Source: Map courtesy of the Derby Visitor Centre – 30 Loch St. Derby
Broome Loop - The Gibb River Road and Great Northern Hwy - 19 Day Self Drive Itinerary
Broome - See our Spotlight on Broome blog for more detail on things to do in Broome. Fly into Broome and Pick up your 4WD Campervan. Here is a guide of how to approach this type of trip, it’s a guide, not everything there is to see is included, but it’s a good base to start your planning.
Travel along the Great Northern Highway and turn off onto the Derby Highway. The town of Derby is located on the tidal mud flats on the edge of the King Sound. It has the highest tidal range of any port in Australia, up to 12 metres. The town is the mining and agricultural centre of the regional. The mining industry includes lead, zinc and diamonds. The agricultural industry includes pearl and beef farming.
Famous for its boab tree, Derby is a point to access flights to the Horizontal Falls and the Buccaneer Archipelago.
Only 2 hours along the Gibb River Road is Windjana Gorge. The Lennard River formed this wide 100-metre-tall gorge through an ancient coral reef. There is a 7km loop walk to get a closer look at the fossils and the scenery.
Stay: Bandilngan Campground
Here the Isdell River has eroded its way through the mountains to form deep pools, like, Bell Gorge, for swimming as well as some stunning waterfalls.
Stay: Dalmanyi campground
Owned by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, Charnley River Station protects a diverse range of endangered wildlife. On arrival you will be given a map of the area, there are walks and 4WD trips.
Stay: Charnley River - Artesian Range Wilderness Camp
Explore Grevillea, Dillie and Donkey Hole Gorges and follow the self-guided walks.
Your first stop after you turn back onto the Gibb River Road from Charnley River Station is Galvans Gorge. Only a 5-minute walk in from the car park Galvans Gorge is one of the easiest gorges to see in the Kimberley’s, great rock art and swimming. Another 15-minute drive up the road you’ll hit Mount Barnett Roadhouse where you can stay the night, refuel and reprovision (fairly basic).
Stay: Mount Barnett Station
Walk straight from the campground to Manning Gorge and Falls, it will take you about an hour, and you should pack a lunch as you won’t be back till afternoon. You will have to cross the Manning River enroute and that entails a dinghy rope ferry, that you pull yourself across on. The gorge is enormous with lots to explore so don’t rush your day, just allow daylight hours to get back to the campground.
A working station with over 6000 head of cattle and about the size of Monaco. The station offers you unique experiences to see how a cattle station works as well as gorges, indigenous art sites and waterfalls.
Stay: Mt. Elisabeth Station
Drysdale Station is the site of several impressive indigenous rock art sites and where you will base yourself for a scenic flight to the Mitchell Falls and the Prince Regent Coast. (If you want to drive there you need to allow another week on your itinerary). You can also get a break from cooking here with a beer garden that serves burgers and bar snacks.
There is also fuel and a small general store for reprovisioning.
Stay: Drysdale Station
Home Valley Station is owned by the Australian Indigenous Land Corporation and is a training academy for the Balanggarra Indigenous people in the area in cattle station operations and tourism. Take guided tours to waterfalls, gorges and salt flats.
Stay: Home Valley Station
You might feel a little bit like your back in civilisation here, Cafes and Restaurants, Bars and Retail stores. There are only 30 campsites so when you know your dates for El Questro book one asap. You’ll regret it if you miss out.
Stay: El Questro
There are daily tours to Emma Gorge, thermal springs and a full range of hiking trails for different levels of accessibility. This is another place to take a Scenic flight by helicopter or light plane. Also relax in the pool and by the bar.
Get to Wyndham in time for sunset over the Cambridge Gulf. Have dinner and a beer at the Wyndham Town Hotel and you can cover all bases. Wyndham has been a linchpin port in north-western Australia since 1886, From gold rush to meat rush. It still operates for the cattle industry and now the Ord River Project.
Stay: Wyndham Caravan Park
You’re off the Gibb River Road now and on the Great Norther Highway (surfaced) and on your way to the spectacular Bungle Bungle Ranges. They are 55km off the highway on a road that can often be quite corrugated, but a ‘must do’ You will hear them described as beehive shaped and when you get there you’ll say “oh, yeah!". These totally unique orange and black striped towers are actually layering’s of iron oxide and cyanobacteria.
Stay: Walardi Campground
Estimated to be 350 million years old and like all antiques are very fragile so no climbing. The walk through the Cathedral Gorge is like a religious experience but only shows such a small part of the park, it really is necessary to do a scenic flight here to get real perspective.
Keep going past Halls Creek and turn left onto the Tanami Road and left again (after about 2 hours) onto Carranya-Wolfe Creek Crater Road. Wolfe Creek is the second largest Meteorite Crater in the world. It’s quite a steep climb, but only about 200m, to the rim of the crater, it’s essential for the spectacular view.
If the drive and the climb seem too much, stop at Halls Creek and do the scenic flight.
Distance: 300km to the Crater and 148km to Halls Creek
Stay: The crater There is no drinking water onsite so you need to make sure you bring plenty. Five minutes from Old Halls Creek is Caroline Pool a free camp site that’s something a little bit unusual and special.
Beside the Mary River this is a lovely relaxing stop in quite a basic, free, campsite.
Stay: Mary Pool Free Camp
About 2 hours down the Highway you will turn right onto Geikie Gorge Road and in another 20km’s, still on bitumen, you will reach the gorge. One of the easiest and most accessible gorges on this trip. Carved by the Fitzroy River through an ancient reef. Take the very cheap boat tour to enjoy the dramatic scenery in relaxed style. There are also several short and easy walks to do around the gorge. You can’t stay at the Gorge so you will have to back track 20km to Fitzroy Crossing.