Guide to Tackling The Gibb River Road
Did you know that one of the most iconic outback adventures is right here in Western Australia. The Gibb River Road is a 660 kilometer 4WD that runs through the heart of the Kimberley in far north Western Australia. Along the track you can marvel at the wild natural beauty of the area, from swimming in pristine waterholes, exploring stunning gorges, cascading waterfalls, sleeping under the stars and so much more. This track might seem a bit intimidating to some but with a bit of planning and preparation it is an easy track even for a first time 4WD adventure.
The best time to hit the track is between the months of April and October. Anywhere outside of these months could have deteriorated road conditions and extreme flooding. We recommend setting aside 14 days for the trip, this will allow you to truly immerse yourself in the adventure and ensure that you won't have to miss out on any of the incredible sights along the way. The track runs between the towns of Derby in the west and Kununurra to the east. You can tackle this track starting from either direction but if you are one who likes to save the best for last consider traveling from west to east so you can finish at the stunning El Questro which even has luxury accommodation along the gorges.
This track is regularly graded and fairly easy to manage for even a first time 4WD adventure. However it is always a good idea to check road conditions before starting and along the way. Make sure that you are properly stocked with the essentials such as water, food, and fuel. There are some limited stops along the Gibb where you can refuel and grab some forgotten essentials but it comes at a high price. You will also want to make sure that you are equipped with a few extra bits for your vehicle to ensure that you are prepared. An air compressor, some basic tools, a tire puncture kit along with at least one and if you can manage two spare tires should do just the trick. And if you run into any complications that are too hard to tackle there is a mechanic near Mt Barnett.
Where to Stay
Whether you prefer a 5 star hotel with big fluffy pillows or a swag under the stars you will find your ideal accommodation along the Gibb. For those who enjoy the finer things in life then a stay at El Questro is absolutely essential. This 5 star luxury accommodation is secluded and fully immersed in the beauty of the gorges, the boab trees, and so much more. There are various other stations and homesteads along the way so if it is your wish you could sleep in a real bed for each night of your adventure. Alternatively camping in your swag under the stars is the most common option. However during peak season and school holidays we highly recommend to book ahead of time for accommodation and campsites.
What to Do
There are so many amazing stops and turn offs to take along these 660 kilometers that we couldn't possibly mention them all to you in one article. However we will recommend some of our top favorites so you can add them to the top of your list and make sure they aren’t missed. Bell gorge is one of the first waterfalls you will come across when traveling west to east and it is truly stunning, there is a natural infinity pool at the top of the falls and a large swimming hole at the bottom. Tunnel Creek is a must see, this 750 meter tunnel is part of Western Australia’s oldest cave system, also on the way you can stop in at Windjana Gorge to spot some fresh water crocs. Manning Gorge near Mount Barnett complete with a waterfall, swimming hole and great cliff jumping. El Questro Wilderness park will finish things off near the eastern end of the track, here you can soak in the thermal pool at Zebedee Springs, visit the famous Emma Gorge, and even book a helicopter tour or boat cruise.