Of all the gorges on the Gibb River road, Emma Gorge has a pretty big reputation. El Questro Station is full of amazing places though, and I wasn’t sure whether it would this would live up to its name.
Getting to Emma Gorge
Emma Gorge is the closest gorge to Wyndham and Kununurra on the Gibb River road. It’s only 2km off the Gibb river road, at the turnoff to Emma Gorge Resort. From there, you park in the main carpark, and walk along the side of the resort, past the toilets and onto the main walking track.
The walk in
We were told by a few people that the walk into Emma Gorge was difficult. This was not what we found, especially in comparison to the many other gorges we’d done. A lot of the walk is flat, and although there are a few rocks to climb over, none are very hard to do. The creek crossings were all very easy, and its only when you get about half way that things start to get really pretty.
The last part of the walk (once it starts going up) is a bit more challenging, but certainly not out of reach of most people. We saw plenty of elderly people make their way (albeit slowly; good on them!) to Emma Gorge, and having a wonderful time.
Near the end, you come to an amazing pool with two big rocks behind it; well worth a swim if you are hot, or have time. It looks amazing both without the sun, and with the sun out.
What is the gorge like?
Emma Gorge is spectacular. There’s no doubt about that. It’s got giant cliffs in almost a triangle shape, with a lovely pool that you can swim in, right out to the waterfall.
Be warned though; the water is very cold. Not as cold as Circular pool at Karijini; I only lasted about 3 seconds in the circular pool water, but cold enough to know it when you’ve swum across to the waterfall and back!
Once you’ve had a bit of a dip, head to one of the hot springs.
Find the hot springs
These are almost a requirement to use at Emma Gorge. The water is so cold that it is extremely nice to find a bit of warm water coming out from the rocks.
There are two points where the hot springs come out. If you walk to the right as soon as you get to the gorge, you will see water flowing out of the rocks. Touch it; you will notice straight away its fairly warm (at least compared to the pool itself!).
However, the better hot springs are only accessible if you get wet; just jump in, and swim around the big rock on the right (just further back from the first hot spring). You will come to a narrow gap, with a lot more warm water flowing out. After kicking a few cane toads out, I sat there for a while, knowing full well I’d have to hit the freezing water again to get out!
We walked past a cane toad bin on the way into the gorge, where people are encouraged to pick up the cane toads and drop them in. They are kept alive, and humanely euthanized twice a week. Had I known how many I’d find in the gorge, I would have taken a bag!
I saw at least 10 cane toads in under half an hour. A lot of them hung around the warm water from the hot springs, but we even saw a few sitting on the bank of the pool. At one stage, a big one swam right into someone in the middle of the pool; they have made themselves truly at home here.
I’m not one to dislike animals; pretty well anything and everything I like to see, except cane toads. They truly are a disgusting pest, and are going to wreak havoc in the Kimberley over the next few years. What a shame.
Interestingly, when we visited again 3 years later the number of cane toads had hugely reduced; I suspect that there were too many for the one gorge, and the numbers have thinned
Visit Emma Gorge
Even if you only visit one gorge on the Gibb River Road, do Emma Gorge. It’s easy enough to get to, absolutely spectacular and well worth a look.