The unforgettable Gibb River Road – Part 2 of 2

In Part 1 we had made our way to the Mitchell Falls camp ground in the amazing Kimberley. We had been shaken around the car, been covered in mud and were having the time of our lives. After a sleepless night I decided to make my way into Mitchell Falls at around 9:30 the next day to see it for the first time. The anticipation was ever high. My family and I walked together to a smaller waterfall called Little Mertens Falls where we all had a swim and cooled off, it was already 32 degrees. From there we split up, I continued to Mitchell Falls where as my wife, Belinda, and two daughters, Chloe and Lili, hung around in the water and made there way back to camp later on. I briskly walked the four kilometers but in retrospect I was a bit late in the day, it was hot and dry. I made it to the top of Big Mertens Falls, which is just before Mitchell Falls, to find a bit of water passing over the escarpment. I quickly made my way to the top of Mitchell and just stood in ore of the sound, the falls were roaring. At this point, I still couldn’t see the actual falls, but the sound and the water spray bellowing up through the gorge were a sight to behold. It was at this point I knew the conditions were excellent, I just laughed to myself, how lucky I was to be in that moment.

I quickly made my way around and crossed the knee deep river feeding the falls to the viewing areas on the side of the cliffs, my jaw dropped, the falls were pumping. So much more water than I had anticipated was charging down the four tiers, this is the most impressive waterfall. I then set about finding a vantage point for photographs, which proved to be difficult. A few hours later I then walked back out, in the hottest part of the day, a bit of a mistake, with plans to venture back the next morning.

To see the best of the light at the falls I needed to see it at dawn. I left our campsite in thr dark at 4am, to allow me to get into the falls with enough time, the results did not dissapoint and it was much cooler. The day after our whole family walked in together to experience this amazing place. This really created a highlight of the trip for us all, I am also very proud of my 4 and 6 year old for making it in there. That same day we decided to tackle the track to Walsh Point, on the coast of the Kimberley. This is by far the roughest road we have travelled on this trip so far. Low range was a necessity for much of the two hour journey.

The next day we packed up and made our way out for a quick stop over a Drysdale again. We pushed further south the day after to reach Manning Falls near Mt Barnett Station, back on the Gibb. This is just another fine example of the Kimberley, great waterfall, crystal clear flowing water and a rich red and yellow gorge.

The next day would see us move again, we were running low on supplies and wanted to see the best on offer. We settled at Bell Gorge, another amazing spot of which we all walked into for great swimming and photographs. The water even down in this area was flowing well and the area was pristine. We stayed here for two nights and took a very worth while side trip to Lennard River Gorge.

The tracks were easier further down the Gibb but the road into Lennard included a tricky little river crossing and a challenging walk in. But the outlook once in there was very worthwhile. The next day we briefly visited Windjana Gorge but the weather was unseasonably wet. We decided to head into Derby.

Before we knew it our Gibb experience was done, we bumped back onto the sealed road with a thud and just like that we had made the adventure of the Gibb a reality. I would highly recommend the journey in this part of Australia to anyone with a 4×4, just keep your tyre pressure down. This is a tough road with many tough tracks leading off it. We met countless parties travelling each way and many had suffered serious car damage. For us It is all about the great memories that we have created as a family, the places we visited and the fact that we have done it. We were simply blown away by the locations, I believe some of the best in Australia can be found along the infamous Gibb, we will be back, one day.

Paul Kowalski

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