16.05.2012 - 20.05.2012 32 °C
Home Valley Station is a 1,6 million hectares cattle station next to the Gibb River Road and has camping and lodging facilities as well as a nice restaurant, the Dusty Bar and Grill. The area is very scenic with the dramatic Cockburn Ranges in the east and the Bidoola Gorge in the west. We had a powered campsite but the sites were not as pleasant as expected as they were too close to each other but we used the opportunity to charge batteries, do washing and cleaning, although I have given up on washing the Landcruiser and the Quantum until we are back on the sealed roads. We spent the afternoon at Bindoola Gorge and Falls as well as Nyarli Lagoon and then drove to the lookout where we could do our e-mails and blogs as this was the first time we got coverage since we ventured into the Northern and Eastern Kimberley.
El Questro is also a cattle station of about 1 million hectares further east along the Gibb River Road, but most of the action seems to be centered on tourism and it is very expensive compared to other camping in the area. We opted for a secluded campsite next to the Pentecost River and that was a good choice. It had a nice big boab tree, lots of shade with many birds (Corellas, Bower Birds and Kookabara) around as well as a few wallabies. There was a sign that swimming was not recommended because of saltwater crocodiles but I had a good look to make sure there was none in that spot and had a quick swim to cool off. El Questro has many gorges and challenging 4WD tracks and we explored many of them, including Explosion Gorge (although the track was officially closed) , El Questro Gorge and Emma Gorge. We also had a bath in the warm 30 degrees streams of the Zebedee Springs, nestled in a tropical palm forest, which was a unique experience. El Questro Gorge was spectacular with lots of palm trees but the hike was very rocky and we only did half of the track up to a huge boulder that blocks the whole gorge. Emma Gorge was by far the best gorge to explore. We hiked across a rocky creek bed for about an hour to reach a magnificent, crystal clear turquoise pool and eventually a very high waterfall and a deep cold pool at the end of the deep gorge. On the right side of the gorge was a thermal spring which formed a natural warm bath to relax in.
We continued to Perry Creek Farm near Wyndham and finally completed the Gibb River Road and most of its side roads. It has been a fantastic experience although the Gibb River Road was a breeze, the Mitchell Falls Road was much more of a challenge. We are about a month behind our planned schedule but it was worth while waiting for the Gibb and Kalumburu roads to open. We will be able to adjust our plan accordingly.
I can only post 12 photos on the blog. Check out the galary for more photos.