Gibb River Road
The Gibb River Road is Australia’s northern-most scenic road.
Although the Great Northern Highway is today’s de facto way to drive between Broome and Derby and Kununurra to Darwin, the Gibb River Road cuts through the best part of the Kimberley, providing access to gorges, waterfalls and more. The road was originally laid out in the 1960s to move cattle about and takes its name from explorer Andrew Gibb Maitland.
In its entirety, the road goes for over 650kms between the West Australian towns of Derby and Kununurra and cuts right through the region. The Great Northern Highway to the south is often used on a looping tour by those who rent 4WD cars in Derby, Broome or even Darwin and go on 4WD tours of the Kimberley.
This famous route is a must for those with any sense of adventure and although parts of it have now been sealed, with gravel and earth in other places, it is still only really passable by four-wheel drive. In addition, it is closed off during the November-March wet season, and sometimes into April. Tours can be done from either end, but driving yourself is best, with information on the condition of the road available from Kununurra or Derby visitor centres.
Principal attractions accessed by the Gibb River Road include those of the King Leopold Ranges, including Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek national parks and Bell Gorge. You can access many waterfalls, including at Bell and also the Mitchell falls farther north. The Ord Valley is nearer Kununurra.
Regards accommodation, there are cattle stations on and off the course of the road, such as Mount Elizabeth Station in the middle and Bell Gorge Wilderness Lodge nearer the King Leopold Ranges Conservation Park. Various other types of accommodation can also be had, from luxury to campgrounds, although you can’t just pitch a tent anywhere. Booking Gibb River Road hotels ahead of time online is recommended.