is pretty rough. You have two options when you arrive at Mitchell Falls campground, you can either hike to the falls and back (8.6km) or you can opt to purchase a helicopter flight one way. We recommend taking to helicopter flight to Mitchell Falls and then hiking back as you can stop to swim in the creek/swim holes along the way.

After your hike/flight, jump back into the car and head back to King Edward River Camp

Day Eleven

Drive from King Edward River Station to Ellenbrae Station or Durack River (free camping).

Today you will either stop at Ellenbrae for some of their famous scones (can confirm, they are actually that good) and continue on to the Durack River or Camp at Ellenbrae.

Durack River
Free camping
Type in Top Of The World (Durack River) into wiki camps.
Most amazing sunset on the Gibb river

Ellenbrae Station
$18.50 per person per night for the first night
$10 per per person per night for the second night

Day Twelve

Head to Home Valley Station station or drive to the Pentecost river and take some very iconic Gibb River Road photographs. This is the longest river crossing on the Gibb and isn’t it spectacular! Camp up alongside the Pentecost river for the the night.

Home Valley Station
Great for families with a playground, pool and restaurant.
$25 per person, per night for adults.
$70 for two adults and two children.

Pentecost River Free Camping
Located on the Western side of the Pentecost river
Saltwater crocodiles inhabit the area, please be careful.

Day Thirteen

Drive to El Questro today and pay for your pass, camping fee and book in anything that you might like to do during your stay. Check with the reception about what is open.

$23 per adult and $11.50 per child for an El Questro Pass (lasts for one week)
$89 for a private site
$79 for a powered site
$69 for an unpowered site

Have dinner at one of restaurants or the bar! The Barramundi was delicious!

Day Fourteen

Visit Amalia gorge and El Questro Gorge today.

Amalia gorge is 3.4km return walk and has some tricky bits along the way. We saw lots of families and elderly still doing the hike. Reward yourself with a VERY refreshing swim under the huge single drop waterfall.

El Questro Gorge is 7.2 km – 3 to 5 hours. One of the more challenging walks on the station but also one of the most fun. This is a very narrow gorge with steep rock walls.  El Questro gorge is a good one to do later in the day as it is relatively shady the whole way.

If you have time, head up to the lookout with a drink and enjoy the sunset.

Day Fifteen

Drive from El Questro to Kununurra with a couple of stop offs along the way.

On your way out of El Questro station, stop at Zebedee Springs. A natural hot spring with crystal clear ‘baths’ to relax in. It was what the Mornington Peninsula Hot springs tried to recreate! It is a short 100m walk from the car park through a moss covered fern forest.

Head back onto the Gibb River Road and turn off into Emma Gorge resort. This is part of El Questro and your pass is valid for this location.

The Emma Gorge walk is 3.4km return and requires some rock hopping. This was the most magical waterfall, the perfect way to start/finish The Gibb. The water is icy cold but there is a secret hot spring to warm up. If you are looking at the waterfall, turn your head to the right and you’ll notice a small trickle falling from the cliff. where the water lands is deliciously warm compared to the waterfall. Be sure to have a swim in Turquoise pool along the way back. You’ll know which one it is because it is true to name.

Head to Kununurra and stay at the show-grounds
You can thank us later!

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