Un­veil­ing some of the Kim­ber­ley’s hid­den se­crets.

Most 4WD routes through the Kim­ber­ley are well worn, but Ron and Viv Moon know a few rarely used gems.

4 x 4 Australia - - Contents -

WHEN we first went to the Kim­ber­ley in 1976 there were few trav­ellers and the Gibb River Road (GRR) was lit­tle more than a rarely graded track which had no fuel or sup­plies be­tween Derby and Ku­nunurra. Even such well­known at­trac­tions as Wind­jana Gorge and Tun­nel Creek had no one around for most of the time and we were nearly al­ways on our own. Only once did we come across an­other trav­eller, even though we spent time mus­ter­ing cat­tle on Mt Bar­nett Sta­tion (the fuel out­let and store were still a year away) and wandering the back tracks with an ec­cen­tric diamond prospector – which is a story in it­self.

How things have changed. Now the GRR is a ma­jor thor­ough­fare in re­mark­ably good con­di­tion for most of the time, with traf­fic stream­ing along it in the hun­dreds per day dur­ing the peak of the tourist sea­son.

The Kim­ber­ley is an ex­pen­sive place to visit, and we of­ten have peo­ple com­plain­ing to us about the cost of camp­ing, the lack of free bush camp­ing places, and the vir­tual ab­sence of free overnight camps. It’s an is­sue that’s been around for a long time, but no­body seems keen to ad­dress it. With a bit of ef­fort you can find a free overnight camp­site, though find­ing a spot that’s worth stay­ing for a few nights is an­other ques­tion en­tirely.

On our lat­est trip col­lect­ing info for the next edi­tion of Hema Maps’ Kim­ber­ley guide, we poked down lit­tle-used tracks try­ing to find hid­den gems known only to a few lo­cals and long-time Kim­ber­ley trav­ellers. Here are some we’ve found in re­cent times.

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