In May we embarked on an epic 4WD journey along the Gibb River Road – 700kms of dirt, corrugations and plenty of river crossings. I was absolutely blown away by the beauty of this outback treasure situated in the heart of Western Australia’s Kimberley region.
Check out our exploration of Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary for a glimpse of what traveling the iconic ‘Gibb River Road’ is all about.
A glimpse of ‘The Gibb’
The award for the longest driveway traveled so far goes to Mornington Wilderness Camp within the Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary. At 88km long we had to first radio in to alert of our impending arrival.
The drive in took two hours – without a doubt the best time I’ve ever spent along a driveway. Jumping out of the car to open and close gates and take pictures of the magnificent boab trees that are scattered throughout the property made for a memorable trip.
Hoping to get a modelling contract with R.M. Williams while opening the gates.
I never tire of looking at these majestic trees – the boab is truly a wonder of The Kimberley.
Once set up at Mornington Wilderness Camp there is enough to keep you occupied within the sanctuary for at least two nights, and the lovely staff (special mention to ‘Sky’) will ensure you’re well informed and feel right at home.
We spent our first afternoon exploring Sir John Gorge and enjoyed the self-drive interpretive trail on the 14km drive there. The incredible termite mounds were a highlight where we learnt a thing or two about these little suckers. Did you know termites are more closely related to cockroaches than ants? Or that Queen Termites can live up to 100 years? Well you do now.
Our second day was enjoyed travelling to and within Dimond Gorge where the Fitzroy River cuts through the rugged King Leopold Ranges. Along this journey floral displays were a plenty with the ‘Kapok Bush’ stealing my affection with its stunning yellow blooms.
Lucky to capture some wildflowers in bloom. This is the stunning flower of the ‘Kapok Bush’
Sir John Gorge
On the banks of the Fitzroy River we were immediately impressed by the sheer size of Sir John Gorge. Swimming in the pleasant temperate water with only one other couple for company certainly made us feel small in comparison to the surrounding landscape.
We watched the face of the gorge transform into various shades of red at sunset and also captured the beauty of the boab and gum trees at dusk.
Sir John Gorge at sunset
Hiring a canoe ($65 per day) and paddling downstream is a must in order to appreciate Dimond Gorge where you will encounter sandstone rock over 1.8 billion years old. We set off at 9.30am and didn’t return to camp until 4pm. We took our time exploring every nook and cranny, swimming at various spots, and even dozing off in a shady spot on the gorges sandy embankment.
Getting in some exercise while exploring Dimond Gorge
Unfortunately we didn’t encounter any Freshwater Crocodiles but we did spot a Monitor Lizard basking in the afternoon sun.
In the heart of the gorge you could hear a pin drop, which is how we chanced upon Micro Bats roosting in the crevices of the gorges. Their high pitched squeaks echoed and alerted us to their hiding place.
Shhh, I’m sleeping
Managed by Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC), Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary covers 320,000 hectares of vital habitat for threatened species such as the Purple-crowned Fairy-wren and the Northern Quoll.
AWC manages a whopping 3 million hectares of land across Australia and driving through the sanctuary we really got a sense of how important their conservation work is to protect threatened and unique wildlife.
I hope one day my kids, and then my grand children will be able to come here to enjoy the beauty of Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary – It truly is a gem of The Gibb River Road.
For more info check out www.australianwildlife.org
Cost: Camping $18.50 per person p/night plus $25 vehicle entry fee
Note: Only 50 individuals are permitted to camp at any one time to ensure a peaceful stay.
We look forward to returning to Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary when we’re grey nomads;-)