Hi! Welcome to our travel guide on the Gibb River Road in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. We are Chiara and Matteo, a 23 and 28 year old from Italy – specifically two tiny villages in the Italian Alps that are situated close to the Dolomites. We met four years ago while we were working at the same office, Chiara as an insurance agent and Matteo as an accountant.
It’s not that we despised our jobs but the environment wasn’t nice and we didn’t have the chance to grow. So we weren’t truly happy about our lives at that time. Chiara always had a passion for travel and dreamt of exploring the world, while Matteo wanted to visit Australia. In November, 2019 he decided to go, and Chiara took it as a sign and left everything to go too.
Road Trippin’ Around All of Australia
We didn’t have a plan at the beginning. It all happened quickly and it was kind of a “screw it” situation where we lived by the day waiting to see what would happen. Little did we know that we would end up traveling for two and a half years! We started our journey from Adelaide and secured work on a lemon farm until we saved enough for a great Aussie road trip.
From there we managed to see the entire country, first in a tent and then in a 4WD with a rooftop tent. We had ups and downs but the highlights were definitely making it to Tasmania, seeing Uluru, and experiencing the West Coast and the Reef. A lot of our time was spent in Western Australia. We crossed the border at the start of July, 2021 and stayed until May, 2022.
At this point we had mastered living on the road with our car and rooftop tent, so we were able to explore the state properly. It’s hard to say which part of Western Australia was our favorite because the state has it all. We had the best adventures in the Kimberley and on the Gibb River Road, the best times on the Coral Coast and the ultimate beach life in the Southwest.
We also worked in the mines in Pilbara for a few months which was an experience. We believe that WA is the most beautiful and diverse state in Oz. And the Gibb River Road is certainly one of its features. Our trip on the Gibb took place at the end of July and we spent 12 days on it. The Gibb was the harshest trip we have ever taken: being offline, camping in the wild and driving on corrugated roads with multiple flat tyres. But gosh, we loved it!
Most of our time was spent at waterholes and waterfalls. This is what the Gibb is known for. Of course, we had to hike to every single one but they were pretty easy walks. We also made it to Mitchell Falls and back, which was a highlight of the road. We burnt the battery of the car though and so we would recommend having a spare battery (which we fortunately did).
Gibb River Road – The Ultimate 4WD Experience
The Gibb is the ultimate 4WD experience and it’s for the brave (lol)! Joking aside, it requires planning and the ability to adapt because there are no equipped campgrounds (unless you book a station stay), hardly any petrol stations, it gets hot and your back might never be the same after enduring the corrugated roads. However the beauty of the gorges, waterholes and landscape makes it the most stunning part of the Kimberley region.
We enjoyed taking photos on the Gibb as every place was different, and it was cool to search for the best angles and lighting. Our favorite spot was Tunnel Creek. We didn’t know what to expect, didn’t plan much, and were blown away by the caves and plunge pools. Capturing photos in the caves was fun. We couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw clear water. Plus, we got to swim by freshwater crocodiles which we didn’t think was possible!
Best Places to Visit on the Gibb River Road
- Tunnel Creek: Because of the many reasons we just mentioned above.
- El Questro Gorge: For the epic walk in and the beauty of the little waterfall at the end of the gorge. The landscape is so wonderful and super lush!
- Emma Gorge: She is so massive and scenic, and the little hot stream coming out from the right side of the gorge got us frolicking around.
- Manning Gorge: This gorge was quiet and lovely to swim in. We had it all to ourselves, just the two of us. Being alone made it much more appealing.
- Mitchell Falls: The waterfall is so so so spectacular and there is lots of Aboriginal art to admire along the way. Plus, it’s an adventure driving in.
- Galvans Gorge: A pretty gorge like this seems to come straight out of a fairytale. The waterfall is definitely the cutest on the Gibb River Road.
- Bell Gorge: It’s the perfect spot to chill and the waterfall is very scenic.
- Windjana Gorge: For the wildlife, of course! We saw freshies and birds.
- Warla Gorge: The only gorge with sand! It felt like being at the beach.
- Cockburn Lookout: Because it has the best view of the Kimberley.
How to Free Camp on the Gibb River Road
While traveling the Gibb, we slept in our rooftop tent. We didn’t book any station stays as we wanted to make it all by ourselves, if that makes sense. We stopped at the stations anyway for fuel and to have a look around, because they are quite unique and beautiful, but then we always went free camping along the road. If you want to experience the Gibb like we did, we recommend using WikiCamps to find the best free camping spots.
Tips for Taking on this Epic Road Trip
Our top tip is to plan ahead. Meaning, stock up on food and fuel. Everything is expensive and stations are far away from each other. We didn’t have one but we would recommend taking a sat phone because there is no signal for most of the Gibb. Always have at least one spare tyre and battery (or a jump starter), because the road is rough and the heat is relentless.
Another tip is to take on the Gibb River Road at the beginning or end of peak season, so it won’t be crowded and you can truly enjoy the places in peace. Last but not least, go with an open mindset. Enjoy the adventure and don’t only focus on the places you see. If you enjoyed reading this Gibb River Road guide, feel free to follow us on Instagram for more adventures!