Friday, July 6, 2007

Gibb River Road

In Kununurra I found out that Gibb river road was opened to all vehicles less then 15 t in weight. I'm light weight, so I fall in that cathegory. So I went. It's about 640 kms of dirt road, and final sealed 70 kms to Derby. The quality af the road changes from smooth hard beaten earth where you float almost like on the pavement to terrible washboard across all the width, soft gravel and sand and stones - the surface which makes you yell and curse after an hour or two riding on it. The scenery along the way is a bit more changeable then so far, the view frequently opens beyond the trees bordering the road on cliffs and eroded mountains. The road is mostly flat or gently undulating, but there are several "jump-ups", steep short paved sections that leed you up (dozen of times) for a couple of tens of meters or down - if I remember orrectly only twice - when you've got the chance of reaching more then 50 km/h, a rare occasion in Australia.
But the real beauty of this road are the river gorges which are 2 to 20 km away from the road. I visited only two Calvin gorge and Lennard gorge, but the last one is one of the most beautifull places I've ever been to. It's a wide pool of dark turquoise water, encircled by black and orange rocks and fed by three waterfalls. It's a place you just can't leave, especialy if there's a young naked woman swimming, sun bathing and walking about.
There are many river crossings, most of them narrow enough to cycle through. Few are wider, namely Pentecost river (100 m wide) and Durac river (50 m). There are signs that saltwater crocodiles inhabit these waters, which makes crossing all the more exciting.
There are few facilities along the road, at kms: 26 (Emma gorge), 50 (El questro, 12 km turn off), 69 (Home Valley, 2km t.o.), 156 (Ellenbrae, 5km t.o.), 341 (Mt. Barnet), 380 (Iminji store) and 430 (Lennard river snack), where you can get water and food. It's hot during the midday hours, but even so I cycled throughout the day; I drank from 3 to 3.5 liters of water a day. I had water filter, but never had the chance of using it, also because two times some nice drivers gave me 1 or 2 liters. Sun gets high quickly after the sunrise, and the shadows indicating holes and corugations are disturbingly lacking, until just before the sunset. I had two occasions close to falling off, which also reminded me of resemblance of this road and the Chinese road 219 in Xinjang.

Day 6: 103 km. Day 7: 102 km. Day 8: 110 km. Day 9: 118 km. Day 10: 100 km. Day 11: 110 km. Total 1462 km.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello. How did you go for food in this trip? Were there enough stops on the Gibb River Road?

April 24, 2012 at 4:29 PM  
Blogger iik said...


I went through Gibb river rather fast, in 6 days, so I don't rememeber having much problems with food. I didn't cary much od it and found some suplies in the stations mentioned in the post, especialy the stores in Mt. Barnet and Iminji. Water may be a bigger problem, but I got by with 3 to 4 liters per day.

If you need more detailed info, I could check my diary.

April 24, 2012 at 6:05 PM  

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