After leaving Ellenbrae Station, our next major destination was Mitchell Falls, which was still 400 km away. Our plan was to stop for a night at Drysdale River Station and then leave the trailer behind the next day, taking only the car to Mitchell Falls.
In the morning, before hitting the Gibb River Road, we had to refuel using diesel from canisters and seal the trailer door. Despite our efforts, dust constantly found its way inside, so it was important to take the time to make sure everything was properly sealed before continuing on our journey.
Today, we left the Gibb River Road and discovered that the Kalumburu Road was in much worse condition. The corrugations on the road were enormous and made for a bumpy and uncomfortable ride.
To make matters worse, passing cars kicked up large clouds of dust that got into everything, including our car and trailer, and even our throats. However, we knew that we had to get used to it because there was no other way.
Despite the challenges of the road, we remained determined to continue our journey and explore the stunning landscapes that lay ahead.
Drysdale River Station
After a stressful and bumpy ride, we finally arrived at Drysdale River Station, a fantastic outback destination! We were able to unwind and relax over cold beers, hot fries, and a huge aussie burger topped with beetroot, egg, and pineapple. We even had the opportunity to chat with some of the friendly locals.
Finding a shady spot, we took some time to catch our breath and recover from the intense vibrations of the road. We couldn’t help but laugh about how Marius had just gained experience in working with a jackhammer!
One thing worth noting is that the light indicator became loose once again during our journey. Unfortunately, we only managed to save one screw and lost the other. However, we were able to improvise and fix the problem using a wire, which was a simple but effective solution.
We also took a quick trip to Miners Pool, which turned out to be a beautifully located bush camping spot by the river. Marius had the opportunity to do some fishing, as the river was free of crocodiles. Unfortunately, he didn’t catch anything but did lose a lure that got caught on a sunken stump.
Despite this, we enjoyed the peaceful and scenic surroundings and felt grateful for the chance to experience this beautiful part of the world.
I had to make a phone call and found myself using a public phone that was locked inside an old fridge! Yep, a fridge! It was an unusual but memorable experience.
Since beginning our adventure on Gibb River Road, we had developed a new daily routine of tightening all the screws on our equipment to prevent them from getting loose or falling off. This became especially important as we encountered rough terrain and bumpy roads.
Today, we also checked both refrigerators, and unfortunately, three eggs had been lost due to the shaking on the road. We were also reminded not to forget to tighten the oil cap on the underside of the car.
Mitchell Plateau Track – biggest corrugations we have seen
The next day, we set out on our journey to the famous Mitchell Falls. It was a 100 km drive on the challenging Kalumburu Road, followed by another 85 km on the rough Mitchell Falls Track.
To make the journey easier, we decided to leave our trailer behind at Drysdale River Station for three days. There was no point in towing it along the difficult and unserviced roads.
We began our journey at sunrise, knowing that the road ahead would be challenging. However, we soon realised that the Kalumburu Road was nothing compared to the rough and corrugated Mitchell Plateau Track.
Every section of the road seemed to be plagued with bumps and vibrations, making for an incredibly challenging and uncomfortable ride. Nonetheless, we were determined to press on and reach our destination, eager to see the natural wonders that lay ahead.
We made a stop for a much-needed break at the King Edward River Campground, which was beautifully situated among brown rocks and the meandering King Edward River. We were so impressed by the stunning surroundings that we decided to spend a night there on our way back to Drysdale River Station.
Even though we had already driven 20 km on the rough and challenging Mitchell Falls Track, we still had another 80 km to go before we reached our destination.
The dirt track we encountered on our journey to Mitchell Falls was an incredible challenge. The corrugations were so large and frequent that driving at a speed below 70 km/hour would have easily broken our suspensions. The only option was to drive at a speed of 80 km/hour and maintain momentum.
Saying that maintaining momentum on the Mitchell Plateau Track was a real challenge due to the constant winding of the road. The road’s narrow width and uneven terrain made it difficult to maintain a consistent speed, and we had to be constantly vigilant to stay on course.
The Mitchell Plateau Track is an unserviced dirt track that starts with a sign warning travelers of its difficult and challenging nature. However, the reality was even more difficult than we had anticipated. The track was incredibly rough and uneven, with sections that were twice or even three times as challenging as others.
Although the journey was incredibly challenging, we knew that the only way to experience the natural beauty of Mitchell Falls was to traverse the difficult and corrugated roads. We were determined to see the most spectacular waterfalls in Australia and were willing to brave the challenging terrain to get there.
Despite our determination, the journey was not easy. Marius frequently cursed and complained, noting that even the previously difficult Gibb River Road was a breeze compared to the conditions we were facing on the Mitchell Plateau Track.
Mitchell Falls Campground
After a challenging 4.5-hour drive covering 185 km, we finally arrived at the Mitchell Falls campground, which was located approximately 3 km from the waterfalls. I was exhausted from the difficult journey and ready to rest.
Marius, on the other hand, was still energised and excited about our adventure, and he insisted on building a campfire. Unfortunately, we discovered that it was not permitted to collect wood in the park, adding a complication to our situation.
However, we were lucky to find two long pieces of leftover wood from the previous day’s campers, along with a few small sticks. We were able to use these to build a small fire that lasted for a few hours, providing warmth and comfort as we enjoyed the beauty of the surrounding landscape.
In the evening, we used the generator to recharge our camera batteries and Nell was delighted to watch her favorite movie, Winnie, for the thousandth time.
As night fell, we were visited by a dingo who wandered into our campsite. I noticed the animal walking around and growled to scare it away (yeah, I know, don’t ask why). The dingo was small and appeared to be alone, so I felt brave enough to confront it. Thankfully, our efforts were successful, and the dingo soon retreated back into the surrounding wilderness.
Unfortunately, the dingo returned to our campsite a few hours later and began to chew on our washer, which we had left outside without much thought.
In hindsight, it was fortunate that we had left the dishwasher sponge outside, as we later discovered trough conversation with other people that the dingo had a fondness for chewing on electrical wires. We had an extension cord outside, and it’s possible that the dingo could have caused significant damage.
Mitchell Falls – great walk and spectacular views
We woke up at sunrise and quickly packed up our tent, eager to hit the trail to Mitchell Falls as early as possible. The sun was already beating down on us, and we felt the intensity of the heat, given that we were approximately 400 meters above sea level. We knew it would be challenging to walk at midday when the sun was at its peak.
Despite the challenging conditions, the walking trail was breathtakingly beautiful. After just 800 meters, we reached a small waterfall, where we found a monitor basking on the rocks. The lizard didn’t seem to be bothered by our presence and allowed Marius and Nell to get very close, even allowing them to soak their feet in the cool water just a meter away
As we continued our hike, we walked through the grassy areas, feeling the intensity of the sun bearing down on us with every step. Despite the challenging conditions, we were rewarded with stunning views and natural wonders that left us speechless. We admired the ancient aboriginal paintings we encountered, which added a sense of cultural significance to the area.
As we journeyed on, we came upon a beautiful pond dotted with lilies, surrounded by towering rocks that seemed to rise up to the sky. The trail then led us to a breathtaking gorge, where we gazed upon the powerful and majestic Millstream Falls in all its glory. Later, we would see it from a different perspective, during our helicopter ride.
After a short walk, we reached the highest pool of Mitchell Falls, where we watched the water rush down with incredible force, creating a symphony of sound that echoed through the gorge.
Unfortunately, the rocks were unstable, making it impossible for us to get any closer to the falls. Nonetheless, the experience was unforgettable, and we felt a deep sense of gratitude for the opportunity to witness the natural beauty of this unique and spectacular location.
After our hike, we faced one final challenge – crossing the water to reach the top. But the effort was well worth it. From our vantage point on the right side, we finally beheld the Mitchell Falls in all their glory. Without a doubt, they were the most breathtaking waterfalls we had seen in all of Australia.
Looking back, we knew that taking the rough 500-kilometer journey (both ways) on the bumpy and challenging road was all worth it. The unforgettable experience of witnessing the stunning natural beauty of the Mitchell Falls was truly worth the effort, and we felt fortunate to have had the opportunity to explore this unique and remarkable location.
Flying back from Mitchell Falls
After our tough journey to Mitchell Falls, we decided to book our return trip via helicopter. The flight back to the car was a quick and thrilling experience, lasting just six minutes. Marius was initially shocked when he saw that the helicopter had no doors and that he would only be protected by his seatbelt.
Despite his hesitation, I loved the opportunity to take in the stunning aerial views from the helicopter. I enjoyed every short minute of the flight!
Night at King Edward River
As we had planned, we spent a night at the beautiful King Edward River campground. As the sun began to set, the sky took on a breathtaking purple-pink hue. We sat around the campfire, mesmerised by the darkening contours of the river, enjoying the stunning beauty of our surroundings.
The next morning, we rose before sunrise, eager to take in more of the natural wonders that surrounded us. I made my way to the river to take some photographs and was lucky enough to capture the moment when the sun emerged from behind the trees.
The air was cool and damp, and a delicate layer of dew had settled on the car and tent, adding to the enchanting ambiance of the morning.
Aboriginal Paintings on Mitchell Plateau
On our return journey, we came across some incredible Aboriginal rock paintings located alongside the river. The painted faces looked like aliens, with large, haunting black eyes that sent shivers down my spine.
Surprisingly, the journey back didn’t feel quite as rough as the way there, perhaps a sign that we were growing accustomed to the rugged terrain and developing a greater tolerance for the bumpy track.
Once we reached Drysdale River Station, we were happy to find our trailer in perfect condition. We rewarded ourselves with a delicious burger and chips, appreciating every bite after our rugged adventure in the outback.
Breathtaking flight over Kimberley Plateau
Next, I had the incredible opportunity to take a two-hour flight along the coast, and I have to say, it was absolutely breathtaking. The Kimberley region is so vast and isolated that many of its most incredible sights can only be accessed from the air or the water. There are no roads or tracks leading to these remote locations, but from the air, you can see them all up close.
We set off from Drysdale and flew over a series of stunning locations, including Mt Russ, Mt Hann, King Cascade, St George Basin, Mt Trafalgar, Prince Frederick Harbour, and finally, Mitchell Falls.
The view from the air was simply indescribable, with landscapes and seascapes stretching out as far as the eye could see. If you ever find yourself in this region, I cannot recommend a scenic flight highly enough.
Despite the slight morning haze, I managed to take some phenomenal photos during my two-hour flight along the coast. Mt Trafalgar and Mt Waterloo in the background were particularly stunning. I was able to sit by the pilot (thanks to my good reflex putting my hand up) and enjoy the incredible views around us.
During the flight, I also learned some interesting facts, such as the cost of renting a yacht to sail in these beautiful waters – a staggering $60,000 per day!
The pilot told us that people do breed livestock in the Kimberley region, but it’s not always a lucrative business and they often have to supplement their income with other ventures.
For example, the owner of Drysdale River Station also helps maintain Gibb River Rd during the dry season and hasn’t been home for two months. His income also comes from tourism and the gas station located on the property.
While they do have cows on the station, they haven’t checked on them in two years and aren’t sure how many they currently have.
Muster in Australia
In Australia, cattle roam freely. Drysdale River Station covers over 400 hectares and the only way to indicate ownership of the cow is to mark it on the back. If there is no such mark, it means that the cow is wild and can be either shot or caught and marked.
Unlike Europe, cows in Australia do not live in barns. In order to count or catch them, people have to use helicopters to locate them in the vast and rugged terrain. This process is called muster and can be done with the help of horses, dogs, 4WD, and helicopters.
The muster is usually done once a year at the end of the dry season when the water level is low and all the animals gather near the water source.
Interestingly, the cattle in this region are raised only for meat, but their meat is considered too tough for the Australian market. All transports go to the Asian market and Indonesia. Okay, enough about cows.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
This is simple. When you arrive at Mitchell Falls Campground you can book it there. The flight back from Mitchell Falls takes only 7 minutes.
Another interesting walk is Surveyors Pool. It is located 32 km from the Mitchell Plateau Airstrip with the turn off at about 20 km along the Port Warrender Road. Then, it is a 2 km walk to the pool and falls. It is really worth it if you don’t mind driving more on the corrugated track.
There is no golden solution. When driving on a corrugated road for a long time it is very possible some screws will unscrew so when you arrive at your destination always check the crucial parts of the car like: roof tent, roof rack backlights, antenna, etc.
There were instances people have lost the entire roof rack.
Here are some tips on how to protect your car against corrugations:
- Reduce your speed: Slow down when driving on corrugated roads. Driving at a slower speed can reduce the impact on your vehicle and make your ride smoother.
- Inflate your tires properly: Make sure your tires are properly inflated to the recommended level for your vehicle. Overinflated or underinflated tires can cause problems and increase the likelihood of damage.
- Upgrade your suspension: Consider upgrading your suspension to handle rough terrain. Heavy-duty shocks and struts can absorb the impact of corrugations and protect your car.
- Drive on the smoothest part of the road: Try to drive on the smoothest part of the road, usually in the center or on the sides where there is less traffic. This can help to minimise the impact of the corrugations on your car.
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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