Aghhh … the news we’ve all been waiting for. With Covid cases dropping in Western Australia, the Gibb is now open for travel!
Myself (Melissa) and my friend Beth jumped in the trusty Hilux last week and headed down the Gibb from Kununurra-Broome. We were expecting a bullrush of people, but were pleasantly surprised to have many attractions all to ourselves. Unfortunately, a few favourites such as Home Valley and ELQ remain closed. So, which attractions are open? Here’s the most up-to-date info, fresh from our trip last week …
Birdwood Downs – open!
Birdwood Downs Station is open, but only for camping. The bush style campground accommodates tents, campervans and camper trailers and a limited number of caravans. To comply with COVID-19 safety rules, they have limited their number of camping parties to 15. Birdwood Downs is located approximately 20km east of Derby WA. Access to the Station is via a 750m well maintained gravel road.
Windjana Gorge – open!
*Not on the Gibb, but visited by most folks doing the Gibb*. Windjana Gorge National Park stretches for 3.5km, its soaring limestone walls towering 100m above you. Walk along the edge of the river, spotting fossils embedded into the limestone walls then step out onto a beach crowded with freshwater crocodiles basking in the sunshine. The Lennard River reduces to small pools in the dry season months and is one of the best places to view ‘freshies.’ Read more about Windjana gorge on page 54 of our book 100 Things To See In The Kimberley.
Tunnel Creek – open!
*Not on the Gibb, but visited by most folks doing the Gibb*. This was a very special day, having Tunnel Creek all to ourselves! What brings travellers to Tunnel Creek National Park is one eerily dark cave tunnelled into the Napier Range and the wet walk through it, spotlighting the little red flying-foxes that cling restlessly to stalactites overhead. Wade through the sometimes knee-deep waters for 750m (keep an eye out for the glowing eyes of freshwater crocs) to discover a billabong on the other side. Read more about Windjana gorge on page 55 of our book 100 Things To See In The Kimberley.
Bell Gorge – open!
It’s the jewel of the Gibb: a gem of a spot in the King Leopold Range, about 238km from Derby. It’s a favourite for many travellers on the Gibb River Road and it’s easy to see why this is usually one of the Kimberley’s busiest waterholes. On this particular day, with Bell having only been opened for a few days, we shared the gorge with only four other people. Do you see me looking at the person at the top of the gorge? Yep, we were gobsmacked to have it all to ourselves 🙂 . Read more about Bell gorge on page 58 of our book 100 Things To See In The Kimberley.
There’s great camping at nearby Silent Grove campground, which has unpowered sites, toilets and solar showers. Though, it’s not exactly cheap at $17 adult per night ($12 concession, $3 child per night over 5 and under 16 years). Get in early to grab a site with a fire ring. There are only a few and you can’t have a fire unless it’s inside one of their concrete fire rings.
Mount Hart – open!
Mount Hart Wilderness Lodge is open, but only for camping. The campground is located approx 1km from the Homestead on the banks of the Barker River. Note – Mount Hart is located approx. 50km off the Gibb River Road. Phone ahead to see how the road is before you head out there (08) 9191 4645.
Adcock Gorge – open!
Located in Mount House Station (which is owned by Australian media-mogul Kerry Stokes), this freshwater gorge is just 5km off the Gibb River Road. It is one of the lesser visited, yet no less beautiful, gorges along the Gibb. We had it all to ourselves, though that’s not uncommon for Adcock. Read more about Adcock gorge on page 61 of our book 100 Things To See In The Kimberley.
Galvan’s Gorge – open!
An easy 750m stroll from the carpark on the edge of the Gibb River Road, this oasis in the Phillips Range is one not to be missed. A beautiful pool for a refreshing swim is located at the bottom of the falls, and a boab tree stands proudly above, completing a quintessential Kimberley scene. Read more about Galvans gorge on page 62 of our book 100 Things To See In The Kimberley.
100 Things To See In The Kimberley: Second Edition
Now in its updated, second edition, 100 Things To See In The Kimberley, by local tour guide Scotty Connell, is a bucketlist of over 100 of the best things to see and do across the Kimberley. Scotty shares his favourite waterholes, campsites, cafes, Indigenous experiences and more, so you can experience this region like a local.
Mt. Elizabeth Station – open!
Mount Elizabeth is a half-million acre, fully operational cattle station. The homestead is a top spot to base yourself for a few days, with great camping, accommodation and food. When we drove past, there was a big sign out the front saying ‘closed’, but we’ve since been told that it is in fact now open. Perhaps phone ahead to check campsite availability – with Home Valley and ELQ shut, this is the first campsite coming down from the eastern end of the Gibb ph 08 9191 4644.
Mount Barnett Roadhouse – open
Mount Barnett is open for fuel, but unfortunately Manning Gorge remains closed. Noooooo!
Digger’s Rest Station – still deciding
Diggers Rest Station is “preparing for the possibility of opening by July 1”. Give them a buzz on (08) 9161 1029 or head to their website to check out the latest news on this one.