The Gibb River Road!


While some may rate the Gibb River Road as one of the most iconic drives in Australia, we know others describe it as a nightmare of red dirt corrugations destined to cause damage. For us, the Gibb had always been on our bucket list to tick off in 2022 and we were 100% committed to taking on the 660 kilometre stretch from Derby to Kununurra. So, after finishing our coastal run through Western Australia, we headed inland and spent 19 days making our way across the Kimberley on the one and only Gibb River Road.

While admittedly I still wasn’t 100% sure what we were in for, this leg of our trip quickly became my favourite and the Kimberley has now well and truly won us over. From the waterfalls to the gorges, the hikes and ever changing landscapes, the Gibb River Road truly does encompass an incredible part of Australia that we were very fortunate to explore. Now, with our own trip under our belt, we thought we would share with you everything we learnt about the Gibb River Road in this almighty travel blog. We hope this might help you plan your future trip across the Gibb, or to maybe show you that with the right planning and preparation, the Gibb River Road isn’t quite as daunting as it seems!


Where to stay / our itinerary:

 In order, here is the list of campsites we stayed at as we made our way across the Gibb. Most we loved, but some we probably wouldn’t stay at again if we had our time over. Of course, there are other campsites and free camps, wiki camps will be your best friend in finding these, but this is just the path we took and the campsites we chose to stay at. Therefore, this is what we can give you an honest review about!

  1. Windjana Gorge campground (2 nights)

Located only 146km from Derby, this was a great first camp and was the perfect place to stay and explore both Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek. We decided to spend 2 nights here given we arrived quite late on our first day after leaving Broome and stopping at Derby on the way. Campsites here can be booked online through DPAW or paid in cash on arrival and given this was always going to be our first stop we booked here ahead of time. The campground has nice flushing toilets and a shower block with hot water as long as you showered early enough. There are a few fire pits throughout the campground and there is plenty of room to spread out. The only downside, the campground is all dirt so it gets quite muddy if there has been recent rain. We saw a number of people slip over so please take care! ($17 per adult, $3 per child)

  1. Mount Hart Wilderness Lodge (1 night)

To access this lodge you need to take a 50 kilometre detour off the Gibb into the King Leopald Conservation Park, but in our opinion this one is worth the extra kilometers on your journey. Mt Hart has lovely grass campsites beside a river which you can swim in and once again there is plenty of room to spread out. The lodge has flushing toilets and hot showers that do the job, in addition to a dishwashing station and washing facilities. There is a licensed bar area and restaurant, a beautiful deck to watch the sunset from as well as a number of small creeks and swimming holes to explore without the hustle of bustle of the big name gorges along the Gibb. All sites here are unpowered. ($25 per adult, $15 per child)            

    3. Silent Grove Campground (2 nights)

This campground is located only 10 kilometres from Bell Gorge, making this the closest campground to the gorge itself. There is plenty of room to camp here but given Bell Gorge is so popular it can get quite busy. This is also an unpowered campground with access to flushing toilets and hot showers that are well maintained. You can only have fires in designated fire pits at Silent Grove however there are only a few scattered throughout the campground, making them hard to come by. Given this, it would be worth arriving a little earlier if you are wanting to claim a camp spot with a fire pit so you can get a twiggy going. This camp cannot be pre booked, you pay with cash on arrival and there is a camp host that checks that payments are being made. ($17 per adult, $3 per child)


    4. Mt Barnett Roadhouse (2 nights)

This is yet another great campground and one we really enjoyed staying at! The campground is located behind the Mount Barnett Roadhouse and there is plenty of room to spread out if you’re looking for a little privacy. The only catch is that there is only one toilet/shower block so if you camp too far away, you’ll have quite a hike back to the amenities. Other than that, this is a great campsite. You have the river to swim or fish in, the hike to Manning Gorge at your doorstep and the caretaker Glen is an absolute legend that is sure to help you out if you need anything. Added bonus, this is a great place to stock up on supplies which we will talk about a bit further on! ($25 per adult for the first night, $15 per night thereafter, children under the age of 14 are free)

    5. Mt Elizabeth Station (1 night)

In all honesty, we would probably give this one a miss next time round. We paid $44 for two adults to camp here and then had to pay for a $15 gorge pass on top of this even though Wunnamurra gorge was closed as the track has not been maintained. At the time we visited there was no expected re open date. So essentially, we paid $55 to camp here for one night. There is two swimming holes you can access but I would describe them as a shallow stream rather that a swimming hole and they are a bit of a drive from the campground. You also can’t have your own campfire here but there is one communal fire pit which does provide a nice opportunity to meet other travellers. Another positive, these were probably the nicest amenities we encountered on our road trip and they provide a washing machine that is free to use! If you are looking for a stop over to clean up and get some washing done this is a good option, but if you’re looking for somewhere to explore this one didn’t really tick the boxes. ($15 gorge pass per car if you’re camping but $20 for day access only, $22 per adult)

    6. Drysdale Station (1 night before & 1 night after Mitchell Falls)

The campground at Drysdale is really lovely and if you’re lucky enough you’ll even find some nice green grass to pull up on.  Drysdale offer powered and unpowered camping and again there is plenty of space to find a campsite a decent distance away from any neighbours. Amenities are well maintained, there are paid laundry facilities you can access and bookings aren’t required. Even if you’re not looking to camp at Drysdale, we seriously recommend stopping in to grab a burger for lunch here, they are bloody awesome! The bar area is on beautiful green grass, it is a really relaxing environment and the staff are really friendly. Another big tick for Drsysdale, if you do decide to head further north to Mitchell Falls, they give you the option to leave your camper or caravan behind for free! ($18 per adult, $8 per child age 5-15, child under age 5 camp for free, additional $20 for a powered site)


   7. Mitchell Falls Campground (2 nights)

While some choose to camp at King Edward Campground when heading up to Mitchell Falls, we opted to stay at the Mitchell Falls Campground itself. We decided not to tow our camper trailer given the condition of the road so we left the trailer back at Drysdale Station and spent two nights in our roof top tent. This stretch of road was probably the roughest we encountered across the Gibb so we were pretty relieved we weren’t towing on this occasion. Camping here meant we were right at the beginning of the walk to the falls so we could make the hike in early the next morning. The amenities are pretty basic, only a few drop toilets scattered throughout the campground but they are cleaned very frequently. You also pay for this camp using cash on arrival, it can not be pre booked and there is a ranger on site checking payments are made. A hot tip if you are choosing to camp here, Helispirit scenic chopper flights are based at this campground and they are obviously quite loud as they take off and land. It is worth being conscious of your proximity to the helipad when you are choosing your campsite! ($11 per adult, $3 per child, additional National Park Permit also required)

   8. Ellenbrae Station (1 night)

Ellenbrae Station has such a warm and welcoming feeling and we really loved our stay here. We just stopped in for one night but had such a nice time ticking this one off the list that we could have stayed for another. The campground is quite large and there is also a second campground that gets opened if required. The amenities here are unique, well maintained and easily accessible. Around the station there are two nice spots for a dip on a warm day, which let’s be honest, seems to be every day in the north west. You also can’t leave Ellenbrae without trying one of their famous scones at the café and if you’re a mango fan, the mango frapés there are to die for too. The café area at the Station is just lovely, they have beautiful green grass, a well-maintained garden and the customer service was just stellar. ($17.50 per adult, $5 per child) 



   9. Durack River free camp (1 night)

If you’re looking for a nice and quiet free camp by the water, this one is for you! Alongside the river there are a few nice places to pull up for the night to enjoy some peace and quiet or to spend some time wetting a line. As you pull up off the road there are a few obvious campsites but don’t be afraid to travel down the track a little further where there are more spots to choose from. We camped with friends here who got their Jayco caravan in no worries and given the bank is quite a bit higher than the water it did give some peace of mind with the kids around. This isn’t an official campground so of course there are no amenities or facilities but really who needs them when your camped up in nature like this! (free)

   10. Pentecost River free camp (1 night)

As far as camping goes, it doesn’t get more iconic than camping at the foot of the Cockburn ranges on the banks of the Pentecost River! It is free to camp here but there are obviously no amenities and you need to be croc wise at all times given you are camped right by the water. We definitely saw a few sets of beady eyes keeping an eye on us after the sun went down. Other than the crocs to be wary of, this camp really just was the perfect place to relax, have a beer, throw a line in and watch the sunset. The serenity was five star and we honestly could have camped up here for the week. Fingers crossed you might even get the chance to land an elusive barramundi (or even just a catfish if you’re willing to settle for anything that will make your reel squeal)!

   11. El Questro Station (3 nights)

El Questro Station is just absolutely epic and in our opinion, you cannot start or finish the Gibb without stopping in here! We really can’t fault this campground, El Questro have just catered for everyone and absolutely nailed it. Private campsites, powered and unpowered camping, a restaurant, bar, café, ample activities and so much more! The amenities here were great, easily accessible from your campsite, and there was also an abundance of washing machines and dryers, even with both card and cash payment options. We could not fault the customer service, everyone was so accommodating and staff really took their time to explain everything the station had on offer. Being such an iconic stop along the Gibb, the station does get quite busy, so if you can we definitely recommend booking ahead, especially if you are wanting a private campground! We camped in the unpowered section and still found ourselves a nice private camp where we could spread out and relax for a few days that we were really happy with. There are so many camping options so be sure to check out their website for all pricing (



Things to see:

When we share out recommendations on things to see, it’s the same deal as the campsites we recommended. We explored as much ground as we could cover on our trip but unfortunately due to COVID19 some places like Charnley River Station, Gibb River Station, Honeymoon Bay and Home Valley remained closed.  Places like these we can’t wait to tick off on our next time round but we were still so fortunate to see some pretty amazing places which we can tell you about below!

  1. Windjana Gorge

The Leonard River runs through Windjana Gorge for 3.5km, making for a nice 7km return walk. This walk will take you by the huge limestone walls of the gorge as you follow the trail until you reach a sign indicating the end of your walk. Whilst it is a nice and relatively easy walk, you could easily just walk the first kilometre or so before turning back, there’s no magical swimming hole at the end of this walk or any swimming hole at all actually. The chances are you will probably spot a croc or two though as they seem to love sunbaking on the nice sandy river beds through the gorge.

  1. Tunnel Creek

Tunnel Creek was so unlike anything else we saw on the Gibb River Road. Essentially you walk alongside and sometimes through a creek in the tunnel which after 750 meters takes you to and beautiful opening at the other end. We could not believe the number of people that did this walk without a head torch but personally we would not be stepping foot in there without one! It is pitch black and we have met plenty of people who said they spotted some beady eyes looking on. It was a really cool place to see and well worth the trip down from the Windjana Gorge campground. If you do make the journey through Tunnel Creek, be sure to see if you can spot the Aboriginal rock art at the other end of the tunnel!


  1. Mt Hart Wilderness Lodge

We met a lot of people travelling along the Gibb that chose not to visit Mt Hart but we really enjoyed spending time at some smaller swimming holes away from the hustle and bustle of the GRR. We went for a dip at Annie Creek and Dolerite Gorge, both of which we had to ourselves. Annie Creek had a small swimming hole with rapids that you could comfortably sit in and relax while Dolerite Gorge walk took you past small falls, running rapids and wider swimming holes. Both places were really simple yet beautiful attractions in the middle of nowhere. A big “must see” here is Sunset Hill where you can watch the sun go down from a timber viewing platform across the other side of the airstrip. Do yourself a favour, pack yourself a cold drink and a few nibbles, a head up here with your camp chair to mark the end of yet another day on the road. You will be treated with breathtaking 360-degree views of the ranges and definitely won’t be disappointed. Hot tip though, don’t walk up here. You definitely want to drive up to Sunset Hill or you just might be arriving with warm beers and burning calves.  As beautiful as Mt Hart is, if you are short on time on your road trip this is one you could skip over so you don’t miss any of the big-ticket items on the way.

  1. Bell Gorge

Now this one is an absolute stand out attraction and one not to be missed on your travels. The walking track into Bell Gorge is 2km return. It is a relatively easy walk but does include a lot of loose stone underfoot so it’s worth wearing sturdy footwear. Once you reach Bell Gorge you have two different swimming spots, one in a shallow infinity like pool overlooking the falls, or at the base of the falls in much deeper and open water. To get to the bottom of the falls you do need to cross over to the other side of the gorge through the water at the top, which can be quite slippery, and then hike down the side to the base of the falls. This is probably the most challenging part of the walk so please take care. Once you finally arrive at the bottom of the falls you will be so glad you made the treck in. The waterfall is simply beautiful and you are definitely going to want to take some time to relax and explore the area. For those feeling adventurous, swim further downstream from the base of the falls to find another beautiful gorge. There is no access to swim there but it sure is a beautiful sight!




  1. Adcock Gorge

Now this stop is one I would say I wasn’t overly wow-ed by. Don’t get me wrong, it was still beautiful, but I did think it was quite underwhelming after coming from somewhere as epic as Bell Gorge. You can basically drive all the way into the gorge and only have a 100 meter walk to reach the water. You do need to scramble over quite a few rocks so again please take care! In the dry season the water flowing into the gorge is quite minimal so the water was quite stagnant which didn’t make the place seem overly appealing to swim in. Not to mention there is a resident fresh water croc here which made me just a little nervous! We would absolutely still take the time to stop here, it really isn’t a big detour at all, but for us it just wasn’t a show stopper!

  1. Galvans Gorge

This was a super fun gorge to visit and one of our favourites on the trip for sure. Galvans Gorge isn’t sign posted so make sure you don’t miss this one located in between Adcock Gorge and Mt Barnet Roadhouse. There is a parking area right by the road and you only have a really short and easy walk to the falls, maybe 750 meters tops! It’s nowhere near as big as Bells or Manning but the beautiful swimming area and rope swing made for a really fun visit. This is a place you could easily stop and spend a few hours at and somewhere we could imagine packing a nice picnic lunch and cold esky for!


  1. Manning Gorge

Now if you’re looking for a showstopper, this is it! Manning Gorge is absolutely amazing and makes for such a fun day! To access Manning Gorge you do need to conquer a 6km return walk from the campgrounds. The walk took us around an hour to complete and was relatively straight forward. There wasn’t a lot of shade on the track though so it would be worth ticking this one off earlier in the day before it gets too hot. The walk starts off with a fun twist as you canoe yourself across a creek using a pully rope system rather than having to get drenched so early in the walk. The creek here is really deep so if you “walked” across you would be soaked, but if you’re ok with having a dip then the campground also provides plastic tubs that you can float your belongings over in to keep them dry. After around an hour you will arrive at the gorge which is just beautiful! The waterfall is massive and the water is so lovely to swim in. The swimming area is really large which accommodates everyone visiting throughout the day and there is also a nice smaller creek to soak in if that’s what you’re after. There are also plenty of rocks to sunbake on after your swim and even more ground to explore if you’re feeling adventurous enough to climb to the top of the falls! This was certainly a 10/10 in our books!


  1. Rock art at King Edward campground

This is a nice stop to make on your road trip where you can really stop and appreciate the rich Aboriginal history of this beautiful country you are exploring. There are two rock art sites here that are absolutely worth exploring, one located before and one located after the King Edward Campground. Both of these sites are signposted but you can always use wiki camps to help you to find them. In respect of the traditional owners of the land, we will not share any photos of the rock art but we can tell you that it is definitely worth stopping to check them out. If you do, please do not touch the rock art as it only causes it to erode further than it already has. These are such sacred places that we need to respect and take care of so they are still here for generations to come. If you are interested in the rock art you see here, there is a book available to purchase at Drysdale Station, "Aboriginal Paintings At Munurru" by David M Welch. This book provides so much information about the art you will see and the stories being told.

  1. Mitchel Falls

While we know plenty of people choose to bypass the run up to Mitchell Falls, we highly recommend you brave the corrugations and make the 240km drive up to this beautiful spot. This would have to be one of the most spectacular waterfalls we have seen on our travels and one we are 100% glad we did not miss. Mitchell Falls is a wonderful three-tiered waterfall situated an hours walk from the Mitchell Falls Campground. You can’t actually swim in Mitchell Falls itself but personally we think that it really made for a way more special sight not having a hundred tourists bobbing in the water. In saying that, there is a nice area for a swim above the falls which is a nice place to cool off after you hike in or before your hike back. It really is such a wonderful place and it’s well worth the drive to tick this one off the list.

Note: you do require a permit to access Mitchell Falls which we talk more about later on.

  1. Scenic chopper flight over Mitchell Falls

Now, if you’re looking to splurge and to treat yourself on this trip, this is the perfect option for you! Thanks to HeliSpirit you can now choose to pass on your walk too or from the falls, and instead take a 6 minute scenic chopper flight over some of the most iconic attractions in the Kimberly. Seeing Mitchell Falls (and Big Mertens Falls) from the air is simply breathtaking and really is a once in a lifetime opportunity. The chopper flight cost $170 per person and can be booked at the Mitchell Falls Campground when you arrive. Their team of staff onsite are really lovely and a pleasure to deal with. HeliSpirit also offer a Mitchell Falls Triple Waterfalls tour and a Kimberley Coastal Experience but they were a little out of our price range. If these do interest you though, be sure to check out their website for more information.

  1. Surveyors Pool

Surveyors Pool is yet another attraction available to you on this road trip but ticking this one off means you need to travel around an hour further north of the Mitchell Falls turnoff. Surveyors Pool offers a nice viewing platform looking out into the gorge with a flowing waterfall and swimming area below. To get down to the swimming area you really do have to scramble down a lot of rocks, there is no clear walking path, and honestly it looked like quite the challenge. We didn’t tackle this one as it was quite late in the day and we had already spotted the resident freshwater croc out for a swim which was a little off-putting. Overall, this is a really nice place to explore if you’re looking for a relaxing spot to spend some time away from the crowds at Mitchell Falls and to escape the hum of choppers taking off every 15 minutes. If you are making your way up here be weary of wondering scrub bulls as your driving and make sure you allow yourself enough time to get back to camp before dark.

  1. Ellenbrae Station

If you are looking for a nice place to stop and relax where you can put your feet up and indulge in some baked goods, Ellenbrae Station is for you. If you haven’t heard of Ellenbrae’s famous scones before, let me start by letting you how delicious they are. They are that good I think I actually had three in the space of 24 hours. There is a lovely grassed café garden where you can sit and eat or you can even grab one to go to take back to the comfort of your camp. Another crowd favourite on the menu worth mentioning is their mango frappés, my goodness they are delicious. A sneaky tip though, grab one or two to take away and add your choice of poison back at camp, did someone say mango daiquiris?

 Of course, there is more to see at Ellenbrae than just their food. There are two swimming holes on the Station if you’re looking for a place to cool off and we enjoyed socialising with a few other campers by the water at sunset. There is also their quirky watering can shower and cool baths located in the campground that are worth checking out when you’re ready to wash off another day of red Kimberley dirt. 

  1. Pentecost River

As far as river crossing go, the Pentecost River would have to be one of the most iconic crossings in Australia, and whilst it’s no black diamond, there is something to be said about driving over this beautiful river into the stunning Cockburn Ranges. One thing a lot of people don’t realise though is that the Pentecost River is tidal, so while some photos you may see have water flowing through, others only have sad looking puddles depending on the tide movements and the time of day. No matter the water level though, watching the sun set over the ranges from the Pentecost River really is a magnificent sight.

Whilst your stopped at the Pentecost River you may as well throw a line in and try to hook yourself a mighty barra, that’s if you can dodge the catfish that also inhabit the water. While we were camped along the Pentecost we would hear the barra boofing all night which drove us crazy, I think we both went to sleep that night dreaming of landing that meter long trophy fish. It really is such a nice place to camp or even spend a few hours by the water if you have the time to spare.


  1. Go fishing with Birchy

Now, if you’re a die-hard angler, or if you’re travelling with one, we both know that no trip could possibly be complete without throwing in a fishing charter of some sort. If this sounds like you, then look no further than heading out with Birchy for a day chasing the barra. Birchy is a local Aboriginal man from Balanggarra Country. He knows this land like no one else and you truly are in good hands chasing a barra with him. Birchy offers fishing tours for all ages and covers all basis from catching your own bait and fishing with a handline, to the stock standard rod and reel. Whilst you spend the day with Birchy you will also have the opportunity to learn more about his family, his culture and the land you are on. This tour really does make for a great day out in this incredible part of our country and you won’t believe the fun you’ll have. If this is of interest to you, you can contact Birchy on 0459 540 763 to book in your next adventure!

  1. El Questro Station

There is so much to see and do at El Questro Station, so much so I don’t even know where to begin but let me start by telling you that we think this is the best stop along the Gibb River Road! It really is the perfect start or finish to an epic Gibb River Road trip and one you will remember for years to come. While we could probably write an entire other blog about things to do here, let us tell you our 5 favourite things to see and do at El Questro Station:

  • Swim at Emma Gorge

The walk into Emma Gorge is 3.2km return and the track is mostly flat with only a few steep sections. The gorge is absolutely breathtaking and to be honest so is the water, it’s bloody freezing!! We swam in the shallows here, again we heard there was a resident croc, and to be honest the water was so cold it was a very quick swim. If you are looking to warm up there is a hidden hot spring in the far right hand corner of the gorge behind a few large rocks that you will see from the bank. Let me tell you, this water was a treat after feeling like we had just dunked ourself in an ice bath. Don’t let the cold water put you off though, Emma Gorge really is beautiful and if you’re only looking to do one moderate walk then this would be our pick!

  • Conquer the Grade 5 hike into El Questro Gorge

Now, this one was a little more challenging and involved climbing over a lot of very big rocks. You need to have some fitness about you to conquer this one but my goodness it is worth taking your time to make your way in. The waterfall here is much smaller than other falls on the Gibb but the beautiful blue water in this small intimate pool is just stunning. Our tip when you visit here, allow enough time to spend a little while at the gorge. People come and go pretty quickly but given the size of the gorge it can get pretty crowded. Taking the time to sit and wait for the crowds to clear out so you can have just a minute of this place to yourself is so worth it.

  • Go for a soak at Zebedee Springs

The walk into Zebedee is a piece of a cake and you will be soaking your worries away in these beautiful thermal pools in no time. Here you will feel like you are in the middle of a rainforest all while soaking in water as warm as in your bathtub at home. The water is 28-32 degrees here and is the perfect temperature all day long. The only catch, it is only open from 7am – 12pm so it does get really busy. We found that the quietest time to visit here was later in the morning when the crowds start to thin out before closing time. 

  • 4WD to Saddleback Ridge lookout for sunset

This was our favourite place to watch the sun go down whilst at El Questro Station. The lookout is located around a 10 minute drive from the Station and you do require a 4WD to take on the track with a steep incline up to the lookout. The views over the ranges as the sun sets are simply beautiful. You really can’t beat a Kimberley sunset.

  • Drinks at the Swinging Arm bar followed by dinner at the Stakehouse

Honestly, there isn’t much to say here because who doesn’t love a good bar and a cold beer. The bar area was awesome to kick back in and quite often there is live music. After a few drinks we recommend heading over to dinner at the Steakhouse, the food here is amazing! It is a little pricy, so not the best choice if you are on a budget, but the food was so delicious and really felt like we received good value for money. Hands down I would absolutely go again next time we visit El Questro Station. (bookings are essential)


 Food / meal planning:

 When planning for your trip across the Gibb, a really important aspect to consider is your food and supplies given you won’t exactly be driving past a Coles or Woolies any time soon. We know this is easier said than done given how long you can spend crossing the Gibb, we did it over 19 days, but we do have a few tips and tricks that might make your life a little easier:

  • Meal planning is your best friend! Plan out what you are going to have for breakfast, lunch, dinner and of course snacks for your entire trip and buy absolutely everything before you go.
  • If you are going for longer than a week and don’t think your fresh produce will last, plan to have meals that use your fresh produce first before having meals using frozen veggies or meals that don’t need fresh produce.
  • Some of our go too’s on the road when we don’t have fresh fruit and vegetables include: stir fry with frozen veg, butter chicken, egg and bacon sandwiches, jaffles and nachos!
  • If you have freezer space, pre-cook meals before you go! Whenever we travel remote we always cook up a big batch of spaghetti bolognaise sauce and a chicken and veg mix for a stir fry or fried rice which we freeze in containers. Again, this is another good way of keeping vegetables in your diet when you know your fresh produce won’t last the length of your trip. If we do take pre cooked meals we always save these for the second half of our trip
  • Cryovac all your meat into meal sized servings so you can save on space in your fridge/freezer and so your produce will last longer without spoiling. We have a @Campfire Australia cryovac and rely on this before every remote trip. We get so much longer use of our food this way and find that it allows us to be so much more organised.
  • Mt Barnett Roadhouse and Drysdale Station do sell some groceries, Mt Barnett far more than Drysdale. Mt Barnett even stock quite good quality fruit and veg which can be such a treat when you’ve gone through your fresh produce. Of course, both places are quite pricey but well worth it if you’re desperate.



Over this last year (2022) I don’t think any of us are strangers to the rising cost of fuel that just about breaks the bank every time you have to fill up. When we did this trip in May 2022, we were in the peak of the ridiculously high fuel prices so were already paying around $2.27 per litre for diesel in Broome before we started crossing the Gibb and reaching remote country.

 Before starting the GRR your last stop at a major supplier for fuel is in either Derby or Kununurra, depending on which way you are starting your road trip. While crossing the Gibb you can purchase fuel at Mt Hart Homestead, Mt Barnett Roadhouse, Drysdale Station and El Questro Station. We purchased diesel at all but Mt Hart and found that Mt Barnett Roadhouse had the best prices.

A really useful app to use when planning you fuel stops is “Fuel Map Australia”. It’s free to download and will tell you the most recent cost of fuel at each fuel station recorded on the app. Of course it won’t be much helpful on the road when your without service but it may help you comparing costs before you leave. 

When we were filling up across the Gibb we always used a fuel additive and we also ran a secondary fuel filter as a precautionary measure in avoiding dirty fuel.

Gibb River Road


 How long to allow:

 This seems to be the million-dollar question when planning any road trip, how long should we allow? We allowed 19 days from start to finish and we felt we travelled at a reasonable pace and had time to see everything we wanted to along the way. The only place we wish we had longer at was El Questro Station. We only allowed our last three nights here but in hindsight, we could have definitely done with an extra few days to explore more. In addition to this, around 5 places we wanted to visit were closed so we didn’t need to allow time for these. If we had our time over and these places were open, we would be allowing ourselves at least 4 weeks to comfortably tick off all our stops. Of course, you could do this much quicker, but you would really need to weigh up what your priorities are and what you want to tick off your bucket list this time round. 


Road conditions:

Well, this might just be the most controversial topic of conversation when taking about the Gibb and realistically, everyone has a different opinion depending on who you are talking too. We all know that the Gibb River Road can be really corrugated and rough going in sections but does that mean you shouldn’t drive it, absolutely not!

What this means is you need to take care when driving. You need to drive at a comfortable speed, adjust your tyre pressures and drive to the conditions. There are stretches of this road, particularly between Derby and Windjana Gorge Campground turn off where you are on blacktop the whole way. Other times the dirt feels like a highway but then you hit some really shaly rock that feels sketchy as hell.

We will say that the corrugations between Drysdale Station and King Edward turn off were the worst we experienced on the entire Gibb, probably on our entire lap around Aus, but by the time we drove back, it was like heaven because the grader had just been through.

Really, the moral of the story is, the road conditions are always changing. They are never going to be the same in May as they are in September and everyone’s opinion will always differ depending on their threshold of uncomfortable driving. If you’re going to drive across the Gibb, be prepared for the worse and be pleasantly surprised when it’s better. Drive smart and drive safely.


Mitchell Falls



In addition to the standard cost’s you will encounter when holidaying; food, alcohol, fuel, camp fee’s etc, there are two other costs you should be aware of when planning for your trip across the Gibb.

  • When visiting National Parks in Western Australia you need to purchase a National Park permit. These can be purchased online through with a number of options available. Given we had been travelling through WA for a few months we had already purchased a 12 month annual pass for $120 but you can also purchase 5 day, 14 day and 1 month passes for various prices.
  • Another pass you need to purchase, even in addition to the National Park pass, is a Uunguu Visitor Pass for those wanting to travel to Mitchell Falls on Wunambal Gaambera country. One visitor pass is require per vehicle and the minimum pass length available if for 5 days at the cost of $45. This can be purchased online at or in person at Drysdale Station.


Phone signal:

It’s funny how people’s opinion on having phone service when you’re travelling in the outback changes, some don’t want it and others can’t live without out! We are a little bit of both I guess, we enjoy not having it for majority of the time, but also like the comfort of knowing there are a few places that we can pick up service should we really need it.

Across the Gibb, service is pretty hit and miss but for the majority of the trip you will have no service. For those with Optus, we know travellers that had service so strong they could load the footy on a Friday night sitting at Silent Grove campground, while those with Telstra had absolutely nothing. Other places known to have good Optus service are Windjana Gorge, Ellenbrae Station and El Questro Station.

We are both registered with Telstra so were able to gather some signal at the entry to Gibb River Station, Cockburn Ranges lookout and El Questro Station. This was enough for us to touch base with family back home every so often to let them know how our trip was going and that we were ok. 

If you are worried about service when you’re completing this trip you could always consider purchasing a second sim card with an alternative provider to cover more bases.

If you want our advice though, switch the dam thing off and enjoy some time disconnected from your day-to-day life while you’re embarking on this awesome adventure across the Kimberley.


Other useful information:

  • Make sure you have offline maps on your phone before you hit the road. We have a subscription with Hema maps and love it as it includes a lot of the 4WD tracks. We also know a lot of people that just utilise wiki camps. If you are using wiki camps just make sure you download the offline version before you go.
  • Call us old fashioned, but we also got a Hema hard copy paper map before we left and this might just be the best $15, we spent. Having a hard copy map made life so much easier and it also gave us a lot of useful information to plan our stops along the way.
  • We always recommend travelling with a reliable UHF and you should always have this switched on, programmed to channel 40. This allows others on the road to easily communicate with you, to alert you of any hazards and to navigate overtaking safely. We know those travelling in a group together may switch to a private channel to communicate so they don’t clog channel 40, but in this instance we always make sure one vehicle in our convey has a second hand held still on channel 40 to receive and distribute any information.
  • It is important to carry cash with you on this road trip for a few reasons. Some campsites you arrive at will be cash only, sometimes places you visit may have issues with their service meaning eftpos isn’t available and sometimes you want to sneak in a cheeky fishing charter because why the hell not. In all seriousness we recommend carrying at least a few hundred dollars cash including small denominations to cover all bases.
  • You should always make sure your tyres are in good condition and that you have tyres equipped for the terrain you are entering. You want to have decent tread on all tyres and always, always, always carry a spare. We can’t count the number of people we have heard of blowing tyres on the Gibb which also raises another good point. Carrying a tyre repair kit is a really good idea and something that is probably overlooked a little. Don’t forget, just because you’ve already blown one tyre doesn’t mean you can’t blow another.
  • If you are looking to get updates on what is or isn’t open along the Gibb, the Derby Visitor Centre usually have an updated list so you know what you can and can’t access before you start your trip.
  • We got lots of tips, tricks and useful current information on the Gibb River Road Facebook group. This can also be helpful if you want to find others to travel with, especially those travelling solo looking for some company.
  • Take your time and just enjoy your trip! There is no rush, it’s not a race and there is so much to do and see here that you just don’t want to miss!

                                                                    GIBB RIVER RD, TICK'ER OFF!

Gibb River Road



    • Great read! And amazing to see a similar perspective of this trip, albeit in reverse.
      And that burger at Drysdale! We loved it too, Massive! Great to see you guys at Bells, looking forward to more blogs and travel pics guys 👍🤓🇦🇺

      Brad & Ally
    • What a wonderful resource. Thank you

    • Wow what a great Blog, probably the best one I have read.
      We are going to do this next year, so much information. Thanks

      louise bennett
    • Great read guys. Tons of useful info, cheers!

    • What a great guide. Will definitely be referencing it when planning our trip. Thanks Emily.


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