Please note! El Questro Wilderness Park is closed due to COVID-19 and is set to open again in April 2021. No laws on dreaming!

After days on dusty dirt tracks and horizons as far the eye can see, El Questro stands out like a beckoning oasis. With several crocodile-free swimming holes and gorges, there’s no better way to facet your outback experience than to pitch your tent here for a few days.

Highlights

  • Outback 4WDing 
  • Unique landscapes in one of Australia’s most far-flung locations
  • Gorge-ous views in every direction

Road Tripping Gibb River Road

If you’re planning an epic road trip along the iconic Gibb River Road, you’d be hard-pressed to find a destination as jam-packed with swimming holes, lookouts, and gorges, as El Questro Wilderness Park

There are several photo opportunities at this amazing camp location, so take the time to create your own memorable postcards from your Kimberley adventure. 

When the landscape’s as grand as this, I generally recommend using a wide angle lens so you can capture as much as possible. If your lens isn’t as wide as you like, have a go at shooting a stitched panorama.

Explosion Gorge

17km from the main station, Explosion Gorge is at the end of a moderate-grade 4WD track with a water crossing and some steep sections. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot some baby freshwater crocs sunning themselves on the rocks less than a metre from your car window.

Take your time crawling across the river crossing – it’s usually shallow but there could be large submerged rocks kicked across by other 4WDs.

 

f/8 1/250s ISO100 Canon 5DmkII 24-70L

Branco’s Lookout

This breathtaking Branco’s Lookout is in the same region as Explosion Gorge and Chamberlain Gorge. I found it worth the trip at sunset to capture that classic outback sunset dropped against the sweeping turn of the river. 

Chamberlain Gorge

Chamberlain Gorge is located closer to the station and doesn’t require a water crossing. It’s also best captured at sunset when the air is still, and the sky is lit up with gorgeous warm light.

You might be lucky to get glassy water for a nice reflection. The colour contrast between the orange rock and the blue sky makes this wide-angle shot a true keeper.

Moonshine Gorge

Moonshine Gorge is located at the opposite end of the station, and whilst the 4WDing isn’t difficult, there’s a long water crossing that might put some people off. If you have high clearance and decent tyres, you should be fine. 

This location is a fantastic place to cool off with a swim (no crocs!) because the water is chillier than you might expect.

The image is a classic Top End shot, with the orange rock gorge, native fauna, and deep green water. This image was a stitched panorama – make sure to set your exposure controls to manual. If shooting handheld, pivot your shot from your hips so that you get a consistent overlap for each image and minimise parallax errors.

A Word of Caution

If you’re driving in the afternoon and following another car, the combination of track dust and afternoon sunlight will make the road ahead nearly invisible. Slow down and wait for the dust to settle, otherwise you might find yourself running into another car, hitting wildlife, or off the track entirely.

Give yourself plenty of time ahead of any sunset shoots. Preparation is key and it’s a great opportunity to embrace the location and be present in the moment.

 

Essential Gear

  • Camping equipment 
  • Camera and a tripod 
  • 4WD and recovery kit
  • Plenty of water 
  • GPS Maps (not essential but very handy)

How To Get There

Nearly 10 hours south west of Darwin makes it seem like a long way to go just for some 4WDing and camping, but if you’re doing the Top End and tackling the famous Gibb track, then El Questro is an ideal stop over for a few days.

Skill Level

Beginner

The 4WDing might seem a little challenging but if you take your time and your vehicle is in good condition and fit for purpose, you’ll be fine. These are not technical tracks and are well sign-posted.

Read more: Outback Driving Survival Guide