Travelling the Gibb River Road in May 2009

by Linda Capon
(Bristol, England)

We are thinking of booking self drive 4WD itinerary from Darwin to Broome via the Gibb River Road with stops arranged. We are concerned that the river crossings may be difficult or impossible to traverse.

What are the conditions likely to be at this time of the year? The date to leave Darwin would be 6 May and we would be at Kununurra on 10 May. If this is not a good idea can you make some suggestions?

Also what are the insects like at that time of year?

Comments for Travelling the Gibb River Road in May 2009

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Jun 28, 2008
May is unpredictable
by: Birgit

Hi Linda,

As much as I'd like to, I can't predict what the Gibb River Road will be like next May.

Nobody can give you an exact weather report for 10 months in advance. Every wet season is vastly different and when the Gibb River Road opens always depends on the previous wet season. It depends on the amount of rain we get and when it falls (or rather, when it stops falling), and neither can be predicted at all.

The state of the Gibb River Road in early May can to some extent be gauged in late April.

Will you be able to cross all rivers without problems? Maybe. Maybe not. That's all I can predict. It is a great time of the year, precisely because there is still that much water around. Catching the Kimberley at its best always involves a bit of a gamble.

Suggestions? I wouldn't say that early May is not a good idea. It's my favourite time to travel here, but it depends what your priorities are.

If you want to minimise the risk of having to face deep river crossings, travel later.

If you want absolute guarantee that all will be dry travel July or later, with the masses. (The last two years we had out of season rains in June which forced temporary road closures, even after the roads had already been open for a while.) But then many waterfalls will have already dried up.

As for the insects, yes we have them. Lots of them. Since there is a lot of water in the Kimberley and the days are never freezing cold, there are always insects. You will always have to protect yourself from mosquitoes near water. In general, the warmer and wetter it is the more insects.

Have you downloaded the free guide yet and studied it? It addresses your questions and there is also more information to those questions on the website:

Gibb River Road: what you need to know
Gibb River Road in June
Insects in the Kimberley

May 22, 2011
Travelling the in late September
by: Rozanna

Hi Geoff

Love your site, it's really informative. Just wondering if you would be able to comment from your experience about doing the drive in late September. We don't mind the temperatures starting to get a bit warmer but want to avoid the crowds in July. Otherwise only other choice is mid April which doesn't seem to be an option anyway since the roads are closed (we're restricted to school holidays!).

Also, does it make any difference whether we include the drive going from Broome to Darwin or the other way around? I sort of feel that it would be nice to end up in Broome for a couple of relaxing days at the end of the trip.

Many thanks

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