Gibb River Road

A back road from Derby to Wyndham and Kununurra, Gibb River Road gives access to some of the Kimberley region's most spectacular scenery and geographical features. The road has stretches of bitumen but is mainly gravel. It is suitable for two and four wheel drive vehicles when conditions are good, but in rainy or cyclone seasons, four wheel drive is essential.

Location: Kimberley region of Western Australia

Length: 694 km. Minimum duration (one way): 2 days

Gibb River Road's main function is for the transportation of cattle from the various cattle stations of the West Kimberley region. The road starts at Derby and ends at the Great Northern Highway between Kununurra and Wyndham. It is approximately 660 kms in length, and apart, from short stretches of bitumen, is a graded gravel road. Between Derby and the Mount Barnett Roadhouse the surface is good, it deteriorates shortly after until Jack's Waterhole and then once again becomes good. The area is remote but with the more readily availability of 4WD vehicles, is becoming very popular in the dry season. The road runs through some of the most picturesque country in Australia and many of the gorges are superb.


Hghlights

Lennard River Gorge

The Lennard River Basin covers an area of 12,520 km2 and extends about 180 km inland. The gorge has a spectacular waterfall that flows like a torrent early in the dry season, however the narrow, deep canyons can be experienced all the year around. It can be a hazardous gorge and extreme care should be taken when exploring and climbing. At the first of the gorges, there is a rocky walk down to the top of the gorge and it is possible to descend to the base of the cliffs. Experienced rock climbers are able to climb the opposite face of the gorge, it is steep and ropes are essential. Swimming is possible.


Bell Gorge

One of the more spectacular gorges that are accessible from the Gibb River Road. Boab trees line Bell Creek. Wet season rains see great volumes of water cascading down a series of waterfalls. It is one of the most picturesque gorges of the West Kimberley where swimming, photography, bushwalking, rock climbing and bird watching can be enjoyed. Access to the gorge is along a 30 kilometre track suited to four-wheel drive only. No crocodiles.


Upper and Lower Manning Gorges

A 'must see' gorge for visitors to the area. It provides a delightful area with a waterfall and huge natural swimming pool surrounded by high ancient cliffs. Allow plenty of time for exploring this attractive area. A bush walk takes you to the upper Manning and Manning Falls. The falls are at their best early in the season (May-July). Visitors can view Aboriginal Rock art nearby and swim in the pools near the falls.


Tunnel Creek

Takes its name from the 750 metre long tunnel carved by flowing water out of the limestone of the Napier Range, and is part of the 375 to 350 million-year-old Devonian Reef system. To pass through it to the other side of Napier Range, you have to wade through long waterholes up your waist and at times up to your chest. In sections, it is pitch black so you need to carry a torch in one hand and your camera in your other.


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Windjana Gorge

The walls of Windjana Gorge rise abruptly from the wide alluvial floodplain of the Lennard River, reaching about 100 metres high in some places. The 3.5-kilometre long gorge cuts through the limestone of the Napier Range; part of an ancient barrier reef, which can also be seen at Geikie Gorge and Tunnel Creek National Parks. This gorge offers excellent long walks; it is also great location to observe freshwater crocodiles.


Adcock Gorge

A pretty Gorge with granite cliffs & deep lily lined waterway. After a short walk you come to a dead-end in the river where there is a water fall cascading down a steep cliff that curves around a deep, wide open water hole. Some Aboriginal cave paintings on southern cliff face. The pool is salt water crocodile free but a few freshwater crocodiles have been seen from time to time in this isolated oasis.


Galvans Gorge

A delightful spot where you can break your journey for a few hours in the Phillips Range and explore its waterholes. This is the most easily accessible gorge along the Gibb River road and is a delightful place for a swim. Right next to the main pool is a fine specimen of a Wandjina painting, proving that Galvans Gorge has been a popular place to visit for thousands of years.


Barnet River Gorge

A low key gorge, lacking the dramatic waterfalls of some others, yet is very restful and strangely compelling was the one that we lingered perhaps longest at. There was something in its open aspect that gave it a restful nature and made prolonged exploration strangely compelling: The kind of spot that, if you wanted to build a shack in. A beautiful spot to rest in idyllic surrounds.


Pentecost River

One of the few big rivers that are encountered on the Gibb River Road. Crossing can be quite a challenge, particularly in the wet. The Pentecost River is full of saltwater crocodiles so be careful going too close to the water. After crossing the Pentecost River, the main Gibb River Road continues past El Questro station (a commercial operation that caters for all tastes and budgets). It has pretty gorges, but unlike many of the gorges on the Gibb River Road, it costs money to visit them.


Mitchell Plateau & Kalumburu Road

One of the more popular diversions is to head north to Mitchell Plateau and/or Kalumburu Road which heads north from a junction with the Gibb River Road just 290km west of Kununurra. The track leads all the way north to the coastline at the Kalumburu aboriginal outpost. Conditions, facilities and services are very limited.

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