The Gibb River Road
"A trip for the Adventurous"
This trip is for the adventurous who really want to experience the unspoilt outback. The Gibb River Road runs from Derby to Kunnurra and takes in some of the most stunning gorges and immense scenery that Australia has to offer.
It is not for the faint hearted though as it involves driving nearly 700km on red unsealed roads in a 4 WD. It’s absolutely safe and totally possible to drive this yourself without having to take part in an organised tour.
You just need to be very sensible – don’t drive too quickly, know how to engage your 4WD and drive effectively through sometimes deep water. I’d also recommend taking some additional fuel in cans just to be on the safe side.
There are lots of gorges to visit along the way. A word about the gorges. There is normally a good walk to the gorges which can be hard work in the glaring sun.
There can also be slippery rocks to climb or get over so make sure you wear suitable foot wear. Bell Gorge has a slippery crossing as does Manning Gorge if you choose to walk to the Gorge rather than swim across the pool.
When to go
You need to go during the dry season. Given that this track can get flooded in the wet season, this trip is only recommended between May and October.
I’d recommend May when the tracks are not full of holes with the constant stream of traffic which can slow things down a little.
You will also find Broome particularly busy between June and August as the Aussies try to escape the winter months so availability and crowds are to be expected. It’s also school holidays in July.
The Gibb River Road starts and finishes at either Kununurra or Derby.
You can fly from Melbourne or Perth to Kununurra.
The nearest major town for Derby is Broome (still 4 hours drive) Click here for flight times and where to fly from:
You'll need a 4WD car to do the Gibb River Road as the roads are bumpy and unsealed.
It's good to take extra petrol with you too - just in case. Don't drive in the dark as it's just too difficult. Many of the accommodation options are a long drive off the main Gibb River Road so make sure you leave enough time to get there in daylight.
If you'd rather have someone else do the driving and take an organised tour of the Gibb River Road then see the page on
australia travel tours
What to see and do
Stop off and have a look at the Boab Prison Tree (7km outside of town) which is reckoned to be 1500 years old.
Take a scenic flight over the Archipelagos which are 35 minute flying time from Derby
Derby to Mount Hart Wildnerness Lodge
Winjana Gorge (look out for crocs in the wild)
Take the 750m walk through Tunnel Creek
Mount Hart to Mount Elizabeth Station
Bell Gorge - the most well known Gorge on the Gibb River Road
Galvans Gorge and Manning Gorge
Elizabeth Station to Home Valley Station
Spend your time exploring Home Valley Station
The scenery is stunning and there is plenty of space to find a peaceful spot to view the Cockburn range
Alternatively head to El Questro and check out the Cockburn Range, Emma Gorge and the Zebedee Thermal Springs
Take a look round the old port and meatworks, or the old post office and courthouse.
Take a cruise on the Argyle Lake which is the biggest man made lake in Australia.
Where to stay
A Gibb River Road
trip needs to be booked well in advance in terms of accommodation particularly if you end up here June to August.
There isn’t that much accommodation about particularly at the budget end in Broome and you are limited on the Gibb River Road unless you are prepared to camp.
DerbyJila Gallery Apartment $210Derby Boab Inn $180Derby Lodge and Backpackers $30 - $150
I would suggest staying at Birdwood downs about 15km outside of Derby in one of their Savannah huts ($160) which are well equipped but the bathrooms are shared
Stop offs along the Gibb River Road Mount Hart Wilderness Lodge $205 pp including mealsMount Elizabeth Station$200 pp including meals Home Valley Station from £15 to $440 Voyages El Questro Resort $50 to $500. Most expensive is the El Questro Homestead
KununurraThe Kimberley Grande $165 Best Western $230Lakeside Resortt $130Budget: Kimberley Croc Lodge couples rooms $130 dorms $20
other australian holidays
australia reviews - the movie scenery
real australia travel home page