In the next part of our Kimberley adventure we were planning to see 4 stunning Kimberley Gorges.
Next day, in the afternoon we arrived at Mt Elizabeth Station that was located 30 km from Gibb River Road. There was a sign at the gate saying that we were entering Mt Elizabeth station and that we shouldn’t shoot the cows. Ok, we will not.
After finding a nice, shady place to camp, we opened the trailer and noticed that everything inside was orange again. The hatch in the ceiling was slightly unscrewed due to the corrugation on the road and all that dust flew inside.
After two hours of cleaning we had had enough, so we only had a short fire and went to sleep. Tomorrow we’re going to see Wunnamurra Gorge, which is not on the maps and is only known to the locals.
Challenging Rocky Track to Wunnamurra Gorge
In the morning we got a hand drawn map and we set off into the unknown.
According to the owner, the 10 km track would take us to a picturesque Wunnamurra Gorge with a waterfall. There are only freshwater crocodiles so swimming is possible.
Initially the track started easy and the path was looking innocent and picturesque. After some time, single rocks started to pop up now and then.
Finally after a few hundred meters we were climbing or sliding down on a rocky surface, shooting out stones under the car. On average, we drove at a speed of 10 km per hour.
What we saw outside the window was so interesting that it didn’t bother me at all, quite the contrary, we were approaching the gorge. While driving, we passed at least 15 kangaroos! They stood and watched us crawl slowly past them.
At the end, the track became super challenging. Some narrow sections had very rocky surfaces with stones more than 30 cm. We decided it was time to leave the car behind as the entrance to the walking trail was very close.
We walked another two kilometers along a narrow path marked with pieces of ribbon. At the end we were rewarded with a wonderful, horseshoe shaped gorge from which the river flowed out creating a beautiful waterfall.
It was Wunnamurra Gorge! – one of the quietest Kimberley Gorges.
We were alone and we had it only to ourselves. It can’t be better than that!
Marius and Nell jumped right into the water. I only plunged up to my knees as usual because it was too cold for me.
Then we went about 500 meters downstream to see Aboriginal rock paintings. Several faces with huge black eyes were looking at me again.
What an amazing place. Time had run out quickly. When we finally got back to the car, it turned out that we spent over 3 hours at the gorge.
On the way back, we climbed rocks again, I often had to get out and work as a spotter. I lead Marius over the stones, because in a few spots there was a big chance we could scrape the car or even damage it.
I can easily say that Wunnamurra Gorge is one of most unseen Kimberley Gorges that not many tourists go.
We returned the map and we got another one, this time with a trail around the house and farm. We decided to go for another walk in the evening.
Next day we were planning to go to Burnett Gorge. I was hoping we could get some fresh vegetables there. If not, we would switch to canned food in about two days.
Cows and kangaroos roam this land, mostly in groups. Cows do not care at all, they step aside when you almost run into their hooves.
Recommended 4WD equipment for Wunnamurra Gorge
- GPS Navigator or compass
- Maxtrax – if you get bogged, you can use it for additional traction
- Tyre Deflator – deflate tyres quickly when going on dirt or 4WD
- Air Compressor – inflate tyres quickly after going back on bitumen (we use MM)
- Tyre Repair Kit – to fix the tyre by yourself when you don’t have access to the tyre shop (we use Oztrail)
- Shovel – if you get bogged, better have it
- UHF Radio – for communication with your mates and in emergency
- Full Recovery Kit (with Dampener Blanket) – must-have if you are going on real off-road
- High Lift Jack – useful if you do serious 4WD tracks
- Fuel funnel with water filter – additional protection when fueling up in dodgy places
- Additional fuel canisters
Today we took a several dozen kilometer detour off the Gibb River Rd. And to our surprise it was better than the main road. In addition, the surface was wet and there was not much dust.
We drove up on the way to Burnett Gorge, a nice but unmarked trail. We got lost a couple of times before we managed to make our way to the bottom of the gorge.
I found a nice spot and sat down in a beautiful place. A tiny stream in the shade of trees, maroon rocks, baobabs. It was amazing.
Marius and Nell went on a walk to the gorge. Nell had even a plunge in the water. Even though they said there were no saltwater crocodiles, the water looked deep and unwelcoming.
We spent the night at a large but run down campsite at Manning Gorge. In the morning, we went on the trail. It was windless and the sun was hot. Many people say that Manning Gorge is one of the most spectacular Kimberley Gorges, but we will see.
Kimberley is situated on a plateau and sometimes we were even 500 meters above sea level. The walk took us 3 hours but we were happy as the gorge was beautiful.
On the trail we passed a lot of people, and even more were swimming at the gorge. It is a full season and all interesting places are packed with people and it looks like Manning Gorge is one of them. We spend an hour at the gorge and return to the car.
Back on Gibb River Road - Bell Gorge
Soon after we packed our trailer and in a moment we were back on Gibb River Road.
We stopped for a while in the Imintji store that was next to an Aboriginal settlement. There is a petrol station, a well-stocked shop and a mechanical and tire repair shop.
The repair shop is very popular because the road has many sharp stones and people damage tires often. By the way, it is the only repair shop on Gibb River Rd as far as we know.
The day before, we met people with a leaking gearbox. They were driving already for 300 km, adding oil and keep hoping that they would have enough oil for needed refills.
Silent Grove at Bell Gorge
We stopped at Silent Grove on Bell Gorge. It is a very nice, well-kept campsite managed by a ranger. We found these campsites to be the clean and very well maintained.
The trailer was going through a hard time. Generally we constantly had very small, but annoying issues. The day before, on the way to Bell Gorge we broke the lock on the battery drawer. It turned out it was made of plastic. Plastic locks on the off road camper trailer? I won’t comment on it.
Slowly we were heading to the end of Gibb River Road. Just one more stop and our Kimberley adventure will come to the end. That’s ok. We have so many kilometers ahead.
Our next planned destinations were: Derby, Broome, Karijini National Park, Exmouth, Coral Bay, Perth, Great Central Road. This is just a sneak peek at what was coming ahead.
In the morning we were awakened by the sun shining straight in our eyes. We tried to predict where the sun would be in the morning, but looked like we failed a big time.
White parrots visited us during our breakfast. We observed them closely as they searched the nearby grasses. How ridiculously clumsy they are when they walk.
Overall we had a lazy morning, but we just didn’t have the strength to walk in full sun. In the late afternoon we went for a Bell Gorge walk. The trail was short, about 2.5 km both ways, so we decided to undertake it at the sunset.
It was a very good decision as the colors were already warm and gave the rocks a beautiful golden glow. The trail was very picturesque.
Bell Gorge was beautiful with its cascading waterfall. It made a phenomenal impression on us. We went down to the foot of the rocks and had a swim next to the waterfall.
Swimming at Bell Gorge with a snake
When we got into the water, several people were swimming around us. At some point they all disappeared and only we were still in the water.
It turned out that the cause was very disturbing. A beautiful brown color snake (like all Australia’s most dangerous snakes) swam in the water. We immediately jumped out of the water and felt very unsettled.
After a close look at the snake we worked out it was just a python. We were surprised that snakes can swim, and I can tell you, they are good swimmers.
On the way back, Nell named herself a guide and led us back to the car. She also jumped over all the streams that we were passing, but despite that, her shoes were suspiciously wet after our return.
And this is it! In a short period of time we saw 4 stunning Kimberley Gorges.
Our latest travel progress
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Except the awesome Wunnamurra Gorge there are a few more places to go:
- Warla Gorge – it is located only 19 km from the station and locals call it The Beach. It is a perfect place for fishing and birdwatching. You can also stay there overnight.
- Munja Track – it is a 220 km 4×4 track that leads to Walcott Inlet. The track is very challenging and it is open only between June and September.
Please note you have to pay a small fee at the station and that gives you access to all walking and 4WD tracks.
Manning Gorge walk is a 5.8 km walk that goes mostly overland. The path can be very uneven with big rocks around. The walk can be pretty hot even in dry season so you have to make sure to hydrate properly and have a hat.
You will be rewarded with spectacular views over the gorge and savannah woodlands.
The 4 km return, marked Bell Gorge walk is classified as easy, grade 2 difficulty. No bushwalking experience is required. Again you will be rewarded with amazing views. Compared to Manning Gorge you will get more shade along the way to Bell Gorge.