Gibb River Road Adventure with Jayco Outback Swan

by Joe

Crossing the Pentecost

Crossing the Pentecost

We completed our Kimberley Adventure in mid August this year as part of our long service leave trip (with 3 children) around Australia. When I mentioned to several friends that we were going to do the Gibb River Road, the usual response was that you would end up shredding your tyres, breaking your car and definitely destroy your Jayco. I was nervous and reconsidering, but after buying your Kimberley guide, decided to give it a go.

Well nothing could be further from the truth. We had the most wonderful time and would highly recommend it to anyone who was doubting doing it. We spent 2 nights in the Bungle Bungles without the trailer as opinion was the road in was too rough. It was rough but lots of fun! There were others camped in the park with camper trailers and even a couple of Jayco's. They just had to go a bit slower and they were fine. We took just under 2 hours to get in and those towing reported it took an extra hour.

The Bungle Bungles were the most spectacular place I have been (until we hit the Gibb River Road) and had a wonderful time. It was extremely hot (the ranger reckoned mid 40's), but early morning walks and cooling the kids off in a makeshift pool were the way to go.
Bell Gorge

Cooling off in the Bungle Bungles

Onto the Gibb River Rd and our first stop was El Questro. Some told us not to go as it was too touristy. But we had a lovely private bush camp and spent days exploring the gorges and waterfalls. Could have stayed longer. Then onto Home Valley and an impressive setup here, though most activities seemed to be user pays, whereas El Questro had lots more to explore on your own.

We were going to camp up at Mitchell Falls, but after 1 child sick on the Bungle Bungle Rd, we decided not to subject them to more rough roads and headed to Manning Gorge. More swimming and exploring of gorges.

Next stop was Mornington, which was a late addition recommended by some fellow travellers. This was wonderful and we spent a day canoeing and swimming in Diamond Gorge. Just wonderful.

Bell Gorge was next and yet again more swimming. Kids could not get enough of jumping of the waterfall.

We finished our trip with a Camp at Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek.

After 9 days on the Gibb River Road we were covered in dust and thoroughly enjoyed all the places we went to. Towing the van on the Gibb River Road was not a problem at all. In fact the road after the Kalumburu Rd turn off was just like a highway. Let's hope they don't seal the entire road as it would be nice to keep the remoteness of the adventure. The children had a ball and were sad to leave the GRR. The only problem we had was carrying enough food to feed us all as the children got so hungry with all the exploring and swimming we did.

Thanks again for your guide.

Comments for Gibb River Road Adventure with Jayco Outback Swan

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Gibb with Jayco Swan
by: Birgit

Thank you Joe for returning here to tell us about your experiences. I am so glad that my guide not only managed to convince you to give it a shot, but also that you had such a fabulous time.

I can just imagine how hungry those kids would have been. What a great experience for them.

Here's hoping that road will stay just as it is!

Mitchell Falls
by: James

It is a shame you missed Mitchell Falls, we were there early in the season (early May) and it was absolutely fantastic. With all the artwork, waterfalls, swimming spots and scenic bushland that is a mix of pandanus and eucalypt it was the jewel in the crown of our GRR trip. Although our trip was to be a once in a lifetime experience we will be going back. We had a 4.5m off road van with us and we left it at the King Edward River as the river was running at 900mm. It would be good advice not to tow anything from there to the falls unless you desperately want to spend money on it. The grader was working the track as we came out but as good as he was, the machine can’t do much with bedrock and the washouts and corrugations can be filled but they will soon be back. We also had no problems with the van or the 100 series, we were running BFGs all around at 28 to 30 psi and travelled at sightseeing speed. PS the top spot on the GRR would be on the cliff looking back at Mitchell Falls or in the cave looking out from under Little Merton Falls.

Outback swan: any advice
by: Rosemary

enjoyed your comments, and feel relieved as we have just bought an Outback Swan and plan to explore the Gibb River Rd in May/June 2010. We have a toyota hilux 4wd, but no snorkel on it, and little 4wd experience. Should we fit a snorkel? Did the camper vents need to be sealed to prevent water/dust? Any practical advice would be welcome. We have driven extensively outback: Strezlecki and Oodnadatta tracks though. also thinking of the Tanami if anyone has experience of that?
I have bought the Kimberley guide for my husband for Christmas and can't wait to read it throughly.
happy travelling

Gibb River Rd
by: Anthea


We did the GRR as part of a longer exploration of the Kimberley region in July of this year and loved it. We opted for a tent as we were keen not to worry about towing anything. Mitchell Falls were fantastic well worth the effort getting there. Our friends had trouble with their 100 series, losing 3 of their 4 shockers by the time we got up and back. Thankfully these were replaced by the helpful team at Drysdale River.

We travelled up the Tanami and it was fine in parts, corrogated in others but OK overall. Our Toyota Prado doesn't have a snorkel and we certainly didn't need it. However we were up in July, water levels will be higher earlier on.

The Kimberley guide is great, we referred to it constantly! The entire region is wonderful we will be up there again sometime.

Outback Swan Advice
by: Joe

Hi Rosemary

Our Swan got heaps of dust in it. We tried sealing the door vent but did not seem to work. Others have suggested a pressure vent (or scupper vent) that you have fitted to the roof. Open the vent before you put down the van and the pressure of the air coming in the vent is supposed to keep the van pressurised and keep the dust out. Only problem is when you encounter traffic coming the other way and have to drive through the dust cloud. We did not have a snorkel on our 4wd and did not need it for any of the river crossings (late August). Perhaps just take a tarp that you can cover the front of the car if need



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