WA2021: Charnley River Station

During my 2017 road trip Charnley River Station was a four night pre-booked stop along the Gibb River Road. It was such a great place that it was a must for our current trip. This is particularly so due to it being one of Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) sites giving K plenty of opportunity to photograph birds and other wildlife. If also offers access to a few very picturesque gorges and water holes that are not generally accessible.

The campground is accessed via a 45 km gravel road heading north from the Gibb and is located in the Charnley River-Artesian Range Wildlife Sanctuary (to give it its full title), operated by AWC. The 300,000 ha sanctuary is home to 26 threatened wildlife species which will now hopefully survive due to the efforts of AWC.

The AWC limits the number of campers, so the campground is very spacious and totally not overcrowded, unlike the main attractions along the Gibb. The gorges and waterholes we visited were: Donkey Pools, Grevilia Gorge, Lily Ponds, Dilli Gorge and Paradise Pool, all north of the campground accessed via dirt tracks and walks of varying lengths (but nothing too long).

Eco Walk

On the morning of our first full day we joined a guided Eco Walk through the various types of vegetation. This ranged from the lush green shrubs and trees along the creek bed (now mostly dry) to the dry savannah. Our guide explained all about the fire management strategy that is structured around protecting both wildlife and plants. She also explained about the strategies for minimising the impact of feral herbivores (pigs and cattle) and feral cats. Sadly, cane toads have now reached the Kimberley and has become an issue in terms of control.

This session gave us a really great insight into the efforts of AWC and made us appreciate our visit even more.

Donkey Pool

These are the closest to the campground so we visited them the afternoon of our arrival.

Grevilia Gorge

Grevilia Gorge is the furthest from the campground taking us about 45 minutes to drive there. The access track took us to the cliff edge overlooking the gorge (sorry, no photo, but it is very deep and very impressive).

Lily Ponds

That is me floating in the cool water

Dilli Gorge

This is probably one of my most favourite gorges. Although I didn’t go for a swim, we spent some time sitting soaking in the solitude and magnificent views.

Paradsie Pool

We visited the Paradise Pool on the morning of our last day at Charnley River. As this pool was within walking distance, we set our early to beat the heat and arrived to be the only people there. There was not much water in the pool as the water had stopped running through it. In any case, we sat for a while and commented that we had not seen any lizards. Not five minutes later, and much to K’s delight, I spotted a lizard very cannily climbing head first down a tree on the opposite side of the pool. This entertained us for a while, when another did the same thing and then a small dragon appeared on the rocks. These sightings ended our stay at Charnley on a high.

Mt Glemont Lookout

Recommended as a great spot to watch the sunset, we set off to visit it on our second last night. But I was not just satisfied with just watching the sunset, I reckoned it would be a good spot for the milky way. Of course, this time period is right over dinner time. So, we pre-cooked a pasta meal, took it with us and re-heated it on our butane burner while waiting for total darkness!

Tuesday 13 July 2021

I am behind with my posts, my only excuse being that I have been relaxing and enjoying our travels and various visits. Since visiting Charnley River, we have been to a couple of other gorges, including Bell Gorge, Windjana and we are currently in a campground near Derby having successfully completed the full length of the Gibb River Road. I will update you on these in due course.

3 Responses

  1. Thanks for all the updates Martin. Glad you and Kerena are now able to enjoy your trip! The photos are wonderful…love the night time ones! Cheers Anne

  2. Beautiful photos, super. Anyone would think you are a professional. Keep posting photos they are very much enjoyed. Say hello to K.

  3. Thanks KT for the warning held the phone away closed my eyes and flicked till pictures out of sight but saw the sunset pictures beautiful Martin – keep enjoying stay safe.

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