Gibb River Road Area Tourism & Travel
Gibb River Road Australia
'Saddles and faded swags on a veranda. Historic homesteads and fresh new environmental attitudes. Homemade meals and beers in outdoor bars. Tented nights listening to the silence and then the birdsong of dawn. Cosseting, cool homestead rooms. Gorges which paint deep red reflections on still water. Wandjina images and the dreamy red road.' - wrote Stephen Scourfield WAN and renowned author - who obviously shares our deep love of the Kimberley and its people.Gorge country is found along the rugged Gibb River Road. Really a 600km long 'bush track' that connects the remote Kimberley cattle stations to Derby and Kununurra. It allows superb access to the virtually untouched natural assets of the Kimberley wilderness. Some of the most spectacular scenery on earth, and so recently 'discovered' that it is yet to be made into national parks. The road cuts through King Leopold Range, Philips Range, Barnett Range, Gibb Range, Mosquito Hills, Pentecost Range and Cockburn Range. Wildlife concentrates around the densely vegetated waterholes, creeks and many gorges, including fresh water crocodiles, green tree snakes, tortoises and archer fish. However you 'do' the Gibb River Road - it is an outback 4WD adventure never to be forgotten.
Gibb River Road Derby Kununurra
The Gibb River Road begins off the Great Northern Highway, north of Broome and south Derby and continues as an unmade red earth track, suitable only for large 4WD vehicles, to the junction of the Great Northern highway between Wyndham and Kununurra.
Gibb River Road Access
The Gibb River Road is traversable only between from approximately May to October, due to the dramatic summer weather conditions experienced in Australias North West. The rugged terrain of the Gibb River Road is a southern hemisphere winter adventure option for both 4WD enthusiasts and those eager to soak in the rich history and stunning scenery of the ranges, waterfalls, gorges, rock pools, caves and wildlife in the last frontier that is Australias North West.
The Gibb River Road is sealed only for the first 60km of the western end and although the rest may be regularly graded, interesting corrugations are the norm. Limited supplies are available along the route; it is essential to be self-sufficient and well prepared.
Gibb River Road History
The Kimberley Region of Australia's North West is one of the world's last true wilderness areas and Australia's least disturbed area, only being settled by white man as late as the 1890's. Until the late 1960s, movement of cattle for export from Kimberley stations was totally dependent on 'road conditions' - and here there were no roads - only rough tracks with river crossings and high jump ups. The Gibb River Road was cut through virgin bush to help cattle export through the outback Kimberley ports of Wyndham, Derby and Broome. The government of Western Australia contracted supplies of heavy earthmoving machinery; brought in white fella labour and hired local aboriginal people, such as the legendary Sam Lovell. White fellas and aboriginal fellas worked side by side, building what started as a utility road for the beef industry, and what has become one of the most iconic remote self-drive 4WD tracks in the world.Cutting the 647 km long Gibb River Road through the red dirt of the Kimberley outback wilderness caused the white fella to find and see things never before dreamed of: Sacred sites of different aboriginal language people, magnificent ancient art sites were discovered and incredible rivers, gorges, waterfalls and pockets of rain forest became accessible along the West Kimberley side, off the Gibb River Road. Sam Lovell was one of the young fellas who worked alongside the white fellas to build the Gibb River Road. Sam Lovell is now much honoured and revered for his contribution to understanding Australia's North West and Sam Lovell AO is regarded as the father of Indigenous Tourism in Western Australia.The ports and abattoirs of Derby, Broome and Wyndham thrived until the mid 1980s with the seasonal Kimberley cattle exports. As tourism grew in the Kimberley In the 1990s the Government of Western Australia came very close to black top surfacing the Gibb River Road. Fortunately, the Hon Minister for Tourism, Norman Moore heeded advice that the adventure and romance of the Kimberley would only be sustained if 'The Gibb' was left to be an adventurous dirt track through the Kimberley outback wilderness. Derby is now the 'gateway to the Gibb River road'.
Gibb River Road Accommodation
Accommodation is very, very limited and must be prebooked; there are no wayside inns in this true outback. The fabulous Gibb River Road is not for the faint-hearted and a fully documented self drive holiday package is highly recommended.
Cattle is King in Australias North West, and traveling conditions and speed on the Gibb River Road vary dramatically. Potential hazards such as cattle and other wildlife make daylight hours the only time to travel the Gibb River Road. Then, with the right supplies, vehicle and common sense, the Gibb River Road is an awe-inspiring experience. Only open in the dry season, between May and October, there are breathtaking natural attractions and an abundance of extremely diverse flora and fauna along the length of the Gibb River Road.
Overnight stays at million acre cattle stations or outback camps, with some yarns and tails from the locals will enrich your Kimberley adventure.
Gibb River Road Gorges
The Gibb River Road allows superb access to virtually untouched natural assets of the Kimberley wilderness, the most famous being Bells Gorge, Windjana Gorge, Tunnel Creek in the West Kimberley.
The Mitchell Plateau is accessed from the Kalumburu Road, which begins some 241 km from the Kununurra end of the Gibb River Road. The Mitchell Plateau is some 232 kms along that very rough track and the Mitchell Falls are a further 83 kms away.
A road trip to Mitchell Falls needs some three days to be added to an itinerary along the Gibb River Road.
For those short of time, excellent fly-in safaris can be arranged from Derby, Broome or Kununurra.
Wandjini Art and Bradshaws Art
Aboriginal art sites such as the Wandjini and the Bradshaws are found on stations off the Gibb River Road.
On the eastern end of the Gibb River Road, just before Wyndham and the Kununurra turn off is El Questro Wilderness Park. This world famous million-acre wilderness park has three major settlements, Emma Gorge Resort, the Station Township Bungalows and the exclusively lucrative El Questro Homestead. A Wilderness Park permit is essential to enter any part of the station. Activities at El Q include boating, fishing, horse-riding, swimming, bush walking through the gorges or taking a luxury 4WD tour of the park.
However you 'do' the Gibb River Road - it is an outback 4WD adventure never to be forgotten.