Drive straight through the Kimberley in WA’s rugged northwest, all the way from Wyndham along the legendary Gibb River Road, and the first town you’ll come to is Derby. And after a drive like that (about 700km of corrugated gravel and dirt), Derby looks a lot like paradise – a paradise with soft beds, cold beer, tasty mud crabs and locals with stories to tell. Once isolated and with harsh conditions, Derby is a small town that originally served the local pastoralists who settled in the area. In the late 1800s, sheep stations were built and a jetty was constructed to service the thousands who flocked to WA for the gold rush.
These historic monuments stand to be visited today and are well worth it – particularly the jetty, which boasts a great spot for a stunning over-water sunset. The Centenary of Federation Pavillion near the wharf details the history and geography of the area and features a brilliant 28m2 mosaic tile floor depicting facets of life in the district, as well as the creation stories of the Kimberley. Other tourist musts include Wharfingers House Museum, the Old Derby Gaol, which is the oldest building in town, and the Botanical Gardens.
Where? // 221km (3hrs) northeast of Broome.
Did you know? // Derby is home to the 14.7m-wide Boab Prison Tree, believed to be about 1500 years old. It used to serve as a staging point for prisoners being walked into Derby, but is now a registered Aboriginal site and visitors are expected to respect the tree and not approach close to it.
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