The 'Gibb' and 'Gorgeous Gorges'
King Leopold Ranges, Western Australia
After spending 2 days driving back down the now heavily corrugated Kalumburu road, with Alf continuing with his handyman skills and recovery of a tourist vehicle bogged in sand, we are back on the Gibb River Road heading further west. Along the way there have been numerous wonderful stations and gorges to explore, including Royce & Sheryl stopped on the road by a helicopter mustering cattle - so it has taken us just over a week to drive the remainder 400km of the Gibb.
Our first stop was Mt Elizabeth Station, a working cattle station with a beautiful gorge to explore all on our own. We had to drive 10km down a 4WD track which took about an hour and was quite rocky and rough toward the end, however the gorge and waterfall were amazing. You had to climb down a couple of ladders to reach the water below and view some aboriginal rock art which was a real treat. At our campsite, the animals all wandered around, including a peacock displaying all its feathers! Our first very cold (1 degree) night on our trip!
Next, a couple of nights at Manning Gorge, which is a 1.5km walk in from the campsite, first taking a dinghy over the river and then a rocky track to another amazing waterfall and swimming hole. A few of the younger ones enjoyed jumping off the high rocky cliffs, however floating around in the cool (icy) water was relaxing enough for us!
You wouldn't think the sights could get any better, but everywhere we have been, we are just amazed at how different and beautiful each place is. Our next destination, Bell Gorge also left us with mouths wide open in amazement. Another 2km walk over and down steep rocky paths to reach the bottom of the gorge pool and waterfall. Wow! Such an amazingly rugged and beautiful landscape carved into the earth.
Our final stop on the Gibb was Windjana Gorge and a day trip to Tunnel Creek. What's different about Windjana is that it is quite a wide gorge and home to lots of freshwater crocodiles which come out of the water during the day to sun themselves. The ones we saw were actually quite a size - up to 2m long, so swimming here is not an option as these ones are apparently quite territorial! We saw one grab something in the water and do the 'death roll'! The walk along this gorge is like wandering through an enchanted forest - so peaceful.
Tunnel Creek, in the Napier Ranges was discovered when the white settlers were searching for an aboriginal 'freedom fighter' called Jandamarra (nicknamed Pigeon) who used this limestone tunnel as his hideout. Another amazing experience - using our headlamps and wading through knee deep water and sandy banks along the 750m tunnel underground. The Gibb River Road has truly been an amazing adventure for us and we feel priveleged to be able to experience such a remote, rugged place in all its beauty.