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Judbarra/Gregory National Park Guide – Traveller’s Top Things to Do

Judbarra/Gregory National Park is the Mecca of all parks where history, 4wding, absolute serenity and some pretty wild country all come together. The remote yet stunningly beautiful Judbarra National Park is tucked across the NT-WA border. Everything in this park is enormous: the landscape, its history, the animals, the 4WD challenges and the weather that passes through each year. It’s a big park covering just over 13,000 km; in fact, it’s the second largest in the state after Kakadu. 

Are you planning a trip to Judbarra National Park? If so, we’ve got you covered. This guide highlights all the best things to do and see. 

Judbarra/Gregory National Park Overview

Old Boab Tree
Photo of an Old Boab Tree by @woolgoolgaoffroad on IG

History of Judbarra National Park

The Gregory Tree, just off the Victoria Highway, is an age-old Boab tree that is an aboriginal sacred and registered heritage site. In 1855, Augustus Charles Gregory led several exploratory parties up the Victoria River. He penetrated nearly 500km south towards the Great Sandy Desert on what would become one of the longest overland rides in Australian exploration. Setting up camp near the huge Boab, Gregory instructed artist and storekeeper J Baines to carve the dates of their arrival and departure from the area. Today, a boardwalk and signs let modern-day explorers read about the early explorers and view the tree.

Official Name: Judbarra was once named Gregory National Park and Judbarra / Gregory National Park, but in 2021, it was officially changed to Judbarra National Park to recognise the traditional owners.

Getting to Judbarra National Park

From Darwin: Judbarra/Gregory National Park is located over 600km SW from Darwin in the NT. The second largest national park in the NT after Kakadu, it covers over 13,000 square kilometres with plenty to see and do. With its location, it’s a very remote and isolated park close to the WA border.

Further down the road, Timber Creek is the last stop for any supplies if heading into Judbarra from the north, and you’ll need all the fuel you can carry as it is over 400km through the park and down to the nearest fuel stop if you’re going to attempt the longer 4wd tracks. Technically, the park has two sections, the east and the west precincts. The east takes in the Victoria River Roadhouse and the Sullivan Creek campground, but the real adventures are in the western sector. 

VIEWS OVER TIMBER CREEK
Views over Timber Creek taken by @woolgoolgaoffroad on IG
A man reading the info about Judbarra NP
Useful info about Judbarra NP by @woolgoolgaoffroad on IG

Essential Info Before You Enter

My journey into Judbarra started about 20km from Timber Creek on the park’s northern side at the Gregory Tree. At the Gregory Tree, there’s absolutely all the info on Judbarra from flora, fauna, history, track directions and, more importantly, either park or track closures. Being an absolutely isolated and remote park, it’s only open a few short months of the year.

During summer, it gets closed due to the heat; during the wet season, it’s closed due to the intense flooding, and other parts of the year ( as I found out ) were closed due to fires or damage from recent rain. I have always had Judbarra on my to-visit list to explore the history, and I heard some of the tracks were pretty rough across the Black Range.

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What to See & Do in Judbarra National Park

The sheer ruggedness and isolation are a main draw card for many visitors to Judbarra/Gregory National Park. Still, there are some pretty cool 4WD tracks through the park and a vast array of birds and animals to find, from wild camels and donkeys to crocodiles, venomous snakes and countless numbers of northern Australian birds. Indigenous groups, early explorers, pastoralists and drovers have made their mark on Judbarra (then called the Gregory NP) for many years.

 

Photo of wild camels in Judbarra National Park
Photo of wild camels in Judbarra National Park by @woolgoolgaoffroad on IG
Old Bullita Stock Route Track in Judbarra National Park
Old Bullita Stock Route Track in Judbarra National Park by @woogoolgaoffroad on IG

Bullita Access Road

Heading east out of Timber Creek, I soon found the Bullita Access road that takes you south into the park. Some of the 4WD tracks in Judbarra do loop back to the main road, so this is a great way to explore all the features of the park. My first track was the Bullita Stock Route, which is only one way from Bullita Homestead. Around the turn of the century, two massive cattle stations dominated the area: the Bullita and Humbert River stations.

The stations used the stock route when they sent cattle further NW to Wyndham in WA for export and slaughter. Today, some of the buildings have been restored, and there’s a great camp area on the bank of the East Baines River. Relics, detailed sign boards and the old cattle yards are great for exploring and understanding the good and bad times of the days gone past.

 

Stock Route Track

The Stock Route Track has two obstacles: the Baines River when in flood and the Jump up, midway, along with spectacular scenery following the rocky track. It’s a great way to settle into the park. The stock route track was also called The donkey track, as donkeys were used to help move freight through the area, and yep I saw dozens of them along the way.

The estimated time to cover the 95km is around 8 hours because of the rough terrain and sights to see along the way. Midway back to the Bullita Homestead, I was hoping to check out an unusual Limestone gorge, but with the roads still being repaired after a massive dumping of rain, all I could do was find the Tufa Dams. These unique walls in the creek have been formed by a combination of a limestone deposit and algae growth where water spills over rocks, creating a calcium buildup over time. The Tufa dam walls are estimated to be 1600 years old.

Photo of wild donkeys in Judbarra National Park
Wild donkeys in Judbarra National Park by @woolgoolgaoffroad on IG
 
a 4WD crossing a river
River crossing in Judbarra National Park by @woolgoolgaoffraod on IG

Humbert Track & Wickham Track

Heading down past the Homestead (remember it was a one-way track), I jumped onto the Humbert Track to head south, crossing the Humbert River, which I was surprised still had some flow in it late in the dry season. Going in for a dip was tempting, but croc’s signs had me thinking otherwise.

Across the river, it changes to the Wickham Track for another 30km to the intersection of the Broadarrow and Gibbie Tracks. Just near this major intersection, another track led to some old stone cattle yards, but again, with the unusual rain, the track was still closed.

 

Broadarrow Track

Now, I aim to explore the very remote Broadarrow track that I heard had only opened up after the unusual wetness of this area early in the season. With a total of around 230km, it’s best to allow a good two days on this track.

Packhorses and donkeys also used the Broadarrow track to bring supplies up from Victoria Downs station in the south. Word around was that the track was notorious for staking tyres due to sharp sticks in the long grass and continuous miles of rocks over the rough terrain.

The Broadarrow Track Campsite
The Broadarrow Track Campsite by @woolgoolgaoffroad on IG
deep hole in Judbarra National Park
Photo by @woolgoolgaoffroad on IG

Broadarrow Track – Part 2

On the scale of things, the Broadarrow Track is relatively easy with a 4wd rating, and it’s just the remoteness and isolation that may be difficult for new travellers. There are plenty of camping opportunities along the way, whether to catch a stunning sunset or sunrise along the escarpment section or maybe a riverside camp on Depot Creek, the headwaters of the Baines River or the new Wilingarri remote river camp.

My choice of camp was at Camel Point, giving me a high point to spot camels, and I spotted a few herds of them late in the afternoon. My other camp choice was at the Escarpment lookout, where I had absolutely stunning views to the east, deep into the valley, which I would explore the next day.  

Broadarrow Track – Part 3

The Broadarrow track is similar to most tracks around the Kimberly area – very Stoney and rough terrain, scattered timber with magnificent Boab trees. There are several large jump-ups on the track, but honestly, being in low 4WD, they aren’t anything to worry about. Finding your way along the tracks was as easy as following the Blue Boab markers that gave you indications every 10km you’ve travelled and blue arrows to help guide you through the park.

I did most of the tracks in high 4WD, just for better traction and a little more control on the rough sections. This area across the Black Range would be the last or first ( depending on how you are heading ) area where Boab Trees survive. The track crosses the headwaters of The Wickham River and Depot Creek, which really shouldn’t cause any issue as the water flows north towards Victoria River and into the Joseph Gulf.

Broadarrow Track birdseye view
Birdseye view of Broadarrow Track by @woolgoolgaoffroad on IG
Bullita Historical Homestead
Bullita Historical Homestead by @woolgoolgaoffroad on IG

Broadarrow Track – Part 4

The last 40km of the Broadarrow track heads pretty much south in a straight line following fence lines down to the Buntine Highway, where you have Wave Hill 70km to the east and Halls Creek nearly 300km to the west- so keep these distances in mind when doing fuel calculations. 

 

Memorable Adventures in Judbarra

So would I spend a few days in Judbarra/Gregory National Park again?

Most definitely. We are exploring the early pastoral history, spotting wild camels, donkeys and horses, and seeing the magnificent old Boab Trees in the stunning landscape. This is one National Park I can’t wait to get back to.  

 

Picture of a remote and isolated track
Photo by @woolgoolgaoffroad on IG
Picture of road info signage
Photo by @woolgoolgaoffroad on IG

Prepare For Your Visit

The park is very isolated and remote, so travellers need to be well prepared for their visit. During the warmer months, Judbarra can close due to the excessive heat, and there are many rivers and creeks near the park during the wet season. I went through the park in spring when the daytime temps were close to 30, but the nights still had a cool chill.

The NT.GOV.AU has everything you need to know for up-to-date conditions, closures and warnings.

 

We hope you have an amazing time visiting Judbarra National Park! We would love your feedback – please comment below if you’ve been or if you have any questions or suggestions.

You can always get more inspiration for other National Parks to visit by following @northerhq or get your Judbarra National Park daily fix @judbarranationalpark.

*Cover image is by @woolgoolgaoffroad on IG

Picture of Kev Smith

Kev Smith

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