This ended up being one of our favourite parts of the Gibb River Road, it was certainly the most scenic driving we did. And it isn’t even really part of the GRR.
We decided to stay the night in Wyndham to stock up for the trip across the Gibb to Broome. We had seen the Kurunjie Track on our map and just saw it as a short cut to start the Gibb – and a dotted line on the map always attracts our attention more than a solid one. However, we stumbled across a write up of the track somewhere on the internet before we left and that really got us interested.
Leaving from Wyndham we first followed a good unsealed road past some indigenous art work and a ‘prison’ boab tree. The tree is very impressive, and must be incredibly old, but there is certainly nothing impressive about the ‘justice’ dealt out by the police in the area in the late 19th century.
From there it was a short drive to the start of the Kurunjie Track proper and this rather welcoming sign.
The track runs behind the Cockburn Range (as in, on the other side of the range than the Gibb River Road) and along the Pentecost River. The track was split into two quite different sections. The first half was across dry floodplains which made for a mostly solid and flat track and thus was quite quick.
All the way along the track we could see smoke rising from a fire on the range. We had heard that Emma Gorge, on the other side of the range, had been closed but otherwise didn’t know anything about the fire.
The second half of the track is much closer to the Pentecost River and becomes a mostly rocky track with a few soft sandy sections which made for much slower driving. As we got towards the end of the track we drove through an area that had been recently burned – we assumed from back burning.
Then the track joins up with the Gibb River Road proper just before the ford of the Pentecost River. It thus misses the first 50km or so of the Gibb, most of which is sealed. However, it was a beautiful drive and we’re very glad we did it rather than taking the quicker route. I’m sure it was slower than taking the Gibb – it took us about 4 hours from Wyndham to Home Valley Station – but it was also much more isolated than the Gibb and felt more remote than the rest of the road even though it was right near Wyndham and so in that sense was probably more like what we were hoping or expecting the Gibb would be like.