Monday, September 4, 2017


We needed an early start this morning as we planned to head out and have a swim at Zebedee Springs in their thermal pools.  We also knew that these springs were only open from 7am to 12 noon, and we had a 100km drive to get there.  
El Questro
 El Questro is situated on the Gibb River Road, and the first 26kms is still good bitumen.  The turn off into El Questro was about 17kms of dirt road (not too bad, a 2WD car could do it, but there were two creek crossings, again not too deep, and there was a solid stone base to drive across the creek on.
On the walk into Zebedee Springs
Lovely palm tree canopy

We got to Zebedee Springs around 10 15am only to find out that we needed to pay for a pass from El Questro itself to use the springs.  In the end, we just decided to play ignorant, and have the swim first and then go pay for it at El Questro Station later.  We figured that by the time we drove into El Questro, bought the pass and drove back again, we wouldn’t really have any time in the springs.  
Arriving at the Springs
The water was around the 34 degree mark - lovely and warm...
 These springs are like the Bitter Springs, there were many little pools amongst the rock but each one was crowded with people sitting in them.  The water was quite warm also.  Still it was a pretty spot set in a tropical rainforest, with waterfalls and a canopy of palm fronds overhead.  We spent a good hour or more in the water here before leaving around 11.45am to make sure we were back at the car before the 12 noon when the gates were closed and locked.  There were still lots of people in the springs when we left. No one seemed in much of a hurry to get out….
El Questro Station
Picnic Area at El Questro
Sightseeing at El Questro
Ian and Steve enjoying their lunch...
Kathy and I enjoying our lunch
 We had packed a picnic lunch so thought we would go through to El Questro Station to have it, and we also needed a permit to be on the Station.  I must say I was a little disappointed in the Station part of El Questro,  it was nothing like the brochures made it out to be.  I would think it was pretty expensive to stay there.  It cost us $12 each for a permit just to be in there for the day.  
Chamberlain Gorge where the Main Homestead sits above this gorge
Boat ramp at Chamberlain Gorge
Chamberlain Gorge - El Questro
At Chamberlain Gorge
Chamberlain Gorge was full of these spotted Archer Fish..

In saying that though, we did have a great day.  We had lunch in their picnic area and then took a drive to their boat ramp to see Chamberlain Gorge.  This also was nothing like I expected.  I guess in my head, it looked something like Katherine Gorge, and it wasn’t like that at all.  The main homestead is built on the top of cliffs, but we weren’t able to go there,  we could just see it from a distance.
The Main Homestead on the top of Chamberlain Gorge - we could only see it in the distance.

 When we bought our passes, the lady at reception gave us some maps of places of interest on the Station.  There was a pretty rugged 4WD track up to the Pigeon Lookout on the top of Saddleback Range…  It was steep and windy with lots of rock, and diverts in the road, at times you almost felt like you were climbing up vertically.  Steve was really in his element.  I must say though the views were stunning from up there and you pretty much had a 360 degree view all around. 
The 4WD track along the ridge on Saddleback Ridge.
At the top of the Saddleback Ridge
Views from Pigeon Lookout - Saddleback Ridge El Questro
The climb down was equally exciting, and there were a few times where I was gripping the handle bar on the dash of the car.  We made it down in one piece.

It was pretty hot, and we were pretty keen for another swim, so decided to go and checkout Moonshine Gorge as apparently there was a really lovely swimming hole there and was only about 100m from the carpark…
Heading down again
That was another rough rocky 4WD track in, and it went for about 7-8kms, a lot further than we thought… We also had to cross through 3 lots of water, the first being a river that would have been a good 18” to a couple of feet deep.  I was a little nervous about going through the water, but Steve got out, walked into it, and tested it before we drove through.

Going through the creek on the way to Moonshine Gore
 Moonshine Gorge was quite spectacular.  We had the whole place to ourselves.  We almost had to pinch ourselves, to even check that we were in this beautiful setting.  It was kind of like the highlight of our day.  Kathy, Steve and I went swimming whilst Ian went for a little walk to explore the gorge.
One of our favourite spots

  One  of the other places we wanted to go but were told it was too rough to walk into and quite a hot walk was Emma Gorge, so we decided to miss that walk, but then on the way home we thought we could at least drive into the resort and check it out....
It looked pretty good, much nicer than the accommodation we had seen in at El Questro... 
Accommodation at Emma Gorge

 The scenery was really quite spectacular on the drive out also with the sun setting.  The ranges around this area are really stunning.
  It was quite a magical afternoon, and we were on a high as we left El Questro.

This whole holiday has been magical,  we feel so blessed and so appreciative of the opportunities we have been given to have a holiday like this and check out our beautiful country.  It is going to be so hard going back to work, and the mundane of every day life after living the dream for six months.  
It was after 7pm and dark by the time we got home.  A big day, we were all tired but feeling so blessed. 


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