Mitchell River NP access

To: 'Michael Wood' <>
Subject: Mitchell River NP access
From: Paul Doyle <>
Date: Sun, 17 Jul 2016 06:02:18 +0000
Hi Michael,
As it happens I just returned last night from a Kimberly trip that included
Mitchell River. I wouldn't contemplate that trip without a good 4WD.

First consideration is the creek/river crossings. We came from the Kununurra
side with a Land Cruiser and crossed the Pentecost River on the Gibb River
Rd. and the King Edward River just off the Kalumburu Rd on the last stretch
to Mitchell River. These are both deepish but no problem for the Land
Cruiser. But I would be very worried attempting them in a conventional
2WD/saloon type car.
Not sure if there are any big creeks on the Western approach part of the
Gibb (from Broome/Derby) but you would still have the King Edward River at
the top of the Kalumburu. There are several other crossings on the Kalumburu
Rd. but can't remember any that would be a major problem.
Apart from the rockiness of some of these crossings (which the Land Cruiser
could easily handle, but saloons may not) is the issue of depth of water:
our vehicle was up to the running boards: a conventional car would have
water coming in under the door at that point.
Second consideration is the state of the roads: the Gibb is like a freeway
at the moment: perfect driving surface. We were doing over 100 for most of
it, though there are some tricky spots with pretty bad corrugations. If you
are going soon this is not likely to change much in the interim.
Kalumburu Rd. is much rougher. We got up to 100K in some places, but
horrible corrugations for many miles in some places. 2WDs are not built to
deal with this and will probably shake to bits. The trick is to stay above
60 or 70Kmh over the corrugations: below that you hit every one of them and
it rattles the bejesus out of the car. In some places other things (deep
sand, bends etc.) prevent you from doing 70kmh but mostly it's ok. Again, I
think a god 4WD is essential. The Land Cruiser handled everything with ease,
but we did meet several people who turned back after attempting the
Kalumburu rd. because of the corrugations.
The last stretch (between the turnoff from the Kalumburu Rd and Mitchell
River) is the worst: creek crossings, narrow, windy, sandy and rocky -
sometimes all at the same time! 4WD strongly recommended!

For anyone who hasn't been there, the landscape up there is amazing.
Mitchell Falls itself is spectacular, the Cockburn range is beautiful, Emma
Gorge is stunning, Mornington is great, Bungle Bungles spectacular...goes on
and on.

Re. the Black Grasswren: I think I am the first birder in recorded history
to spend 3 days in prime Black Grasswren habitat and fail to see one. I
spent a couple of hours searching around the campsite at Mitchell in areas
recommended as likely candidates, an hour or two at Little Mertens Falls and
same at Mitchell Falls with no success.
On the other hand, I did get about 15 new birds, so a great experience.
Happy to provide details if anyone is interested.


-----Original Message-----
From: Birding-Aus  On Behalf Of
Michael Wood via Birding-Aus
Sent: Sunday, 17 July 2016 11:19 AM
Subject: Mitchell River NP access

Could someone please tell me whether a 4WD is absolutely essential to
getting to the black grasswren site/s in the Mitchell River National Park,
Western Australia? And, if so, do they know of any good vehicle hire
companies around Broome or even Derby?
Any help is greatly appreciated.
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