Letho's Blog

Gibb River Road – the other end II

by on Jun.01, 2011, under The Kimberleys

Monday, 30 May 2011

The next day we decided to master another long walk, 9,6 km return to the Champagne Springs. It started off along the banks of the Pentecoste River Crossing that was the entrance to the Station and led over the stony river bank, 3 small creek crossings and a long hot walk over a stony hill. All in all it was not particularly difficult in terms of climbing but with the sun beating down and given the total length of it, it was quite exhausting. At the end of the walk awaited us a beautiful waterfall and a refreshing waterhole surrounded by cliffs but the springs themselves were neither warm (which was my hope after the amazing Zebedee Springs) nor well visible. But still it was good exercise. El Questro Park says about the walk: „Moderate to difficult trail, only physically fit and able individuals should attempt this walk. The longer walk is difficult and exposed and must not attempted after 11!“ The cliffs you can see on the pictures rise up to 375m and are mostly made up of ancient sandstone.

After such a physical morning the afternoon was reserved for some serious 4WDing when we had a look at El Questro’s Lookouts.
First was Chamberlain Gorge Jetty where you could take a boat cruise into the Gorge but we only had a look at the river hoping to spot some crocodiles:

Next was Pidgeon Hole with some steep hills to tackle:

Followed by Saddleback Ridge Lookout that had it all, river crossing, sand and steep hills:

The 7km round trip is supposed to take 40 min and only for experienced 4×4 drivers only! Yeeha!!

And finally up to Branco’s Lookout that had the worse river crossing ever and I think our flat tyre later was caused here. Nevertheless, a true 4WD adventure!

Enough of adventure for the day, after some nice dinner and two presentations from the Wilderness Park ranger and Australian Geographics and a chat with the Dutch couple we had met several times before we spent a last night at El Questro Wilderness Park.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

On our way out we saw the Caravan again that got stuck when we first arrived at the Station. It seemed that somebody from El Questro’s staff had told him he would be able to make the crossing (bad advise) although it is quite obvious that most of the tracks are only suited for 4WDs and his radiator was damaged. He got pulled out but since he couldn’t move his car he couldn’t return and kind of camped in front of the crossing waiting for his new radiator to arrive. He got stuck on a Sunday and when we left on Tuesday we was still there. Poor bugger!
Happy to have our LandCruiser (as we usually are) we made our way to the last gorge on our list, Amalia Gorge, a 3.4 km return walk with moderate difficulty, that had one exciting (caution) point where one had to squeeze along a rock with a 4m drop but the rest was quite easy:

And a quick look to the Pentecoste Crossing along the Gibb River Road, one of the two rivers that were quite high the last couple of weeks and made the Gibb impassable.

Now it was time to leave the Gibb River Road and El Questro Wilderness Park and head towards the next bigger city which was Kununnura to fill up petrol and groceries and look for spare parts which were again not to be found.

When we were about to drive to our campsite only to fill up petrol before it happened – a flat tyre! Not a happy sight especially since it seemed to be difficult to lift the car high enough to be able to change the tyre. Luckily enough two Australian with racing car equipment had stopped behind us at the petrol station and were able to help us out.

Thanks again guys, that was awesome! But what disaster because although we had our spare tyre on we wouldn’t be able to continue our travels without buying another spare tyre. This area being remote and having lots of gravel roads it is actually recommended to have two spare tyres on board just to be on the safe side.

Wednesday, 01 June 2011

First thing the next morning was to repair the intermediate exhaust again (since we couldn’t find any used part) and to organize a new tyre without spending a fortune (which you can on tyres) and fortunately we were lucky and could buy a used tyre.

One famous and often seen picture in Western Australia’s brochures is the Ivanhoe Crossing. Well, usually the pictures show less water and the road is passable. Not today, have a look yourself:

From these few pictures you get a picture of what we encountered throughout Western Australia: In contrast to normal years a very very long wet season and therefore many things were flooded and not passable. Roads damaged or waters infested with crocodiles that normally would have long been gone…

Nevertheless, we continued our trip and had lunch at Lake Argyle, a man made reservoir for the Ord River irrigation scheme.

This is what it’s like driving along there:

And finally with one sad and one smiling eye we left Western Australia that had so many great places to offer. Interesting enough, there was no border control from WA to Northern Territory, from what we heard they have all the Australian pests (e.g. cane toads) already so not need for checking ; )

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