Dangers & Annoyances
While the popularity of the Gibb in recent years has seen the road become more manicured, with lined creek crossings and asphalt encroaching from both ends, don't be fooled, conditions can change fast, especially after bush fires or rain. Keep your speed down, especially if you're unused to unsealed outback roads as tourist rollovers are common. Don't underestimate the remoteness. A breakdown on the Gibb is a serious, and usually expensive, affair.
Hema Maps' Kimberley Atlas & Guide ($48) and The Kimberley sheet map ($15) provide the best coverage.
Telstra has long been the cellular provider of choice for Australians living beyond the big cities, especially in the Kimberley. However a new Federal Government partnership with Telstra's arch-rival Optus sees a handful of 3G mini-cells being rolled out to communities along the Gibb. Not all residents were happy to swap their existing Telstra phones to Optus (the former still having a virtual monopoly along the Great Northern Hwy). At the time of research, Imintji, Mt Barnett, Ellenbrae, Home Valley, El Questro and Kalumburu have all signed up, while Mt Elizabeth and Drysdale River opted out. Coverage usually extends for a 3km radius around each community.
An Uunguu Visitor Pass (UVP) is required to visit Mitchell Falls and Munurru.
Mainroads Western Australia Highway and Gibb River Road conditions. Has a useful Driving the Gibb River Road downloadable brochure.
Parks & Wildlife Service (www.dpaw.wa.gov.au) Park permits, camping fees and information. Consider a Holiday Pass ($46) if visiting more than three parks in one month (does not cover Mitchell Falls).
Shire of Derby/West Kimberley Side-road conditions and closures for the Western and Central Gibb.
Shire of Wyndham/East Kimberley Kalumburu/Mitchell Falls road conditions.