The Best Things To Do At El Questro
If you have just completed the Gibb River Road El Questro (ELQ) is the sweetest reward. If you’re about to start the Gibb River Road, lap up this luxury and good luck. For us, El Questro was one of the biggest highlights of the Kimberleys and it is so accessible. Although most of it is 4×4 only there are still a few of the best spots easily reached by the humble 2WD.
ELQ is situated on 700,000 acres 120km west of Kununurra in Australia’s North West. And depending on your budget there are a few different ways to enjoy this place. You can go full-blown Beyonce and stay at the ELQ Homestead and catch a helicopter to the walking distance from the beautiful Emma Gorge. Or like the majority of us you can just camp at ELQ station and choose your own adventure.
There are a few places you just can’t miss when you visit ELQ so I’m going to share them here with information on what makes them special and the best time to go. The place can be busy, which is very understandable so it often pays to be up earlier than the earliest Instagrammer.
Zebedee Thermal Springs
Zebedee is open to the public from 7-12 in the morning before it closes and opens up for exclusive tour group access in the afternoon. The best time to get there is 11am, when the crowd thins in preparation for closing time. If you’re lucky you might even get the place to your self for 15 minutes before you’re ferried out. The water temps are about 24°-28°C and as you might guess, the warmest water is at the top. Zebedee is best enjoyed after a long hike to really soothe your body. We made the mistake of dropping by on our way out of ELQ and we ended up 30km down the road and unable to drive any further because we were too chilled. So we pulled over and slept all day.
Pigeon Hole Lookout
This place is made for sunsets and sunrises. The track up is a moderately challenging 4×4 track with a couple of jump-ups. Take a picnic and bring the wine cause sunsets up here last forever. Catch the changing colours over the Pentecost River, the ultimate outback view.
This one is good any time of day and you can choose to walk 10km or 200m for a swim in the same spot. I think you know which one we chose. Moonshine is rarely busy, it might be something to do with the two water crossings before you get there. The water is blue and fresh and cliff faces of the gorge stand tall on the opposite side of your freshwater beach.
El Questro Gorge
You can either start this hike at sunrise to beat the crowds or you can head in around 10.30am to catch the sun fall straight in to the top pool at midday. The sun lights up the turquoise clear water and it is just pure magic. It’s a challenging hike in that involves a lot of rock scrambling and a couple of waterfall climbs. There is a lovely half-way pool that marks where things start to get a bit harder. Every step of this walk is beautiful and there are a number of different pools to jump in and frolic about. This goes down as our favourite hike so far on our lap of Australia.
And then last, but definitely not least is Emma Gorge, the prettiest little spot on the station. It’s a fairly easy but rocky walk in with a sensational blue pool halfway along. A little freshwater crocodile lives here but he won’t bother you unless you bother him. At the end Emma Gorge rises up with glowing orange rock, lush green vines and some of the clearest water you’ll see. In the far right hand corner is a hot spring seeping from the rocks. Hug in tight over there and it won’t feel as cold as it really is.