El Questro

Monday morning three weeks ago after filling up my fuel tank completely and having a nice last coffee in the local bakery I went off from Wyndham in Western direction. After a few kilometres I passed the dammed lake for the water supply of Wyndham and some nearby rock art work. I’ve to admit, that the rocks itself were more impressive for me. On my way to the Diggers Rest Station I passed an old Boab prison tree. I guess the hollow tree was used in former times to imprison people. Later on I need to discover that the Diggers Rest Station already closed down for wet season…I was just one day too late. As it was just noon I continued my drive along the Old Karunji road. This is an unmaintained and loosely marked track. The beginning was already a bit rocky, the middle part easy, as it followed a dried out slat lake, but then suddenly it become pretty rough and rocky in the last 10km. I ended up in two dead ends, the first was just behind a curve in high grass, so I needed to drive back for a few hundred metres to find the right tun off. But the second I directly followed the deep tracks through the soft sand, down a ridge to the Pentecost river, just to realise that this is going to nowhere, as there’s a creek bed from the left. So I lowered my tyre pressure further, and headed up again the ridge. Got stuck, but instead of spinning my wheels, I headed back and with additional momentum I got to the ridge. Then following the deep sand in the middle track, just to check what my car can do. I had a shovel and my expensive sand boards with me. The afternoon sun was shinning without any mercy onto my front screen, so I’m ending up in a greenhouse like car. Sandy dust all over, opening a window might not be an option, but in the end I only shortly stucked. Again reversing a bit, and with momentum, and a bit of slightly spinning wheels I made my way out of this bogggy sand, just to find the turn off. I stopped and put back three large stones back on the road, as I realised they layed there artificially. After three hours and about 50 km I finally hit the Gibb River Road (first I thought the name is related to the Gibbs fundamental equation, but it turned out that this wasn’t the case😉). The Old Karunji Road was probably the hardest track I drove so far. The 25km along the southern escarpments of the corrugated GRR were just a pleasant drive, compared to the experience I gained before. After checking into El Questro (as this is a private property and actual still a running cattle farm, you’ve to pay entrance fee. And if you wish to stay overnight, as I did, because I deserved a shower at this day, you’ll need to pay for a weekly pass, even if you arrive just 2 hours before sunset) I went for a pleasant drive to the Chamberlain Gorge. You’ve to take a boat tour, if you want to discover this 3km long gorge. But even the view into it was pretty nice. For sunset I went up to the Pigeon Lookout, one of three lookouts at the premises. It’s on a ridge where the Pentecost river made a U-turn around it. In the background to the north you’ll see the Cockburn ranges, whereas to the south you could spot the actual beginning of the real Chamberlain Gorge or valley, which stretches for about 100 km straight to the south. It’s one of the longest valleys of Australia. For the sunset I went to the Pigeon Lookout where the Pentecost River makes a 180° turn around the rock.

A statue of Aboriginal people from the Dreamtime in Wyndham
The rocks were actually more fascinating than the art work itself
Boab prison tree
The first mountains of the Cockburn range
The section along the dried out wetlands was the most pleasant at all
Cattle getting water at a dammed creek
Opening and closing numerous gates was also a task for this afternoon
The last section followed the nice western escarpment of the Cockburn range
The large birds got some water at a billabong
Finally reached the Gibb River Road after about 3 hours
Chamberlain Gorge during late afternoon
Pentecost river with Cockburn ranges in the background…
…seen also the Chamberlain Gorge from the Pigeon Lookout…
…and even spotted the Chamberlain Valley in the distance.

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