Our second day at El Questro, we woke up to a flat tire. We were extremely fortunate to be in populated location with help and a mechanic within walking distance to patch us up. When locals tell you to be self sufficient on the Gibb, they mean it. Even if you break down on the side of the road, someone will eventually come by, but they won’t have any more cell reception than you will if you’re trying to reach a mechanic or tow truck. When we were at Mount Elizabeth, we met a couple who was stranded. While they were driving, they broke down when their radiator cracked. They eventually got a tow truck to take them to the nearest campsite (I don’t even want to know how much that cost them) where they could use a satellite phone to ring their children back in Perth and ask them to mail the part they needed. Luckily the couple had enough food and water to get by because all they could do was sit there and wait for the mail to come. The mail comes by air once a week. As long as nobody is hurt, I guess it’s just all part of the experience!
After we sorted our minor hiccup, we visited Emma Gorge for a refreshing morning swim next to a permanent 200ft waterfall. Later in the afternoon, we attempted to drive across the deep water to get to El Questro gorge, but that river crossing didn’t go too well with us. We spoke with a station employee and seriously got her advice on that particular river crossing. She said the water to El Questro gorge was probably only about 10cm deeper than the river crossing before the main station entrance and we should be alright. With our inexperience and questionable Wicked Camper, we weren’t entirely convinced but we gave it a shot anyway. A couple feet into the river, we hit a pot hole and all I remember was water rushing overtop of our hood and Mom flipping that car in reverse faster than I could even wrap my head around. Better safe than sorry, we turned around to check out Jackaroo’s waterhole and take some cheeky photos next to the large boab tree there.
We enjoyed a beer by the (croc free) section of the river before deciding to hike up the Saddleback 4WD track. It’s pretty hard to imagine vehicles making this rough, steep drive full of boulders and tight switchbacks, but these Aussies know their off roading better than most people I have met. You would never see tracks like this at home. The most 4WDing I have ever done is either when I have to on a snowy mountain or when I want to on a soft sand beach. The terrain I’ve seen in The Kimberly is in a league of its own. It’s raw and unforgiving, but so incredible to take in. The lookout at the top of the Saddleback track offered 360 degree views of El Questro station and you couldn’t help but make Lion King jokes and say things like “Look Simba, everything the light touches is our kingdom.” We stayed until the brink of the sunset when everything turned a vibrant gold. As we were walking down, we could see the sun setting on one of side of the mountain and the full moon rising on the other.