In the next part of our Kimberley adventure, we were planning to visit four stunning Kimberley Gorges.
First we arrived at Mt Elizabeth Station, located 30 km from Gibb River Road. A sign at the gate reminded us that we were entering the station and asked us not to shoot the cows. We chuckled and promised not to.
After finding a nice, shady place to camp, we opened the trailer and noticed that everything inside was covered in orange dust again. The hatch in the ceiling had been slightly unscrewed due to the corrugation on the road, and all that dust had flown inside.
After two hours of cleaning, we had had enough, so we only started a short fire and went to sleep. Tomorrow we were going to see Wunnamurra Gorge, which was not marked on the maps and was only known to the locals.
Challenging Rocky Track to Wunnamurra Gorge
In the morning, we received a hand-drawn map from the owner and set off into the unknown. According to him, the 10 km track would take us to the picturesque Wunnamurra Gorge with a waterfall. He also informed us that there are only freshwater crocodiles in the gorge, so swimming is possible.
Initially, the track was easy, and the path looked innocent and picturesque. However, after some time, single rocks started to pop up now and then.
Finally, after a few hundred meters, we were either climbing or sliding down on a rocky surface, sending stones flying under the car. On average, we drove at a speed of 10 km per hour.
However, what we saw outside the window was so interesting that the slow pace didn’t bother me at all. In fact, we were getting closer to the gorge. As we were driving, we passed at least 15 kangaroos! They stood and watched us crawl slowly past them.
Towards the end, the track became extremely challenging. Some narrow sections had very rocky surfaces with stones more than 30 cm in diameter. We decided it was time to leave the car behind as the entrance to the walking trail was very close.
We walked another two kilometres 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 walked about 500 meters downstream to see the Aboriginal rock paintings. There were several faces with huge black eyes looking at us 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 the most unseen Kimberley Gorges that not many tourists go.
We returned the map, and were given another one, this time with a trail around the house and farm. We decided to go for another walk in the evening.
The following day, we planned to go to Burnett Gorge, hoping to find some fresh vegetables there. If not, we would have to switch to canned food in about two days.
Cows and kangaroos roam this land, often in groups. The cows seem indifferent to our presence, simply stepping aside when we almost run into their hooves.
Next day, we took several dozen kilometers detour off the Gibb River Road and, to our surprise, found that the alternative route was better than the main road. The surface of the road was wet, and there was not much dust.
On the way to Burnett Gorge, we took a nice but unmarked trail and got lost a couple of times before we finally managed to make our way to the bottom of the gorge.
I found a nice spot and sat down in a beautiful area. 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 stayed overnight at a large but run-down campsite at Manning Gorge. The next morning, we set off on the trail. It was windless and the sun was hot. Many people had told us that Manning Gorge is one of the most spectacular Kimberley Gorges, but we were yet to see.
The Kimberley region 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 indeed stunning.
On the walk, we passed a lot of people, and when we arrived at the gorge, it was bustling with even more swimmers. It was peak season, and all the popular spots were crowded with tourists. Despite the crowds, we still enjoyed our time at Manning Gorge, spending about an hour there before returning 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 often damage their tires. By the way, as far as we know, it is the only repair shop on Gibb River Rd.
The day before, we met some people with a leaking gearbox. They had already driven for 300 km, adding oil and hoping they would have enough oil for the needed refills.
Silent Grove at Bell Gorge
We stopped at Silent Grove on Bell Gorge, which is a well-maintained campsite managed by a ranger. We found the campsites to be clean and very well maintained.
However, our trailer was going through a hard time. 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 that it was made of plastic. Plastic locks on an 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 kilometres 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 into our eyes. We had tried to predict where the sun would be, but it seemed we failed miserably.
As we were having breakfast, some white parrots visited us. We watched them as they searched for food in the nearby grass. It was amusing to see how clumsy they were when they walked.
We took it easy for most of the morning, as the heat was too much for us to handle. Later in the day, we went for a walk to Bell Gorge. The trail was only 2.5 km long, so we decided to do it at sunset.
It was a great decision as the colours were already warm and gave the rocks a beautiful golden glow. The trail was very picturesque, and Bell Gorge was stunning 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 entered the water, there were several people swimming around us. At some point, they all disappeared, and we found ourselves alone in the water. It turned out that a beautiful brown snake, like most of Australia’s dangerous snakes, was swimming with us. We immediately jumped out of the water and felt very unsettled
After taking a closer look at the snake, we realized that it was just a python. We were surprised to see that snakes can swim, and we can confirm that they are excellent swimmers.
On our way back, Nell took on the role of a guide and led us back to the car. She even jumped over all the streams that we passed, but despite her efforts, her shoes were suspiciously wet upon our return.
And this is it! In a short period of time, we were able to see four stunning Kimberley Gorges.
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4WD Equipment Checklist
Tire Repair Kit – to fix the tire by yourself when you don’t have access to the tire shop (we use Oztrail)
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
Shovel – useful if you get bogged, also good for campfire cooking
Fuel funnel with water filter – additional protection when fueling up in dodgy places