What were we thinking really? After being towed into Kununurra with car troubles and a mercy dash for the broken fridge, we were planning to head back onto the Gibb to finish it properly. We had passed the 5 days in Kununurra, waiting for the car to be fixed, by shopping, visiting the Rum Hoochery and sight seeing. Now we were packed again and ready to drive back onto the Gibb to El Questro, one of the more iconic Stations.
Driving into El Questro we were on the hunt to find our friends. Luckily they were kind enough to let us set up our camper right next to them. Actually we were pretty much on top of their tow hitch…whoops. The kids were definitely happy to be together again and played well almost immediately. No rest for the travellers as we organised to walk Emma Gorge the very next day.
Emma Gorge is another part of the El Questro Station. It is pretty much self sufficient with a little shop, restaurant and accommodation. However it was the gorge walk that we were interested in. The walk took us along the creek bed, over and around boulders and across the creek. The first highlight was the Turquoise Pool, a small deep pool surrounded by large boulders. It was spectacular! But the end of the walk was pretty magic. While the water was cold, there was a little hot spring coming into one side that made the plunge a little less breath taking. Craig, Kate, Mel and the kids were straight in, while I was a bit more wimpy (I hate the cold water). We had a ball. We also met up with Michelle’s (Craig’s sister) friends, Stacey and Kelly and their boys. It is a long way from home to meet up with people but it makes the meeting so much better!
That evening we all decided to head up to the Saddleback Lookout for the sunset. Initially it was the three families, but as it always goes, we ended up with The ‘Mile Beach Club’ and the ‘Roving Russo’s’ coming along for the ride. A nice short 4WD track with nothing too dangerous, but it was great anyway. The view was awesome across the valley and the campground, the airport and over towards the expensive accommodation of El Questro.
The next day Craig and I organised to do a trail ride each. Unfortunately we were not able to go together, but organised the sunset ride on two separate days. Lily also was booked in for a riding lesson. The riding was pretty good, although I was disappointed that we didn’t get to go faster than a slow walk, but I think Craig was a little more comfortable with the slow pace. Craig had never been on a horse before and he thought the ride was fantastic, although his first words after were “I wonder what it is like to go faster on a horse?” Lily also loved her ½ hour lesson and ride. She was excited that she was able to ride the horse rather than being lead around like most kids horse rides.
El Questro is also known for some nice drives. They do tout them as 4wding tracks, but they are pretty tame and easy. The longest /deepest water crossing we did was on the way to the El Questro Gorge. Very cool and we even had an audience of other people watching our crossing.
One of the nicest things about El Questro is the relaxed atmosphere, especially around the bar. We had a lovely evening with Dom, Kate and Jackson, having pizza, burgers and beer (the kids missed out on the beer). The evening was balmy and there was a great musician playing, making it a pretty nice and relaxing evening the type to finish off five interesting weeks in this area of WA.
Or last morning at El Questro consisted of trying to beat everyone to Zebedee Springs to get the best spot to soak in the warm springs. I think this is kind of a sport, especially for the large tour groups and their guides. A tour bus pulled in front of us and then one of the guides almost was out the door before the bus stopped trying to beat others. We had an easier time with Craig and Lily forging ahead and taking up the entire path to prevent others from overtaking. We found our little pool not far from the prized top pool and lucky for us we chose this one, because a snake decided to also take a bath in the top pool and everyone got out very quickly! It was a great way to prep for a pack up.
Instead of heading back down the same road to Kununurra, we turned left after the Pentacost River to drive the Old Kurunjie Track to Wyndham. This track was pretty gnarly, with our average speed being about 15km per hour, making the 85km track a long 4-5 hour drive. It wove along between the Pentacost River and the Cockburn Ranges. However the most visually specular part was the massive flood plains, which were huge. It was difficult to imagine these being covered with water.
Our visit to Wyndham was very short. We were tired after driving the Kurunjie Track, so we ended up doing a quick driving tour and a fleeting visit to the Five Rivers Lookout. Again it is hard to imagine the amount of water that flows out to sea through these five rivers during the wet season. We also finally found a guy selling carved boab nuts and bought one with two lovely carvings.
Back to Kununurra to re-stock and re-pack for the third time…
Summary of the Gibb –for the 660 km track we did close to 3,000kms over nearly 5 weeks. In that time we visited the following gorges:
- Winjana Gorge – Only thew crocodile swam there!
- Bell Gorge – Craig and Lily swam
- Adcock Gorge – Craig swam
- Manning Gorge – We all swam
- Diamond Gorge – We all swam
- Sir John Gorge – No one swam
- Cadjeput waterhole – Craig, Vanessa and Lily swam.
- The Rockhole – Craig and Lily swam
- Wren Gorge – We all swam
- Bachstens Falls – Craig swam
- Little Mertens Pool – CeqLily swam
- King Edward River – Craig, Lily and Campbell swam
- Emma Gorge – We all swam
- Turquoise Pool – Craig, Vanessa and Lily swam
- Zebedee Springs – we all soaked.