Well we ventured into Kununurra after our trip into the Bungle Bungles. We stayed at the Kimberly Land Top Tourist Caravan Park and found this park of high quality, the price after member discount was $43 on. We had a good site with lake views not far. While in Kununurra we did the local tourist stuff, visiting Hoochery Distillery, Sandlewood shop, Ivanhoe crossing (closed) and caught up with Karen’s step sister (Julie) and her family and also had tea at Cheech (ex Dongra) and his family.
We then headed off to El Questro which is at the start of the Gibb River, it is bitumen most of the way except for the last 19km. This part of the road was meant to be good and was in most parts but had large sections of corrugated road and also 3 water crossings. No real problems as we had lowered the tyres pressure and the deepest part was only to the sidesteps of the cruiser. We did get a bit of water into the side storage boxes on the van, but these are an aftermarket item and only stored item that weren’t affected by the water
Last River Crossing on way to El Questro
We originally booked in for 4 nights at a non powered site at $22 pp pn plus $20 pp wilderness pass(7 days), being a 4 night stay you then receive a 20% discount. We then extended the stay on two seperate occasions totalling 6 nights but on the last occasion they gave us two extra nights at a cost of $8.80 ( we didn’t complain).
We were lucky enough to get a riverside site and gathered wood for a nightly fire.
This Gorge is about 3.2 km return and takes about 2 hours with out stoppages. This Gorge is a very popular with large volumes of people. It has a swimming spot about 200m from Emma’s Gorge.
Swimming spot about 200m from Emma Gorge
Pentecost River and Hove Valley Station
We drove out to Home Valley Station after completing Emma Gorge, to get there you must drive through the Pentecost River. I must admit I was expecting this River to be a bit higher and more difficult and might have even been more shallower than the entry to El Questro. Home Valley is 9km past here and is similar to El Questro but not as many attractions nearby.
Pentecost River Crossing
This Gorge is 3.4 km return and has a nice swimming spot at the end and around the half way point.The second half of this Gorge is a little more challenging than some of the others with some walks on cliff edges and some rock climbing , it is also the place we had a near miss with a small snake. On the way back we were crossing the water using stepping stones Karen was in front and was in the motion of stepping onto the next stone she saw a snake ( baby about 30cm long) there but was committed to the landing the snake wrapped around Karen’s shoe. Luckily it was trying to get away as much as Karen was trying to flick it off and it swam away. For me it was like slow motion to far back to do anything but I saw it hanging there and heard Karen’s scream and even thought about getting the camera out but I was to slow. I must say we packed a compression bandage for future hikes.
This is only a short 1km return through dense palm to small thermal pools. These are only open from 7am until 12 and are extremely popular. We visited these twice on the second occasion we arrived early to make most of the warm waters.
El Questro Gorge
This Gorge is 6.8km return or 2.6 return at the half way mark, we only completed the halfway mark as the second half required swimming with your gear and then climbing from the water wedging yourself up to the top of 3 meters rocks. Then we were told it was even harder behind that and not want to risk injury we piked out. This Gorge I found to be the most picturesque from nearly the start until the finish.
Half way poolLook how clear the water is, look hard to see the fish
Explosion Gorge and Brankos Lookout
This is a 4×4 drive of 34km and is well worth the drive, Explosion Gorge is on the Chamberlain River and Brankos Lookout is a steep drive overlooking gorges further downstream. To do this trip you must cross the Chambelain River which takes about 5 minutes in low range crossing over large rocks.
Chamberlain River Crossing
View from a Broncos Lookout
The view from Bronkos Lookout at the very private El Questro Homestead ($2000 pn)
Pidgeon Hole Lookout
This Lookout is located past the private camping sites and overlooks the Pentecost River
Saddleback Ridge Lookout
Is located 6km from our campsite and gives a 360 view of the whole area. The access is extremely steep and rocky and is completed in low range 4×4. They say you can walk it but why would you.
Saddleback Ridge Lookout
We stopped off here to try out the new fishing reel and lures, unfortunately we didn’t have any luck
We can thoroughly recommend El Questro for a visit and well worth 4 days (we stayed 7), they have live music most nights and a happy hour. We went up one night and enjoyed pizza night and most nights they had a good crowds.
On our last night we had the Posty Bike Gibb River group camp next to us, this was over 30 bikes and is used to raise funds for charity.
Posty Bike Run