Gibb River Road May 2013

Mikal52
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Gibb River Road May 2013

Unread post by Mikal52 » June 13th, 2013, 11:00 am

Hey everyone,

I had been doing the full write up for this trip in my build thread. But thought it'd be more appropriate in here, so everyone can have a look and give their input etc.... So I'll just copy and paste everything I've done so far in this thread now.

We left Karratha on Sunday 12th May for Broome, myself and the missus in my car and a mate and his missus in her Hilux towing a small tinny. Another mate was going to catch up with us on Wednesday as he had a course on. Drive to Broome was an uneventful 8 hour drive, followed by a few too many drinks and a feed at Matso's brewery.

Car loaded up ready to hit the road.

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Pardoo roadhouse

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Monday morning we were up reasonably early and into the supermarket to get a couple of last minute suplplies (roast chook, bread etc..) And then hit the road, first stop was Derby to see the prison boab tree and top up the fuel tanks before we started on the Gibb :)

Prison Boab

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It was about 11am by the time we were done there, and we headed off down the Gibb River Road to 'officially' start our trip!

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Here for a good time, not a long time

Mikal52
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Re: Gibb River Road May 2013

Unread post by Mikal52 » June 13th, 2013, 11:27 am

First stop was Windjana Gorge, My mate who was with us had promised us we'd be able to see some freshwater crocs here, and we weren't disappointed!!

Windjana Gorge

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Getting nice a close for a decent photo :P

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From there we made our way to Tunnel creek. This place is pretty amazing! I was under the impression that the tunnel would be pretty short and maybe on the side of a hill, but this thing goes straight through the guts of a mountain and is about 1km long! Pretty spooky when you're walking through there, especially if like us you only have 2 torches between 4 people. Being big strong men we let the girls go in first....

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About half way through there is this opening to let a little light in, then it's back to darkenss.

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We found little cave off the side of the creek to, went in about 20m then just stopped, barely wide enough to fit down so it was quite scary. I've got a good video of us walking through here that I'll upload later.

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Here for a good time, not a long time

Mikal52
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Re: Gibb River Road May 2013

Unread post by Mikal52 » June 13th, 2013, 3:31 pm

After Tunnel creek we had some lunch, roast chook sandwiches made out of the back of the car, and hit the road again. The plan was to make it to Bell Gorge to camp for the night, then see Bell gorge in the morning, after driving for a couple of hours we finally concluded that we weren't going to make it to Bell gorge that night, and we'd just find a clearing somewhere to set up camp.... This is alot easier said than done when you're driving at night.

Eventually after finding a few places that were filled with people, we pulled up at what we thought would be a decent spot, very close to the road which wasn't ideal but by that time we just wanted to have a few drinks and a feed. We setup camp, made a fire and had some snags on the webber for tea. We had no idea what we were going to wake up to as it was pitch black when we pulled up ;)

This is the view we woke up to......

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Baked bean jaffles on the fire for our first breakkie :P

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Turns out we'd pulled up at a lookout point. Not a bad scene to wake up to, definitely put everyone in a good mood that's for sure :)
Here for a good time, not a long time

Mikal52
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Re: Gibb River Road May 2013

Unread post by Mikal52 » June 13th, 2013, 3:32 pm

After our First night we made our way to Bell Gorge, was only about 40 mins down the track but we were all glad we stopped where we did. A quick ~30 minute walk to the gorge and we were met with an amazing waterfall and beautiful refreshing swimming hole :)

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On the way to Bell gorge was also the first encounter of any water on the road... After hearing about the poor wet season we were a bit skeptical about how much water we would get to see, we were in for quite a surprise hahaha!

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And a little bit of the local wild life.

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We drove from Bell gorge through to Mt Barnett station where we stopped for some fuel. At $2.40L I decided I'd push on a bit further where hopefully it was a little cheaper. Just past Mt Barnett there is a creek crossing which has awesome white sand, it was quite low so we decided to drive down a bit and see if we could find a place to camp... This was one of favorite places that we camped at.

Once we'd found a place to camp we took a quick drive further down the river to see what else was down there, that last about 200 metres until I hit a very soft bit of sand, the bus sunk straight away and I wasn't going anywhere. A quick snatch and we headed back to camp :P

Stuck... :lol:

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Camp

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Here for a good time, not a long time

Mikal52
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Re: Gibb River Road May 2013

Unread post by Mikal52 » June 13th, 2013, 3:37 pm

Next morning we drove back in the direction we'd come from to visit Adcock gorge and Galvans gorge. Only about half an hour back down the road so no biggie. Adcock gorge was first, while very nice to see, the amount of golden orb (I think) spiders made it very difficult to get to the water, so a couple of photos were taken and we moved on to visit Galvans gorge.

Adcock gorge.

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Galvans gorge we had been told was the place to find snakes. Our mate who did the road last year said he had seen a few snakes and since he has been handling snakes all his life, we knew he'd have an eye to spot them in the rocks. We weren't disappointed :D

Galvans gorge.

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Some aboriginal rock art. (Notice the snakes, I guess they've been around a while)

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2 snakes that we spotted (Tree snakes, poisonous but not harmful to humans)

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Travis our mate grabbed a stick and got the snake off the rock, we checked out how long it was then let it go on it's way. We estimated that at about 1.5 metres....

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Here for a good time, not a long time

Mikal52
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Re: Gibb River Road May 2013

Unread post by Mikal52 » June 13th, 2013, 3:40 pm

Another pic of me in the quicksand I found....

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After Galvans gorge we drove back to Mt Barnett station, paid for our permits and drove in 7km to the Manning gorge campsite. We'd been told at the station this was a 2 hour walk each way, so we setup camp and got stuck into the beers :) Another mate also caught up with us here, completing the convoy of 1 x 76 Cruiser, 1 x Hilux + boat, and the trusty old Troopy.

It also began to rain on this afternoon, so we had to pull out all the shelter we could, thank god for the quickshade, 2 tarps and awning.... Otherwise it would've been a rather wet coming week!!!

Camp at Manning gorge.

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Plenty of card games and plenty of alcohol...

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I also forgot to mention, the boat trailer we had been towing had already been showing signs of not coping. On the first day on the dirt we'd lost one of the lights along with the light frame... Not really a big issue until we hit the bitumen again and had to try keep away from the boys in blue.
Here for a good time, not a long time

Mikal52
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Re: Gibb River Road May 2013

Unread post by Mikal52 » June 13th, 2013, 3:42 pm

The next morning as a result of some rain and an overcast day was quite muggy, we cooked up some breakfast and headed off on the walk for Manning gorge. just outside the campsite is a big river crossing which they've put a small boat in on a pulley system, we piled in that and got ourselves across the river, followed by a fairly big walk which wasn't helped by the lack of any breeze and humid conditions... What we found at the end of it made it all worth while!

Manning gorge

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After a very refreshing swim, and jumping from around the waterfall a few times we made our way back, the walk back seemed alot easier, it may have been because we knew what was ahead of us, or maybe because there was a cold beer waiting for us back at the car???

We were packed up before we did the walk, so a quick beer and we hit the road again... From here we were heading to Drysdale station for a night on our way up to Mitchell Falls. We came across more and more small river crossings, and once we turned off the Gibb River road and onto the Kalumbaru road we were faced with some decent mud sections and alot more water.

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Quick stop for some firewood along the way

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No shortage of mud on the Kalumbaru road!

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We were a little disappointed at Drysdale station, while everyone was friendly and they had everything we needed, when we went to the small bar for a drink and have a night off from cooking. We were told that they were fully booked out by a tour bus that had rocked up after us.... Apparently we should have rang through earlier and booked a table if we wanted to eat there. That was the last thing on my mind being out in the middle of nowhere.

Drysdale staion camp

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Here for a good time, not a long time

Mikal52
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Re: Gibb River Road May 2013

Unread post by Mikal52 » June 13th, 2013, 3:43 pm

Also after hitting the Kalumbaru road I'd had the fuel filter light appear on my dash, I knew this would be from water in the fuel filter, so when we filled up I drained the water separator and reset the light on the dash, hoping that it would be the end of the problem...

After a pretty amazing roast that night in the camp oven (if I do say so myself ;) ) We unhooked the boat and left it at Drysdale station, and headed off first thing in the morning for the 180km drive up to Mitchell falls. We had predicted this drive would take us about 3 hours, but we weren't sure what the road conditions would be like....

These are the road conditions we were faced with on the way up to Mitchell Falls.

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Just a little water on the track....

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With these conditions it was a given that we'd have to get some decent pics, so I drove up a bit and dropped the missus off, turned around and did a drive by to get some nice pics of the cars...

Yours truly

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Trav and Eb in the Hilux

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Matt in the Troopy

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Here for a good time, not a long time

Mikal52
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Re: Gibb River Road May 2013

Unread post by Mikal52 » June 13th, 2013, 3:44 pm

After 4 1/2 hours driving through what seemed to be never ending water. We arrived at the Mitchell Falls campgrounds. The cars had taken quite a beating along this track. I had the fuel filter back up again, the Troopy had lost the mounting bracket for the drivers side scrub bar, and the Hilux UHF antenna had almost fallen off, and one spot light had fallen apart....

So after cutting off the scrub bar with a hacksaw, removing the spotlight, gaffa taping up the UHF antenna and draining my fuel filter and resetting the light. We headed for the booking area to try get a chopper flight over the falls. We were just in time as they had a spot to fly us into the falls and drop us off, and we could make the walk back in the arvo.

I'll let the photos speak for themselves. But according to the chopper pilot, the falls were flowing about twice as hard as they had been 3 days prior with the amount of rain they'd received.

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From the top

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I wasn't pushing her I swear :P

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Bif Mertens falls on the walk back to camp

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And the top of Little Mertens falls

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We got back to camp just as the rain started coming down again... While we had plenty of shelter from the rain it still makes camping and trying to keep things dry a challenge, I think it was about 2am when it started really coming down, even under the awning we were getting wet, so the canvas was pulled over the swag, which then made it incredibly hot inside.... Safe to say no one had a good sleep that night. But not much we could do about it!

The next morning after finally getting a couple of hours sleep, we awoke to blue skies! Moods instantly picked up as we thought we had seen the last of the shitty weather. We cooked up some pancakes for breakfast, packed up and hit the road. We were aiming for Home valley station for the next couple of nights.
Here for a good time, not a long time

Brades
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Re: Gibb River Road May 2013

Unread post by Brades » June 13th, 2013, 4:18 pm

Bloody excellent mate! What an amazing write of of what sounds like such an epic trip! Bet that extra fuel filter and water sensor just paid for itself x1000! Looks like the cruiser ate up everything you threw at it! Good onya mate!
Brades
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TimWalks
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Re: Gibb River Road May 2013

Unread post by TimWalks » June 13th, 2013, 8:06 pm

Wetting my appetite! One thing I've noticed about this forum is that people go to a lot of effort to share their trips which makes for good viewing! Heading along there myself in a few weeks for the 3rd time in 4 years. Keep it coming! Never struck the drain water light in my travels but have had the fuel management system light (bowzer with dotted line underneath from memory) come on. Changed filter and reset and no other problems. Anyway look forward to hearing about the rest of your trip!

Sir Snagger
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Re: Gibb River Road May 2013

Unread post by Sir Snagger » June 14th, 2013, 1:53 pm

I'd been looking at doing the Gibb and whilst having done a little research, I stopped when our plans changed and it was off the cards. This has just put it back on the cards again!!!

HDJ78R
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Re: Gibb River Road May 2013

Unread post by HDJ78R » June 14th, 2013, 7:16 pm

Great trip report mate and great photo's. I've been there in 1999, wouldn't mind going back there one day.
No-one gets left behind.

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Foo
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Re: Gibb River Road May 2013

Unread post by Foo » June 16th, 2013, 3:30 pm

:cool: report and trip!

Foo

Mikal52
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Joined: September 27th, 2011, 8:24 am
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Re: Gibb River Road May 2013

Unread post by Mikal52 » June 18th, 2013, 10:30 pm

TimWalks wrote:Never struck the drain water light in my travels but have had the fuel management system light (bowzer with dotted line underneath from memory) come on.
Yeah mate that's the light I had come on... Wasn't sure of the proper name for it haha.

Guess I'd better finish this report off for everyone hey.

From Mitchell falls we headed back along the rain soaked track for Drysdale station to pick up the boat and top up the fuel tanks. We left Drysdale and made our way to the Gibb, this was where I noticed the fuel management light on again... And also lost an adjuster bolt out of my Rally 4000 spotties.. We also had another casualty part off the trailer, lost the remaining light bracket, and had to rip the mud guard off at Drysdale station.

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We headed towards Home Valley station stopping in at Ellenbrae station for some of their famous fresh scones! A welcome treat for sure :D

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Another river crossing back on the Gibb.

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We drove about 6 hours that day in beautiful weather, and just as we started getting close to Home Valley the clouds started rolling in once again!!! Typical Kimberley weather but not at this time of the year I would've thought.

Pulling into Home Valley Station

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Where we spent the next 2 days ;) :p Dustys Bar!

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Here for a good time, not a long time

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