Our first “task” this morning was to walk to the Bell Falls, along the Bell Gorge. The walk was challenging in places and quite rough going until we got to the river crossing where you have to pick a route through the pools and rocks at the head of the waterfall that minimised wading. As the water was so clear we elected to make the crossing barefoot rather than have wet boots for the rest of the walk.
The falls and surrounding canyon were impressive and once we’d got to the end of the marked route we just sat and took it all in for a while before heading back.
Heading back out onto the Gibb River Road our next destination was the Imintji Roadhouse which turned out to be an oasis on the dusty road. It seems a long time since we’ve found anywhere offering decent coffee but at Imintji they serve excellent coffee and the fresh made muffins were just as good and nicely presented. We sat in the shade in the garden area and planned the rest of the day.
There were a few options for places to stay along the rest of the GRR but in the end we opted to try and make it as far as Ellenbrae, a camp ground that was a good distance along but has excellent reviews on WikiCamps. It meant driving just over 300k, all on unsurfaced roads, but would leave us an easier day tomorrow being within 150k of the end of the Gibb River Road and the surfaced road.
The Gibb River Road itself is a really attractive road to drive. Along with the challenges of an unsurfaced road that normally keep the driver busy the scenery constantly changes. You start to take for granted the huge vistas that seem to appear at the top of every hill and the lush trees and bush that surround the road. The road surface is pretty good but you have to be vigilant as you can be lulled into a false sense of security as you trundle along at 50mph and suddenly find a rough creek bed in front of you. We even came across a fallen tree covering most of the road where a small bush fire had burnt through the base of it’s trunk.
Ellenbrae itself is a nice camp spot at a homestead. Nicely laid put facilities and not badly priced. They also serve scones with jam and cream from 8am so that’s breakfast sorted !
Tomorrow we should complete our crossing of the Gibb River Road and will be back on tarmac for a while. We’ll head to Kunnunara and Katherine before turning south towards Alice Over the next few days.
We’re just over half way through our trip now, time wise, and have covered over 8000 miles since leaving Sydney.