KING LEOPOLD RANGE

 

King Leopold Range - Bells Gorge
(C) The Adventures of Big Red

 

GPS 16 59 41.46 S 125 12 17.02 E

Entry fee and / or camping fee charged Fire places or BBQs available Tent camping sites Pets prohibited Sight seeing area Walk trails Site may flood or be inaccessible during rain 4 wheel drive access only

 

 

 

 

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European explorers first entered this area in 1879 when Alexander Forrest led an expedition through the Kimberley. Forrest saw some promise in the area but was unable to pass through the range. The expedition suffered in this area and several horses died. Forrest's state of mind can probably be summed up by the names he gave some of the features here such as Devil's Pass and Mt. Hopeless.

The range was first crossed by stockman, Frank Hann in 1898 via a well watered 18 kilometre long pass. In 1919 Felix Edgar and Chalmers established Mt. Hart Station. Edgar walked away broke in 1934. The lease was taken up again in 1936 and changed hands in 1951. By 1957 the station was again abandoned and stayed that way until 1962. A series of owners tried to make money out of the property until, in 1992, CALM / DPaW took over the station and established King Leopold Range National Park that covers 392,100 Ha.

A small tourist venture was started utilising the station buildings that can be reached from the Gibb River Road. Although it is only 50 kilometres from the GRR, due to the nature of the terrain, it can take 2-3 hours drive to reach.

The range contains a few remnant patches of isolated rainforest and ridges rise up to 300 metres about the surrounding plain.

At about 300 kilometres long, the range stretches from Walcott Inlet to Margaret River. (Not to be confuse with margaret River in the south west.) The highest peak in the range is Mt. Ord that reaches 947 metres.

During the wet season much of the area becomes inaccessible as torrents of water cascade down the red rock ridges.

There are a number of native bird and marsupial species that thrive in the range and photographers find many vistas to capture as they travel through the area.

Marsupials such as the northern quoll, sugar glider, northern brown bandicoot and ring tailed possum thrive here as impact from human activities has been relatively insignifficant.

Campsites are available at silent grove and Mt. Hart Station. Silent grove is a DPaW campsite and there is a ranger stationed there. Facilities include toilets and solar powered showers. A 4x4 is required to reach the campsite. Mt. Hart is a privately operated campground.

Two of the area's main attraction are Bell and Lennard Gorges. Bell Gorge is listed as one of the most attractive in teh Kimberley.

The Aboriginal name for the area is Woonamur.

Crocodiles inhabit waterways in the Kimberley and care should be taken in any waterway below the range.

 

(C) Somewhere Down Under

 

NPW Website for more information

 

 

Best time to visit:

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

 

 

 

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