Our last stop on the Gibb River Road was El Questro Station but to get there we had to cross the Pentecost River – early in the dry season this is high river but when we arrived it was only about 40cm at the deepest – but given the crocodiles you do not want to have car troubles whilst crossing.
Then we arrived at El Quester Station an outback station offering tourists a taste of the country cowboy station life. El Questro is a major tourist business but it offers some spectacular gorges and sights as well as the luxuries of a resort style camping and accommodation. We loved the vibe here.
Luckily for us when we arrived there were some river front spots in the main camp ground just vacated we timed it perfectly with the end of the bus school holidays. (thank to the camping gods). Again coincidentally we met up with Jesse, Mike and Leslie and set up camp in a spot next to them. The children had fun hanging out eating lunch by the river and playing together.
After lunch we went for a swim and played in the inflated tyre tubes for the afternoon in a man made swimming hole in the river near to the resort campground. It had rocky barriers and a ‘croc net’ to block the big salties. We went for a .
The next day after saying goodbye to Jesse and his parents we walked up the arduous rocky track and into El Questro gorge. Graded as hard it required a lot of rock hopping and climbing up rocks but we made it to the end (Bianca had a bit of help from Dad) we had a rewarding swim in a deep pool with a waterfall….we even had it to ourselves for 20 minutes.
We didn’t get back to our car until 5pm so that night we had burgers by the bar and watched the entertainer singing a few country tunes.
Our second day at El Questro we headed off to the Zebedee Hot Springs for a morning soak. The pools are in a small open gorge with towering rock walls around them and Livistona palms overhead providing a fabulous tropical setting. The pools are fed by a constant hotwater spring which is an average of 32”C. It felt so good to relax and enjoy the warm water – it was hard to convince everyone to get out.
Whilst in the pools we met another family from Darwin on holidays who gave us lots of tips for Darwin and the NT parks. After we finally emerged from the hot pools wrinkly from our soak we headed off for the Bronko’s Lookout. Passing over the Broncos crossing we had a view back to the exclusive homestead resort…where Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban stayed during the filming of ‘Australia – the movie’. After this we took the 4×4 track down into Explosion Gorge for a look (not for swimming) and then up the Saddleback Ridge for a sunset view to end the day.
The next day was Holly’s Birthday! We were woken early by an excited birthday girl and after presents and pancakes for breakfast we took the three children for a horse ride. Parents were told to keep quiet or you would need to buy the horseman dinner. (this was a real challenge – for both Andrew and I.) Holly rode on ‘Rambler’, Aaron was on ‘Bobcat’ and Bianca was riding ‘Shazam’ and off they went for a ride around a paddock. They loved it!
After the horse rides we went to Emma Gorge – our last and one of the most beautiful gorges on the Gibb River Road. At the gorge we all had a swim in the very cold water. On the right there is a shower of warm water flowing out of the rocks which we also enjoyed.
After our swim and some lunch we met a family catching cane toads… very sad that the toads have reached the Kimberley. They are in small numbers and are being caught and humanly destroyed to try and reduce numbers and impact on the wildlife.
Walking back on the track chatting to Kristy (the Mum) we worked out that she and her husband, Jeremy, are workout buddies and friends of my sister and brother in law in Perth. Small World out on the road! They are also travelling with their three children around Australia for 6 months.
We had ice-creams at the Emma Gorge Resort with Jeremy, Kristy and their kids and Andrew was telling them how we had no trouble and had been so lucky with tyres. We then drove straight back to El Questro for Holly’s birthday dinner.
When we got to camp we could hear an loud hissing…that is not good…we had traversed the Gibb River Road for 4 weeks, 3000kms and we got our first flat tyre thanks to a roofing nail in the El Questro driveway!
We had a lovely birthday dinner at the El Questro restaurant, which was a fine finish to our Gibb River Road Kimberley adventures.
Our last morning before we left El Questro Aaron and I awoke before sunrise and headed to a bird hide to see if we could spot the endangered Gouldian Finch – it was fun hiding in the little hut and whispering looking at the birds feeding on what looked like a pool of mud. After an hour together at 7am we were joined by Tom a very keen ‘birder’ who has an enormous camera to capture photos of the birds he sees. Aaron and he both had a ball spotting and photographing the various birds. Aaron has a keen eye and was very excited to spot all the different birds. We had a great few hours and we were rewarded with a small flock of Gouldian Finches with the various colours – I did not manage to get any photo evidence but we saw them. A really beautiful bird. Tom and Aaron were both smiling ear to ear.
Later as we were preparing to leave El Questro Tom waved Andrew down and very generously gave Aaron a camera which he had found in the bush some weeks earlier. Tom thought Aaron would enjoy better photographs on this camera we just needed a battery charger for the camera – an awesome gift.
Just found your blog. Wow you really are having an adventure.
Saw the photo of Aaron and I at the bird hide and I must say it is most unflattering. Not to worry because what a morning we had! Not only did we see some great Gouldian Finches but also Long-tails as well. I couldn’t have done it without those sharp little eyes helping me! The morning was a special highlight of our trip for me.
I really enjoyed meeting all of you as you are a lovely family and I wish you well on the rest of your trip.
Hope the camera is still working and don’t forget Aaron to send me one of your photos.