We spent a lot of this morning reconnecting with our various technological gadgets but finally got ourselves organized to check out El Questro Gorge, which is about 90 km from Kununnura.
This meant that, finally, we actually drove on the Gibb River Road! This is a famous 4WD road that stretches east-west through the Kimberley. It was originally built to link isolated cattle stations between Derby in the west and Wyndham in the east, but it was always a pretty rudimentary road, particularly once the parallel National Highway was built. It is billed as one of the last true adventure roads in Australia so naturally we were very keen on driving all 647 km of it.
Eventually however we realized we would not have enough time to do that so planned to satisfy ourselves by doing the first section at each end. (Do I need to mention that both those sections are the paved sections? Do I need to remind myself that we didn’t have the gumption to do the middle 600 km which is unpaved and where the real adventure is??)
The first bit at the west end is from Derby to the Winjanner Gorge cut-off but you’ll recall we had to cancel that because of closed roads. Today however we were able to get on at the east end and we finally drove on the famous road, at least for the first 30-odd km to get to the El Questro Gorge.
We had a nice hike through this high, narrow and lush green canyon, ending with a swim in a cool little fresh-water pool. We didn’t actually get to the end of the canyon since a huge boulder had fallen into the water pool and blocked the trail. I gather more nimble people can somehow scramble over the boulder and continue on, but we decided to err on the side of caution and turned back at that point.
But, at least we can say we’ve driven on the Gibb River Road (or, as Peter keeps calling it, the Gibbs River Road.)