Manning Gorge

Mt. Barnett Roadhouse and Mt. Barnett Station

Manning Gorge is located on Mount Barnett Station, about half way along the Gibb River Road. Access is via the Mt. Barnett Roadhouse.

The roadhouse is very well equipped, well set up and offers good service and a basic campground. This is also where you pay your entrance and camping fee for Manning Gorge.

(You pay that first, and then you drive on for a few more kilometres to the camping area and gorge.)

On my very first Gibb River Road trip, Manning Gorge was one of the most memorable gorges, for several reasons:

We were there early in the season and the falls were still flowing strongly, cascading over the full width of the rocks.

It was late in the afternoon. And while that had a disastrous effect on the photos I took (directly into the sun was the only option) ...

Manning Gorge

... it meant we had the whole, big gorge to ourselves.

I also thought the walk to get to the gorge was great, but I've heard others complain about the long, hot walk.

The walk to Manning Gorge and the Manning Gorge Falls starts from the campground.

The beginning certainly is not hot, because first you have to cross the Manning River.  In the old days you had to swim across the pool and float your stuff across in the provided styrofoam boxes. Or you walked around to wade across further upstream, criss-crossing the deep creek several times, of course on slippery rocks, treacherous logs, mud etc. Always good fun to watch others do it...

Crossing the Manning River

These days there is a dinghy and an endless rope so you can pull yourself across and stay mostly dry.

After that the walk is open and sunny, but the scenery is beautiful. You can't get lost, because the track is so well marked with hundreds of rock cairns and red disks and arrows and beer cans and all sorts of other markers strung into the trees.

Hike to Manning Gorge

Rock cairns mark the hike to Manning Gorge.

It is a narrow, rough and rocky track that occasionally climbs up and down, so it makes sense to wear sturdy shoes, like I do.

Appropriate footwear is important.

To get to the gorge you have to hike for about 3 km.

The gorge itself is huge and you can easily spend hours exploring it. It has several pools to swim through and rocks to climb up and over.

Arriving at Manning Gorge

View into Manning Gorge

You can also climb to the top of the waterfall.

Standing above the waterfall

Looking into Manning Gorge from the top of the waterfall.

Viewing the waterfall from the top

Manning Gorge waterfall

If you want to see the waterfall cascading over the full width of the rocks, as it's shown in most pictures of Manning Gorge, then you need to be there early in the season. It dries up fast.

Reader photo of Manning Gorge© Photo by reader Ian Luxon

Sitting at the bottom of the waterfall

But the pools are deep. They are always there, always cool and clear, and you can swim all year round.

Deep pool

Read about other gorges along the Gibb River Road

Read about other options for camping on the Gibb River Road

Main Gibb River Road page

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Read about other gorges along the Gibb River Road

Read about other options for camping on the Gibb River Road

Main Gibb River Road page

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