The best things to see and do at El Questro Station - Adam Bowen, Kimberley Off-road guide

El Questro Station is situated at the eastern end of the Gibb River Road.  It was originally set up as a million-acre station running around 6, 000 head of cattle.  These days, the cattle roam alongside an adventurer’s wonderland; where hiking trails, swimming holes, lookouts, four-wheel drives and horse riding excite those who come to explore.  

El Questro caters for all types of travelers.  The station offers powered and unpowered campsites, en-suite safari tents, hotel style rooms and the pinnacle of them all, the luxury Homestead that overlooks Chamberlain Gorge.

The station incorporates two stunning mountain ranges, the Durack and the Cockburn, along with two mighty rivers known as the Pentecost and the Durack. As you can imagine, having mountain ranges and rivers in the one place provides spectacular rocky landscapes, gorges, waterfalls and springs.

This is a short list of some of my favourite walks which I recommend while at the station.

 El Questro Gorge, El Questro Station in the Kimberley, WA  Photo credit: Kimberley Off-Road Adventure Tours

El Questro Gorge, El Questro Station in the Kimberley, WA

Photo credit: Kimberley Off-Road Adventure Tours

El Questro Gorge*, El Questro Station, Kimberley WA

The walk into El Questro Gorge is a challenging one.  It takes between 4-5 hours including the swim in the gorge at the top.  The first half of the walk is relatively easy; you’re walking over the creek bed, sometimes having to hop, skip and jump between rocks to keep your feet dry.  As you venture further into the gorge it becomes narrower and the Livistona palms begin to provide shade as you walk.  About halfway along the walk there is a refreshing watering hole; after this the walk becomes more difficult, as you need to climb to get around large boulders and waterholes.  Once you reach the top you are greeted by a small picturesque waterfall with a plunge pool for swimming.

It is worth noting the 4x4 track into the car park is a bit rough, there is a big water crossing so a snorkel for your car is not a bad idea. The base of the crossing is firm.

*We visit this gorge on our 9-day Kimberley tour which departs from Broome or Darwin

Emma Gorge*, El Questro Station, Kimberley WA

It’s about a 3-hour return journey to Emma Gorge (including a swim) and the walk is over rocky terrain under trees which provide some shade. There are two good swimming pools; the first one is a nice deep blue pool about 150 metres before the end and the second pool is surrounded by huge cliffs which offer a trickling waterfall from pretty high up.  The rocky cliffs are covered in ferns making it a lovely spot to rest and take in the surroundings.  The water in the last pool is typically very cold but there is a nice little hot spring on the right of the gorge providing relief from the cold water. 

It is worth noting the road to the Emma Gorge car park is suitable for 2WD and there is also a nice pool at the Emma Gorge resort at the start of the walk.

In April and October Emma Gorge is only open between 7am and 12 noon.  During other dry season months it’s open all day.

*We visit this gorge on our 9-day Kimberley tour which departs from Broome or Darwin

 Emma Gorge, El Questro Station in the Kimberley WA  Photo credit: Kimberley Off-Road Adventure Tours

Emma Gorge, El Questro Station in the Kimberley WA

Photo credit: Kimberley Off-Road Adventure Tours

Amelia Gorge, El Questro Station, Kimberley WA

This is a great little spot with an awesome half-way pool full of fish and sometimes a freshwater crocodile or two. The end pool has a pretty high waterfall and big plunge pool at the bottom.

The walk in is up a creek bed and at the halfway pool there is a bit of a tight squeeze past a small ledge. I would allow at least 3 or more hours for the walk.  After July the gorge starts to dry up so I recommend seeing it in April or May.

Champagne Pools, El Questro Station, Kimberley WA

These pools are a hidden gem, possibly because it is a 10 km walk-in to see them.  It’s a relatively easy walk with great views of the ranges and lots of bird life along the river.  About halfway along there is a huge and very impressive Boab tree with a beehive in the back, so take note if you’re not keen on bees. The second half of the walk involves crossing the river and passing over some dry, rocky spinifex country.  When you reach the pools at the end, you’ll find the Champagne pools sit between the last two large waterholes.  In these pools, bubbles come up threw the rocks due to all the minerals.  There is no shade on the second part of the walk so I recommend starting the trail early in the morning to avoid the heat. 

Zebedee Springs*, El Questro Station, Kimberley WA

Zebedee Springs are perfect for an early morning dip.  The walk in is easy and takes about 5 minutes.  They are thermal pools full of minerals that are good for your health. Take note they only open the gates between 7 and 12 noon all year round.

*We visit this gorge on our 9-day Kimberley tour which departs from Broome or Darwin

Moonshine Gorge, El Questro Station, Kimberley WA

This a great gorge if you like an easy walk to a swimming hole.  It is only a minute from the car park and the pool has lots of lilies and fish.  If there’s been a big wet season Barramundi also get caught in the watering hole.  You can continue walking up the gorge to find more pools, then follow the trail back through the dry, rocky country.

Take note; you have to pass through the same water crossing to get to the car park as into El Questro Gorge.

There are other walks on the station but these are the better-known ones.  

 Pigeon Hole, El Questro Station, Kimberley region WA  Photo credit: Kimberley Off-Road Adventure Tours

Pigeon Hole, El Questro Station, Kimberley region WA

Photo credit: Kimberley Off-Road Adventure Tours

Best lookouts in my options.

1.      Brancos lookout

2.      Pigeon Hole

3.      Saddleback Ridge

Please note; these all require a 4x4 as there are river crossings but also steep inclines/ declines.

Other cool places to check out around the station if you have a 4-wheel drive include:

Chamberlain Gorge

Durack tree

Explosion Gorge

Jackeroos Waterhole

Karunjie stock route up to Wyndham

I hope this helps when planning your Kimberley adventure.  I’ve been taking camping trips through the region for the past 9 years and have visited these place many, many times. 

Happy travels - Adam Bowen, Kimberley tour guide