We left Wyndham and hit the Gibb River Rd. It’s 550kms of rough, dusty, corrogated road that runs between Kunanurra and Derby. The first little bit is paved these days, so for half our first day there was not so much dust. The Gibb starts with a bang as far as scenery is concerned. The stunning Cockburn range “watched” us passing most of the first day.
The first river crossing is the mighty Pentacost River- one of those 5 rivers that ends at the five rivers lookout at Wyndham. The photo below is what the Pentacost River Crossing normally looks like early in the dry season.
We bypassed the more well known El Questro station, as we had been there many years before. It is also now owned by Americans, so we stopped our first night at Home Valley station, owned by the local Aboriginal community. Things have changed on the Gibb since we last did it 16yrs ago. It still feels remote but there is much more development of the stations and many more cars it seems. We are seeing mostly cars or cars and smaller camper trailers but not many caravans. They scare MOST of the grey nomads into going around on the less interesting paved route or leaving their vans either end.
Home valley was an oasis of green in this dry land. It was clear they had a lot of water to keep those lawns green. The pool and kids play area could have been anywhere and same with the bar and restaurant with it’s outback/farm decor. The check in desk felt like a big city hotel complete with gift shop. It was a bit of a shock. We opted for the bush camping 4 kms from the homestead right on the Pentacost River as our camp though.
We did a couple of walks on Home Valley before we headed out again. An early morning walk to Bindoola Gorge found 2 new birds.
We did a walk to the only Croc free water hole on the property called Bindoola falls. There was no waterfall, but it was great to get into water again. Having water around you can’t get into just feels wrong when it’s 34 deg!
We had heard about a good free camp from a couple we had met in Wyndham and so we headed there next. It was not so far from Home Valley but we are trying to keep our travel days a bit shorter now that we are on a rough road. We have been on worst roads then this on this trip, but there is more traffic here, at least in the morning. We expected this camp to be very busy as it was right on the river and free. We were stunned to have the whole place to ourselves for the night. It was amazing and lovely even if you couldn’t swim. Steve went down to the river at night with a strong torch and picked out all the eyes looking back that you just don’t see in the day.
We left our free camp after breakfast but didn’t get far because Steve noticed the sign below.