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Only a short drive out along the Gibb River Road 58 Kms from Wyndham in the Kimberley region of Far North West Australia, is the El Questro Wilderness Park. I think you would agree that the name El Questro conjurs up images of a western town from an old Western movie, with the rugged Cockburn Mountain Ranges forming the backdrop. All that is missing are the Cowboys and Indians and the Cacti!
It is almost 1,000,000 acres in size with a diverse landscape of broad tidal flats and rugged sandstone ranges, to rainforest pockets, hot springs, gorges and waterfalls. Animal and birdlife congregate at waterholes and the four river systems are home to all kinds of fish, including the mighty barramundi.
First stop into El Questro Wilderness Park is Emma Gorge where there is a resort offering eco-tent style accommodation, a bar, restaurant and gift shop. The scenic trail into the gorge takes you along a rocky creek bed with changing vegetation to crystal clear pools and waterfalls. The gorge is characterised by massive scree slopes and cliff face escarpments reaching up to 120m on both sides of the trail. At the end of the trail you can enjoy a refreshing swim in the icy plunge pool of Emma Gorge Pool and Falls.
A further 11 Kms along a sealed road is the turnoff to El Questro. Although a dirt road it is in fairly good condition, however there are several creek and river crossings that you have to negotiate, so it is strictly 4WD only. The drive through into the park is very scenic and there are various turnoffs into places of interest, the first being the incredible Zebedee Springs.
You will discover Zebedee Springs after a short walk through lush Livistona and Pandanus Palms to the thermal springs and pools. Here you can wallow in the tepid spring waters of a series of small rock pools that cascade through the palm forest.
There are also many other natural attractions throughout the Wilderness Park, including:
There is a range of accommodation at El Questro Homestead to suit all tastes from luxury to secluded riverside campsites. Tours are available from the homestead such as helicopter flights, horseback rides, barramundi fishing, bush culture and history tours and 4WD adventures. You can then eat and drink at the station’s ‘Steakhouse’ restaurant and the Swinging Arm Bar, including a traditional Aussie BBQ feast every Saturday night.
So now you know that Australia has its very own Wild West, complete with rugged mountain landscapes, dry and dusty terrain, blue skies, night skies aglow with a thousand stars and stock horses. Plus yes there are a few cowboys in Australia’s version of the ten-gallon hat – the Akubra! El Questro satisfied all of my Wild West fantasies!
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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