Gibb River Road – Part 3 (Galvans Gorge, Mt Barnet, and Manning Gorge)

Our first fuel stop was Mount Barnet and we chose to stay a few nights here. Shortly before we arrived there though there was a small detour to take to visit Galvans Gorge. More like an oasis, water was pouring, rather than cascading, down a boab-crested cliff face into a grass-lined swimming hole. To one side a tree trunk leaned out invitingly for the kids and a couple of ropes dangling from the branches lured anyone with any sense of adventure. The pool was over 4m deep, possibly more, and though it was early, it was irresistible. In we plunged. First we jumped off the rocks then we graduated to the rope swings but we all had a blast. To one side of the cliff we found an interesting piece of Gwion art, an owl-like figure looking very feathery, with a couple of serpents to the right of its shoulder. Already we were recognising a few people travelling the same way and we shared a campfire with Marty and Crystal (travelling in an unmistakeable red and white Landcruiser troop carrier). Marty had been on the same boat watching whalesharks in Exmouth!

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Camping next to the river, the gorge was accessible by a punt attached by rope to a pulley. With a sandy beach and clear water, and pandanus tree-lined riverbanks this was very attractive to the kids who spent hours swimming and ferrying walkers to and fro across the river. Once across the river the walk was approximately 2km of undulating terrain, with some rock hopping toward the gorge end. Some rock art greeted you as you entered the base of the gorge, though many walk past without noticing the faded shapes on the cliff walls. The falls were big here too, falling directly into a very deep pool that offers multiple rock entry points catering to all, from water level up to maybe10m or more in height. Under the waterfall, a couple of metres up the rock we found a brown tree snake curled up in a crevice that looked to have no exit other than down to the water. The second time we visited the gorge Oscar and I took inner tubes a pump, basic fishing gear and our lunch, with the intention of travelling the hard way down the gorge i.e via the water. We ate our lunch at the falls, inflated the tubes and once I convinced him there were no saltwater crocodiles we set off. With a considerable distance to go and not as much current as I had hoped we had to stop periodically to warm up in the sun, and we used this opportunity to fish in some of the deeper pools. Oscar was landing a few good sized black bream before I could even explore the cliffs behind. It took us half a day to get out but it was an excellent adventure for the both of us. On the second day the station were restricting fuel to 50 litres per customer due to a delayed fuel tanker, and this dropped to 25 litres by the time I arrived to get some. Despite assurance the tanker would arrive the next day we opted to stay another night and enjoyed the riverbank one more time.
As we left the next day we took the opportunity to visit Mt Barnet Gorge nearby, a much quieter spot to camp and another gorge to swim in.

Categories: Adventure, australia, Australian Outback, Big Lap, Discover Australia, Explore Australia, Journey Narrative, Kids Travel, Natural World, Photography, Photos, Travel, Travel Adventure, West Australia | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Gibb River Road – Part 3 (Galvans Gorge, Mt Barnet, and Manning Gorge)

  1. Helen & John Paine

    Some great photos – brings back plenty of memories for us!
    The punt at Manning Gorge must be a new thing – John could have done with that when he broke his ankle on the walk back from the gorge!!


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