Saturday, October 2, 2010

Week 40/52 - Gibb River Road - into the heart of the Kimberley

Welcome to week 40 of our 52 week Tour Downunder Western Australia. We have now left our last destination El Questro (Week 39) and are back on the Gibb River Road heading westward.

4WD is recommended for the trip and you realise why when you reach the first barrier to continuing along The Gibb - the Pentacost River crossing. The river is influenced by the Kimberley tides and depending on the depth of the water this crossing can stop you from going any further along the road. The river is inhabited by salt water crocodiles, so do not get out to test the depth on foot. Vehicles wait on each side and allow to cross singularly. It gave my husband a chance to check out the depth of the water in the middle by watching the other vehicles before we attempted the crossing. The 4WD in the photo below is not ours unfortunately - but to get a photo like this with our 4WD we would have had to cross 3 times!

From Western Australia

There are a number of Station Stays along The Gibb River Road, where you can experience station life on a working cattle station. Many of the cattle stations also have gorges which you can only visit if you stay at the stations. The Gibb River-Kalumburu Road gives you access to Kalumburu, the Drysdale River National Park, and the majestic Mitchell Plateau. You can also take flights over the Plateau. Unfortunately for us time was against us, so we didn't have time to visit the Plateau - it will be on our list next time we go to the Kimberley.

Here is a photo of part of this section of the Gibb River Road. I took this through the windscreen as we drove along. As you can see the road is now red dust.

From Western Australia

407 kilometres from Kununurra is Mt Barnett Roadhouse, one of only two road houses on The Gibb, and the only one selling unleaded fuel. From here you can access Manning Gorge and campground located on Mt Barnett Station seven kilometres from the Roadhouse. The large campground has plenty of shaded sites and facilities include untreated water, toilets and solar showers. Adjacent to the camp ground is the Lower Manning Gorge, an excellent place to wash off the dust with a cooling swim. There’s even a sandy beach.

To reach Manning Gorge there are two options – either swim across Lower Manning Gorge, floating your gear across in the boxes provided, or a longer walk through the creek further along. Swimming is the best and easiest option. Here is a photo of the crossing - that's my husband there with his box of gear. You need to be careful you don't tip your camera out into the water! On the other side you can see the little sand beach. They also supply rubber tyre tubes so you can spend a lovely afternoon floating around Lower Manning Gorge.

From Western Australia

Although the walk to the Gorge can be hot as it is across exposed terrain, it is quite an easy walk (4km return – allow 1.5 hours each way) and there are expansive views along the way. If you have swum across the Lower Manning in your clothes, the water will cool you down while you walk. You are rewarded by the spectacular Manning Gorge Falls. There are several large pools to swim in and plenty of room to spread out your towel and spend time enjoying the Gorge. These young guys you can see in this photo were walking up to the top of the cliff and jumping off over the waterfall. I was content to reach the waterfall by swimming! ps - there are no crocodiles!

From Western Australia

Here are another couple of pics

Another photo of Manning Gorge from near the waterfall - see you can swim through the waterfall and sit under the overhang....

From Western Australia

This photo was taken along the walk in to Manning Gorge - you can see a boab tree there on the left.

From Western Australia
This flower is commonly called the cockroach bush, because the seed pods look a bit like a cockroach shape....I think....... This one looks like some honey ants are paying it a visit.

From Wildflowers

And this photo was taken on a look out along the Gibb River Road. There is a bit of heat haze and we were looking into the early morning sun. You can see the dust trail in the middle of the photo from a vehicle.

From Western Australia


  1. I took your advice and reviewed your previous shots. Your shots belong on a calendar.

  2. Great shots again! You really show the contrasts of this beautiful country of ours.

    I'll up the ante on Heaterguy, you need to look at getting a book published with some of these wonderful pictures.
    Just Jim


Thank you for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed this tour around Western Australia. I look forward to hearing from you and thank you for taking the time to comment.