Blogs from El Questro Wilderness Park, Western Australia, Australia, Oceania

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They wait listed us for another tour when we first arrived here, and it's on today. As was the case with yesterday’s tour we didn’t ask too many questions, so we still don’t know anything about it. We go to reception to find out whether any vacancies have come up. They ask us which tour and we look at them blankly. They tell us that it must be the Explosion Gorge Tour, and then proceed to describe it in great detail. It sounds fantastic - a cruise along a remote gorge followed by champagne and cheese at a lookout watching a spectacular sunset. We’re salivating. Unfortunately this doesn’t last too long. They check again and it seems that there still aren’t any vacancies, so we won’t be going. It might have been nice to know this ... read more
Accommodation, Emma Gorge
Cockburn Range and Emma Gorge campground
Emma Gorge


Today we‘ve booked a tour to…. well we don’t actually know. It was the only tour running either yesterday or today which wasn’t booked out so we thought we’d better grab it whatever it was. We’re now thinking that perhaps we should have asked a few more questions. Our guide Mick gives us a bit more information on the history of El Questro. It seems that it wasn't all plain sailing in the years immediately after tourist operations first started here in 1992. Emma Gorge started life with 27 tents, but they were all wiped out in a massive cyclone only a couple of years later, during which 440 mm of rain fell in only about 12 hours. A few years after they were rebuilt they were largely wiped out again, this time by a fire. ... read more
Chamberlain Gorge
Palm forest, Zebedee Springs
Keeping in touch with the outside world, El Questro Station


We set off for an early morning hike up Emma Gorge. We’re told that it’s only 1.6 kms each way, but that we should walk within our capability and not be too ashamed to crawl over rocks with our backsides on the ground. Hmmm. That doesn’t sound too encouraging. It all starts off easily enough - "what were they on about" we ask each other; this is like a gentle Sunday morning stroll in the park. It seems we may have spoken just a tad too soon. The trail takes a sudden and unexpected turn for the worse. We're now scrambling over boulders on our hands and knees with no shame at all. We ask hikers coming in the other direction what the rest is like. One woman has a look of terror in her eyes; ... read more
Emma Gorge
Rock pool, Emma Gorge
Rock pool, Emma Gorge


Today we fly back to Kununurra and from there on to El Questro in the East Kimberley. We’ve got some time to kill so we visit Broome’s Japanese and Chinese cemeteries. These were originally deliberately located outside the town boundary, probably for some obscure reason related to our racist past. Thankfully the town boundary was subsequently moved, so they’re now well inside. The Chinese section is a bit underwhelming and not particularly well maintained. I wonder if Premier Xi knows about this. If not I’m sure he soon will, which will undoubtedly result in yet another mark against us Aussies in his now probably not so little black book. The Japanese area is certainly more attractive, and there’s also a bit more information on its history. The first burial here was way back in the 1890s, ... read more
Japanese Cemetery, Broome
The road into Emma Gorge
El Questro sunset


Today is the start of the adventure part as we commence the Gibb River Road. We had an early start and everything was going perfectly. The first disaster was a cycling race. Each cyclist was followed by a support vehicle so there were too many witnesses about. This significantly slowed down our trip. When we got to the Pentecost River a number of cyclists were trying to cycle through it having all kinds of trouble. So at least that was funny. The road was not so bad so we were making good time but we had been warned that the Kalumburu Road is heavily corrugated and the Mitchell Plateau road even more difficult. We stopped off at Ellenbrau Station for scones and said hello to their dog Evie (a kind of daschund/jack Russell). The Kalumburu road ... read more
Shit did anyone see what happened to that cyclist?
"So if the wheel falls off here."
Self explanatory


DAYS SEVEN and EIGHT We leave the Mitchell Plateau and follow the Kalumburu River back to the Gibb. From here we head to the Durak River before we head to Emma Gorge resort, part of El Questro Wilderness Park. Today we went for a swim at the Zebedee Thermal Springs - 30 degrees. Unfortunately there were a lot of people there so you could have a soak but not a swim. After lunch Paul took us on a guided walk to Emma Gorge. The walk takes about 45 minutes (3.2 km return) and can be challenging in parts as you can be scrambling over rocks and boulders. Good hiking shoes required. We decided against a swim but a couple of our group did. It was very refreshing!!!...they said. Under a waterfall... read more
dragon fly
Durack River
El Questro luxury


El Questro We spent 3 nights at El Questro and 2 full days. Our days began with an early start each morning with us out on the road before 7am. We walked the following walks over the 2 days El Questro Gorge. - Class 4 and 5 Initially only planning to go to the Halfway pool 2.6km return. The walk followed a rocky creek bed. At the 1/4 way point we had a swim, Peter destroying his iPhone 6 because he put it in his swim shorts pocket. A right turn in creek lead to larger rocks and we arrived at the Halfway Pool were we had a great swim and rest at a small waterfall The decision to continue over the boulder to Mac Micking Pool questionable in hindsight, although rewarding and we are very ... read more
Palms that line the ElQuestro Gorge
Amazing Rock
hiking


There were many more activities at El Questro and walks to do but we did not have the time or money. We did spend a night at the bar being entertained by the live performance of a fabulous guitar player, Adam Matthews. And time in the pool. Some more walks we did do; Jebedee Springs. - Class 1 An easy start, we visited the very popular thermal pools at 6.45am to bet the crowds. The air temperature already 23 degrees. A short 50metre walk lined with Livistona Palms. A natural Oasis set at the base os sheer cliffs. A permanent thermal Spring fed via a fault line from a supply of water deep with in the earth. The water temperature was between 28 - 32 degrees celsius. The surrounded by the King Leopald Sandstone cliffs which ... read more
Amalia Gorge
Emma Gorge
sign says it all


Mabel Downs to El Questro Allowing the washing to dry prior to our departure we arrived at the Marbel Downs gate at 0840hrs, temperature 23 degrees, odometer 88165 kms, we purchased fuel at 169.9c/l. Back on the smooth sealed road we travelled north. A stop a Warmun (Turkey Creek) for fuel, a couple of food supplies and air for the tyres, Peter not happy when he discovered that the air pump was broken. A small aboriginal community with not much to see. We travelled past the Argyle Diamond Mine at Lissadell Station and stopped 1330hrs for some expensive icy poles at Doon Doon Roadhouse. Meeting the Victoria Hwy we turned West down the Gibb River Rd until we were at the gate of El Questro, and travelled the 16km driveway and across the 50 metre wide ... read more
View of the Cockburn Ranges
Elquestro Sign.
Welcome to Elquestro


Day Two in the Bungle Bungles and we were up early, the dingoes prowling and howling around the camp ground most the night. A cooked breakfast of bacon and eggs, fuel for the day. A 28km drive to the Northern side of the Bungles we commenced our day with the class 3, 10 minute walk to the Osmand Lookout, taking in the ridge line and panoramic views. We then set out on the 2km return, Class 4, Echidna Chasm trail. The most difficult part was the short climb at the end. The chasm lined with some palm trees at the opening is the result of a fault line in the cliff, that has eroded over millions of years. Another amazing natural phenomenon. Back to the car we took on our biggest challenge in the midday heat, ... read more
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