Brancos lookout is a very similar 4WD track to Saddleback ridge. It is steep, with fantastic views and easily worth a stop. Both are located on the amazing El Questro Station, and both should be done if you are there, and have a 4WD. Getting to the lookouts is fun, and the views are even better.
Where is Branco’s Lookout?
To get to Brancos Lookout, head out past the air strip, and take the turn towards Explosion Gorge. This track crosses Brancos crossing (which is rocky, but solid as). Unless it has very high water levels (or quick flowing water), you wont have a problem. In May 2015, the water was barely over the bottom of your tyres, and it was even less in July 2018.
Continue on past the lookout, and you will see a track pointing towards Brancos lookout, not too far along.
How long does the 4WD Track take?
From the bottom, it probably only takes 5 – 10 minutes to drive to the top. Pull over up the top, and get out to enjoy the view.
Is it hard?
Much like Saddleback ridge, asides from being steep, this is a very easy 4WD track (unless its been chopped up by lots of traffic, like after school holidays!). Lock the hubs, put it in low range, make sure your tyres are down to around 20 – 30 PSI and crawl up in 2nd low. Watch the corners, but take it easy and you will get to the top without a hitch.
At no point did we feel like we were struggling for traction, and plenty of 4WD’s with minimal modifications came up to look.
What is the view like?
The view from Brancos is unreal. You can see a long bend of the Pentacost river, with a number of the ranges, sheer cliffs and unbelievable red rock.
We stood there in amazement for a while, just enjoying the view. It is absolutely incredible.
Look for salt water crocodiles
Not long after we had picked our jaws up off the floor from seeing such a special place, Gavin calls out that he can see a salt water crocodile. From the top (ages away), all you can see is a dark shadow in the water, with a bit sticking out. Sure enough, it was a salt water crocodile, and he was stalking the cattle who were down at the waters edge for a drink.
We sat there for a good 40 minutes, with a some big lenses and binoculars, watching the crocodile. We thought he would have a go at the cattle, but they left the waters edge and walked off. The croc swam back across to our side, and lay on a rock partially in the water, sunning itself.
We were pretty glad to be at least 100 metres above the crocodile; I’d be a bit concerned if he was closer!
When is the best time to go?
Sunset would be a magical time here too, but there are tours run by El Questro that go to Explosion gorge and come back to Brancos lookout for the sunset. I don’t believe this happens every day, and even if they were there, you just have to move across about 15 meters to the next lookout (they request the table setup for the tour at 4:30 each day).