8 Amazing Campsites on the Gibb River Road
Outback road trips don’t get more fun than the legendary Gibb River Road. The 660km old cattle route is now one of Australia’s most iconic 4WD trails with gorges, waterfalls and clear, starry nights. Thinking of taking a little trip up the Gibb yourself? Below, you’ll find 8 of the best campsites and you can read more in 100 Things To See in The Kimberley, by local tour guide Scotty Connell.
Bell Gorge (Dalmanyi)
It’s the jewel of the Gibb, a gem of a spot in the Wunaamin Miliwundi Ranges (formerly known as the King Leopold Ranges). Located about 238km from Derby, Bell Gorge is a favourite for many travellers, and it’s easy to see why this is one of the Kimberley’s most popular waterholes. If you’re planning on spending the day here, the best places to camp nearby are Dulundi (Silent Grove) campground, which has unpowered sites, toilets and solar showers, or at Imintji Community (see below).
Camping With Custodians is an Australian-first initiative promoting campgrounds on Indigenous lands which are operated by their communities. One of the first to jump on board with this initiative was the Iminjti community, just 8 km east of the turn-off to Dalmanyi (Bell Gorge). The Imintji (Ngarinyin) people provide a shady, grassed central area, hot showers and a camp kitchen. Their store sells diesel, basic groceries, coffee and art. There are discounted rates for families.
Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary
At 88km off the Gibb River Road, Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary demands some dedication to access, but those who make the mission are richly rewarded. Your two-hour detour ends with great camping, bushwalking, and sweet swimming spots. This is a place to pull up for a few days, or a week, to thoroughly explore the terrain. The Bush Bar and restaurant is an excellent spot to stand around and have a yarn at night, though the campground has good BBQ facilities if you’d prefer to save your silvers and cook your own food.
Gibb River Station
Named after the small wallabies seen here, the Goondalee Campsite at Gibb River Station advertises itself as the best value in the Kimberley, with 2023 camping at the price of $30 per vehicle per night. The campsite has hot showers and a grassy lawn, and it’s conveniently adjacent to the store and homestead, next to a big mango tree. Owned by the Ngallagunda Aboriginal Corporation, the property is a working cattle station with a homestead, community store, fuel, and an Aboriginal Art Centre.
Visit gibbriverstation.com.au or phone 08 9191 7494.
A firm favourite along the Gibb River Road, Manning has it all. Riverside camping? Tick. General store with supplies at the entrance? Waterfall to spend the day at? Tick. Upon arriving at Barnett River Roadhouse, pay the entrance fee and proceed 7km north to the riverside camping area. The 5.6km (return) gorge walk begins on the other side of the river. You can choose between two campsites; either the riverside camping at the beginning of the gorge trail or at Mount Barnett Roadhouse, which has bathroom facilities. The Roadhouse, which is also the Kupungarri community store, is a good spot to stock up on some fruit and vegetables or supplies for fishing.
Outback hospitality doesn’t get any better, and nothing says ‘outback hospitality’ like fresh scones with jam and cream! Located 230km from Kununurra, this almost million-acre cattle station has more than scones and a good feed. For overnight guests, there are two billabongs for swimming, plus a choice between campsites and rustic cabins. There are also unique, wood-fired (donkey) showers to wash off the dust. There’s genuine outback hospitality on offer, and Ellebrae is conveniently located just 5km off the Gibb.
Home Valley Station
Home Valley is a working cattle station and an Indigenous hospitality training centre owned by the Balanggarra people. There’s a fantastic bar area – Dusty’s Bar and Grill – plus a range of accommodation, from fancy Grass Castle cabins overlooking Bindoola Creek to two dog-friendly campsites. The Homestead Camp offers powered and unpowered sites, hot showers, and close access to Dusty’s Bar and the swimming pool. Otherwise, the bush camp is 4km away (next to the Pentecost River) and has unpowered sites and hot showers.
At 700,000 acres in size and with various accommodation options, El Questro is a favourite spot for travellers and Kununurra locals looking for a quick and easy weekend getaway. The northern side of the Gibb River Road is the traditional country of the Balanggarra people. The scenery up there is dominated by the Cockburn Ranges, with Emma Gorge recessed into them. The land on the southern side of the Gibb River Road is the traditional country of the Ngarinyin people. South of the Gibb, El Questro’s Station Township has a fantastic campsite ‘Black Cockatoo’ with hot showers, a riverside restaurant, a café and a permanent creek for year-round swimming. If you want some space, head to one of their private sites a bit further down the track.
Check out www.elquestro.com.au/camping/camping-options.