Grab a double shot of coffee where back on the Gibb
The cruiser is set back up in camper mode, up early to drop the van off, the property the van is camping on for the next 10 days is 10km’s out of Derby and a few km up the Gibb River Rd. The first 100km of the Gibb is tar so easy driving up to just before the turn off to Tunnel creek where the dirt begins so it’s time to drop the tyre pressures, the smooth driving is over. Driving past the entrance of Windjana Gorge where we would come back to camp for the night, we could see dust in the distance we soon came head to head with a road train full of cattle so a quick exit off the road till the dust settled, dirt was sliding down the windscreen like water, those trucks really get a work out on these roads.
Preparing for our walk through Tunnel creek some fella asks me if there are crocs in the creek, no mate too cold in there, hmm maybe I shouldn’t be so confident & ask someone myself ‘O’ well I’ll send the kids in first. Everyone has a torch ( new batteries would have been a good idea ) we went into the tunnel, first in the water yep its cold so we waded through the creek to the other end, in places it was waist deep. At the other end we stopped for morning tea, the fella I spoke to outside came through not long afterwards & happened to mention that there were crocs swimming around in there, we didn’t see any but we weren’t looking for them either, great, now we’ve got to walk back it was a good thing the batteries were going flat in the torches by the time we got to the other end they were all flat we waited for others to come through to follow them out. :o Walking back to the car the temp was around 35 deg so it didn’t take long to dry off.
On the way to Windjana we stopped at the old police station ruins, had a walk around & read up on the history of the area. Josh actually did an assignment later in the year when he was at school in Karratha on this part of our trip so he could relate his experience to the class.
It is really getting hot now so we waited a few hours before setting up the tent. As the afternoon cooled we went for a walk up Windjana Gorge while we were walking along the water’s edge there where fresh water crocs floating in the water we saw 20-30 crocs that afternoon & got some good photos of Josh & I up close to them.Bell Gorge
Our plans up the Gibb were to miss every 2nd walk/gorge & visit them on the way back, so the next stop was at Lennard Gorge, we walk up & down hills to a look out over the gorge & a water fall, there wasn’t anywhere to swim so back to the car to cool down. Driving onto Silent Grove camping area, the drive through the King Leopold Ranges was fantastic the views were great. There is a rock formation called Queen Victoria Range the formation looks like the Queens head from both directions these are the little things that the kids will always remember. We set up camp then went to Bell Gorge a 10 km drive up the road were we then walked to the top of the water fall of Bell Gorge, there were people swimming below the falls so we all climbed down, Josh & I swam out under the falls, after a while we went back up to the top of the falls & swam there, by this stage we were the only ones there, it’s amazing how many times we are in a beautiful spot in this great country & we end up there by ourselves it may only be for a while but we get that special moment. Back to camp for a feed & off to bed, so far the road isn’t too rough corrugated but we can sit on around 80kmh most of the time. As we left camp the next morning & got back on to the Gibb we saw our first brown snake for the trip so we slowed down to take a look he isn’t happy let’s keep going.
Fuelling up at Mount Barnett Roadhouse (diesel $2:05 per litre) & an ice cream, we drove through to where the Gibb & the Kalumburu Rd meet, there we had lunch this is the turn off to go to Mitchell Falls & the road (that’s what the locals call it) gets very rough. It was not too far where we crossed the actual Gibb River then we stopped at Drysdale station and booked into their cheap campground camp ground for the night, 3kms up the road at Minors pool. Kylie, Josh & Clare decided to go for a walk & find somewhere to swim, Josh ends up swimming in a narrow part of the river & Kylie sat on the bank with her feet in the water next thing a 2meter fresh water croc swims past so he yells DON’T SPLASH to Kylie stay still, so she decided to scare the croc away as a good mum would & splashed, the croc turned & looked straight at them then swam towards them, still yelling at his mother while she was laughing when they got back to camp he calmed down then found the funny side of the moment.Mitchell Falls
The next morning we headed off towards Mitchell Falls the road was so rough that I thought the poor cruiser was going to break in half, the corrugations were about a metre apart & 300-400 mm high so we had to do 70kmh to get up on top of the ruts. For the next 5 hours we got thrashed, I stopped a few times to check the roof rack still had our stuff on top & starting off again was unbelievable to get back up to speed, I have never been so exhausted from driving as I was on this road.
Arriving at Mitchell Falls camp ground we had a walk around and found that about 1km from camp there was a swimming hole so we headed off for a swim, beautiful spot, we made Kylie go in first so Josh could splash. The next morning we walked through to Mitchell falls got some great photos & found a great spot to swim for the day we met a few people from Qld. There are chopper flights over the falls where you can fly in/walk out or walk in/fly out we did the walk in walk out with me as our tour guide, this was the longest walk we had done so far 8.5kms in 35+ degrees heat.
Gibb River Camp
Leaving the next morning we weren’t looking forward to our drive out so we got cracking & got to Drysdale station for more fuel ($2:08 per litre), exhausted we stopped on the Gibb River and set up the tent about 30meters from the river bank, Josh was concerned about camping too close to the water, I think he is still a bit paranoid. Later that arvo Josh went up the track a bit to crack his whip when out of know where this massive bull turned up, the whip cracking upset him & he’s looking for Josh (so I pointed him in the right direction), I ran for the car to cut him off if he decided to chase Josh, Josh hid behind a tree until he left. We are still laughing about this trip it was so exciting. Later that night we climbed into bed & as I lay there I could hear noises from the river (bugger Josh may have been right). The next morning went I woke up, I checked the bottom of the sleeping bag yep 2 legs it was a good night.Manning Gorge
After a slow pack up we set off back to Mount Barnet roadhouse, Manning Gorge camp ground is 7kms out the back of the roadhouse which was where we planned to stay for the night. We stopped at the Gibb & Kalumburu intersection for some photos of the Gibb River road sign, WOW smooth road, well it was a lot better, 90km one arm on the wheel this in livin. When we got to the road house & we booked a spot the lady behind the counter gave us info for the walk to the gorge, first we need to swim across a river with our cloths in something that floats, ok, then with a cheeky smile on her face she said don’t worry about the crocs there friendly, just another day in paradise.
So we set up camp again went down to the river for a swim & there was lots of bait in the river already, this looks safe, Josh you go first ok just don’t splash. After a few hours of swimming & we got more info about the walk the next day, we had an early night.
Leaving at 6am the water was fresh, out the other side we put on our walking boots & 2 hours later we arrived at the gorge & water fall, absolutely the best spot yet, straight in for a swim, we jumped off the rocks that were 3-4 meters into the water, it was so deep you couldn’t see the bottom, we swam out under the falls & finally got Kylie to swim under the falls, we spent 4 hours there, oh well doesn’t look like were moving on today. Walking back to camp was hot work so it was nice to swim back across the river, that’s where we spent the rest of the day.The next morning we packed up the tent for the last time this adventure & set off for Derby & back to the van. We stopped at Galvan’s gorge a beautiful spot for a swim. No punctures this time until we got to Derby & we got a nail in 1 tyre, the cruiser held up very well it still doesn’t have any rattles or squeaks which is surprising with the roads it has been on.
Having problems uploading photos so stay tuned.