Exploring El Questro Wildlife Park, Australia

Exploring El Questro Wildlife Park, Australia

Spanning almost a million acres, El Questro Wildlife Park includes thermal springs, salt flats, deep gorges, rainforests and some of Western Australia’s most unique landscapes.

This remarkable park, just over an hour’s drive from Kununurra, can be explored on foot, by four-wheel drive or by air. But for first-time visitors, the remoteness and sheer number of attractions can be overwhelming, so a well-planned trip is essential.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to what to do, where to stay, and what you need to know before heading to majestic El Questro.

When to go

The park is open from April through October each year, but the best months to visit are May through August. If visiting in September or October, be prepared for humidity.

How much time can I spend in the park? Four to seven days.

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When to go.

What you need to know A day pass or 7-day visitor permit is required to enter the park . It costs no more than $22 for adults and $11 for children, and will be automatically added to your park reservation.

There is no telephone service, but pay phones are available at all three resorts in the park. WiFi is available in public areas at the resorts.

The El Questro station offers basic supplies, including food, camping supplies, gas canisters, and gasoline.

Top attractions and activities

1 Explore beautiful gorges.

Emma Gorge is one of the most spectacular and accessible. The hike to it is 3.2 km and includes rock climbing, water crossings, and several steep slopes. The water in Emma’s Gorge is usually quite cold, so after swimming, head to the thermal springs on the right side of the reservoir to warm up.

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Explore beautiful gorges

Another of the park’s most popular gorges is its namesake, El Questro . This is a more challenging trail, as it involves several large rocks and steep climbs to reach a crystal clear pool and waterfall. The return trip can take up to five hours, but the views of the surrounding palm trees of Livingston and the red rock walls of the gorge are worth it.

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Other attractions in the gorge include the Amalia Gorge water pool (best to visit it in April or May before it dries up) and Munshain Gorge, filled with water lilies.

2. Fishing for barramundi

The pristine waters of El Questro are full of barramundi and, knowing the locals, you will have no trouble catching them. There are several itineraries to choose from, but the tour ” Barramundi Fishing and Guided Four-Wheel Drive” is a good starting point. Accompanied by an experienced fishing guide, you will catch barramundi on the banks of the Chamberlain or Pentecost River.

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2. Fishing for barramundi

If you prefer to explore the park’s more remote fishing spots, opt for the 5-hour version of the same tour. You’ll cast your line in a secluded spot along the Pentecost River where your catch can include everything from barramundi and threadfin salmon to black bream and catfish. Wildlife lovers should keep an eye out for estuarine crocodiles and sea eagles, which are often seen here.

3 Take a dip in Zebedee Springs

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3. take a dip in Zebedee Springs

Nestled under shady pandanus trees and lily-of-the-valley palms, Zebedee Springs consists of several thermal pools, small waterfalls, and hot springs. Since the water in them is kept at 28-32 degrees year-round, it is an ideal place for morning bathing. The springs are one of the park’s most popular attractions, so try to arrive early (before 8am) so you don’t miss the time. They are open from 7 a.m. to 12 noon every day, but rangers will restrict entry if there are too many cars in the park. Guests staying at The Homestead can visit privately daily from 2:30 to 5 p.m.

4. Four Wheel Drive.

El Questro’s trails open the way to the park’s most spectacular and little-explored landscapes. The four-wheeled Pigeon Hole trail is a popular route with steep sections, panoramic views of the surrounding ridges, and a great body of water for fishing.

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4. Four Wheel Drive.

More experienced four-wheel-drive drivers will enjoy the Saddleback Ridge 7K route. Departing from El Questro Station, this challenging route winds through rocky terrain and steep hills into the Pentecost Valley. Climb to the top of the ridge for remarkable 360-degree views of the park.

5. Walk the hiking trails

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5. Hike the hiking trails

Most of El Questro’s attractions can be accessed via easy hiking trails, but avid hikers can opt for the park’s more challenging trails. If you already have bushwalking experience, the 4.8-kilometer Champaign Springs Trail is a great starting point. Known for its rocky terrain, this challenging trail is worth the effort thanks to the cascading waterfall and cool pools at the end of the trail.

6. Gorge walk at sunset

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6. Sunset Gorge Walk

Chamberlain Gorge stretches for 3 km and offers scenic views of the surrounding flora, fauna and red rock walls of the gorge. Daily tours of the gorge depart late in the evening and include a fast-paced fish-feeding session during which you can see barbel fish, catfish and barramundi up close . Don’t forget your camera.

Where to Stay

There are plenty of lodging options within the park, from luxury rooms at The Homestead to family-friendly campgrounds. The best suites at The Homestead cost from $3,200 per night and include gourmet drinks and meals, as well as excursions to Chamberlain Gorge, Zebedee Springs, Buddy’s Point Lookout and more.

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Where to Stay

Rooms at El Questro Station and Emma Gorge start at $450 and $350 per night, respectively. El Questro Station offers air-conditioned rooms with river views and plenty of amenities, while Emma Gorge offers safari-style tented cabins with bathrooms.

For campers, there are two campgrounds in the park: Black Cockatoo Campground and the private campgrounds at El Questro Station. Private sites at El Questro Station cost $41 per night and non-powered sites at Black Cockatoo Campground cost $33 per night.

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How to get there

If traveling by car, the most direct route to the park is via Kununurra . From there, it’s about 110 km west (just over an hour drive) to El Questro station along the Great Northern Highway and the closed section of Gibb River Road. Although access to El Questro is mostly by closed roads, there are sections of Gibb and the gravel road to El Questro station that are not suitable for two-wheelers, so four-wheelers are recommended.

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How to get there

As an alternative, El Questro provides a twice daily shuttle service from Kununurra Airport and some downtown Kununurra accommodations. Check the car transfer schedule and note that you need to make reservations in advance. Off-schedule shuttles can be arranged if necessary.

If you prefer to travel by air, helicopters and charter flights are available.

Wild World Wildlife Park

Wild World Wildlife Park

One of the most unusual attractions in Sydney is the Wild World Wildlife Park. This original zoo is a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. It is considered the best place for families in the city, as evidenced by the grand prize it received in the Australian Tourism Awards.

You’re expected to move around the park on foot, so there’s an impressive 1km walkway. The area of the cages is up to 7,000 square meters, and they are home to about 6,000 animals belonging to 130 species of Australian fauna.

The top-level cages are outdoors, making the living conditions for the animals as close to their natural habitat as possible. The enclosures are giant stainless steel wire mesh barriers. Curvilinear beams are used as supports for them. This allowed to avoid impersonality and standard in the appearance of enclosures, most of which are decorated with climbing plants and even real trees.

If you have never been to the semi-desert area, you can get acquainted with it at the largest exposition of the zoo – its area is 800 square meters. About 250 tonnes of red sand from central Australia was brought in, and the only flora on display is huge baobabs. However, sometimes you can see red kangaroos jumping among them.

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The entire area of the park is divided into 10 main zones:

  • “Semi-Desert Spaces”;
  • “Butterflies.”
  • “Koala Reserve”;
  • “Invertebrates.”
  • “Wallaby Cliffs”;
  • “Kakadu Gorge;”
  • “Reptiles”;
  • “Rainforest.”
  • “Nocturnal Animals.”
  • “Rooftop Koalas.”

Visitors to the zoo are sure to meet its most famous inhabitant, the 5-meter-long male saltwater crocodile, nicknamed Rex. It was brought here in 2009 and occupies a truly luxurious apartment. The construction of the aviary for it cost 5 million Australian dollars.

There are daily short lectures about the lives and habits of kangaroos, Tasmanian devils, wallabies, and koalas. You can learn interesting facts about these animals and watch them feed.

Tourists are offered the services of a tour guide, but such VIP tours must be booked in advance. Tickets cost $40 for an adult, $28 for a child under 16, and a family ticket (2 adults and 2 children) costs $136. The zoo also hosts birthday parties and other celebrations. There is a café serving a variety of exotic foods on the grounds of the preserve.

Special rules of conduct must be observed in the wildlife park:

  1. Do not approach the enclosures closer than one meter.
  2. Do not try to pet or touch the animals.
  3. Do not tease the inhabitants of the enclosures and do not bring pets with you.
  4. Do not feed animals.
  5. Do not ride scooters or rollerblades.

You can get to Wild World on the Sydney Explorer Bus (get off at stop 24), but if you like to travel by water, take the Sydney Ferries. It departs from Circular Quay Port from Pier 5 every half hour. A good option is to rent a car, which you will need to drive along Distributor Road. If you choose to travel by train, you will have to walk a short distance from Town Hall Station.

You can walk to the zoo from George Street by walking about 10 minutes down Market Street or King Street. A cab will drop you off at Wheat Road or Lime Street near the Cockle Bay Pier.

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