The Gibb River Road crosses the Kimberley region of northern Western Australia. Named for another titan of Australia’s formative years – this time the geologist and surveyor Andrew Gibb Maitland – the road spans 660km from the junction south of Wyndham to the town of Derby in the west.
While the Stuart Highway is in good condition for the entirety of its length, the Gibb River Road is unpredictable and hazardous. A traverse of the road – although increasingly popular with tourists – should not be taken lightly. Always use a four wheel drive vehicle on the road, bring food and water provisions for if you get stranded and watch out for bushfires in the summer months. Also, don’t bother trying to make the crossing in the wet season, as the road is likely to be flooded out.
Heading west from the Wyndham Junction you will soon come to Emma Gorge, a lovely spot for a hike or a swim. From here, continue west along the road to Ellenbrae Station, taking in the incredible views of the surrounding mountains, and then on to Manning Gorge, where you can explore the surrounding bushland and experience the haunting elegance of some of Western Australia finest examples of indigenous artwork.
If you’re a fan of expansive natural vistas – and, if you’re not, you probably should be – Mount Hart is well worth a detour. From here, it’s just a short hop to Galvans Gorge where you will find some of the best horseshoe rock formations in the state.
So far so good, but by traversing the road from east to west, you’ve saved the best for last. As natural phenomena go, there are few more impressive sights than the Windjana Gorge National Park, just a short drive away from Derby. Also located nearby is the Tunnel Creek National Park; a craggy expanse of rocks, trees and waterways which was once the haunt of the indigenous Australian leader and folk hero, Jandamarra.
After exploring Tunnel Creek, it’s time to wave goodbye to the Gibb River Road, and say hello to a well-earned beer in the town of Derby.
- El Questro Wilderness Park, to the east of the Wyndham Junction
- Home Valley Station
- King Edward River
- Punamii-unpuu (Mitchell Falls)
- Morninton Wilderness Camp
- Windjana Gorge and the waterfalls of Bell Creek
- Galvans Gorge
- Mount Hart