Gibb River Road West
After removing our bash plates, we were a little nervous driving over rocky terrain as it is what protects the undercarriage of the car. We decided to set up camp at Manning Gorge and Mark could head down the road the next day to possibly get some welding done by a local mechanic. Turns out it couldn't be done locally, but it was great to have some down time. Manning Gorge campground was amazing. We were able to set up really far away from everybody and it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves. It also had a magic little spot to swim in the river. Apparently the crocs are scared of all the people so don't hang out where we swim... We actually loved Manning Gorge so much we stayed there 3 nights. I think the fact we had somewhere to cool off and the seclusion of our campsite was what we loved. The hike into The Gorge itself was great and the rock pool at the bottom of the falls was apparently 30 metres deep so many people were jumping off the towering cliffs into the water. Even Mark had a go!
Next stop on the Gibb via a few other Gorges such as Galvans and Adcock was Bell Gorge. This we managed to hike later in the day - my favourite time as the light is much better for photography. Wow, was I impressed with this beauty. Yet again the swimming was amazing. We camped at the nearby Silent Grove which was lovely.
We are now approaching our final leg of The Gibb and we certainly finished it off on a high. We camped at the remarkable Windjana Gorge which is part of a Devonian Reef System which means the huge rock formations are an ancient reef and the ground you walk on was once the bottom of an ancient sea. It is completely different from any other gorge we have done yet. Most of the river that runs through the gorge has dried up leaving only small patches of water. This means the Freshwater Crocodiles are all condensed into small areas and you can see them in basking in the sun on overpopulated river banks. I'm not sure how they have enough food to last the dry season - perhaps they start eating each other.
We also hiked through Tunnel Creek which is a cave system that winds through the Devonian Reef. It is approximately 750 metres long and sections of it is very dark. You have to wade through cold water, knowing crocs inhabit the cave (we saw one clearly and another's red eyes shone back at us when we pointed the torch in it's direction). It was fairly creepy, but totally worth it as the cave was amazing. The fact you could do it by yourself and not with a tour was fantastic. We were also able to find some Aboriginal Art at the other end of the Tunnel. Tunnel Creek was also a hideout used by the Aboriginal Leader and Bunuba Warrior Jandamarra. Fascinating yet sad history.
We all agreed that Windjana Gorge was the perfect place to finish our Gibb River Rd journey. Now we head towards Derby and Broome. Back to civilization, internet, supermarkets, and to find a place to fix our car.