The Gibb River Road (also known as the GRR) is a great alternative of exploring Australia to the Great Northern Highway. Cutting through some of the most spectacular scenery that Western Australia has to offer, it was a former cattle route which stretches around 670 kilometres between Derby and Kununurra and Wyndham. Many mistake the Gibb River Road for the northern section of the Great Northern Highway but there are many tourist destinations to catch the attention of tourists that the latter doesn’t have, including Mitchell River National Park, Tunnel Creek National Park and King the Leopold Ranges.
It is the indescribable beauty of the region which makes driving through the Gibb a fantastic reward for coming here. With the amazing amount of homesteads, gorges, national parks and Aborigine tribes that can be found here, it gives the traveller an authentic taste of the Australian Outback.
Travelling on the GRR from west to east offers travellers the chance to visit various places. Start with Manning Gorge and then head down to Windjana Gorge National Park, located in the Kimberly section of the region. Measuring over three kilometres long, the gorge itself was cut by the Lennard River. During the wet season the river flows through the gorge, making it truly lovely to view but during the dry season it shrinks into little pools which are flanked on all sides by trees and other vegetation.
Next, head to Tunnel Creek National Park where, as you explore the tunnel cave through which Tunnel Creek flows through, you can admire some of the stunning Aborigine artwork which has graced the walls here for years. It was also the hiding place for the Aborigine warrior Jandamarra who died here in 1897. Tunnel Creek National Park covers an area of 220 acres or 91 hectares and the tunnel cave is considered the oldest cave system found in Western Australia.
The last main site to visit on the Gibb River Road is the King Leopold Ranges, located some 134 kilometres from Derby. These ranges are full of quartz sandstone and dolerite, stretching a distance of 567 kilometres from one end to the other. Shaped in the form of a crescent, the ranges were named after King Leopold II by Alexander Forest in 1879 and offer some of the best photogenic spots in the area.
These are not the only tourist sites to visit along the Gibb River Road, there are many more including Lennard Gorge, Bell Gorge and Adcock Gorge. Make sure as you travel along the GRR that you have enough food, water and fuel stored in your vehicle. There are many homesteads and campsites along the way which offer a place to rest your weary head after a hard day exploring this spectacular region.