Mornington Wilderness Camp, located in the Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary, is a bit off the beaten track. (Yes, the Gibb River Road is very much a beaten track these days!)
Depending on the time of the year it can be a rough drive, but in my eyes that makes it even more attractive, because fewer people are willing to make the detour...
Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary is owned and managed by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy. The AWC is an independent non-profit organisation that buys up properties in Australia and then establishes sanctuaries.
(They also bought Charnley River Station not too long ago.)
The sanctuaries protect endangered wildlife species by protecting their habitats. Stars at Mornington include the Gouldian Finch, the Purple-crowned Fairy-wren and the dingo.
However, the reason most people visit Mornington Wilderness Camp is not the opportunity to finally see a Gouldian Finch (though some come here just for that).
The 312,000 ha Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary covers much of the upper catchment area of the Fitzroy River and sections of the King Leopold Ranges. It comprises four major river systems with many gorges and billabongs.
The main draw cards are Dimond Gorge and Sir John Gorge, plus several other waterholes. You can go swimming, birdwatching, hiking, canoeing, take guided eco-tours, explore the self-drive trails... And it's just spectacular country. I'd say stay two nights as a minimum, more if you can.
Camping sites and accommodation at Mornington Wilderness Camp are limited. Therefore you need to book ahead and you also need to radio them when you get to the turn off, before you leave the Gibb River Road...
The 90 km access track makes for a very scenic drive, right from the moment you leave the Gibb River Road. It offers beautiful views over the ranges and escarpments...
... and great opportunities to photograph boab trees, some of them ancient.
Mornington Wilderness Camp is unique because the focus here is on conservation work and not on tourism, and that makes for a very special vibe.
But even though tourism is not the main objective, the facilities here most definitely rank among the very best along the Gibb River Road...
The $25 Wilderness Sanctuary Pass is charged per vehicle and gives you access to the sancturay, the wilderness camp and the gorges in the area.
The Mornington Wilderness Camp is your base.
You can enjoy stylish full accommodation in their luxury safari tents or pitch your own tent at the large and shady campground.
The campground stretches out a looooong way along Annie Creek, and because of the many trees offers a lot of privacy, even when it fills up. (I tried to take photos, but you can barely see any tents...)
The bar/restaurant doubles as the reception. The bush restaurant is excellent!
Attached is also an informational display area, and free information nights are held several times per week, where you can learn more about the work of the AWC. (Highly recommended!)
Book early enough, because the safari tents book out well in advance, and they only allow 25 cars in the campground. Make sure you you stay at least a couple of nights, too, because, have a look, it's just spectacular country...