Riverside Camping At El Questro Station
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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!
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.
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 errors or omissions are mine alone.