There’s a heap of amazing places in the Kimberley. Some you can drive to and enjoy for free, and others you have to cough up money to do a tour. Chamberlain Gorge at El Questro was one of the latter choices that we made on our visit to the Kimberley, and we thoroughly enjoyed it.
The only way you can see Chamberlain gorge is by boat; either you hire one out, or you jump aboard a tour.
The tour boat
The boat used for the Chamberlain gorge cruise is a wide, flat bottomed aluminium running a small outboard motor. It seats around 50 people, and has shade, with plenty of spots to get a good view.
How much is it?
It was $60 per person when we did the cruise, which includes drinks and a fruit platter to share. If you want to be picked up from the town centre, you pay an extra $5 return.
This cruise leaves at 3PM every afternoon (when there are enough people). You are asked to be at the Chamberlain gorge by 2:45. If you are picked up from the town centre, I would imagine you’d have to be there by 2:15PM.
How long is it?
The cruise is roughly an hour and a half. The section of the gorge that you can drive a big boat down is not very long, so you spend about half of the time sitting at one end, enjoying the area.
What happens on the cruise?
The cruise was quite an enjoyable experience. You board, then the skipper runs through the safety procedures (all standard stuff), and then you take off, heading down the gorge. One of the deck hands sits at the front of the boat and goes through some interesting information on the gorge and history of the station, pointing out different things of interest
Photos are handed out of the station during and after the wet season, and then you moor at the end of the gorge. Champagne and fruit are served, and you feed some fish (hilarious!), before heading back.
On the way back the water has usually calmed down to glass, and with the sun setting its quite a sight to see.
At the end of the gorge, a whole heap of different fish reside. The most entertaining, by far, are the archer fish. You are given a small handful of pellets, and you hold a pellet out up high, and the fish spit water at it.
I suppose they’ve learned it to shoot insects off their perch, but you have hundreds of little fish around the boat spitting water at everyone. It’s a lot of fun, and plenty of laughs are to be had.
Once the archer fish are in full frenzy mode, the catfish come in, and you see a few big barramundi hanging around too. These will take the archer fish if they are too slow, in an almighty splash.
El Questro Homestead
If you are after 6 star, insane accommodation in the Kimberley, the El Questro Homestead will have you covered, for a significant price. You can just see this on the way across Branco’s crossing, and heading down to Chamberlain Gorge, but its secluded for good reason.
Is it worth it?
We had a good time on the cruise. I wasn’t blown away by it, but it was interesting, the fish feeding was fantastic and we got some great video and photos from it. If you have an afternoon, I’d recommend it; you will have fun!