The Ultimate 14-Day Gibb River Road Guide
The Kimberley is Australia’s largest and most spectacular adventure destination, which can make choosing where to go with limited time a tough decision. Discover where to explore with our expert 14-day itinerary to the Kimberley’s Gibb River Road.
Hema HX-1 Navigator
Day 1 - Kununurra to El Questro via Wyndham
The trip starts in Kununurra, the largest Western Australian town north of Broome. Kununurra, which means ‘black soil’ in the local Aboriginal dialect, is where you should do your final resupplying before starting your trip. For those in town for a longer time, Kununurra is ideally placed for road trips to the Purnululu National Park, Mirima National Park and Lake Argyle.
Heading west on the Victoria Highway, turn right onto the gravel at Valentine Spring Road and then eventually Parry Creek Road, which puts you in the path of Middle Springs and Black Rock Falls, and further along to Marlgu Billabong and the panoramic views and history of Telegraph Hill Ruins. Meet Old Halls Creek Road and then the Great Northern Highway heading south to the Gibb River Road, before taking the short 2km detour to Emma Gorge - one of El Questro’s biggest attractions and possibly the coldest swim in the Kimberley.
Back on the Gibb, continue west for 10km before turning left and driving 16km off the bitumen to El Questro Wilderness Park and its main camping area for the night.
Day 2 - El Questro
Part working cattle station and part wilderness park, El Questro is split into three resorts: Emma Gorge, The Station (central to most attractions with bungalows, a campground and even a restaurant and bar), and El Questro Homestead, which is a boutique lodge overlooking Chamberlain Gorge that also comes with gourmet dining and personalised excursions.
Images: Sandwich Waterhole in Explosion Gorge; Two angles of Branco's Lookout in El Questro.
In addition to these facilities, El Questro is rich in scenic Kimberley delights that can be enjoyed over many days, however with only one there are still plenty of opportunities to explore. To start the day, an early-morning drive up Saddleback Ridge is in order, followed by a soak in Zebedee Springs, a walk into the cloistered beauty that is El Questro Gorge, a peek at Branco’s Lookout and an adventurous drive down to Explosion Gorge and its jagged ranges.
Day 3 - El Questro to Drysdale River Station
Departing from the haven of El Questro to asealed section of the Gibb River Road, you only need to continue for 24km before encountering one of the most well-known sights in the entire Kimberley region: the Pentecost River Crossing. This long and shallow river crossing is backed by the languid red curves of the Cockburn Ranges in the distance, and is typically home to a good number of estuarine crocodiles.
After this point, you will encounter Home Valley, the Cockburn Range Lookout and Ellenbrae Station before arriving at the right-hand turnoff to Kalumburu Road - a full 206km along the Gibb River Road from the turn to El Questro. Head north for 60km to Drysdale River Station for the night, which is a one-million-acre station that provides a range of services: a small store, fuel sales, tyre repairs, new tyres and batteries, as well as a bar, restaurant, laundry and accommodation – including camping with facilities at the homestead or bush camping nearby at Miners Pool on the Drysdale River. This is also where those hauling caravans should leave their rig for the more rugged journey from the station to the Mitchell Plateau.
Day 4 - Drysdale River Station to Mitchell Falls
The drive north to Mitchell Falls begins with a crossing of the Drysdale River, continuing for 101km until the left-turn onto Port Warrender Road: a slow and rough road that can test many vehicles, and will probably take around three hours to negotiate (and includes a water crossing of the King Edward River). Only 8km after the turnoff is the Munurru Camping Ground and day-use area, close to which is some beautiful Wandjina rock art that has remained intact for thousands of years.