Bell and Adcock Gorges

5/7/14 – We were up early and on the move, several gorges to see today. Back past the Mt Barnett Roadhouse.

Mt-Barnett-Roadhouse

First stop was Adcock Gorge, access is via a rocky 5km long road off the Gibb. We went the wrong way first at a Y intersection, there is an arrow on a tree pointing left, we missed it and went straight ahead. So take the left turn, this track gets a bit rougher as it crosses a creek bed. You come to a sign saying day use only, the track continues past this over a creek bed and some rough patches, there is a turning circle at the end.

Day-Visits

There is a Lilly pond with a track above it to the gorge, lots of climbing over rocks. This gorge would be best seen in the arvo. Personally we don’t think it’s worth effort to get into the gorge.

Adcock-Lilly-Pond Adcock-Gorge

Next stop was filling up with fuel at Imintji, which was packed. One fuel pump @ $2.36 L they claim to be the cheapest fuel on the Gibb. The store was doing a roaring trade, people buying hot food, groceries, fuel etc, there was a long line in the store.

Imintji-Roadhouse

The road into Bell Gorge is a rocky one. Creek crossings, corrugated, wash outs, loose gravel it was in need of a grade. But it’s worth the 29km detour off the Gibb into Bells Gorge, we thought it was wonderful. The first part of the walk to the top of the falls is classified as grade 4 and is 2km return. It has a rocky descent then continues over rocks and sand to the top of the falls. You are greeted with several swimming holes one above the falls and one below the rock that gives Bells Gorge it’s name.

Bell-Gorge-Rock

The next 1km return to the bottom of the falls is classified as grade 5. It has a steep climb over rocks then a steep decent to the falls over some big rocks. But when you get there you will think it was worth going that extra distance, it’s beautiful and we think one of the best gorges on the Gibb. Certainly much better than Manning. The water wasn’t as cold either.

Bell-Gorge-Falls Bell-Gorge Water-Monitor

After our noisy night in an official campground we decided we wouldn’t stay the night as Silent Grove, it is known for being packed in the peak season. We decided we would go and “hide” as one lady said somewhere off the Gibb 🙂

Free-Camp

Manning Gorge

4/7/14 – Our camp spot proved to be a good one, nice and quiet, still cold nights.

Back on the Gibb Road it felt like a smooth Hwy in comparison to the Kalumburu Rd. Looks like good camping on the Hann River, southern  side of the road, Kununurra side of the crossing. Actually there are several places you could easily pull off for the night.

We pulled into Mt Barnett Roadhouse to pay for our permit into Manning Gorge $20 each, this also includes camping for the night. It’s the same price whether you camp here or not. We also got some hot chips that weren’t that hot, Chris also got the brake fluid. We didn’t fill up with fuel but it was $2.50 L. You can also get drinking water and there is a trailer for rubbish. It’s 7km from the roadhouse to Manning Gorge.

Considering most of the other gorges on the Gibb are free to see, (ELQ the exception) Manning is a bit expensive, camping for the night makes it seems more worth while but we have had much better campsites camping on a gravel pit. The campsites are dusty, have fire pits everywhere and as we found out later very full. We had 2 Britz cars with 2 families that had enough teenage boys to make their own football team camp right next to us. Their tents were very close and they weren’t quiet.

The generator that runs the amenities, showers, flushes the toilets runs 6am to 9.30am, then 5pm to 8pm. Generators can only be used in these times, which people ignored and 8pm is a bit late. There is only one hot water system the other one packed it in a while ago, so it struggles to provide enough hot water. There is a sign that says if the toilets won’t flush outside these hours use a bucket. We just used our own shower.

The gorge is great. At the start of the walk you have to pull yourself across the river in a boat. The swimming here is great, clear deep water and very popular when people finish the walk. The fish like to nibble though. It’s hard work pulling the boat along.
Manning-Boat Manning-Boat-1The walk is 2.6km one way as per a GPS allow 1.5 to 2hrs. The track is over sand and rocks and is undulating. Closer to the gorge there is some steeper bits climbing down over rocks, the last one just before the gorge is rather steep. It’s is a hot walk as it’s open with little shade. We didn’t start the walk until 11.30am so it was pretty hot going. At the gorge you are greeted with several large swimming holes which are really lovely but the water is very cold. You have to climb and walk around along the top of the rocks to get to the waterfall. The best time of day to photograph the falls is in the morning. The roadhouse advises to leave the gorge no later than 3pm so you can complete the walk in daylight. But people seem to ignore that too.
Manning-Gorge-2 Manning-Gorge-1 Manning-Gorge Manning-FallsChris had a dip at the gorge and back at the swimming hole near camp, he loved it saying it was nice and refreshing, that’s his code for freezing, bit too cold for me.