The Big Lap - Gibb River Road Part 2


We didn't do much of the eastern end of the Gibb River Road.  Basically we stayed at El Questro and drove as far as the famous Penticost River Crossing.  More about that later.



The above 2 photos are courtesy of the El Questro Website as we left before our last night here and I didn't get any photos.  Nor did I take a photo of the billabong swimming hole here which was just gorgeous and a respite from the 40C+ hot days here.  That is the reason we left early.

I chose for us to stay in the glamping bit in a tent.  Our tent is pictured above.  We were close to all the amenities, tavern, (restaurant was closed for the season) and billabong.  The bed was very comfortable and sleeping in the night temperature (around 25C) was very easy and a welcome relief.  😀

We arrived here late in the season being mid October.  We could see El Questro packing up some of the tents so it wouldn't be long before they closed for the monsoon season.  We were here during what's called 'the build up' which is when the days are relentlessly hot and you sweat like a pig.  Added to this was the dry dirt which made everything so dusty.  My eyes hurt and I constantly tasted dust when I breathed.   

So we looked at each other on the last day and just knew what we were both thinking.  Let's get outta here!
Tookie was also very happy about this decision as he was struggling too.  See video below.



El Questro has a few lookouts.  We chose to drive up to Branko's which in itself was a good 4 wheel drive track full of major sand ruts and a lot of big bolder rocky road.  See the 4x4 driving video below.

  Being late in the season a lot of the water crossings were dry.  There was a good one however at the entry to El Questro that you can see in the video below.  There were quite a few caravans that made it here.  We personally wouldn't bring ours into El Questro.  

The view from Branko's lookout was lovely.  Unfortunately we couldn't come up here late in the afternoon to get better light for our photos because El Questro shuts all of it's sites to the public at 12 noon so that the El Questro tours can go in and not feel crouded out.  

This place is advertised as a Wilderness Camp, but I tell you what, they are making some money!  Everything here is geared towards the tourist dollar.



As you know by now, the Gibb River Road is primarily 4 wheel drive.  There is a plan to bitumen it all the way which would be good because there is much more to see on the Gibb than going via the Great Northern Highway.  

Going into El Questro is definitely 4x4 due to the river crossing you have to traverse on the way in.  Well that is unless you chopper in or come in on one of the holiday tours.

To get to Branko's lookout above, there is a river crossing.  However it was totally dry when we went through.  See pix and video below.

No.1 pic below is of the river crossing to get into El Questro.
Nos. 2,3,4 Pix are of either side of the dry crossing to the lookout.



Crossing the Penticost River is on every 4x4 driver's bucket list when navigating the Gibb River Road.  It is about 25k's west of the track into El Questro and is unmarked.

Hubby cannot describe how disappointed he was that it was totally dry when we got there.  I do not need to elaborate.  The drive out to the Penticost was a total waste of time.  Well at least we can say that we drove across the Penticost River.  We will just leave out the small detail....  that it was a dry, rocky crossing.  😒 

Tip - October is NOT the month to be on the Gibb River Road.



This was the highlight for me.

Just 10 minutes on the road out of El Questro is the turn off to Zebedee Springs.  It was a nice 2 grade short walk in with plenty of shade and board walks across the small streams.  

The water was not as warm as Mataranka, NT top end.  But it was just the perfect temperature for me.  Even though we had 40C temperatures in El Questro, Zebedee Springs is clearely 10 degrees cooler because of the shade and the water would have been around 34C which is my kind of temp.  That is unless it is winter, in which I need it cranked up to at least 40C.  😉


Our time spent here is with mixed emotions.

Yes, the landscape is stunning!  I was in awe of the top of the ranges here.  See in the photo above, it looks like the top was scraped, leaving colourfull rocky outcrop.  It also looks like someone planted a row of trees on the top of the ridge.  Such amazing views!!   And yes, the hot springs are gorgeous!  Yes, the water crossings are pretty cool.   Even the non-water crossings had their draw-card lol.

But the heat was oppressive and the dust was chocking.  And let's not mention the rutty roads.  😕

So that is why we left early and headed back to Kununurra and the welcome air-con.  😎

See the 3rd photo?  That is an Australian Bustard Bird.  Aparently they are pretty rare.  We were almost at the intersection out of El Questro and spotted 2 of them.  They are the most unusual bird I have ever seen!  Quite big.  I am glad that I managed to get a shot (not good).  Aparently they are nomadic and fly a long way for food.  They are also called the Bush Turkey.  They were also feeling the heat and were doing a lot of panting.  I hope they are ok.  😟

On the way back I took a couple of photos of the big dam near town.  And we were glad to have lunch the next day at Gulliver's Tavern, see pic below with the motor bikes above the bar.



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