Surveyors Pool is in a remote area of the Kimberley, W.A. From Mitchell Falls, you continue on Port Warrender Road, which is really more of a track than a road, until you come to Surveyors Pool.
Further along Port Warrender Road, there is a look out which has a view right out over Admiralty Gulf in the Indian Ocean.
It is a little out of the way to visit Surveyors Pool, but well worth the effort. From this lookout, we turned back and retraced our steps to Mitchell Falls to prepare for our return journey down Kalumbaru Road to the Gibb River Road.
In my last post, I talked about Little Mertens Falls, which is a short walk from the Mitchell Falls camping area. This is a great place for a cooling swim, but the main walk from the camp ground is the track to Mitchell Falls and it takes about an hour and a half each way. It is quite a long way, and also involves some steep rocky climbs, but it is definitely worth the effort.
Once you have passed Little Mertens Falls, you trek alongside Mertens Creek, which is lined with pandanus and a haven for waterlilies. You next come to Big Mertens Falls which is much higher and more spectacular than Little Mertens, however you cannot swim here, so it is best to take your photos and move on.
Big Mertens is a very deep gorge, and quite spectacular in it’s own right.
To take good photos, you need to be a bit of a mountain goat and get right out on the rocks lining the gorge.
A bit more hiking and exertion brings you to your first glimpse of Mitchell Falls itself and you don’t at first realise that there are four layers of waterfall.
As you climb down and around, more is revealed. You need to take off your shoes and socks and cross to the other side of the water to get the best views.
We arrived at Mitchell Falls camping area about lunchtime, so in the afternoon went for a short walk to Mertens Falls where we planned to have a swim.
Life is good! A beautiful swim and a good meal. It doesn’t get much better than this.
The morning saw us packing up the tents and heading off once again, towards the Mitchell Plateau. We had a couple more nights camping along the way before we got to Mitchell Falls, and it was time for a shower so we stopped for the night at Drysdale River Station.
Our third day saw us back on the track. Our first stop for the day was Ellenbrae Station, where we obviously had to try their famous scones with jam and cream.
One of the most delightful things about travelling along the Gibb River Road is the opportunity to set up camp on the banks of a river, or in one of the many free camping areas. Wiki Camps on the computer is a great tool for finding somewhere to camp when you are not familiar with the area. (Thanks Holly!)
Our second day on the Gibb River Road we visited Home Valley station, where many people choose to stay in the campground.
It was fun to visit and look around, but it was too early in the day for us to stop, so we travelled further on.
A little further along, we took a side track that you would miss if you blinked at the wrong time, and found ourselves at Bindoola Falls. There wasn’t much waterfall happening, but we did find an amazing gorge with clear, cool water.
Peter perched himself near the top of the gorge. The trumpet sounded incredible echoing around the rocks.
Even though we are well into the ‘dry’ season, many of the waterways still have plenty of water and it is easy to collect water to supplement your supplies. Our camp on the second night was on the banks of the Durak River. We are yet to see a crocodile, although we are aware that they may be around.
The Gibb River Road existed initally as a cattle route and even today is a 4-wheel-drive-only unmade road, stretching from near Wyndham in the east to Derby in the West Kimberley. The condition of the road varies greatly, depending mainly on when the grader last went through to smooth out some of the corrugations. The full length of the Gibb River Road is around 660 km, plus any side trips you might choose to take.
We began our journey from Kununurra, taking only tents and camping equipment with us, as we planned to travel even further off the track and visit the Mitchell Plateau on our trip.
The first river crossing, which is also probably the widest, is Pentecost River. The crossing was not too deep or daunting, but I am sure it would be a different story in the wet season.
One by one, the cars make the crossing. It is pretty straightforward at this time of the year.
Although some people need to check it out and consider their options before making the crossing.
We pitched our tent in a small clearing above the river bank.
The Cockburn Range looks amazing in the evening light across the Pentecost River.
This was a great first day to our Gibb River Road adventure.