El Questro Wilderness Park – A Gibb Grand Finale

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El Questro Wilderness Park was everything the name suggests, and more.  Fabulous 4WD tracks, stunning sunsets, favourite family time, cracking campsites, raging rivers, gorgeous gorges and wild walks.  You have to drive across the pandanus lined Pentecost River again just to get into the front gate so you feel pretty special just being there.

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It was where we met Mum, Lisa, Luke, Millie and Jimmy.  We last saw Mum in Esperance, and Lisa and co in Yeppoon which was our first stop on our around oz trip all those many months ago.

They were a welcome sight.  Not least of all because they carried with them some much longed for beer and food supplies!

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It seemed Lisa had been preparing and freezing meals in advance for such an occasion!  Legendary!  The campsites on the bank of the river were unpowered though so we put a fair strain on the generator to run the microwave.  IMG_8928

We spent a big portion of each day heading off on the Morris family ATV to collect firewood so they could indulge their  new mission to feed us – via the camp oven!

 

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When we first embarked on our trip, we thought hard about getting a Weber, just so we could have a roast dinner every now and then.  I wish we had have bought ourselves a camp oven back then instead.  The roasts we had were just mouthwatering!

We did plenty of relaxing around our campsite which sat on the bank of the Pentecost River.

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Actually, we were busy doing laundry, endless washing up, and chasing after kids.  Jimmy mainly!

The best way to start the day was with a visit to Zebedee Hot Springs.

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Imagine a Livingstonian Palm grove with warm water forming natural pools and waterfalls through the rocks below.

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Delicious!  The closer you got to the source, the warmer the water was.  We tried to get there when it opened at 7am each morning to give us a kickstart to our El Questro day.  Then we would loll about for an hour or so, then back to base for a coffee.  Hard life eh.

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Beer o’clock would see us ascend a nearby ridge for an awe inspiring view.

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Our Prado vs Pete’s Landcruiser vs the Morris family truck.  Plus or minus the ATV.  What a crew.

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El Questro Gorge was a veritable highlight of our stay here.

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Mum was holding onto Jasper, I carried Dash and Brian carried Daisy all the way up to the first waterhole.

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This is where most people stop, however, there is the ‘Upper Pool’.  So Brian, Luke and I scaled the waterfall and promised Lisa and Mum (and Jasper, Dash, Daisy, Millie and Jimmy) that we would be back real soon.  It was a fun rock hopping and boulder bashing climb up the river to reach the ultimate destination.  A tiny narrow gorge with an endless clear dark pool at the base of a sparkling waterfall.

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It took us about an hour up and back of barefoot leaping and clambering.  They were all glad to see us when we got back for some reason.

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It was a long walk back to the carpark!

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Jasper and Millie were besties again.  Dash and Jimmy still have a bit of work to do, but once they get past bashing each other, mutual respect and adoration will surely inevitably develop.

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Brian went barra fishing with Luke and his Mum and Dad……. but no, there were no barra silly enough to be caught.  We did some fun 4WDing around the station and conquered some of the most ridiculous river crossings!

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El Questro just had so much to offer.  You could be action jackson, or just sit on the riverbank playing cars.

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We came for 3 days, and ended up staying a week.  Lisa and Mum and I didn’t really want to go our separate ways, but they were heading to Broome, and we had to continue heading East and home.  So we said our goodbyes and drove along the sweetest piece of bitumen ever laid.

Emma Gorge was a little detour and is apparently one of the top spots in the Kimberlys.  It took us a little while to walk there, seeing as we were missing Mum’s help, but it sure was worth the hardship.

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The falls were huge!  The water was very refreshing but there was even a hot springs in the corner.  Perfection.

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It’s such an amazing feeling floating on your back in the centre of the pool at the base of the falls with the mist splashing your face, with these high cliffs surrounding you on at least 3 sides.  What an experience.  This part of Australia has surpassed my expectations and earned its place at the top of the ‘must see’ list.

The road  eventually lead us to Kununurra.  This was the end of the Gibb River Road and we could finally pat ourselves on the backs while we put a big fat red tick in that box.  No flat tyres, no issues at all really.  We saw this old fella in an old ute back on the hardest part of the dirt with two back tyres blown out and he was just flooring it and fishtailing all over the road on his back rims, still getting where he was going.

Our campground in Kununurra was on the lake and had some welcome green grass.  But the most exciting thing for us was the supermarket where we could stock up for the first time since Broome.

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We finally began to feel human again now that we were out of the dust and dirt.  Our poor car will never be the same clean again.

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