Emma Gorge and Cockburn Range – El Questro Wilderness

The night before, the replacement truck we will use arrived, as the current truck we had still need repairing.  We felt relieved because we knew that we can continue our journey in Kimberley Region.

It was 6th day of our adventure that day and our last day in El Questro Station. It was great to stay in the said station for the past two nights because it was a comfortable place to camp. The station has other facilities aside from basics, the camp provides washing clothes corner. It also offers accommodations, tours and it has bar-restaurant called “Swinging Arm Bar”. And even it was located in remote wilderness along Gibb River Road, I considered it as one of the best place to stay in the outback of Kimberley Region.

After we break the camp and had breakfast in the morning which become daily routine of the group during early hours of the day, we took El Questro Road to leave the camp to be back again in Gibb River Road. We were on our way to El Questro Wilderness Park within Cockburn Range. While in the road, watching the range so close was additional reward to enjoy.

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Cockburn Range close snapshots captured while inside the overland truck along Gibb River Road

The group’s adventure for the day was spent in Emma Gorge where we had an exciting trek before reaching the waterfalls, where the whole group enjoyed swimming in a refreshing cold waterhole.

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When we reached Emma Gorge, it is actually a resort where it also offers accommodations similar to El Questro Station. It has restaurants and swimming pool. When everyone were ready for the trek towards the waterfalls, we started the walk. At first it was easy, then it became rugged and followed by rocky terrain. After more than an hour, we reached the waterhole at the end of the trail.  The entrance of the waterhole is fully covered with trees which I felt refreshing.

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Everyone selected their own spots and prepared for the swimming. I took photos at first, then I prepared myself for the swimming and brought my phone inside the transparent bag so I can still used the camera of my phone while in the waterfalls. I walked towards waterhole and then my feet felt the cold water. Then, I felt the slippery rocks under the water. So I tried to walked first to a deeper part of the waterhole where I can swim a bit. I swam only in the shallow part of the waterhole as I am not that really good in swimming deeper part of the waterfalls.

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At Emma Gorge Waterfalls

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Enjoying the water

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The group preparing in leaving Emma Gorge Waterfall

After swimming, we returned to our truck. We drove again in gravel road named Gibb River Road. Then, we crossed the famous Pentecost River where it only passable during dry season. After crossing the river, we had few minutes stop in Cockburn Range Lookout where the majestic Cockburn Range is viewed. After more than two hours continuously taking Gibb River Road towards our destination which was Manning Gorge camp site, we had another stop along the road where our group had to take lunch, the location was not far from the crossing of Gibb River Wyndham Road and Gibb River Kalumburu Road. After lunch we were set back again taking the rough road towards the next camp site for the night.

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Kimberley Wilderness

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Pentecost River

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Cockburn Range from Cockburn Range Lookout

 

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Lunch near the crossing of Gibb River-Wyndham Road and Gibb River-Kalumburu Road

After being in the road between 5 to 6 hours, we reached Manning Gorge campsite for almost sunset time. There was another group arrived at the campsite and they are earlier than us, they were touring Kimberley Region as well like us and in the same company but in a different direction. They came from Broome going to Darwin, while our group came from Darwin going to Broome.

We setup again our tent after we chose our spot. Then, some from our group went to the nearby Manning River and had some fun again in the water before ending the day. I joined the group a little bit late, I soaked my feet under in the river and took some photos of the river, then joined the group for swimming.

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At Manning Creek

Then one by one were taking turns on the shower while I joined the group again for the dinner, where I met some people from the other group. One of them took 21 days tour and its their 14th day that time which was really amazing, it was our 6th day in our group. After dinner, I helped out in cleaning the dishes before taking the shower that night which I will never forget as the lights went off around 9 PM, it was good thing that I brought my head lamp, so I only panic at first then continued my shower as if nothing happens even though it’s totally dark in my surroundings. After taking shower, I returned to my tent and went to bed as conclusion for the day.

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Panoramic View : Cockburn Range

Panoramic View (Post#38) : Cockburn Range

After passing Pentecost River while taking Gibb River Road, we stopped a bit in Cockburn Ranges Lookout to appreciate the majestic beauty that it offers. The said range is also the most iconic views to see while in Gibb River Road. And please take note that Emma Gorge where we had swimming in waterhole is part of Cockburn Range. These photos are part of Day 6 (Gibb River Road) of 9 Days Darwin to Broome Overland Adventure Tour October 2016.

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Discovery : Pentecost River

Discovery (Post#45) : Pentecost River

One of the main reason why Gibb River Road is closed during wet seasons or when it rains is because of Pentecost River. This river is crossing Gibb River Road or Gibb River Road is crossing Pentecost River. And when I checked the map of the river, it is the same river that partially parallels in the bush walked we did following Champagne Springs Trail. It is not surprising if El Questro Station is closed during the same season. The river named after John Pentecost – a surveyor of the river and geologist under the expedition led by Michael Durack in 1882. These photos are part of Day 6 (Gibb River Road) of 9 Days Darwin to Broome Overland Adventure Tour October 2016.

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Featuring Our World : Emma Gorge

Featuring Our World (Post#11) : Emma Gorge

Staying in El Questro Station, there are lots of things can be done, but I knew that even that is the case, there are specific places that our group can go to and I was glad aside from Zebedee Springs, we went to Emma Gorge where we drove few minutes from the station. I love Emma Gorge even though the activities involved has swimming. I like the rocky trail we trekked towards the falls. And after the hike, all just wanted to plunge into the waterhole but be warned its water is cold. These photos are part of Day 6 (El Questro Station) of 9 Days Darwin to Broome Overland Adventure Tour October 2016.

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Name Of The Place : El Questro Wilderness Park

Name Of The Place (Post#49) : El Questro Wilderness Park

When I visited Australia.com and when I installed its apps to my iPad, I read the name El Questro for the first and it happened when I arrived in Australia last 2013. It is one of the recommended tourist spot that the site is offering. Before, I wonder the reason why, but after reaching El Questro, I understand why. El Questro Wilderness Part is located at El Questro station that now both combines cattle station and tourism. And to come here requires permit to protect the ancient wilderness in Kimberley Region. The photo is part of Day 6 (El Questro Station) of 9 Days Darwin to Broome Overland Adventure Tour October 2016.

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El Questro Station and Surround

Fourth Day continues …

From “The Bungle Bungles” to Bellburn Airstrip Airport

Just past 9:00 AM in the morning of our Day 4 adventure, we left “The Bungle Bungles”. Then we drove towards Bungle Bungle Airport (Purnululu Airport or Bellburn Airstrip Airport) as few from the group had to take Bungle Bungle Scenic Flights via Helispirit. Then, the rest from the group waited at the ground and had a morning coffee/tea break while waiting. I did not join the scenic flight as it has additional cost and not included in the adventure tour that I paid. It is an optional activity being offered while in Purnululu National Park.

When the scenic flight adventure has been finished, we were back in the truck to continue our journey leaving Purnululu National Park. Leaving the park takes a while,  same time when coming into it because of obvious reasons that slows down everyone – the unsealed roads or dirt tracks. And from what I learned, the management of the park wanted to keep it that way as part of protection program of the park. Before we finally left Purnululu, we had quick-lunch again at the same place where we had our lunch the previous day, not far from the gate.

To Warmun (Turkey Creek)

After hours in the road, we had a quick stop at Warmun (Turkey Creek) to rest a bit, to have snacks and to refuel our truck. I cannot forget the said station because it was the place where everyone craved for cold food like ice cream as the sun’s heat scorching in our body as we continue adventuring the region.

To Gibb River Road

As we move along, we drove hours again in Great Northern Highway going north towards Durack Range, passing Victoria Highway that goes to Kununurra where we came from few days earlier. We turned right towards Wyndham continuously taking the same highway.

From Great Northern Highway, we turned left towards Gibb River Road Wyndham, we stopped a bit before we started the longest and harshest road that we will take, the famous unsealed road in Western Australia named Gibb River Road.

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Before we even started driving Gibb River Road, we had some troubles in our truck, but we are not aware of its gravity how we were troubled.  But our adventure guide Scotty, were able to managed the truck to maneuver even we took Gibb River Road, we successfully arrived at El Questro Station.

At El Questro Station

Everyone had a good relief that we reached the station because we do not want to be in the middle of nowhere with our truck malfunctioning. Because the dry season was almost over, it means that fewer visitors were visible in the station. El Questro Station has complete facilities, we were able to take showers again which we were not able to do in Purnululu National Park, washing clothes are feasible because there are coin-operated washing machines available in the station. There was a restaurant that at least we have something to visit in the evening. We felt good that our truck gave up when we were in El Questro Station, for me it is the best place to be in that situation. Our group pitched the tent again which just near the Pentecost River. That night that we arrived in the station, we had a great dinner as if we never experienced problems along the way to the station.

Fifth Day

The next day, it was definitely that our truck needs some repairs. Our guide Scotty did some arrangements of tour bus for the group so we have activities during our fifth day adventure. I checked that day’s itineraries of the group and to my surprise, we haven’t missed anything as part of the adventure up to our fifth day even we were spending a relaxing time in El Questro Station. Looking at the places that we had been for the past days, we are still ahead of the schedule which was really great. When everybody were ready, we left the station and went to a nearby and wonderful thermal springs.

Zebedee Springs

We walked few minutes from the parking area, then we had an easy walk except for the slippery rocks near the pool. I liked the surroundings because the thermal springs are naturally covered by Levistona Tall Trees that makes the places so natural. It was not like hot springs that I had been with which mostly were developed and too commercialized as business. Because the thermal springs located in remote wilderness, it is able to maintain its natural surroundings which makes the place so beautiful and amazing. By the time we arrived in the location, there are other groups already taken the best spots at the top, therefore we have to take the lower part which our group still enjoyed because of the hot water that flows in the rocks. Everyone got relaxed though at first most were having fun together.

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Because the Zebedee Springs always closed at 12 noon, we just spent an hour in the thermal springs.

We returned to El Questro Station where we had lunch again altogether. I quite like the stay of the group in the station because for me it was time to get rest and re-energized again and be away a bit from adventure. After lunch, the rest just slept and some went to Pentecost River and play with the water. I joined the group at later time after taking a nap inside the tent.

Champagne Springs Trail and Thousand Year Old Boab Tree

Champagne Springs Trail was not really an official itinerary adventure of the group. But while we were in El Questro Station, some from the group just don’t wanted to sit and do nothing while everyone were waiting for the next overland truck that we will be using to continue the group adventure in Kimberley Region. Some from the group decided to find the Thousand Year Old Boab Tree. Therefore, one of us inquired about the trail and was able to get some trail information. We reviewed the trail and because of the timing, we knew that we have to just target the middle of the trail where the old Boab Tree stands.

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Boab Trees at the station

We started the walked between 3 to 4 PM. Initially, we thought that the walk was an easy one but we were wrong. As we follow the trail to reach the Old Boab Tree, the trail become difficult, there were sandy part, huge rocks to climb on, the trail information tells the truth, it was a difficult one. Some part of the trail is near the river where it was mentioned that possible sightings of crocodiles. Some of us saw snakes.

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Road entry to El Questro where Pentecost River is flowing as well.

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Some snapshots along Champagne Springs Trail

We reached the Boab Tree and there, we were amazed how huge the tree is. For me, its body can be a place or refuge for someone stay on. We rested and took pictures of the thousand-year old tree.

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Thousand-year old Boab Tree along Champagne Springs Trail

After spending sometime with the old boab tree, we decided to go back. And we used the same trail. But before we even reach the camping station, even we knew we were almost back but we had a wrong turn as it’s already dark. We took a trail away from the station and we ended with the location where lots of vehicle were dumped. And along the way, we were a bit nervous as we felt we lost our way.  But, we turned around as we followed the lights coming from the station, it’s just we took the farm just beside the station. When we reached the camp, we were all relief, because we knew were back and sound safe. Then we joined the group in preparing the dinner

Note:

I reviewed the trail and the Champagne Springs that we did not reach, then I realized how amazing that spring is.  After seeing some photos of it, I felt saddened because we were already within the trail, but because it was late, I knew it was impossible to reach it. As per advise, going to the springs must start the walk not later than 11 AM and at that time were already enjoying Zebedee Springs. We started the walk past 3PM in the afternoon, so, it was really impossible to be there and the said spring is not official itinerary of the group as part of adventure activities while in El Questro.

Discovery : Thousand Year Old Boab Tree (along Champagne Springs Trail)

Discovery (Post#44) : Thousand Year Old Boab Tree (along Champagne Springs Trail)

Our main target to reach while taking Champagne Springs Trail was Adansonia gregorii or commonly know as Boab Tree which can be found in Kimberley Region in Western Australia and eastern part of Northern Territory. The amazing thing about this kind of tree is having the broad bottle-shaped trunk where it was said that its trunk base can be really large which by the record can go over 5 meters. In my opinion, the more the base trunk is larger, the more it was fascinating. The Boab Tree we reached is said to be a thousand-year old tree which awesome as this trees tested through times and yet still alive in our time. These photos are part of Day 5 (El Questro) of 9 Days Darwin to Broome Overland Adventure Tour October 2016.

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Name Of The Place : Champagne Springs Trail

Name Of The Place (Post#48) : Champagne Springs Trail

The Champagne Springs Trail was the one we used to see the Old Boab Tree within El Questro Station. The walk in the trail is considered moderate to difficult even it’s only the halfway of the trail that we are targeting as the Old Boab Tree is the halfway point as describe in the trail. One from the group saw a snake within the trail and we were advised to be careful as the trail is beside the water stream or river that crocodiles sightings are possible. The photo is part of Day 5 (El Questro) of 9 Days Darwin to Broome Overland Adventure Tour October 2016.

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