The Gibb travels nearly 700km through WA’s central Kimberley Plateau, from King Sound near Derby to the Cambridge Gulf near Wyndham. The road is mostly dirt and gravel and requires an honest to goodness 4WD (high clearance, long-range fuel tanks) even in the dry – ie, when the road is open (usually April to November).
This trip is not for the fainthearted or underprepared, but the rewards are huge. The scenery is magnificent, with gorges and waterholes lining the route, and the landscape is framed by rugged mountain ranges.
“It’s hard to decide whether it’s better from the bottom looking up or from the top looking down, but there’s no better way to mix and match the Bungle Bungles than to follow up walking excursions into the canyons with a helicopter flight-seeing trip over Purnululu.”
– Tony Wheeler
An alternative to this adventure trail is the highway – a sealed road that also goes from Derby to Wyndham, but by a southern route. It’s possible to get off the highway and into the “interior” in a 2WD on some sections– particularly to see Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek National Park.
No visit to the Kimberley would be complete without seeing the Bungle Bungles. The orange and grey striped bee-hived domes are a remarkable, World Heritage-listed sight in Purnululu National Park, to the east of the Great Northern Highway and Halls Creek.
Did you know?
The Gibb River Road was originally built to transport cattle to Derby from the Gibb River Station, and construction for it only began in 1960.
How to get there
The Gibb River Road runs from Derby to Wyndham/Kununurra.
To get to Derby, fly into Broome and drive along the Great Northern Highway to Derby (the western starting point of the Gibb River Road) or catch a Greyhound bus.
Qantas and Virgin Blue have direct flights to Broome from most major cities in Australia.
Kununurra is a long way from anywhere – 1057 km from Broome and the same distance from Darwin.
Qantas and Virgin Blue offer direct flights to Darwin from most major cities in Australia.
From Darwin you can drive to Kununurra or catch a Greyhound bus.
Best time to go
Dry Season (April – October)
Website of the Kimberley Development Commission with information on the Gibb River Road
NRMA information on the Gibb River Road
Website with useful travel tips
** This is our original 100 Things to Do Before You Die. First published in 1996. There is an updated 100 Things To Do In Australia Before you die, published in 2011.