It may be one of the most iconic tracks in the country, but it can also be one of the more precarious and challenging. Stretching over 660 kilometres in the heart of the Kimberley, Gibb River Road is a bucket-list drive for many off-road enthusiasts, but being unsealed and at the mercy of constantly changing conditions, planning and preparation are vital to ensure your adventure is a smooth and enjoyable one.
Accessible between April and October, the best time to visit the region is early in the dry season, when waterfalls and channels are still flowing and the scenery is simply breath-taking. Begin your journey in Derby, where boab trees dot the landscape and the tides are some of the most dramatic in the world. Before setting off, be sure to stop by the Mowanjum Art and Culture Centre to appreciate Indigenous art and exhibits featuring significant objects of the Worrorra, Ngarinyin and Wunambal people.
Your first major stop is Windjana Gorge National Park. Carved by the Lennard River and sitting pretty between 300-metre-high rock walls, the gorge is a teeming natural habitat for freshwater crocodiles, corellas, fruit bats, and native flora. Nearby Tunnel Creek National Park offers a fascinating deep dive into Western Australia's oldest cave system, then it’s on to Bell Gorge, where stunning cliffs surround a series of tiered waterfalls and inviting swimming holes. Spend a day here picnicking and cooling off in the clear waters.
Continuing along eastward, make your way to mesmerising Manning Gorge. Accessible via a rewarding hike, the gorge is best known for its picturesque waterfall that tumbles into a large pool, perfect for a post-hike dip. As you approach the heart of the Kimberley, El Questro Wilderness Park awaits. This one-million-acre park is an outback oasis with thermal springs, rugged rocky cliffs, and luxurious accommodation. Here you can explore the park with a range of guest experiences, or simply relax and recharge in five-star surrounds.
Time for a detour. Veering north, set your course for the Mitchell Plateau, a remote and remarkable region with its own set of natural wonders, including the impressive four-tiered Mitchell Falls. Here, the adventurous can take scenic flights or hike to even more remote areas to fully appreciate this spectacular patch of Australia.
Back on the Gibb River path, Home Valley Station is your next port of call. Situated on the banks of the Pentecost River and lovingly run by the traditional custodians of the land—the Balanggarra people—Home Valley offers a taste of life on a working cattle station as well as absolutely stunning views of the Cockburn Range, particularly captivating at sunset.
Your final destination is Kununurra, a town that truly embodies the spirit of the Kimberley. Visit Mirima National Park, often called the mini Bungle Bungles, and take a boat tour of Lake Argyle, Australia's second-largest artificial lake.
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