3 Day El Questro Tour in Western Australia

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El Questro Station is situated in Australia’s North West and covers over 700,000 acres. The closest town is Kununurra which is 120 km to the east and although the station is quite accessible you will need a 4WD to get into most places.

There are a couple of hot spots, Zebedee Thermal Springs and Emma Gorge that are both 2WD accessible and worth the drive. There are accommodation options to suit all budgets, from the exclusive luxury accommodation at the El Questro Homestead to free camping at the Cockburn Rest Area 50 km away.

Our-mates-making-the-river-crossing-to-Moonshine

Our mates making the river crossing to Moonshine Gorge near El Questro.

You can also choose your own adventure or you can let the El Questro staff take care of your itinerary with 4×4 tours, horse riding packages or helicopter drop-offs available. We’re here to guide you through a 3 day camping stay and show you the best spots and times to go.

El Questro is stunning so understandably it gets busy, so be prepared to beat the crowds or get up close and personal with your fellow travellers. Be sure to check out the El Questro website to see what live music and entertainment is happening at the bar during your stay as well.

Couple leaning on vehicle near iconic-boabs-of-the-Kimberley

The iconic Boab trees of the Kimberley region. 

Day 1 – Settling into camp, relaxing and enjoying the sunset

So you just arrived and you’ve paid a pretty penny, but I promise it’s worth it. Entry is $22pp per week and then $22pp per night for camping, and then another $22 per night for power. Settle in amongst the trees with the creek flowing softly through your backyard.

There’s a natural bubbly spa out the back of the restaurant with a few deck chairs to kick back in. Pack a picnic and a bottle of wine and head out to Pigeon Hole Lookout for sunset. The road out is a moderate 4×4 track with a few rocky jump-ups to navigate.

Once at the top the views spread out over the Pentecost River and glowing cliffs of pink and orange. If you manage to get back to camp with a few more hours to of energy, head to the bar to enjoy some live music and a drink or two.

Vehicle driving on a rural track in the Cockburn Rangesckburn-Ranges

The Pentecost River crossing with the Cockburn Ranges in the background.

Day 2 – El Questro Gorge hike, Moonshine Gorge, and Zebedee Thermal Pool

Set your alarm with plenty of time to get to the start of the El Questro Gorge hike at sunrise. There is a creek crossing to navigate on the drive in and a snorkel is advised. The hike is a challenging 6.8 km return. It involves climbing over rocks, scaling a couple of waterfalls and getting your feet wet. The entire walk is beautiful, green and lush, and fresh clear water runs alongside you.

Man standing in waterfall in El Questro Gorge

It’s worth the early start to take a dip in the halfway pool at El Questro Gorge.

The halfway pool is stunning and if you don’t think you can make the whole walk it would be worth it just for a swim here. The halfway pool also marks the point where things get progressively difficult and the rocks get bigger.

The waterfall at the end is like nothing else I’ve seen, which is nice to enjoy in the early hours of the morning. It also lights up in the middle of the day when the sun beams down between the gorge.

Woman swimming in a waterhole along the El Questro Gorge hike

Te El Questro Gorge hike is challenging but very worthwhile.

Depending on what time you finish your hike you can hit one or two swimming holes. Zebedee Thermal Pools are open to the general public from 7 am – 12 pm, so if it’s already 11 am, head straight there. But if you have an extra half hour, go further out to Moonshine Gorge for a refreshing dip without the crowds.

The absence of other visitors may have something to do with the additional water crossing or the 10 km walk that the sign suggests. But fear not, you can walk only 200m for an awesome swim from a freshwater beach.

Couple swimming in Moonshine Gorge in WA

If you’ve got extra time, Moonshine Gorge is a quieter spot. 

The best time to visit Zebedee Thermal Pool is at 11 am. It’s one of the most popular (and accessible 2WD-friendly) spots in El Questro so people tend to arrive early as the gates are opening, but everyone tends to leave in the hour leading up to when it closes at 12 pm.

If you’re lucky you may be able to score the place to yourself for 15 minutes before the exclusive tour groups rock up at 12 pm. The springs are about 24°- 28°C which gets cooler the further down steam you swim. Muscle in and get that spot at the top pool beneath the palm trees. You won’t want to leave for at least an hour.

Man lying in flowing water at Zebedee Pool

Spend at least an hour relaxing at Zebedee Pool.

Day 3 – Emma Gorge and the Turquoise Pool

Another early morning is in order if you’re chasing photographs with no one else around. There is a constant ebb and flow of people at Emma Gorge as tour groups and families come and go. If you stay long enough you are guaranteed to get this one to yourself for a while.

Find the hot spring in the far right corner that sees through the rocks into a small dammed pool, it’s a little more comfortable than the cold water of Emma Gorge. The Turquoise Pool halfway along is also spectacular, creep up slowly and you might catch a glimpse of the freshwater crocodile that lives there. He won’t bother you if you don’t bother him, feel free to take a dip in his pool.

Man walking on a rock near Turquoise Pool

The Turquoise Pool at Emma Gorge won’t disappoint. 

Where to next?

If you’ve gotten a taste for luxury camping here at El Questro and just want to keep the good times rolling, then I would definitely recommend heading to Lake Argyle next. Kununurra is a beautiful section of the Kimberley with so much on offer around the Ord River.

You could also travel south to the epic Punululu National Park to see the Beehives and Echidna Chasm. Hot Tip: 100 Things To See in The Kimberleys is a beautiful book that really helped us see and enjoy this whole area.

 

What’s the best spot you’ve visited in the Kimberley?

About the writer...

Faye Martin

Touring Australia full-time in our Nissan Patrol, Max and I live life in the slow lane. Fishing, hiking, and camping is what we do at Powershala. Our favourite place will always on a secluded beach and we are always on the search. Check out more of our adventures at powershala.com or @powershala

Joined back in November, 2018

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