Gibb River Rd

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.

gibb river rd turnoffgibb river rd sign

last fuel sign
No much fuel on the road. Or food or telephones or internet or water or toilets!
beginning of the gibb river rd
The beginning of the Gibb River rd and the Cockburn Range

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.

proper pentacost crossing gibb r r
This photo was on the FRONT of a brochure on crossing the Gibb River rd. In it, it said that caravans are NOT recommended to use the Gibb. Not sure if they were showing why you shouldn’t take caravans in this photo or showing that this guy made it in a non off road caravan?
pentacost crossing early dry 2019
Us crossing the  Pentacost River crossing now, after less than 1/3 of the normal rain in the last wet season. This certainly made it an easy crossing. You couldn’t help but keep looking back at the stunning Cockburn range
mighty pentecost
This is the view of the Pentacost River from the road while crossing it.

rig with cockburn rangestunning rock formations

cockburn lookout
A nice stone platform everyone used for photos on the side of the road.
homemade allergy mask
The Dr at Wyndham Hospital gave me steroids and told me to do the Gibb River Rd in a  ” mask and with my eyes closed” to reduce allergic response to dust, smoke and pollens! This is my home made mask. I keep my eyes open though as there is too much beauty to miss!

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 station sign

home valley station entry
Entry to home valley station
home valley station pool
The pool area at Home Valley station
home valley station restaurant and bar
The bar and restaurant area.
home valley station bar decor
decor at the restaurant

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.

pentacost river with cockburn range
View of Pentacost River and Cockburn Range from bush camp.
cockburn and pentecost at sunset
Views from camp
pentecost camp view
Low tide on the Pentacost River camp
Brown falcon 4
Brown Falcon
pentecost at low tide
The Pentacost was tidal and it was interesting watching how fast the water came in and what came in with it!
swimming against the tide
Tide coming in with mud skippers jumping out of the shallow water and up stream.

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.

sandstone shrike thrush
Sandstone Shrike Thrush
chestnut breasted mannikin
Chestnut Breasted Mannikin

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!bindoola pool

bindoola falls walk bottom pool
Bindoola lower pool. It was full of big fish that would nip at you if you stood too still. We think it was only exfoliation fish again, but they were so big it hurt! We stayed here and relaxed for awhile and then met a friendly Melbourne couple the Andersons that were traveling in the same direction.
bindoola falls walk
The walk over wet season dry river bed to Bindoola falls pool
the Andersons in their military buggy gibb
The Anderson’s, Terry and Kath that we met at the pool had the most interesting vehicle we had seen on the road!

 

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.

durack river free camp gibb river rd
Our view at free camp on the Durack River

We left our free camp after breakfast but didn’t get far because Steve noticed the sign below.

scones sign gibb river rd
Anyone who knows Steve knows he could not drive past this place, so we stopped in at Ellenbrae station for morning tea.
Ellenbrae
It was a lovely little haven which felt like a station homestead (unlike Home Valley and El Questro)
double bared finch
The double barred and star and crimson finches kept us entertained while we sampled the nice tea and scones. This place is pretty low key but it sold 17,000 scones last dry season( that’s 3 months)!

 

One thought on “Gibb River Rd

  1. Hi there,

    Another amazing highlight.

    Love Glenda

    On Sun, Jun 23, 2019 at 6:47 AM Maddy and Steve Norman’s gap year wrote:

    > maddyrichter posted: “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 ” >

    Like

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