Riverside Camping At El Questro Station

Note: This article contains an affiliate link to TourRadar.


Last time, we looked around Wyndham, where the 5 rivers meet. Go here if you missed it.


Back On The Gibb River Road

What a contrast from our drive a week or so earlier! With the rain gone and a few sunny days, it was hard to picture our muddy drive along the Gibb River Road. Roads were dry and dusty, with little indication of the big rains that had ended only a few days earlier.

El Questro Station is at the eastern end of the Gibb River Road, about 100km from Kununurra and about 30km in from the GRR turnoff. So it’s an easy drive.

Crossing the Pentecost River at El Questro Station
Crossing the Pentecost River at El Questro Station.

It’s a working cattle station of about a million acres. Cleverly, the owners have diversified into tourism – from basic backpacker camping all the way up to homestead stays for $2,000+ per night. Not wanting to appear pretentious, we opted for camping…






About ten private bush camps are scattered along the Pentecost River, strictly on a first-come-first-served basis. By chance we scored a private campsite, away from everyone and totally secluded. Magic. Be sure to ask if one is available when you get to El Questro.

The "driveway" into our private campsite. El Questro Station Kimberleys.
The “driveway” into our private campsite. Will have to get the gardener to re-arrange those river stones!
Our campsite nestled in under trees, right on the edge of the Pentecost River. El Questro Station
Our campsite nestled in under trees, right on the edge of the Pentecost River.
View from our camp. Plenty of firewood for a campfire. El Questro Station
View from our camp. Plenty of firewood for a campfire, but – horror of horrors – we forgot to buy marshmallows!
Perfect spot to anchor one's backside then lie back in the water & relax! El Questro Station
After much thought and construction, we dammed the river – sort of. We had a perfect spot with a large rock on which to anchor one’s backside then lie back in the current and relax!
The "Rapids Of Death" at our campsite, El Questro Station Kimberleys.
A few modifications and we had our own “Rapids Of Death”.
Cattle crossing downstream. El Questro Station Kimberleys.
Cattle crossing downstream from our campsite.

So what can you do at El Questro?

Having seen our share of gorges in the past few months, we were all gorged out. So we opted to do the self-drives around the station instead. El Questro provide a mud-map of all the tracks. Make sure you get one on the way in.


How About A Bush Spa?

If you’re looking for the ultimate relaxation surrounded by Livistonia palms and nature, Zebedee Thermal Springs is a must-see. The springs are an easy drive from the camping area. You’ll reach a bush car park then take a short walk up through a stand of Livistonia palms. The last part is a scramble over some rocks. All pretty easy.






Warm water at about 28 – 30°C runs out of the rocks in a mountain range, down over a series of rocks and pools to form magnificent bathing pools.

As you lie there being soothed by warm mineral water, you can gaze up into a thick canopy of Livistonia palms with a backdrop of red cliffs. Told you it was good!

The hardest decision you’ll have to make is when to leave – it’s not easy to drag yourself away.

Lush vegetation on the walk to Zebedee Springs. El Questro Station Kimberleys.
Lush vegetation on the walk to Zebedee Springs.
Lush vegetation on the walk to Zebedee Springs. El Questro Station Kimberleys.
The red cliff walls appear from behind the trees.
Magnificent backdrop to Zebedee Springs. El Questro Station Kimberleys.
Magnificent backdrop to Zebedee Springs.
 Ahhh, life's tough! Water is 28 - 30 deg. C. El Questro Station Kimberleys.
Ahhh, life’s tough! Water is 28 – 30 deg.
 Looking up into the cliffs at Zebedee Springs. El Questro Station Kimberleys.
Looking up into the cliffs at Zebedee Springs.


Moonshine Gorge

The track into Moonshine Gorge was fun, with some deep creek crossings. There’s a large swimming hole surrounded by red cliffs. A beautiful spot.

Crossing a creek on the way to Moonshine Gorge. El Questro Station Kimberleys.
Crossing a creek on the way to Moonshine Gorge.
Moonshine Gorge, El Questro Station Kimberleys.
Moonshine Gorge.
Moonshine Gorge, El Questro Station Kimberleys.
Moonshine Gorge.


Branco Crossing – Collecting Water In A Ute

Branco Crossing is a really long, rocky crossing over the Chamberlain River. It was closed due to high water levels, strong currents and the sighting of a very large saltwater crocodile. This croc was living around the crossing.

As an aside, we spoke to a family who had been out to Branco Crossing. Their young son had walked about halfway across before turning around. When we told them about the saltie, they all turned white! You can never be too careful in these parts.

Branco Crossing, El Questro Station Kimberleys.
This is Branco Crossing which crosses the Chamberlain River. It was closed due to high water levels, strong currents and the sighting of a very large saltie here. This station ute turned up to see if it was okay to re-open.
Ute on Branco Crossing, El Questro Station Kimberleys.
Just after this was taken, the driver stopped and opened his door. Realising there was water rushing in around his ankles he quickly shut the door, reversed out of the water, opened his door to let the water out, wrung out his socks and boots then proceeded across. Next time he might find it easier just to wind his window down and have a look…


Chamberlain Gorge

Next on the list was Chamberlain Gorge. This country is how we had imagined the Kimberleys – mountain ranges, vast plains of grass and big rivers.

The Homestead sits on a cliff above the river with extraordinary views all around. At over $2,000 per night, we decided to give it a miss…

Chamberlain Gorge, El Questro Station Kimberleys.
Chamberlain Gorge. Love those pandanus palms!
Chamberlain Gorge, El Questro Station Kimberleys.
Chamberlain Gorge.
Chamberlain Gorge, El Questro Station Kimberleys.
Chamberlain Gorge is a beautiful place.


Station Lookout

A proper hill at last! You take a pretty steep rocky track up to the lookout. Once there, you can see a long way in every direction – well worth the drive up. And a popular place to take in the sunset.

Looking down on El Questro Station from Station Lookout. Kimberleys.
Looking down on El Questro Station from Station Lookout.
 View from Station Lookout, El Questro Station Kimberleys.
View from Station Lookout.


Pigeon Hole Lookout

Here you’ll get an awesome view of the Pentecost River after it meets the Chamberlain River. Huge red cliff walls and the Cockburn Ranges in the distance – aahhh the Kimberleys!

Pentecost River from Pigeon Hole Lookout, El Questro Station Kimberleys.
Pentecost River from Pigeon Hole Lookout – looking downstream.
Pentecost River from Pigeon Hole Lookout, El Questro Station Kimberleys.
Pentecost River from Pigeon Hole Lookout – looking upstream.


Final Words

We only scratched the surface of things to see at El Questro Station. A late Wet season meant we couldn’t cross some of the rivers to explore further. You could easily spend a couple of weeks here, just chilling out and exploring.






El Questro was a pleasant surprise. It’s really well set up, catering to all types of tourists… and our private campsite was up there with the best campsites we’ve stayed at.

Red winged parrot, El Questro Station Kimberleys.
Red winged parrot having a feed.


If you’re looking for Kimberley tours, cruises or places to stay, TourRadar have a good selection for you to choose from.

Next time: We’ve prepared a Gibb River Road Traveller’s Guide for those of you who are thinking about crossing it off your bucket list.

Any questions or comments? Go to the Comments below or join us on Facebook or Twitter.

Any errors or omissions are mine alone.


For more great articles on Outback Australia, go here.


 

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