Outback Australia is magical to explore and usually you are either travelling in a camper van or a 4×4 car. Now the later usually means you can get to ‘every location’, but do not fear – we have found (in our very basic van) the top spots to visit in the wonderous El Questro Gorge, Western Australia, so make sure this hot spot stays on your travel list!
The cost of entry for any attractions located in the El Questro Wilderness Park is $12AUD per person, per day, or $22AUD per person for up to 7 days. If you end up camping in the area you HAVE to buy one of these passes on top of your camp cost. You could definitely see the first two in one day if you are on a budget, otherwise we stayed for 2 nights and broke these up over a couple days and also did some walked around the area (wasn’t too scenic near the camp – just a fun bit of exercise).
Zebedee Thermal Hot Springs is the number one spot visited in the Kimberly. Thermal hot springs in the middle of the Aussie Outback? Yes please! A short walk through pre-historic forests, entering layer upon layer of gorgeous thermal (temps of 24°-28°C) pools and waterfalls – an absolute paradise.
Open 7am – 12noon daily from May – September. I suggest heading there first thing in the morning, we got to the car park at 6:55am and were the first ones in. We had 10mins of bliss to ourselves before more people made it up (well worth the wake up!) By around 7.45am, it became very loud and busy. The track, 600m one way, to the springs is very easy, but can get a bit muddy so I recommend gripped or closed shoes. Time needed all up I would say at least 1 hour, once it gets busy it isn’t as relaxing, so if you are planning on packing a day full, 1 hour is more than enough to enough a soak early morning.
Emma Gorge is one of the best known spots in this area, and rightly so! A spectacular gorge located just outside El Questro, you will enjoy a medium difficultly hike (there are a few rocky areas) and be rewarded at the end with a beautiful swimming hole and waterfall! A little freshwater crocodile lives up at the end pool, but he won’t bother you (unless you bother him), he always stays around the rocky edges of the falls so won’t be in your way!
Open all day, from May – September. I suggest heading there first thing in the morning or late afternoon to beat the heat! (morning is less busy). The trail is 1.6km one way to reach the top swimming hole, it’s a little rocky in some parts so I recommend sturdy shoes or boots for this one. Time needed all up I would say at least 2 – 3 hours. It took us just over an half an hour each way to walk, and then spent almost one hour at the pool (warning – it’s cold!)
El Questro Gorge
El Questro Gorge is the biggest, longest, and hardest hike of them all in my list! This stunning half day hike is broken into two sections, the first is relatively easy and you are rewarded with stunning turquoise swimming holes along the way. The second part starts by the swimming hole, when you scramble over the boulder. Be prepared for climbing and swimming to get to the end (when we went the water was so high, we hid our bags and camera at the halfway point as we didn’t have a waterproof bag)! Every step of this walk is beautiful and well worth it, no matter what point you stop at!
Now, I did only just sneak this one in, with access without a 4×4. Technically to get to the parking lot you 100% need a 4×4 car, but with tips from the camp site, we parked up early and walked an extra 1km by foot to the parking lot/starting point. This 1km pre walk was the hardest of them all, it was through wetlands, balancing on debris and fallen trees. By the end (or should I say start of the hike/parking lot) our shoes and legs were soaked! All in all, well worth it, as you’re going to get wet on this hike if you go the full length anyways!
Open all day, from May – September. As this is a bit more of a challenging hike, you can get away with visiting any time of day as there isn’t many people doing this walk. We went straight after Zebedee Springs, around 8.15am. The full hike is 6.8km return, but if you just go to the Halfway Pool it is 2.6km return. There are a lot of spots to stop and swim, which we did, so this can take you anywhere from 3 – 4 hours total (not including stops/swimming).