Here comes another instalment of our Gibb River Road adventures, as we now finally hit the Gibb River Road, visit a few stations and many of the stunning gorges..
Upon arriving at the Gibb River Road, it was hard for Grant to contain his excitement. Woo hoo!! Lots of photos were in order and that was just of the road sign!
Day 7 – Packing up from Windjana Gorge, we only had a short drive to the Gibb River Road as it was only some 20kms north of us now. The road was somewhat corrugated, but nothing worse than what we had already traversed coming up from Fitzroy Crossing. We quickly realised that the 4wd tour buses also travelling these dirt roads automatically thought it was their right to take up the whole road when approaching….what the??? they move for absolutely nobody! Not to mention that if we stopped for a morning coffee on the side of the road, it felt like they would speed up going past you so that you also copped a mouthful of dust with your coffee. On many occasions, we muttered a few well chosen words to ourselves as they past!!! $%^&*!! Learning quickly and upon hearing a car/bus approach, I would bolt for the car and sit inside until they had passed and the dust subsided…grrrr!
First stop on the Gibb River Road was Mt Hart Station (or so we thought). Upon reaching the turnoff, we realised it was still closed until the following day! Now what to do? As we were hoping to get in, we turned around and found a great roadside camp at Apex Creek (only about 200 metres west of the Mt Hart turnoff). Camping beside some running water, the camp had plenty of shade and was definitely well worth the stay.
Days 8-10 – Into Mt Hart the next morning, we found ourselves the first official tourists for the season. Staying three nights camping along a nice river, we visited their two gorges, Annie’s Creek Gorge and Matthew Gorge, and saw an amazing strangler fig and boab living in harmony (apparently this is extremely rare). On one of the days we had a great cooking day – Grant was the official fire warden while I was the cook. We made some bread to last us a few days, some rock buns for our morning teas, had a nice roast chicken dinner with vegies, and finished off with apple crumble for dessert. (You can probably gather that we love camp oven cooking). On our last night there, we went up to the old homestead for a drink at their bar (it was a good excuse to take a look around). We were happy to go back to our camp for tea and have an early night…as we had another pack up in the morning
Day 11– Here we go again, another pack up (7 to go!), and we head towards Bells Gorge. I’d been banging on to Grant that it was the best gorge on the Gibb River Road, so we now really didn’t want to miss visiting. We knew it would be touch and go as to whether the gorge would be open as the National Park’s website showed it opening on this day (their info we found isn’t always reliable). Well it was closed when we arrived, so agreed that we wouldn’t go too far further and try and come back in a couple of days when the bush telegraph said it would be open. So next stop – Adcock Gorge. The road was pretty good except for the last 500 metres. With lots of rocks to negotiate, the Paj rocked from side to side and got us through. The final creek crossing was pretty muddy with all previous vehicles chewing up one side of the creek. We walked the last leg into the gorge and witnessed a spectacular waterfall, but even better, we had the place to ourselves.
On our way out, that creek crossing nearly got the better of us – Grant took a path to the right side and before you knew it, the Paj lurched heavily to the right as it slid into the ditch. The car was now on an awkward lean to the right, and not being able to get out, it was no time for a photo opportunity! Into low range we go and slowly manouevring us backwards,, Grant managed to get us back onto the track. Phew, that was close! Thankfully we didn’t have the boat on top – who knows whether that extra weight would have otherwise tipped us over.
Catching our breath, we headed back out onto to the GRR and took the side track to Barnett River Gorge. Before long the track deteriorated and turned into a quagmire of mud as a result of where people had tried to take different routes as to not get bogged. Deciding at this point not to chance it (we’d had enough adventure for one day), we bumped into another couple who also decided not to take the risk. As it was getting dark, we needed somewhere to camp so decided to camp on one of the tracks into the gorge! Setting up our tents, our newly made friends (Terry & Cheryl) also set up camp, and before long, two other families joined our camp on the track. After a spectacular sunset and a nice dinner, we all sat around the fire getting to know one another, and learning about each other’s travels. A wonderful camp!
Day 12 – An early start sees us packed up (have I mentioned now it’s only 6 pack ups to go???)…Grant’s back is not enjoying the 20mm mattress – and to be honest, neither is mine. Waking up what seems like a million times in the night with numb legs, arms or both isn’t exactly how I remember tenting! Following Terry & Cheryl into Mt Elizabeth Station, we decided to camp for three nights. Having obtained permission to visit the Old Homestead, we took the drive out there which was some 20kms away, crossing creeks and a river on the way. Having to cross the last section of the river on foot, we were greeted at the homestead by several peacocks which seemed eager to have human contact. This place was magnificent – there were a few mango trees (the largest we’d ever seen) next to the old house, old land rovers rusting in sheds, remnants of the old meat shed, battery room, and gardens, and the house was now deteriorating significantly. There was a special feeling here, so before heading back, we sat down by the river in the afternoon sun, watched the beautiful reflections of palms in the water, and listened to the red tailed black cockatoos screeching in the trees. Magnificent!
Day 13 – After breakfast this morning we “rock hopped” into Wunnamurra Gorge which is located on the station. With Terry and Cheryl leading, we drove the 50 minutes to the gorge car park, and then walked the last kilometre. Arriving at the top of the gorge and having to climb the two ladders provided to get down in to the gorge, it was simply amazing. The gorge was wide with heaps of water, and a tremendous waterfall which made swimming great. Walking further down in to the gorge, we spotted some Aboriginal art (Wandjinas) and took many photos before heading back to camp. This was a top spot and in hindsight, we should have packed lunch and made a day of it.
Day 14 – Time to say goodbye to Terry and Cheryl as they needed to move on, so today we had a “domestic” day back at camp – washing, cooking, cleaning etc. Just as Grant was preparing our fire, two steers decided to investigate – thankfully they were tame (well sort of) Our camp oven cooking today included more bread and another roast. .
Ok, another pack up is in order – we’re doubling back on the Gibb River Road now to Manning Gorge as there’s word that Bells Gorge may be opening soon.
Note: Times have changed!!! The Gibb River Road so far has pretty well been like a highway – we sat on a maximum of 80kms, but we’ve had people overtaking us and coming towards us easily doing 100kms+…we think they’ve forgotten that it’s all about the journey, not the destination.
Grant & Linda.
|Kms Travelled Total 17,598