Photographs and Adventures

Posts tagged “Gibb River Road

Surveyors Pool

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.

The track to Surveyors Pool is pretty rough and rocky in some places, but also beautiful in others.

The track to Surveyors Pool is pretty rough and rocky in some places, but also beautiful in others.

There is a bit of a walk to get to the main pool below the waterfall.

There is a bit of a walk to get to the main pool below the waterfall.

The main pool is a sacred place for the Aboriginals, so swimming is not permitted here.

The main pool is lovely, with another waterfall entering from the far side, but as it is a sacred place for the Aboriginals, swimming is not permitted in the main pool.

However there are several pools and cascades above the falls.

However there are several pools and cascades above the falls.

And these make a very nice place to cool off after your walk.

And these make a very nice place to cool off after your walk.

Further along Port Warrender Road, there is a look out which has a view right out over Admiralty Gulf in the Indian Ocean.

Lookout on Port Warrender Road.

Lookout on Port Warrender Road with promontories and islands stretching into the distance.

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.

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Mitchell Falls

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.

Mertens Creek

Mertens Creek

Waterlilies along the way.

Waterlilies along the way.

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 Falls

Big Mertens Falls

Big Mertens is a very deep gorge, and quite spectacular in it’s own right.

Big Mertens gorge

Big Mertens gorge

To take good photos, you need to be a bit of a mountain goat and get right out on the rocks lining the gorge.

Holly framing the perfect waterfall shot.

Holly framing the perfect waterfall shot. You can’t actually tell from this how high she is standing on the rock wall.

 

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.

Mitchell falls from the top

Mitchell falls

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.

Mitchell Falls-7

We ended up spending several hours at the falls, exploring and swimming.

We ended up spending several hours at the falls, exploring and swimming.

From the top of the falls you can see right down the river below the falls.

From the top of the falls you can see right down the river below the falls.

Mitchell Falls is definitely worth the effort to visit. It is a truly beautiful part of Australia.

Mitchell Falls is definitely worth the effort to visit. It is a truly beautiful part of Australia.


Mitchell Plateau – Little Mertens Falls

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.

Little Mertens Falls is the closest falls and pool to the Mitchell Falls camp ground.

Little Mertens Falls is the closest falls and pool to the Mitchell Falls camp ground.

Little Mertens falls look very nice as you approach the top pool.

The falls look very inviting as you approach the top pool.

When you climb down the steep rocky slope, you come across a lovely still pool, which is absolutely freezing to swim in.

When you climb down the steep rocky slope, you come across a lovely still pool, which was absolutely freezing to swim in. Nobody stayed in for too long.

Especially when Peter spied a fresh water crocodile sunning himself near these rocks.

Especially when Peter spied a fresh water crocodile sunning himself near these rocks. Unfortunately I couldn’t capture him in the photo because he was behind the rocks on the far side of the pool.

After our swim we climbed in behind the waterfall.

After our swim we climbed in behind the waterfall.

It was magical being behind the curtain of water.

It was magical being behind the curtain of water.

I liked the spotty bark on this tree, and almost missed the spider hiding in full view.

I liked the spotty bark on this tree next to our tent, and almost missed the spider hiding in full view.

Holly inspired us with another fantastic camp oven meal of savoury scrolls, cooked in the coals of the camp fire.

In the evening, Holly inspired us with another fantastic camp oven meal of savoury scrolls, cooked in the coals of the camp fire.

Life is good! A beautiful swim and a good meal. It doesn’t get much better than this.


Drysdale River Station & King Edward River

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.

Drysdale River Station is huge, over 1 million acres in size.

Drysdale River Station is huge, about a million acres in size.

Close by is Miner's Pool, which is a great place for a swim.

Close by is Miner’s Pool, which is a great place for a swim.

There is a lovely walk along the rocks beside the river.

In the morning we set off again, and found a great camping spot at King Edward River.  After setting up our tents, we went exploring. There is a lovely walk along the rocks beside the river.

A small waterfall is a nice surprise a little way down the river.

A small waterfall is a nice surprise a little way further along.

Close to the waterfall were deep holes where round stones had gradually worn away the rock over the years.

Close to the waterfall were deep holes where round stones had gradually worn away the rock over the years.

This was a serene and beautiful place to stay.

This was a serene and beautiful place to stay. It would be difficult to say which is the nicest camping spot we have found so far.


Camping on the banks of the Gibb River

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.

Ellenbrae Station entrance

Ellenbrae Station entrance.

Everyone tucking into delicious scones.

Everyone tucking into delicious scones.

The bathroom at Ellenbrae has a lovely outlook...

The bathroom at Ellenbrae has a lovely outlook…

But it is not very private!

But it is not very private!

Just past the turnoff to head up to the Mitchell Plateau, you come across the Gibb River crossing.

Just past the turnoff to head up to the Mitchell Plateau, you come across the Gibb River crossing.

Which seemed to be a perfect place to camp for the night, right on the banks of the river.

Which seemed to be a perfect place to camp for the night, right on the banks of the river. We lit the campfire and headed off on a walk.

This bull was also out for an evening stroll. He was bellowing and crashing through the trees.

This bull was also out for an evening stroll. He was bellowing and crashing through the trees.

But it turned out all he wanted was a drink from the river.

But it turned out all he wanted was a drink from the river.

The river was also a popular place to cool off and clean up after another warm day.

The river was also a popular place to cool off and clean up after another warm day.

The banks of the Gibb River was a beautiful and peaceful place to camp for the night.

The banks of the Gibb River was a beautiful and peaceful place to camp for the night. It doesn’t get much better than this. Every night after a beautiful sunset, the sky is clear, with millions of stars glowing in the darkness.


Durak River crossing – our next camp on the Gibb River Road

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.

Home Valley

Home Valley

Horse carriage at Home Valley

Horse carriage at Home Valley

Frangipani at Home Valley

Frangipani at Home Valley

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.

overlooking the Cockburn Range

Overlooking the Cockburn Range from a roadside stop. The yellow flowers are on a kapok tree, which lose their leaves in the dry season. They are common in the Kimberley region.

Durak River-5Bindoola Falls trail

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.

Trumpet serenade at Bindoola Falls

Trumpet serenade at Bindoola Falls

Peter perched himself near the top of the gorge. The trumpet sounded incredible echoing around the rocks.

If you look carefully you can see Peter on the rocks near the top of the gorge.

If you look carefully you can see Peter playing his trumpet on the rocks near the top of the gorge. It must be an amazing sight to see this in the wet, with water cascading over the rocks and falling to the pool below.

This tree was growing directly out of the rocks.

This ‘tree’ was growing directly out of the rocks.

We spotted this lizard while we were waiting for the billy to boil.

We spotted this lizard while we were waiting for the billy to boil.

I'm not sure what this tree is, but it provided lovely shade while we had our lunch down a side track.

I’m not sure what this tree is, but it provided lovely shade while we had our lunch down a side track.

Our second night we camped on the banks of the Durak River. Holly & Adam tried fishing, but with no luck.

Our second night we camped on the banks of the Durak River. Holly & Adam tried fishing, but with no luck.

Another creek crossing, this one shallow and muddy.

Another creek crossing, this one shallow and muddy.

Not everyone makes the trip without problems.

Obviously not everyone makes the trip without problems.

The water in the creeks and rivers up here is crystal clear.

The water in the creeks and rivers up here is crystal clear.

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.

 


Travelling The Gibb River Road – The Kimberley, W.A.

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.

Pentecost River crossing

Pentecost River crossing

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.

crossing the Pentecost

Crossing the Pentecost

One by one, the cars make the crossing. It is pretty straightforward at this time of the year.

watching and waiting

Watching and waiting

Although some people need to check it out and consider their options before making the crossing.

Pentecost River camp

Pentecost River camp

We pitched our tent in a small clearing above the river bank.

Sunset across the Pentecost River

Sunset across the Pentecost River

The Cockburn Range looks amazing in the evening light across the Pentecost River.

Sunset colours on the Cockburn Range

Sunset colours on the Cockburn Range.

This was a great first day to our Gibb River Road adventure.