As we headed further across the Gibb not only does the landscape continue to change but so does the style of accomodation we encountered. Gone are the simple bush camps and roadhouse accomodation as you enter the world of ‘Station Tourism’.
We made our way to a smaller operation called Ellenbrae Station, like an English tea garden in the middle of the Aussie bush. Ellenbrae has become famous for its “Scones on the Gibb”, not stopping to sample these home made scones would be a crime and its impossible to have only one! After finishing our scones and meeting the resident dog Evie (a Kelpie x Sausage Dog believe it or not) we over heard a conversation about a few hundred bike riders currently riding the Gibb Challenge on their way to what was supposed to be our stop for the night, Home Valley Station.
We hadn’t headed to the Kimberley to be amongst hundreds of people so we made the call to stay exactly where we were, allowing the riders to get ahead of us instead of battling them for the remainder of the Gibb.We headed back down the driveway to the camping area, where we were met with a completely empty campground with a rather rustic bush style toilet shower arrangement. It’s not often you can get a campsite in these parts to yourself so we were pretty happy with our decision, we were even allowed to use the firewood collected by the station for the donkey heater! We will definitely be back to Ellenbrae.
The next morning after having some more scones for breakfast we headed off to Home Valley, the first of the big Stations pushing their tourism hard. I had begun to notice at this end of the Gibb a number of people having tyre problems, we even passed one unlucky fellow who had now used both his spares. Im not sure if it is luck or the fact that we had invested in high quality tyres in the Mickey Thompson MTZ P3’s but we did not and still to this date as I write this have not had a single puncture, gotta be happy with that.
As you start to near Home Valley you are met with the spectacular site of the Cockburn Range, the sloped base with sheer cliff top is something to be seen and looks even more impressive at sunset as the rock begins to glow. Driving down the driveway into Home Valley you come to their somewhat impressive entrance before your eyes are met with bright green grass. Home Valley is another Oasis out in some of the most rugged country in the world, with a big swimming pool and a massive restaurant you could easily sit here for weeks and forget that just outside of the gate is country filled with dangers and hazards around every corner. Unfortunately for us however we had to continue to move forward to our final Gibb destination El Questro.
Shortly after Home Valley you meet the mighty Pentecost River, as renowned as the Kimberley itself. We were lucky enough to cross it with the water still rather high making for some spectacular photos! Tick that one off the bucket list.
Mickey Thompson MTZ P3’s
Ive used a lot of tyres on the Patrol, the very first set I ever put on it were a set of Mickey Thompson MTZ’s and it wasn’t long before I found myself putting them on again. Before we left I bought a whole new set of the Mickey Thomson MTZ P3’s. With a few new design features I was interested to see how they would stack up against the old style I was use to. Im amazed at how chip resistant they have been, we have punished these things on some of the roughest roads this country can throw at us. Every terrain they have been put to the test on they have dominated and have had no problems doing so. The tyres are wearing perfectly and the new design seems to be much quieter on the road. A Lot of people fear road noise from mud terrains but this tyre can put your mind at ease.
El Questro Station really is the big time, once you visit you will have no problems in understanding why people from all of the world come here. Not only is it huge in size but it also features a restaurant, bar, entertainment and many activities. For this reason we stayed here for 3 nights to get to all of the places within the station. Although we would have needed another week to achieve it. Our first morning we rose early to get to Zebedee Springs, a hot spring that flows straight out of the cliff into small pools, if it wasn’t for the crowds you could sit there for hours. Moving on we made our way to El Questro Gorge, crossing a semi deep creek to get to the car park you are faced with a rather rugged walk up the creek line (nothing the old double pluggas can’t handle though). You eventually reach the first swimming hole, after this you have to start bouldering and due to how late in the day it had become we decided to leave it at that. The water is always surprisingly cold in the hot climate but always refreshing thats for sure, the worst part is getting hot again walking back! On our last evening we drove out to a place on the station that sits high above its surrounds and features a viewing deck perfect to watch another spectacular Kimberley sunset, they recommend experienced 4wders tackle this one as the track is quite steep with a few step ups. All in all a good fun track and well worth the challenge for the view.
After exiting El Questro’s long dirt driveway its all bitumen from here on out and we made our way towards Kununurra before heading to Lake Argyle, Australia’s second largest man made lake and an infinity pool at the caravan park to boot! Not a bad way to finish our Kimberley experience I reckon.
Have questions about the Gibb? Email David@outandbackoffroad.com to ask!
Written by David Royles
Out & Back Offroad
TJM 4×4 Megastores
By 4x4tjm|2017-07-20T08:16:17+00:00July 20th, 2017|Travel Articles|Comments Off on THE GIBB RIVER ROAD PART 2