The Gibb River Road
One epic four-wheel-drive adventure through one of the last true wilderness areas on earth.
The Gibb River Road is one of Australia’s most unique four-wheel-drive challenges. This legendary 660-kilometre stock route was originally built for droving cattle to Wyndham or Derby. Today, it’s an epic adventure exploring the Kimberley’s magnificent gorges, authentic outback cattle stations, ancient Aboriginal culture and captivating pioneering history.
Day 1: Broome
It’s a short hop by air from Perth to Broome. Flights depart daily from Perth, and get you there within two and a half hours. Regular direct flights to Broome are also available from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
On arrival, hire a 4WD and explore the town while preparing yourself for a truly unique outback adventure.
It’s worth spending a day or two exploring the exotic pearling port of Broome, soaking up the melting pot of cultures and enjoying the beauty of Broome’s world-famous Cable Beach.
Day 2: Broome to Derby
When you’re ready to start your Gibb River Road adventure, head for Derby – an easy two-hour drive by sealed road from Broome.
As the first town settled in the Kimberley, Derby offers some unique insights into the region’s convict and colonial eras at the Boab Prison Tree and Wharfinger’s House Museum.
The Royal Flying Doctor Base and Kimberley School of the Air offer a glimpse of modern life on the edge of a vast outback wilderness.
At sunset, head to the jetty to witness some of the largest tidal movements in the southern hemisphere.
Choose from local station stays, or hotel, motel, bed and breakfast and camping options.
Stay an extra night and hop on a half-day scenic flight of two of the world’s Horizontal Waterfalls and the 1,000 islands and islets of the Buccaneer Archipelago.
Day 3: Derby to Windjana Gorge National Park
Be sure to stock up on fuel, food and water supplies before leaving Derby.
The first 70 kilometres of the Gibb are sealed, then it’s 4WD all the way until you hit bitumen 30 kilometres from Kununurra.
Your first stop is Windjana Gorge National Park, situated within the Napier Ranges – part of an ancient reef system formed around 350 million years ago.
Explore the 3.5 kilometre walk trail to view its sheer 100 metre walls revealing fossils of primeval lifeforms and its cool pools that support an abundance of wildlife.
Follow the road south to nearby Tunnel Creek National Park, WA’s oldest cave system.
Allow at least an hour and a half to take a torch-lit walk through the 750-metre tunnel and its subterranean world of bats and fresh water crocodiles.
Wear sneakers and prepare to get wet.
You’ll need to return to Windjana Gorge National Park to camp, where facilities include toilets, showers and firewood.
Day 4: Windjana Gorge National Park to Bell Gorge
Head into the Kimberley highlands and stop at Lennard Gorge for a morning walk or swim.
It’s just a 30-minute walk to view the gorge, and an additional 15-minute steep climb to get to the water’s edge.
Your destination, Bell Gorge, is considered to be one of the Kimberley’s most spectacular attractions, with a cascading 100-metre waterfall, inviting swimming pools and breathtaking cliff-top views.
Camp under the clear Kimberley night skies at Silent Grove campsite, or travel a little further to Mount Hart Homestead.
Both offer showers, flushing toilets and drinking water, however Mount Hart offers more comfort in the heritage homestead – they are a good base for exploring the bushwalking and canoeing trails of Wunaamin Miliwundi Ranges Conservation Park.
Day 5: Bell Gorge to Manning Gorge
Take the short drive to Galvans Gorge for a short bushwalk to spectacular granite outcrops and lily-filled waterways.
Continue on to Mount Barnett Roadhouse to pay your park entry and camping fees.
Follow the markers and allow some time to walk from the campground to Manning Gorge where you can explore the falls and Aboriginal rock art and take a refreshing swim in the tranquil pools.
Camp overnight at Manning Gorge.
Day 6: Manning Gorge to Drysdale River Station
Take a detour off the Gibb River Road along Kalumburu Road to the biodiverse wilderness of Mitchell River National Park.
Make an early morning swim stop at the Gibb River crossing before continuing on to your base at Drysdale River Station.
Explore the rainforests and open woodlands surrounding the station on foot, or go fishing on the river banks.
Choose from cabin-style accommodation or camping sites in the station grounds.
Day 7: Drysdale River Station
Take a scenic flight over the coastal canyons of the Prince Regent River – a haven for more than half of the Kimberley’s native mammal and bird species and home to some of Australia’s most dramatic coastal gorges and cascading waterfalls, circle Mitchell Falls and get an eagle’s eye view of the dramatic Kimberley coastline.
For an extended Mitchell Plateau adventure, see the North Kimberley 4WD Experience itinerary.
Day 8: Drysdale River Station to Home Valley Station
Return to the Gibb River Road to reach your next destination, Home Valley Station.
Hit the walk trails and start exploring the magnificent landscapes of this three-million-acre outback oasis, nestled at the foot of the spectacular Cockburn Range.
Join a sunset tour for a sundowner like no other, watching the light play on the mighty Cockburn Ranges as they turn from brilliant reds to deep purples.
Powered and non-powered camping sites are available, with access to showers, toilets, gas barbecues and a bar serving drinks and meals.
Day 9: Home Valley Station
Take in the striking views of Cockburn Range on a horse riding tour. Venture through ancient gorges and ranges to inviting plunge pools. Or chase barramundi in some of Australia’s top fishing spots – the Pentecost River.
Just remember to soak in the unforgettable scenery and be inspired by the spirit of the region’s indigenous Aboriginal people.
Day 10: Home Valley Station to El Questro Wilderness Park
On your way to your last station stay, stop for a swim at Durack River crossing, fish for barramundi at Jack’s Waterhole or take in the expansive views of the Cockburn Ranges and Pentecost River.
Set on one million acres, El Questro Wilderness Park extends deep into the unexplored heart of the Kimberley.
For the perfect introduction, take a sunset cruise to Chamberlain Gorge.
Accommodation varies from camping and safari tent accommodation to self-contained cabins and the five-star homestead.
The park has a basic provisions store and a steakhouse restaurant.
Day 11: El Questro Wilderness Park
Take a relaxing soak in the thermal pools at Zebedee Springs – just a short walk through the pre-historic forest of Livistona and pandanus palms.
Discover the region’s ancient Windjana Aboriginal rock art or join local guides on a hike to Emma Gorge – one of the Kimberley’s most spectacular and accessible gorges. Other El Questro highlights include four wheel drive safaris to the spectacular Cockburn Ranges, afternoon cruises along Chamberlain Gorge or try your luck at hooking a one-metre barramundi.
Day 12: El Questro Wilderness Park to Kununurra
The final stretch of the Gibb River Road brings you to the east Kimberley hub of Kununurra, where you can extend your adventure to view two of the Kimberley’s most extraordinary sights – Lake Argyle and the Bungle Bungle Range.
Jump aboard an afternoon cruise and explore the big waters and little islands of Lake Argyle – the largest man-made lake in the southern hemisphere.
Day 13: Kununurra
Take a full day to explore one of the world’s most curious land forms, the Bungle Bungle Range of World Heritage listed Purnululu National Park.
A thrilling helicopter flight will afford you the best views of the range and enough time to touch down and explore this ancient marvel on foot.
Day 14: Kununurra
If you have time before your return flight to Perth, browse Kununurra’s Aboriginal art galleries, jewellers and sandalwood crafts, and enjoy lunch at a café, pub or the local distillery.
Or venture a little further out to Mirima National Park (often referred to as the mini Bungle Bungle Range), along with 600 million year old Zebra Rock, Kelly’s Knob Lookout (the top spot for sunsets) and the local’s favourite summer swimming hole, Black Rock Falls.