It was that time again – we packed our small backpack and went on a short trip in the outback. This time we had a whole weekend off, what a luxury! There are still so many places we want to see around here so we were glad to tick a few more spots in the Kimberley region off our list.
This time we went to El Questro Wilderness Park, a huge park – one million acres in size in total. The landscape of El Questro has some deep contrasts; from rainforest, gorges and waterfalls to sandstone ranges. We didn’t really know what to expect, but it was definitely more beautiful than we could ever imagine. If we could’ve stayed for more days, we would’ve certainly taken that opportunity.
Are you planning on going to El Questro Wilderness Park? Or are you just looking for some beautiful pictures from the outback of Australia? You came to the right place.
El Questro Wilderness Park
El Questro is located on a cattle station in the Kimberley region. The park is located west of Kununurra, and is accessible via the amazing Gibb River Road. It started as a working cattle station, but the family that bought the cattle station in 1991 created a tourist park destination. There is lots to do in this enormous wilderness park, such as horse trekking, fishing, swimming, exploring remote areas by helicopter, exploring amazing places with a 4WD, spotting different kinds of wildlife and spending the night camping or staying at one of the beautiful accommodations. There is so much to see and so much to do. Let’s share some of the spots we’ve visited and give you guys some recommendations where to go and what to do in El Questro Wilderness Park!
When visiting El Questro Wilderness park, Emma Gorge is a real must-go! We already talked about Emma Gorge in the blogpost about our favorite destinations in Australia. When you visit this secluded water hole, you’ll understand why we included it in our favorite spots to visit. It is quite a rocky walk to get to the waterhole, and along the way we bumped into people who all told us the same thing: “It’s worth the walk!” and boy, were they right. Just a quick tip: make sure to wear your walking shoes, and take enough water and sunscreen for the walk.
It’s a real oasis, surrounded by incredibly high cliffs with greenery, and a 65 meter high waterfall. What made this place even more incredible was that there was a hot thermal spring at the side of the waterhole, where you can actually sit on the rocks and relax. Make sure to go there early, take a nice picnic with you and walk back before the sun sets.
Zebedee Thermal Hot Springs
It’s like getting into a hot tub, but one that is pure nature, and well, without the bubbles. It was so lovely to get into the clear soothing warm water that was just the perfect temperature, and it’s like that all year round!
Not only is Zebedee Hot Springs very comfortable and relaxing, the location is gorgeous as well. Surrounded by palmtrees and other local vegetation, listening to little waterfalls that flow, these thermal pools are the perfect spot where you can sit, relax and chat with each other. The palmtrees also create some privacy; when you’re sitting in one pool, you barely see the bathers in the other pool. An example is the above photo, as there were a group of people sitting in that bath, but the palmtrees blocked the view and made them invisible.
If you’re staying at El Questro Homestead you get exclusive access to this thermal hot spring in the afternoon. However, it’s still possible to go in the morning if you aren’t staying in at El Questro Homestead.
Gibb River Road
The Gibb River Road is a 660 km track through the heart of the Kimberley Region and takes you from Derby on the west coast to Kununurra on the east border of Western Australia. The Gibb River Road is seen as one of the great Australian 4WD adventures – with the Pentecost River Crossing as a fine example, seen on the photo above. It is possible to partly drive the Gibb River Road, as it is now sealed from Kununnura to the entrances of both Emma Gorge and El Questro Station. But would you really want to miss the dirt road with panoramic views and experiencing a real Australian road trip?
We were in awe during our drive on the Gibb River Road, the landscape was just stunning with lots of colorful ranges and boab trees. The most exciting part was the Pentecost River crossing. This crossing can be more than 60 metros wide. During the wet season – April until May – the water flows very quickly and the water level is very high, bringing extreme pressure on the sides of the vehicle. When the dry season – approximately September to October – comes to an end, the depth is less than 50 cm and is much safer to cross. Another memorable part of the road trip were the Cockburn Ranges, a gorgeous sandstone escarpment that dominates the landscape of the Gibb River Road.
Home Valley Station
We had a quick bite to eat and dip in the pool at Home Valley Station, which is located near Pentecost River and at the foot of the Cockburn Range. The large restaurant had a relaxing vibe and the whole station had this peaceful feel to it. Perhaps because the place is so remote.
Besides getting real Australian cuisine at the Dusty Bar & Grill or taking a dip in the cool swimming pool, you can also choose to spent the night at Home Valley Station. Home Valley has self-contained cabins, guesthouse rooms and two camping areas. On their website they claim that they provide their guests with the “ultimate Australian outback experience”.
Another option to spent the night in El Questro is El Questro Homestead, an exclusive retreat located atop the Chamberlain Gorge. We didn’t visit this accommodation, but it’s a bit more luxurious and a little more pricey as well.
Check out some more photos we took during our adventure in El Questro Wilderness Park