Galvans Gorge Gibb River Road

The Gibb River Road in the Kimberley region of Western Australia is one of the best drives in Australia, a country that is simply teeming with roads which lead you through deliciously attractive country.

Part of the appeal of the Gibb River Road is the fact that it is remote, it can be very rugged, it passes through country that is incredibly old and spectacularly impressive, and because the road can be negotiated only during the dry season for during the wet much of it is underwater.

One of the reasons why people travel so far to reach the Kimberley is for the sheer adventure of it. For example, to reach Derby, at the western end of the Gibb River Road from Sydney, Australia’s largest city, requires of drive of almost 5,000 kilometres, and that’s by taking a short cut along the Tanami Road a 1050 kms dirt road which runs between Alice Springs and Halls Creek.

Along the Gibb are many turnoffs which lead to gorges that have been shaped by the massive rivers which cut through them during the wet season. One of the easiest to reach is Galvans Gorge which is located 286 kms from Derby.

Heading east from Derby you pass through the Phillips Range and the parking area for the gorge is just past the Phillips Range Lookout.

There is some conjecture about the correct spelling of the Gorge, as it is commonly spelt as either Galvans Gorge or Galvins Gorge. Official documents record its name as Galvans Gorge and its coordinates are Latitude: -16.799699783 Longitude: 125.843803405.

Nevertheless, this gorge is probably the most accessible of all the gorges along the Gibb as it is an easy 15 minute walk from the carpark, mostly following a small stream. The gorge itself is open at its mouth, and surrounded on three sides by rock walls which seem to be about 15-20 metres in height, although I had no accurate way of measuring them. There is a lovely boab tree at the top of the cliff right next to the falls, as if standing sentry over them to offer protection.

It has a lovely clear, fresh and quite deep pool that is quite cool when you first enter it, but which is not so cold to be uncomfortable. The pool is fed by a cascading waterfall that is possible to climb with care. You can certainly climb a slight rock ledge and feel the soothing water massage you as it falls. To the right of the falls are some aboriginal rock paintings that are still in good condition, one of which features the mythical Wandjina Man. Near this painting is a tree you can climb out onto and safely jump into the pool.

Water lilies float in the pool and there is plenty of verdant vegetation around the pool to make it an attractive place to spend some time.

Whilst we were there a water monitor, a large aquatic lizard, swam nonchalantly by simply minding its own business, making for yet another magic moment during my travels along the Gibb River Road.

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