Majestic Emma Gorge near Kununurra

One of the best reasons that I can think of for visiting the East Kimberley region of Western Australia is to do the trek to Emma Gorge, then to bathe in its cool waters as your reward for the somewhat arduous trek.

Emma Gorge is part of El Questro Station, which is probably the most famous tourist facility in the Kimberley. El Questro is massive, and is spread over one million acres. It includes many fantastic places to visit within its boundaries, and Emma Gorge is probably the best of the best. I say that only because, nominating something as best is purely down to personal choice, and when a place is competing with other magnificent areas, such as El Questro Gorge and Zebedee Springs, it is difficult to pick an outright winner. Besides all three places, and many more, are worthy of visits at El Questro.

Located at the entrance to the gorge is Emma Gorge Resort, which looks to be eco friendly and very comfortable. I didn’t stay there, but I was tempted.

From the carpark it is a 1.6 kilometre hike up to the gorge, and it is uphill all the way. If 1.6 kilometres (equivalent to one mile) sounds like an easy hike, it isn’t. In the Kimberley, no hike is easy as the country is extremely rugged and the climate often harsh.

The track is well marked, and you should take your swimming gear with you, otherwise you will be very disappointed when you finally reach the gorge.

After a sustained climb Emma Gorge suddenly appears, and it is a magnificent spectacle. You are greeted by the sight of a seemingly insurmountably high cliff face, from which drops a magnificent waterfall.

The waterfall drops for about 65 metres, crashing into a large, shade-covered pool that is breath-takingly cold when you first enter it. As you swim in the pool your body easily adjusts to the temperature, and it is akin to swimming with a large bowl as the gorge’s cliffs tower above you. Looking towards the waterfall, there is a large overhang on your right. If you swim over to the overhang, you can enjoy the sensation of having a hot shower as you bath in cold water.

The cliffs here are sandstone, and water permeates through the stone, being heated by the rocks, and drips through cracks in the rocks treating you to a free, perfectly clean hot water shower. There is also a small thermal pool you can enjoy which bubble out of the rocks just in front of the pool.

You could while away your time at Emma for hours, but there are no facilities there, so you do need to take food and drink in with you, and take your rubbish out.

The track out is all downhill, so somewhat easier than the way in, and the effort required for the trek is well worth the joy you will get from experiencing this wonderful place.

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