Mitchell Plateau Road Conditions and The King Edward River Crossing

The turn-off to Mitchell Falls
The turn-off to Mitchell Falls

Many travelers are deterred from visiting the Mitchell Falls because of how tough the road is supposed to be. The good news is that the roads have improved a lot in recent years.

Obviously this road is only open in the dry season. And yes, the Mitchell Plateau is one of the wetter parts of the Kimberley.

But anyone with a 4WD can visit this amazing part of Australia.

The most important thing to note is not to drive too fast and to take your time. Most accidents in the Kimberley occur because of excessive speed. You are on holidays, so slow down and enjoy the drive.

 

Current Road Conditions

There is no official information available online about current road conditions at Mitchell Plateau.

  • But we have listed all official links to current road condition reports and river crossing levels in the Kimberley here – Kimberley Road Conditions
  • The best place for up to date information about the state of Kalumbaru Road and the Mitchell Plateau is Drysdale Station (Ph: (08) 91 614 326)
Livistonia Palms lining the track along the Mitchell Plateau
Livistonia Palms lining the track along the Mitchell Plateau

Kalumbaru Road and the Mitchell Plateau

The Kalmbaru Road from Drysdale Station to the Mitchell Falls turn off is gravel, and it similar to the majority of the Gibb River Road. At the start of the dry season, when it has been graded, it is a pleasure to drive on. As the season progresses, the road quality deteriorates from all of the traffic and large corrugations can appear.

The King Edward River Crossing holds fears for many people! But the crossing is pretty straightforward. Don’t worry – if the water level is too high and the river is flowing too fast, it will be shut by national park rangers.

It is a good idea to walk the crossing first to check the depth and water flow. There are no crocodiles and it’s a good excuse for a refreshing swim!


 

In April/May or just after heavy rain, the crossing can still be deep. By May/June the water level has usually dropped and the water level is fine.

The bottom is solid and formed by large river stones, and the route curves slightly. Approach the water in low-range first or second gear and maintain a constant even speed.

We’ve included a video from a May crossing. One week before this video, heavy rains had meant the crossing was deep and difficult. 7 days later the water level was totally fine and safe.

 

The final 85km to the Mitchell Falls will take about 2 hours. The road is pretty straightforward so long as you don’t go too fast. Stick to about 40kmh and enjoy the incredible scenery. There are a couple of crests over hills that you should definitely slow down for. It is a single-lane track so you need to be aware of cars traveling in the opposite direction.

 

Can I take a Caravan to Mitchell Falls?

Many readers ask us whether you can take a caravan into Mitchell Falls.

Caravans are not permitted in Mitchell River National Park due to the road conditions, however off-road camper trailers are allowed.

For those with caravans, you can leave them at Drysdale Station for a small fee, or camp at King Edward River.

Be aware that the river crossing can be deep and it’s not always possible to tow a caravan across it. The Drysdale Station is the best place to contact for up-to-date information.

 

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