Thursday, May 14, 2020

Western Australia: The beauty of Bell Gorge

In the scorched heart of Australia’s vast Kimberley region, the refreshing waters of Bell Gorge have soothed the parched bones of many a weary traveller.

Bell Gorge, Kimberley.

You’ve been following the rough, dust-filled corrugations of the Kimberley’s infamous Gibb River Road for days and the jarring bumps, insane heat and relentless flies are taking their toll. Relax, paradise is at hand! Deep in the Wilinggin Country of the Ngarinyin people, the natural
amphitheatre and swimming hole of Bell Gorge is the perfect spot to cool off and break up that epic road trip.

A pleasant, partially shaded walk leads from the car park along a pandanus- and paperbark-fringed creek alive with birdsong. Breathtaking views from the top of the waterfall only hasten your pace to reach the cool, crystal waters below. Before long you’re floating on your back (possibly still fully clothed) as you soak away the kilometres, staring up at the blue, cloudless sky and the sheer orange walls of the gorge. Yep, flat out, like that goanna on the rock to your right.

What’s best about swimming here?

Getting up under the bottom of the falls and letting them pummel your back, best massage ever!

What’s that stripey lizard over there?


Mertens Water monitor (Roderick Eime)

That fella’s a Mertens’ water monitor, a type of goanna. Don’t worry, they’re harmless, as long as you leave them alone.

Near the cliffs above the falls, what was that pigeon that made a funny sound as it flew?

Big brown one? Yeah, that’s the white-quilled rock pigeon, they look just like the sandstone cliffs where they hide.

And that cute little purple-headed bird in the pandanus by the creek?

Oh, you’re lucky to see him. Purple-crowned fairy wren. Only the males get that purple colour when they’re ready to breed; they’re normally hiding in that pandanus.

Wow, I thought I just saw something jump along that cliff ledge?

Ha, you just saw a rock wallaby (like a little kangaroo), they hang out in the gorges and aren’t afraid of heights!


Country Australia • Region Western Australia • Type • natural pool • Cost A$13 per car national park entry fee • Activities swimming, bushwalking • Family-friendly: yes

Reproduced with permission from Lonely Planet's Joy of Water

The Joy of Water
May 2020 |$29.99 AUD
200mm x 200mm | 272 pages Hardback | ISBN: 9781838690465




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