A Great Place To Unwind
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Last time, we discovered the secluded Galvans Gorge. Go here if you missed it.
About 15km north-west of Galvans Gorge, you’ll come to Mount Barnett Roadhouse. This is one of the few places to re-fuel, grab some supplies then camp for a few days and discover what’s here.
“What, No Diesel?”
Mount Barnett Roadhouse provides a lifeline for Gibb River Road (GRR) travellers – petrol, diesel and supplies.
We encountered a curious example of human nature at Mount Barnett Roadhouse. The roadhouse had run out of diesel. A traveller was in the roadhouse, asking when the fuel truck would arrive. The conversation went something like this.
Traveller: “When will you have diesel?”.
Roadhouse owner: “When the fuel truck arrives”.
Traveller: “When is that?”
Roadhouse owner: “Dunno. Probably in the next few days”.
Traveller: “What, tomorrow?”
Roadhouse owner: “Dunno. Depends when it gets here”.
Traveller: “But I need diesel”.
Roadhouse owner (after a few deep breaths): “Well, the fuel truck will get here when it gets here. Can’t do anything about it”.
Traveller: “But I have to go in the morning”.
Roadhouse owner: “Sorry, I can’t do anything about it. Come back tomorrow afternoon and see if the fuel truck has turned up”.
Traveller leaves grumbling.
Keep in mind Mount Barnett is about 300km from Derby and 400km from Kununurra, on a dirt road – a rough, slow dirt road when you’re pulling three trailers full of fuel. The truck drops fuel to all manner of rural properties along the way. Blowouts, punctures and mechanical breakdowns are all distinct possibilities.
Clearly the traveller had no concept of just how remote the Kimberleys are. And no clue about how difficult it is to reliably get supplies to remote places.
Relying on remote roadhouses to have fuel when you need it is just crazy. Either carry heaps of spare food in case you have to wait for fuel… or simply carry a few jerry cans.
Mount Barnett Campground is pretty basic. But that’s okay. Shade, toilets, showers, a beautiful river to swim in, a campfire (depending on the season of course) and some huge boab trees to admire – what more do you need?
Pay your camp fees at the roadhouse, then drive a few kays into the campground.
The campground is on the edge of the Manning River. So life’s pretty good when you can step out of your tent, walk 50 metres and dive into beautiful clear water.
Walking To Manning Gorge
Manning Gorge is a decent walk from the campground. When I say “decent”, I mean about 1½ hours each way. It’s not an easy walk either, cutting across some rough, rocky country. So be prepared.
Time your walk so you don’t get caught in the dark – getting lost is not my idea of fun. Take plenty of water and try not to walk in the hottest part of the day.
Starting from the campground, you have to firstly cross the Manning River. The roadhouse will lend you foam boxes when you pay your fees to visit the Gorge, You float your gear across in the foam box – while you get to swim. It’s fun! The gorge walk is clearly marked from there on.
We Made It!
If you survive the walk (only kidding!), Manning Gorge is a welcome sight. The plunge pool is huge and very deep. Some of the more adventurous were diving off high rock ledges and disappearing a very long way into the water.
The fun thing about this gorge is that you can climb up beside the waterfall, all the way to the top. So you can spend the day clambering all over the rocks and checking out what’s at the top of the waterfall.
We were there in May – just after the wet season (or so we thought!) – therefore the waterfall was flowing pretty strongly. This was an important place for the local Aboriginal people for thousands of years. With shelter, food and permanent water, it’s easy to see why.
We dragged ourselves away from Manning Gorge, refreshed and ready for the trek back to camp.
If you’re looking for Kimberley tours, cruises or places to stay, TourRadar have a good selection for you to choose from.
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