Mitchell Plateau

The Mitchell Plateau is considered to be the holy grail of the Kimberley. And once you see it you will know why. Many people are deterred from doing the trip because of how hard the road is supposed to be, but it is not a lot harder than most roads you have done along the Gibb before. The multi-tiered Mitchell Falls can only be reached by air or by tackling the most of the times very rough Port Warrender Road by car. This is an ungazetted road, so make sure your vehicle insurance covers this, especially when you have a rental car. It is not allowed to bring caravans, and best to leave any not real off-road trailer at Drysdale River Station, as the potholes, washouts and corrugations are already hard enough to do with a car only. The track usually opens  a couple of weeks after the Gibb, and even then the King Edward River might not allow you to cross in your vehicle yet. But once you have made it to the other side, you should be able to go all the way to the plateau. Just take it slow and drive carefully, as the road can be very badly corrugated, with big holes and wash outs that sometimes don’t show up until you are right in front of them. Special care should be taken when approaching crests, as you never know who or what is waiting on the other side. The track is a constant up and down, and you will venture through ancient and beautiful Livistona fan palm forests. These trees dominate much of the landscape and can get up to 18 m high and 300 years old. 19 km before the very basic, but large campground that also serves as a starting point for all the hikes and helicopter rides, self-drivers who fancy more luxury can stay in the Mitchell Falls Wilderness Lodge.

If you want to rough it without water, but very decent hybrid toilets and a nearby creek to wash off, the shady campground has a generator and a non-generator area. A drinking water collection point with a bucket on a chain and steps to reach it is located upstream at nearby Mertens Creek, whereas the area downstream can be used for bathing without soap. The campground can be a little noisy during the day as the base for helicopter flights to and from Mitchell Falls or round-trip flights to the coast is right next to it. Though they offer a great view from above, one should not skip the relatively easy, but exposed hike to Mitchell Falls at least one way, as there are many incredible gorges and waterfalls as well as Aboriginal rock art sites along the way. As you are in a very remote area make sure you have all supplies you need, including water, fuel and food.

Mitchell Plateau Mitchell Falls
A stunning view of the four-tiered Mitchell Falls