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El Questro Wilderness Park is one of the most unique places in Australia. There is something for everyone in El Questro. You can explore the rainforests and waterfalls, but also relax and take your time in one of the thermal springs. When we lived in the Kimberley Region, we were lucky enough to visit El Questro Wilderness Park. It’s really an untamed natural beauty that reflects how amazing Australia can be. Here we drove over the Gibb River Road, went for a swim at Emma Gorge and relaxed at Zebedee Thermal Hot Springs.
In this guide to the El Questro Wilderness Park you can find useful information for your visit, such as the best time to visit El Questro and how to get to El Questro. We also share places to visit in El Questro. Enjoy!
El Questro Wilderness Park
El Questro started as a working cattle station, but the family that bought the cattle station in 1991 created a tourist park destination. There is lots to do in this enormous wilderness park, such as horse trekking, fishing, swimming, exploring remote areas by helicopter, exploring amazing places with a 4WD, spotting different kinds of wildlife and spending the night camping or staying at one of the beautiful accommodations. There is so much to see and so much to do. Let’s share some of the spots we’ve visited and give you guys some recommendations where to go and what to do in El Questro Wilderness Park!
Best time to visit El Questro Wilderness Park
What is the best time to visit El Questro Wilderness Park? The park is located in the Kimberley Region and the Kimberley has a tropical climate with two seasons: wet and dry.
The best time to visit the Kimberley Region is the dry season, which runs from April to October. During this time, the temperature is usually pleasant and there isn’t a lot of rainfall. The reason why it’s best to visit The Kimberley Region and El Questro during this time is because the roads should all be open.
During the wet season, from November to March, the temperatures are very hot and it’s very humid in the Kimberley Region. When it rains it can be quite extreme. During this season the Gibb River Road is closed, as it can be impossible to drive here if it’s really wet.
Of course, the weather can vary in the wet and dry season. When we went during the dry season, there was also a chance that we couldn’t go, because it had rained a few days before.
Short answer: The best time to visit El Questro is during the dry season from April to October. But definitely keep your eye on weather reports, as the seasons are not set in stone.
How to get to El Questro Wilderness Park
We definitely recommend a 4×4 wheel drive to get to El Questro, but it’s possible to get to El Questro Emma Gorge and El Questro Station with a 2×2 drive, as there is sealed road to both entrances. However, the gravel driveway up to the property is only suitable for 4×4 wheel drives.
The most direct way to get to El Questro is via Kununurra. El Questro is located on a cattle station in the Kimberley Region. The park is located west of Kununurra and is accessible via the Gibb River Road. The roads to here are mostly sealed: 58 kilometers on the Great Northern Highway towards Wyndham and 36 kilometers on the Gibb River Road. The last 16 kilometers is on a gravel.
If you don’t have your own car, you can get a transfer from Kununurra airport as well as from accommodations in the town center. Just ask the locals at the pub or at your hotel and they’ll know how you can arrange it.
It’s also possible to get to El Questro by air transfer. This is quite expensive, but definitely a beautiful way to see more of the Kimberley Region from above.
4 Places to see in El Questro Wilderness Park
1. Emma Gorge
When visiting El Questro Wilderness park, Emma Gorge is a real must-go! We already talked about Emma Gorge in the blogpost about our favorite destinations in Australia. When you visit this secluded water hole, you’ll understand why we included it in our favourite spots to visit. It is quite a rocky walk to get to the waterhole, and along the way we bumped into people who all told us the same thing: “It’s worth the walk!” and boy, were they right. Just a quick tip: make sure to wear your walking shoes, and take enough water and sunscreen for the hike up to Emma Gorge.
Emma Gorge is a real oasis, surrounded by incredibly high cliffs with greenery and a 65 meter high waterfall. What made this place even more incredible was that there was a hot thermal spring at the side of the waterhole, where you can actually sit on the rocks and relax. Make sure to go there early, take a nice picnic with you and walk back before the sun sets.
2. Zebedee Thermal Hot Springs
It’s like getting into a hot tub, but one that is pure nature, and well, without the bubbles. It was so lovely to get into the clear soothing warm water of Zebedee Hot Springs. It was just the perfect temperature and it’s like that all year round!
Not only is Zebedee Hot Springs very comfortable and relaxing, the location is gorgeous as well. Surrounded by palmtrees and other local vegetation, listening to little waterfalls that flow, these thermal pools are the perfect spot where you can sit, relax and chat with each other. The palmtrees also create some privacy; when you’re sitting in one pool, you barely see the bathers in the other pool. An example is the above photo, as there were a group of people sitting in that bath, but the palmtrees blocked the view and made them invisible.
If you’re staying at El Questro Homestead you get exclusive access to this thermal hot spring in the afternoon. However, it’s still possible to go in the morning if you aren’t staying in at El Questro Homestead.
3. Gibb River Road
The Gibb River Road is a 660 km track through the heart of the Kimberley Region and takes you from Derby on the west coast to Kununurra on the east border of Western Australia. The Gibb River Road is seen as one of the great Australian 4WD adventures – with the Pentecost River Crossing as a fine example, seen on the photo above. It’s possible to partly drive the Gibb River Road, as it is now sealed from Kununnura to the entrances of both Emma Gorge and El Questro Station. But would you really want to miss the dirt road with panoramic views and experiencing a real Australian road trip?
We were in awe during our drive on the Gibb River Road, the landscape was just stunning with lots of colorful ranges and boab trees. The most exciting part was the Pentecost River crossing. This crossing can be more than 60 metros wide. During the wet season – April until May – the water flows very quickly and the water level is very high, bringing extreme pressure on the sides of the vehicle. When the dry season – approximately September to October – comes to an end, the depth is less than 50 cm and is much safer to cross. Another memorable part of the road trip were the Cockburn Ranges, a gorgeous sandstone escarpment that dominates the landscape of the Gibb River Road.
4. Home Valley Station
We had a quick bite to eat and dip in the pool at Home Valley Station, which is located near Pentecost River and at the foot of the Cockburn Range. The large restaurant had a relaxing vibe and the whole station had this peaceful feel to it. Perhaps because the place is so remote.
Besides getting real Australian cuisine at the Dusty Bar & Grill or taking a dip in the cool swimming pool, you can also choose to spend the night at Home Valley Station. Home Valley has self-contained cabins, guesthouse rooms and two camping areas. On their website they claim that they provide their guests with the “ultimate Australian outback experience”.
Another option to spent the night in El Questro is El Questro Homestead, an exclusive retreat located atop the Chamberlain Gorge. We didn’t visit this accommodation, but it’s a bit more luxurious and a little more pricey as well.
This was our little guide to El Questro Wilderness Park. If you have any questions feel free to drop a comment below!
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Wow! one of those wonderful road trips to do. What an exciting thing to do in Australia. Emma Gorge is stunning would love to visit there for sure! cheers! have a safe travel!
Looks like a great place to explore!
Australia is now my bucket list.. 🙂
Ahh this looks incredible!! I lived on the East coast (Sydney) for a few months but didn’t have the time or funds to go anywhere near here. It looks totally incredible though, and when I return I’m hoping to cycle my way to this park!
Australia is my dream destination! I really enjoyed this article, and hope to one day visit them all!!
Thank you Rachel!
What a beautiful area! I really need to get to Australia 🙂
Thanks Kim, definitely should go. Such an amazing country.
I’m been hearing so much about Emma Gorge recently and your pic (I love high cliffs) just solidified my want to go! It looks beautiful! 🙂
Thanks! I love those high cliffs too. So impressive. Hope you can visit it some day!
Beautiful pictures. I liked your story. Question: what gave you the idea to go to El Questro Wilderness Park? A brochure? Did other travelers tell you? I also envy you for visiting Zebedee Hot Springs. Looking at the pictures and reading your account it seems there are no animals in this region. Is this true?
Thank you. We went, because some people we knew went there and we went with them! There are animals, such as saltwater crocodiles and lots of birds. We just didn’t see any wildlife.