After 10 days driving on the iconic Western Australian Gibb river road, we have come to a conclusion that the road itself isn’t very interesting. It’s a 660 km corrugated and dusty road with mostly the same scenery all along the way. Driving here was borderline boring! We can’t see why people should be coming here…if it weren’t for all the beautiful waterfalls and gorges along the way!
When driving on the Gibb river road, make sure to drive slowly or you might be loosing one or two thing of your vehicle.
For us, what made our 4WD Gibb river road adventures so special and unique are these wonderful waterfalls and gorges that you can find along the Gibb river road!
These amazing waterfalls and gorges are like oasis heaven sent on such a harsh environnement like Western Australia. We understand that people are curious to drive on one of Australia’s greatest 4WD adventures and want to have the Gibb river road ticked off their bucket-list but if you are not into hiking, swimming, waterfalls and gorges, we are not sure why you should add Gibb river on your itinerary.
We were here in August, at the end of the dry season and many of the waterfalls were dry but there were water remaining in many of the gorges. With a few exception, most of them are amazing places for a swim and escaping the Western Australian heat. So if you are heading there, you can find here below is a list of 13 Beautiful Waterfalls and Gorges on the Gibb river road that you shouldn’t miss!
The rain season is between December-Mars and the road is normally closed due to heavy rainfalls causing the rivers to rise and flood the roads. Please check the condition before heading out!
There are several campingground along the Gibb river road, but if you are alright with wildcamping then don’t forget to download the app Wikicamp Australia for finding free camping spots!
Before we started David circled the places on the Gibb river road map where there suppose to be somekind of IT connection.
1. Tunnel Creek
If you are heading east from Derby, Tunnel Creek might be your first gorge on your Gibb river road adventures. We actually did the Windjana gorge first and stayed at the Windjana campingground and very early the next morning we drove about 30 km to Tunnel Creek.
As we were hoping for, we were the first one to arrive and we were completely alone ( plus the freshwater crocodiles) in the 750 metre long underground tunnel. Knowing that we are the first one of the day to enter Tunnel Creek add an extra excitement to the walk in the dark tunnel.
The walk to the end of Tunnel Creek and back isn’t far but it is dark, wet and some part slippery! So wear a pair of steady shoes that you don’t mind getting wet! If you are scared of the dark there is another simple walk you can do!
P.S We were both wearing sneakers!
It was deadly quite when we arrived to Tunnel Creek and the further we walked the darker it got and suddently everything went completely dark. We stayed there for awhile listening to the sounds of the darkness. We were expecting to hear bats flying and freshies movements in the water but all we heard was some water drops and our own heartbeats!
It was easy and peaceful the first part of the tunnel. The second half was where our heart was beating real fast as it was here we needed to cross the water infested with freshwater crocodiles! Trust me, we hesitated a few moments before enterring into the water. The water was about knee deep and the crossing was just a few meter but my heart was pumping so hard!
Thank god for our headlights but even with these light we couldn’t see really far. Sometimes when we sweep our lights across the water we could see pairs of red eyes from the crocodiles! And if you are not carefull you might almost step onto one, like David almost did!
It was nice seeing the light at the end of Tunnel Creek and we had a moment by the creek watching the bats flying over our heads.
Ready steady go! We gathered our courage and re-entered the pitch dark Tunnel Creek at Gibb river road.
2. Windjana gorge
We stayed at Windjana gorge a few nights longer than planned because we meet an Australian family of five with whom we became quickly good friends!
If you decide to stay at Windjana gorge campground, you don’t need to really book in advance. At the entrance of the park, we were greeted by a volunteer worker and paid directly to him. You can choose the side of the campground, the noisy side with generator or the quiete side. The campsite is dusty but has beautiful views and have clean fllushing toilets, hot water showers and good drinking water!
We really suggest you to camp here for atleast a night because by the sunsets at Windjana gorge you can witness hundreds, if not thousands, of bats flying out of the caves and over the gorge! To be honest, it wasn’t as impressive as we were hoping for but if you haven’t seen something similar before you might really enjoy it!
The walk from the campground to the crocodiles at Windjana gorge isn’t far but if you don’t mind the Western Australian heat there are other longer hikes you can attempt.
On these walls at Windjana gorge you can find 350-million year old Devonian coral reef with numerous fossils!
Although the freshwater crocodiles are normally shy animals and tend to stay away from human but if they feel cornered or harassed they can attack and their sharp teeth can inflict serious injuries! No matter what, don’t approach them! You don’t really need to get very close to the water at Windjana gorge to see the freshies because they are practically everywhere!
They don’t do much these lazy animals. It can take awhile before you can see a movement from one of them. They move an inch and then find a comfy position and freeze like that for ages.
3. Bell gorge
Our next stop was Bell gorge! We stayed Silent Grove camping site about 10 km on the same road to the gorge. We really recommend this camping site because as the Windjana gorge it is affordable, have clean flushing toilets, hot showers and good drinking water!
As usual we woke up early the next morning and hoped to be the first one there. The walk to the Bell creek from the parking was an easy 700m walk on rocky forest path.
When we arrived, by the look the place, we were all alone! How wonderful!
From the upper pools looking down to the waterfalls and Bell gorge, Gibb river road Western Australia.
If you want to swim at the bottom pools you have to cross the upper creek and take a short but rocky and steep path down to the bottom. It was an easy walk down but later the same day we saw that some were struggling. If you don’t have some injuries you should be just fine!
When people were starting to come shortly after us we just moved further down the stream to other rock pools. There where no clear path so you have to make one yourself. And if you manage to reach the end of the gorge (what you will think is the end) you will have a nice suprise that Bell gorge has more waterfalls and continue much further! Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a way to get down to the “hidden” Bell gorge.
But if you are too lazy, staying by the big pool at Bell gorge is also very fun! People were jumping off the cliff and although it looked very fun we didn’t have the courage to try!
Bell gorge as far as the eyes can see!
4. Adcock gorge
You can find Adcock gorge at Wikicamp Australia for camping but it wasn’t clear if we could stay there overnight so we decided to stay on another beautiful spot just 1 km on the road. It was perfect because once again we were the first one arriving! As some mentionned on the Wikicamp, the last hundreds of meter to the main parking at Adcock gorge is pretty bad. Some decide to drive all the way, but we decided to park the car by the giant Boab tree (you will see the space). And trust us, from there on is only a few minutes and meters to the main parking so don’t force your car if you are hesitating.
From the main parking it is another easy walk to the Adcock gorge. According to some visitor who commented on Wikicamp, they saw a dead freshie floating on this first pool. We didn’t see any dead nor alive!
When we arrived by Adcock gorge we were awestrucked by the morning sun hitting the water and it was absolutely magical! It didn’t take long before I was ready to a jump in that beautful gorge…but not before we made sure that there were no sign of any crocs!
David climb the waterfalls walls and up beyong but he said there isn’t much up there. But the view is magnifique so don’t hesitate to try!
Adcock gorge is perhaps my favorite. The gorge itself is not grandiose like other gorges on Gibb river road, but that morning when we arrived the sun was perfectly shining on the water and made a beautiful reflection hitting the stone walls. It was peaceful and I got this incredible feeling of happiness and was very grateful to be able to share this place with my family.
5. Galvans gorge
After Adcock gorge we drove to Galvans gorge that wasn’t very far away. From the parking we had to walk in the sun for a couple of hundred meters before enterring to the forest and had some shade. From there on it was another simple hundreds of meters to the Galvans gorge. As it was almost noon we were greeted by groups of people having lunch by the small gorge. Luckily we found a perfect spot for our own picnic and before we knew it everybody was gone!
Ahh finally all alone and we jumped right into the water! The water here felt warmer than on the other gorges but we might have been wrong.
When walking to Galvens gorge, you will be passing by beautiful lily-filled ponds.
6. The Manning gorge
Next stop was Manning gorge! But before you can enter you need to buy a permit at Mt Barnett Roadhouse. The permit cost $22.50 per person (Senior $13.50) and is valid (IF I AM NOT MISSTAKEN) for 24h. With this permit you can stay over night at Mt Barnett campground. If you decide to stay more than one night, additional nights cost you $14.50 per person. A day pass to visit the gorge without staying over night costs $8.
Manning gorge is popular so there were much people at the campground. We parked our car right next to a family with two young boys and it turns out that the mother is also from Thailand! We spent our first evening at the camping sharing spicy and delicious Thai food by the campfire. Our best meal on Gibb river road for sure!
The next morning we woke up early and headed out to the gorge. This is one of the longer walk on the Gibb river road. It is a 5.6 km return hike and you will be walking mostly under the sun, over broken rocky terrain, with some climbing and scrambling at the end. But it was worth all the effort!
And yes once again we were the first one arriving! But just very shortly after we arrived we were accompanied by other visitor. We walked up to the now dry waterfall and we had a nice view of surrounding. People were even jumping from there! If you are into cliff jumping this is a great gorge to do so!
Who would have guess what lies behind all these boulders at Manning gorges, Gibb river road.
When there were too many people for us to handle, we decided to take a walk further the stream and straight to the boulders. We didn’t know how far we wanted to go and we didn’t know what to find but we just climbed our the boulders. It wasn’t hard and it wasn’t far before we reached another huge GORGE…..and it was nobody!!
We couldn’t belive our eyes! It was gorgeous! So while the other were on Manning gorge we had this unknown gorge for ourself! We swam as far as we could with small stops on rocks in the clear water. Now and then we wandered around our eyes for crocodiles but we didn’t see any!
Keep in mind that for security reason you need to leave Manning gorge by a certain time. I think it was by 4 pm.
Beautiful waterfalls and gorges on Gibb river road Western Australia.
7. Barnett river gorge
There is no sign to Barnett river gorge and if you are not attentive you might miss the turnout. We used the Wikicamp as GPS. When you see this sign turn left!
According to Wikicamp, you can stay here over the night but we didn’t. When you drive in, you will see a sign pointing to the free camp site.
Barnett river gorge was beautiful and we had it completely for ouself! It was an amazing day!
This was another longer hike at Gibb river road but also worth all the effort. It is about 1 km from the car park to the bottom of the gorge (that we found later at the end of the day). If you are not keen of walking, staying at the bottom gorge is totally fine.
We continued and followed the post signs and our first stop was the lookout but according to the map we suppose to arrive first to a plunge pool??? And from there on we kept following the post sings and sometimes it was clear but we eventually found a way down to the gorge but we were really confused of where we actually were?? Wherever we were, we had a dip in the cool water and had our lunch. We meet a couple who also came down and they also wasn’t sure where we were on the map.
Is this the plunge pool?
We then continued walking downstream and not far from the “plunge pool” we arrived to a beautiful gorge where we also had a cool swim. From here David tried to find a path leading us further down the stream but he couldn’t find any. So we either need to walk the same way back or climb up the rocky wall and join the path above that we walked earlier. We choose to climb which was easy but still scary.
Once we found the path again we walked the same way back and this time we saw the post sign to the bottom gorge. If this is the site nr TWO where is the site nr ONE ?
8. Bindoola falls
There is no sign for Bindoola falls so we used our wikicamp as gps. The turnout is by a rest area post sign and it is only a few meters drive to the parking.
It was pretty dry everywhere but there was still some water left in the gorge. We didn’t find the official way down so we found one ourself which required some climbing.
That is where we are heading for a swim! Bindoola falls at Gibb river road, Western Australia.
We found a small gap and squeezed us through and climbed down and then over the boulders. The feeling of touching the warm boulders was beautiful and it was fun for Mirabelle trying to lead us the way to the natural swimming pool.
After the swim, we climbed back up and had a short walk to the now dry waterfalls but it was really impressive and it was hard imagining Bindoola falls on a rainy season. It must be something else and very beautiful!
Watch out for the aggresive fishes trying to nibble your feet, Bindoola falls at Gibb river road, Western Australia.
9. Pentecost river
If you search for an image of Gibb river road you will likely find one of the most iconic images, the Pentecost River crossing! We had no issue crossing that river because it was pretty dry by that time of the year. For us, this was one of the most beautiful wildcamping spot along the Gibb river road.
Have fun and enjoy but watch out for the SALTWATER CROCODILES!
Are you planning to visit Western Australia and are a big fan of beautiful and unique beaches? Have a look at our blog post ” 30 Beautiful and Unique Western Australia beaches you need to visit ” ⇒ Here
El questro waterfalls and gorges
While technically not on the Gibb River Road, we think El questro should be part of your Gibb river road adventures! No matter at what end you will start or finish the road, you will pass by El questro because it is basically on the way! So no matter what, don’t overlook one of the most beauitful wilderness park in Western Australia.
There are many accomodation options for you at El questro. We stayed at the El questro campground for a night. We arrived early and did the El questro falls the first day and Zebedee hot springs and Amalia gorge on the next.
9. Zebedee springs
Zebedee spring is the easiest walk of all the walk on our Gibb river road adventure! You better come here early because the gate for the springs closed by noon and if you can’t find a parking spot at the parking you need to come back next time! Because of that it was already crowded when we arrived at 7 am by the opening time.
All the best spots were already taken so we find ourself a spot at the bottom of the springs. It was nice to soak up the warm water for a while but we didn’t stay long as it got quickly really crowded!
And yeah I forgot, I had a leech sucking my feet! I felt a strange sting on my feet and while I scratching it I felt something small and slimy. I had a look at my feet, didn’t see this slimy thing but I saw a bloody wound and I knew right away that it was a leech. A tour guide comfirmed that there can be leeches in these springs.
Ahhh warm water at Zebedee springs, El questro in Western Australia.
10. Amalia gorge
Amalia gorge was also one of the longer hikes with some parts of rock scrambling and ledge hopping involved. But don’t worry, it was fun and nice walk. The trail leads to a waterfall (on wet season) and there are many beautiful natural swimming pools all along the way, but when we were there the water at the pools was stagnant and didn’t look very inviting. However, once you arrive to the Amalia waterfalls you will want to jump right into that water!
Don’t forget to look up when walking at Amalia gorge in El questro, Western Australia.
The first swimming hole at Amalia gorge, El Questro, Gibb river road adventures.
Not a single drop of water from Amalia waterfalls by this time of the year at El questro, Western Australia.
Be very careful when enterring the water because it was very very slippery! We were sliding down on our butt and I can’t remember how we even manage to get up up again!
11. El Questro gorge and waterfall
El Questro gorge trail was the hardest hike of all the hikes on our Gibb river road adventures. The first obstacle for many is the river crossing. If you have the right car, go ahead…you are on an adventures road trip right? If not, you can park the car before the water crossing, you either try hitch hike or walk along side the water on a muddy path and then on the main road for about 10 minutes to the main parking and the head trail.
The Half way pool at El questro gorge, Western Australia, road trip adventure.
The walk to the Half way pool at El questro gorge was beautiful and easy. While many people decide to stay here, we decided to climb that boulder and continue to the MacMicking pool and waterfall. The boulder looks quite small and seem as an easy thing to climb but let me tell you that it was not easy as it look.
With Mirabelle in the carrier we climbed and scrambled over boulders but in spite of our physical efforts we were able to soak up the beauty of this place! Exotic butterflies flying over our heads as we were trying to pass over huge boulders, the small rockpools with crystal clear water where we could have a rest and the lush vegetation swaying in the air. It was magical! Many people would agree when we say that the waterfall itself isn’t that spectacular but the trail and the environnement to get there are what makes El Questro gorge so beautiful!
The MacMiking pool and waterfall at the end of the El Questro gorge trail, Western Australia.
12. Emma gorge
Emma gorge was our last gorge on our Gibb river road 4WD adventures! And it was also one of the most beautiful of all gorges and waterfalls! In spite of the warning sign saying that the hike gets more difficult, it was pretty easy and not very long but you should wear a good pair of footwear because the path is rocky and uneven.
A stunning turquoise pool before the big pool, El Questro, Western Australia adventures.
There are no perfect words to describe how beautiful and magical Emma gorge is! The water dripping down from the green plants above creating an illusion of being a tropical rain fall. One of the problems with gorges is to visit a gorge on the perfect timing for the sun to lid up the gorges ( if at all). It was almost cold and dark by the time we arrived to Emma gorge, but I heard that if you come at the middle of the day around noon, the sunlight will beautifully reflects off the walls.
The water at the upper pool at Emma gorge was freezing cold!
After Emma gorge and after ten days on Gibb river road we decided to treat ourself with some fine dinning at the restaurant in Emma gorge resort. We highly recommend it as it was really delicous and affordable! Having this early dinner was a perfect ending to our family Gibb river road adventures! A memorable ten wonderful days exploring beautiful waterfalls and gorges by Gibb river road!
So what is your first hand pick of all the 13 waterfalls and gorges on the list?
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