#221 El Questro, Australia
El Questro Wilderness Park is unique to Australia. It’s a former 700,000 acre cattle station filled with so many natural wonders and so much ancient Pleistocene rock art, that it could easily be a national park, and is managed as one. The park is located in the Kimberley region of the Western Australia near the hamlet of Kununurra. One of Australia’s most spectacular waterfalls, Emma Gorge Falls is here, along with one of Australia’s few rivers, the Chamberlain.
The rock art is extensive, coming from the Wandjina and Bradshaw styles. Both are beautiful painted styles, and whatsmore the Bradshaws date back to between 3,800-4,000 years old.
El Questro provides camping and lodging, but operates in distinct seasons. In the wet season, during the Australian winter, the park is closed due to impassable roads and floods. It opens again during our fall and winter, the “dry” season in Northern Australia. At the end of the wet and beginning of the dry, waterfalls are still running strongly, the weather is relatively cool, and roads slowly become passable.
Boat trips ply the Chamberlain River, but it’s easy to drive and walk to its big bend. Another great photo op at El Questro is taking their helicopter tour to some backcountry waterfalls and rock art panels. I have not visited Emma Gorge since a huge flash flood came down it a few years ago, but I assume it has recovered. For a number of reasons, I did not get an image of the falls I liked, and as it is one of the most memorable waterfalls I’ve ever seen, I hope to someday soon get back and shoot it in digital. The falls is surrounded by a huge circular alcove covered in ferns making it quite unique.
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