El Questro Wilderness Park is located along theGibb River Road in the East Kimberley 102km west of Kununurra. The park boasts stunning gorges, hot springs, scenic lookouts, breathtaking sunsets and adventurous four-wheel drive tracks. The station township is accessible by two-wheel drive vehicles via the eastern end of the Gibb River Rd, close to Wyndham and Kununurra.
El Questro Gorge is one of the main attractions. This magnificent gorge is flanked by sheer cliff faces and lush green plant life. The full gorge walk is 6.8km return however most visitors complete the 2.6km return walk to the half way pool. This is a beautiful crystal clear pool perfect for cooling down after walking through the gorge. Past this point the walk becomes substantially more difficult and is suitable only for the fit and nimble. You’re required to cross the pool, climb a large boulder and do plenty of scrambling, climbing and rock hugging as you venture further into the gorge. The walk is reasonably challenging but the reward at the end is worth the effort. Mac Micking Pool sits at the top end of the narrowing gorge and is fed by a delightful waterfall. The tranquil setting is thoroughly enjoyable as is a refreshing swim in the fresh water pool. Sturdy footwear is essential and be prepared to get wet. On the return walk you have to slide down the large boulder and jump into the half way pool. A backpack comes in very handy here and a spare pair of socks wouldn’t go astray.
Zebedee Springs is absolutely gorgeous and must not be missed when at El Questro. The easy 750m walk leads to a permanent waterfall cascading down through a number of rock pools. The 28 to 32 degrees springs are set amongst palm trees and a lush rainforest setting. Enjoy a relaxing soak in the surprisingly warm water and beautiful surroundings. This attraction is only open until 12pm daily as the afternoons are reserved for tour groups.
Emma Gorge is another one of El Questro’s highlights. This stunning gorge is part of the Cockburn Ranges and is a scenic delight. The 1.6km walk (one way) begins relatively easily and about 1.3km takes you to the beautiful Turquoise Pool. Some steep climbing is involved for the last few hundred metres to reach Emma Gorge Pool which is absolutely gorgeous and a lovely place to relax and enjoy a swim under the falls. This gorge is located on the opposite side of the Gibb River Road to the station township (approx 27km away) but still on El Questro land. Emma Gorge Resort is situated here and provides tented-cabin style accommodation, restaurant, bar and swimming pool.
Amalia Gorge trail is 3.4km return and follows a series of layered rock slabs and a rocky creek bed with numerous pools, falls and rapids. The walk involves plenty of rock climbing and at one point the trail narrows considerably to a cliff face with a 4m drop. It’s a very tight squeeze and potentially dangerous (sliding on your backside is recommended here). The walk is very pleasant and Amalia Pool at the end of the gorge is a spectacular sight. The large deep water hole is fed by a 32m waterfall and bordered by a black and brown layered rock face scattered with lush ferns and greenery.
Moonshine Gorge features towering red rock faces and Livistonia Palms. The main pool is a short walk from the car park at the mouth of the gorge. The track continues on amongst many palm trees along the creek bed and some stone-stepping is required in the water. About 2km into the gorge takes you to Sprung Hole which is a common turnaround point. Keen walkers can continue on and wade through another pool to complete the 5km circuit which ventures through harsh bush land along a disused four-wheel drive track. The Cockburn Ranges can be seen in the distance from a lookout point towards the end of this track. You’ll eventually end up at the vehicle entrance track to Moonshine Gorge and need to head left to reach the car park. Moonshine Gorge can be accessed by four-wheel drives only.
Chamberlain Gorge is the longest gorge in the Kimberley at 3km in length. The Chamberlain River flows through the gorge thus it is accessible by boat only. You have the option of a guided boat cruise or hiring a boat and exploring the gorge yourself. The gorge is very picturesque and a great way to spend the afternoon is trawling up and down the river with a line in the water. Freshwater Barramundi inhabit these waters so try your luck flicking a lure or simply sit back and enjoy the spectacular scenery.
Saddleback Ridge is accessible via a steep and narrow four-wheel drive track with loose rocks and sharp bends. The enjoyable 2.5km ascent ends at a lookout with scenic 360 degree views of the escarpment. A 3.5km walking trail from the station township also leads to the lookout and is suitable for fit walkers only due to the steep gradient. Exert caution as the walking trail follows the four-wheel drive track.
Branco’s Hole is accessed from the Explosion Gorge four-wheel drive track about 19km from the station township. The waterhole offers fishing, boating and picturesque scenery. Boat hire is available here but needs to be organized at the station store.
Branco’s Lookout overlooks the stunning Chamberlain Gorge, Branco’s Hole and the Cockburn Ranges. The steep ascent is up a rocky four-wheel drive track and the views are simply superb.
Explosion Gorge and most of the Pigeon Hole four-wheel drive track was closed during our visit to El Questro so no photos are available except the Pigeon Hole Lookout. Both tracks are slow going with steep and rocky sections and creek crossings. Beautiful scenery and excellent fishing holes are to be expected along these tracks.
An El Questro Wilderness Park Permit is required to access the attractions and costs around $17 per person. All park attractions are within close proximity (20km) to the station township except Emma Gorge, which is located on the northern side of The Gibb River Road.
El Questro station provides accommodation, powered camp sites, restaurant, bar, swimming hole and excellent ablution facilities. Private secluded camp sites are also available along the river bank. These sights are basic bush camping with no facilities and need to be pre-booked at the station store.
Dogs are permitted at the resort camp ground but are not allowed at any of the attractions. Note cows and horses are free to roam around the camp area so animals must be strictly controlled and on leads at all times.
El Questro and its stunning scenery make an enjoyable outback wilderness getaway with all the creature comforts available. Highly recommended hotspots in the park are El Questro Gorge, Zebedee Springs, Emma Gorge and Amalia Gorge.
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Destinations in Western Australia
Cape Le Grand
Cape Range National Park
Eighty Mile Beach
Fitzgerald River National Park
Gibb River Road
Kalbarri National Park
Kennedy Range National Park
Porongurup National Park
Port Denison Dongara
Torndirrup National Park
Wellington National Park
William Bay National Park
Return from El Questro to Western Australia