12 Days on the Gibb River Road
Part 2

If you're just tuning in now, this 3 part blog series is from a 12 day trip across the Gibb River Road from West to East.

It was late June 2020 and the tail end of the covid19 restrictions were taking affect to Western Australia.

We were very fortunate to have the freedom to still travel within our region – so we took to the bitumen (then dirt) to explore the Gibb River Road!

At the time there were a few common misconceptions that nothing was really open on the Gibb, however we spent a solid 12 days camping and exploring and definitely could have stayed longer.

If you'd like to keep it all in order and hear about days 1-4, you can read part 1 first here: 12 Days on the Gibb River Road - Part 1

Click to view map full screen and zoom in

Day 5

Woke up: Mt Hart Wilderness Lodge (camping)
Visited: Dolerite Gorge, lookout
Overnight: Free camp (lookout)
Cost: $0

With only a handful of other people in the campground at Mt Hart, it was a beautiful morning to wake up to the sounds of birds and our surroundings once again. The temperature was still cool so definitely didn't take our jumpers off for the first few hours. I could see our campfire still slightly smouldering looking down from the view of the roof top tent, bringing back that familiar smell and reminder of how beautiful it is to be out here, living easy. I relit the fire to warm up a tad for the first part of the morning.

Following this was a very slow morning. Not having to be anywhere, do anything, meet anyone - is one of the best feelings and a stark contrast to normal busy lives. After breakfast and packing up camp, we took the short drive to the lesser known Dolerite Gorge, accessible when staying at Mt Hart.

Dolerite Gorge is a short rocky walk to get to the end pool. The red and grey rocks reminded me of that in the Pilbara, around the Python Pool area. The water in the pool was quite stagnant and hot so we walked a little further up. (At the time we didn't realise we had passed the 'main pool' so kept on walking). We came up to a pristine creek surrounded by shady gum trees. With not another person in sight, we had a swim. The water temperature was cool but definitely refreshing, which made the walk absolutely worth it.

We departed around 3:00pm and began to head toward Bell Gorge. However we came across an incredible lookout spot and just couldn't leave! It overlooked the range surrounding Bell Gorge down below, along with the wide plains covered with dense trees. As it was slightly later in the arvo and considering that the sun sets just after 5:00pm around this time of year, the golden sunset colours were already creeping in.

This campsite is marked on the WikiCamps app and there are a few rock circles set up for fires, it was obvious to see why it was an attractive place to camp. We popped up the roof top tent, gathered some firewood, set up the camp chairs and watched the sun set on another magic day on the Gibb.

Sunset provided gorgeous light over the range in the distance and it was fantastic watching a car in the distance leaving the dust trail behind which caught the rich golden light perfectly. We only counted 10 cars drive past, if that, during the time we were here - so lucky to have this view all to ourselves. It's one of the only campsites at a high elevation with a great view on the Gibb, so it wasn't taken for granted.

(Side note: That night I realised I left our floodlight tied to a tree at the Mt Hart campsite! If anyone found this - would love to have it back! Haha)

Day 6

Woke up: Free camp (lookout)
Visited: Lookout, Dalmanyi (Bell Gorge)
Overnight: Dulundi (Silent Grove) Campground
Cost: $17 per person (plus park pass)

Waking to the sunrise in the distance from out campsite on top of the lookout was amazing. After a relaxed morning and some brekky, at about 9:00am it was time to head to Dalmanyi (Bell Gorge). We arrived at Dulundi (Silent Grove) Campground which only had a few others set up camp, which allowed us to find a perfect spot under the trees up the back, close to the creek behind the campsite.

The best part about having no plan... is having no plan! We set up camp then ended up laying down under the trees for the next few hours. We weren't alone, accompanied by many curious bowerbirds. These are the Great Bowerbirds (Chlamydera nuchalis), found all across the top end of Australia. If you haven't heard of these before, they are one of the coolest birds in the Kimberley! The way they move, jump and twist their neck to look at you with an inquisitive stare means that you can get lost watching them for hours.

Bowerbirds are most well-known for the male gathering items in the same colour, commonly grey in the Kimberley, however can be blue, green or other colours in other locations - to place on the outside of his 'castle' a cleverly built upright nest on the ground. (All this work is of course to impress the female). The males also adorn a magnificent magenta crest on the back of their neck, when it's fully extended it can look like beautiful bright pink or purple flower. You can see the beginning of the crest opening in the photos below.

The afternoon took us on to Bell Gorge, being the only people down at the bottom pool. As this spot is accessible and closer to Broome and Derby, it's unheard of to visit and not have anyone else there during a normal season. Those who have been here will know the water in the bottom pool is icy cold, however no way was this going to keep us away from a swim! We had the last bit of direct sunlight on the rock to warm up with after the swim which was so nice.

Next was a bit of rock climbing to arrive to a prime position in the ledge to wait for the afterglow of colours in the gorge after sunset. It was just as I had imagined and better, the rocks took on a deep rick red colour and the reflections on the water softened until we were met with what looked like a painting. There's something really special about simply sitting and taking in the view after the sun is long gone and the landscape is transitioning into night.

Bell Gorge landscape prints can be found here: Print Store

Day 7

Woke up: Dulundi (Silent Grove) Campground
Visited: Dalmanyi (Bell Gorge)
Overnight: Dulundi (Silent Grove) Campground
Cost: $17 per person (plus park pass)

As on all camping trips, it's not just relaxing days and amazing waterfalls all time - normal life duties still have to be done. We used this morning to catch up on washing clothes, giving the kitchen items a thorough wash and a general tidy up of the camp. Once again, done at a leisurely holiday-mode pace.

We explored Bell Gorge for a second time, this time with, shock horror, other people swimming at the bottom! Having been so spoilt for the last few days with no one else around, it was a new feeling to see more people in these spots. It was a Saturday so we were guessing it was people coming in from Broome or Derby for the weekend, what a life.

Instead of heading down to the bottom pool we explored a bit further upstream above the waterfall. The creek goes on and on with pristine water and numerous pools. As the end of the day was nearing, it was the perfect opportunity to spend some time at the top pool above the main waterfall. This pool creates gorgeous light late in the afternoon and beautiful reflections. It's also like the ultimate infinity pool, as you look out over the falls and down the gorge.

After we had walked back to the car I realised I had left my sunnies down on the waterfall, so back we went. Seeing the falls and the gorge long after dusk when it was almost pitch black was just beautiful. We turned the torches off and let our eyes adjust. A few stars were starting to come out and there were many things rustling around our feet (never let your mind wander about these haha). It worked out to be ideal as we got to see the gorge and falls in an even more serene state.

Day 8

Woke up: Dulundi (Silent Grove) Campground
Visited: Adcock Gorge, Galvans Gorge
Overnight: Mt Elizabeth Station
Cost: $44 per night

Do I need to describe what it was like waking up? By now it's hopefully apparent that each morning was amazing and I loved every minute, with chilly dry season weather, smells of the bush, sounds of the birds, slight breeze and excitement for the day ahead.

Today there was once again no real plan, however the morning's plan was made for us. One of the water container's had leaked throughout the back of the car, soaking the carpet, yayyy. This meant unloading everything out of the back, moving the car so that the open door was facing directly into the sun, unscrewing the plastic covers holding down the carpet, propping up the carpet with items we had, and leaning up the battery powered camp fan blowing directly onto the carpet. Not really a biggie in the scheme of things, although those who have had water soak the lining in their car will understand the smell that was potentially upon us. Our drying out tactics worked woo hoo, and it actually worked out to be beneficial as we rearranged everything in the back of the car and into order for the last few days.

Adcock Gorge was the next spot, a small but beautiful location on the Gibb. We walked to the end where the falls usually flow after rain and simply enjoyed the calmness of the shade on the cool rocks. The water was a bit green and stagnant, although I am sure it was fine to swim, we headed off to the next swimming spot.

Galvans Gorge is a hidden gem and a favourite of many during their Gibb River Road trip. The waterfall was just trickling, however this made for pristine, glassy water below. There was a slight cool breeze that would occasionally blow through, bringing down leaves and nuts from the trees above into the waterhole. One white cockatoo sat on the tree above the waterfall just chilling out and seeing what we were up to. We were secretly hoping he would come down closer for a chat.

I'm not sure how long we were here as we were just consumed by this place and completely soaking it all in. Only when the sun started to disappear we realised it was probably time to move on and find camp for the night. We drove past the SWEK sign which means we were now entering our home, the East Kimberley!

Arriving late after dark into Mount Elizabeth Station meant we would wake up the next day to see all that was around us for the first time. What we did notice that night however, was the most amazing brand new ablution block. (For those who don't camp much may think I sounds ridiculous being excited by this, however those that are on the road lots will know how much you appreciate amazing shower blocks when they are there!)

The showers were huge with beautiful hot water and powerful shower heads, the perfect way to wind down after big days of exploring and being on the road. Although the campground is quite small, there were only a couple of other set ups at the time which made it feel really spacious.

Had a great sleep and excited to see what the next day would bring once the sun was up.

If you have any questions about the trip please contact me, always happy to chat. 🙂

Landscape prints from this blog post can be found here: Print Store

For all planning and current information regarding access, please visit:
- Derby Visitor Centre website
- Derby Visitor Centre Facebook page
- Kununurra Visitor Centre website
- Kununurra Visitor Centre Facebook page

Stay tuned for Part 3...

(Read Part 1 here)

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