When it comes to the Kimberley’s most iconic track, driving the Gibb is only half the adventure. Here are the best side trips to include if you’re looking to have the ultimate Gibb River Road experience.
1. Windjana Gorge
The first major detour driving from Derby, Windjana Gorge is actually a remnant from a 375-million-year-old reef leftover from the Devonian age. Spanning 3.5km and complemented by various pools which connect during the Wet, the red and black cliffs of the gorge are an imposing sight that is well worth the 20km journey south.
2. Tunnel Creek
Less than 35km south of Windjana Gorge is another natural phenomenon: Tunnel Creek Cave. Carved out by Tunnel Creek as it eroded the fickle limestone of the Napier Range, the 750m walk through the cave is a fascinating experience that takes travellers from one side of the range to the other.
3. Mount Hart
Situated on the edge of the King Leopold Ranges, Mount Hart is a unique homestead surrounded by several attractions and natural beauty. The 50km journey from the Gibb River Road to the homestead is a sign of things to come, with travellers treated to some sensational views as they wend their way through the base of the ranges. Around Mount Hart are plenty of gorges, waterholes and a place called Sunset Hill, where travellers can watch the sun’s final rays bathe the landscape below in an orange blaze of glory.
4. Bell Gorge
Bell Gorge is one of the Kimberley’s most aesthetic sights, and is only a short jaunt off the main drag of the Gibb River Road. Cool waters flow down Bell Creek and over a multi-tiered fall before coming to rest in a deep, round pool, which is framed by vibrant red cliffs that wrap around this idyllic spot. Visitors can picnic, take endless photographs and swim to their heart’s content, with camping available at Silent Grove back towards the Gibb.
5. Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary
A naturalist’s dream and a refuge for hundreds of bird species, Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary is an 80km sojourn south of the Gibb. The sanctuary protects vast tracts of unspoilt wilderness and encompasses a variety of environs, which travellers can best explore by foot to spy some rare birds, as well as reach the brilliant Dimond and Sir John gorges.
6. The Munja Track
Those in search of a technical and rugged 4WD track to sink their teeth into should traverse the Munja Track, which curves north from Mount Elizabeth to Walcott Inlet. Rocky and tight in many areas, driving the Munja is a remote off-road experience that will take a few days to drive the 209km to its end at the coastline.
7. Mitchell Plateau
One of the Kimberley’s most iconic sights is also one of the most difficult to reach, taking travellers 263km from the Gibb River Road along corrugated tracks to the plateau’s famous waterfalls. Mitchell Falls and lesser-known Merten and Little Merten Falls can be reached by helicopter or by a reasonable walk, with the former’s magnificent multi-tiered flow making the entire trip worthwhile.
8. Diggers Rest
A working cattle station that’s adjacent to the magnificent Cockburn Ranges, Diggers Rest Station offers visitors the chance to soak up some quintessential Kimberley landscapes from a verandah, the back of a horse or by vehicle. The station can be accessed by Wyndham or by the rough Old Karunjie Road, which is 7km from the Home Valley turnoff along the Gibb.