Bachsten Bush Camp is one of the most remote campsites in Australia and with the promise of beautiful gorges, wildlife and unique places to explore, we were happy to detour from our schedule and check it out. The Munja track is a renowned rugged and remote 4WD route and for most vehicles, it takes more than six-hours to drive the 140km into Bachsten as there are plenty of rock jump-ups, river crossings and steep tracks.
We first thought the road was in good shape until it soon degraded to slow rocky passes and we were forced to drive along at almost walking pace. It was slow and rough but the trip was filled with interesting changes in the landscape and the variety of birdlife increased as we got closer to Bachsten Camp. We enjoyed trying to identify the all birds and searching for rock art, taking the opportunity to get out of the car. The drive was rough but the car, camper and our ISI bike rack made it in without any hassles. I wondered how many travellers would cart five bikes on the Munja Track when some people leave their caravans and campers at Mount Elizabeth Station to avoid the rough terrain.
After an enjoyable drive, despite the bumps and dust, we arrived at a beautiful little camp in the middle of the wilderness. We settled in at a nice site with our own fire pit which was surrounded by clean, raked sand and it was a welcome change to camp on cut dry grass rather than dust. Bachsten is like a little gem, hidden away from the tourist highway of the Gibb River Road and open to those game enough to attempt the gruelling 4WD in.
The first day we visited beautiful Wren Gorge, about a 50-minute drive and I took the kids in Red Dog as Ashley wanted to ride his Salted fat bike to the waterhole. I was surprised to see him arrive only minutes after us, completing the 15km trip in around the same time as us. The cool clear water of the Gorge was refreshing in the heat and a beautiful spot for a picnic lunch. Ashley surged ahead of us on his bike on the way home as we stopped to collect fruit from the pandanus palm to cook on the fire.
The wildlife is a real highlight at Bachsten and we were lucky enough to have rare northern quolls, gold-baked trees rats and bandicoots pay us visit. You could hear and see the bandicoots rustling in the grass and we even had a quoll sitting on our camper. We were lucky enough to see four monjons, a rare little rock wallaby and it was great to see so many mammals in their natural environment, although we felt sad it may change in the future when the cane toads arrive in this beautiful part of the Kimberly.
Our food supplies were minimal as we weren’t planning on going remote for another five days but we were happy our Engel was stocked with frozen meat and vegetables. We were delighted when Janet, the caretaker Bachsten camp said she could bake us some bread as it meant we could prolong our stay a little longer as we now had food for lunches. The boys were unimpressed to say the least when I restricted breakfast to just four Weet-bix but with Mount Barnett Roadhouse about an eight-hour drive away, there was little choice but to ration food.
We spent most of our days hiking and exploring Bachsten Gorge and the surrounding areas, we were even lucky one night to have the campsite all to ourselves. To be the only people swimming at the spectacular Bachsten Gorge was a real privilege and something I will remember for a long time. The kids did well to climb into the gorge, down the steep slope which was covered in the extremely prickly ‘pandanus of pain’ as we renamed it. We carried our air-filled lounges along to float around the gorge and were amazed at the number of bats sleeping under the big rock overhang above the water.
It was a great few days at Bachsten but with no milk, cereal or fruit and our food drawers and fridge basically empty, it was time to bump our way back along the Munja Track to the Gibb River Road. On the way out, we pulled into Jameson Arch to explore the natural arch and make our way to the top of the rock formation. We felt like mountain goats, clambering under the arch, picking our way through the spikey spinifex. After a solid scramble up the rocks, we made our way carefully along the steep cliff to the top of the arch. The view was splendid over the range and it was the perfect way to finish off our adventure to Bachsten Bush Camp, my favourite experiences of our trip so far.