Man on SUP in Rowley Shoals Marine Park, Man on SUP in Rowley Shoals Marine Park,

The ultimate holiday guide toNorth West WA

Indescribably vast and incomparably beautiful – epic descriptions are bound to spring to mind when trying to convey what it feels like to visit this stunning region of Australia. Yet, for all its wonders, the North West of Western Australia remains relatively unexplored by outside travellers.

 

Prepare to trek across iron-red mountain ranges, carved by ancient natural forces, and to marvel at the soft, sandy beaches and bright coral reefs of the Kimberley Coast. Listen closely to the stories of traditional Aboriginal landowners, as you visit archaeological sites. Drive across an outback landscape that plays like a choose your own adventure, with treks in deep, water-filled gorges inside Karijini National Park, overnight stays at remote cattle stations and much more.

Best places to visit in North West WA

The Pilbara

Rocky landscapes, rich with minerals and the cultural sites sacred to Aboriginal peoples can be found in this vast region of the Pilbara that spans over half a million square kilometres. From the dusty heat of its outback towns to the mysterious plunge pools of Karijini National Park and the coral reefs of the Mackerel Islands off the coast, there is plenty to encounter here.

The Kimberley

Swim in beautiful gorges, fly over the orange and black stripes of the Bungle Bungle rock domes, sail across the Horizontal Falls in Talbot Bay, and adventure by 4WD across the Gibb River Road out to the Kununurra. Even after doing all of these iconic Kimberley activities, we promise you’ll only have had a taster of what the North West has to offer.

Broome & Dampier Peninsula

Strikeout for Broome and the Dampier Peninsula to see the dazzling combination of white sand beaches, turquoise ocean and iron-rich red landscapes. Take an iconic photo of the Cable Beach camel rides, spot the Staircase to the Moon and hunt for pearls in Chinatown.

Top things to do in North West WA

Natural wonders

The unique beehive-shaped and striped Bungle Bungle / Purnululu in the south end of the World Heritage-listed Purnululu National Park is best experienced by scenic flight. Echidna Chasm and Cathedral Gorge are also in the park. Out at Roebuck Bay, the shimmering Staircase to the Moon phenomenon is unmissable.

 

Another Kimberley attraction is seeing the tidal movements of the Horizontal Falls on the Kimberley Coast; named by Sir David Attenborough as one of the world’s greatest wonders.

 

The region doesn’t skimp waterfalls, but try to make sure the emerald pools of Mitchell Falls / Punamii-Uunpuu in Kununurra is on your itinerary. You can also go crocodile spotting on the Ord River and cruise across the freshwater Lake Argyle.

Attractions

Karijini National Park in the Pilbara has ancient formations to explore, with cool deep-blue pools and waterfalls to be discovered on gorgeous hikes. Saddle up the 4WD for an epic road trip along the 660-kilometre Gibb River Road into the Kimberley to Kununurra, stopping at sites like Manning Gorge and the El Questro Wilderness Park. (Here’s how to do it in 11 days.)

 

Out on the coast, prepare for a rather different ride … on a friendly camel! Sailing across the sands of Cable Beach on four legs as the sun sets on its back is an unforgettable outback experience.

Culture & events

Home to the Kija Aboriginal people, the Bungle Bungle Range / Purnululu can be seen by foot with the Bungle Bungle Guided Tours. Guides offer an Aboriginal perspective of the sandstone towers and the area’s cultural history.

 

The arts and music festival, Ord Valley Muster is a fantastic May event, which takes place at Kununurra. Over in the Pilbara, the five-day Karijini Experience celebrates Aboriginal culture through food, culture and art, on the traditional lands of the Banjima people.

 

Come August and it’s time for Shinju Matsuri (or the Festival of the Pearl). A community festival held in Broome on the land of the Yawuru people, this luminescent event celebrates the end of the pearl harvest season for which the surrounding waters are world-famous.

Accommodation in North West WA

Luxury accommodation

The El Questro Homestead Kimberley cattle station has a range of accommodation options, from luxury rooms overlooking the Chamberlain River to glamping at its Emma Gorge Resort, or budget camping at one of its campsites.

 

For a beachside stay, the remote Kimberley Coastal Camp offers a luxurious package with ample opportunity for exotic fishing in the waters of the ​​Admiralty Gulf and relaxation at the beachfront bungalows.

Hotels & motels

The Cable Beach Club Resort overlooks the celebrated beach, with indulgent touches like adults-only pools, Chahoya Spa and multiple restaurants to enjoy. Alternatively, 130 kilometres south of Broome you’ll find the award-winning Eco Beach Resort, a secluded stay on a remote beach with villas, tents and beach houses available to book. For a budget stay, Cable Beach Backpackers is designed for the 18 – 30 years set, with a pool, shared kitchen and bar.

 

Sleep in the Purnululu National Park, at the Bungle Bungle Savannah Lodge eco-retreat. It has the park’s only swimming pool, as well as a licenced Bungles Bar and cabin accommodation.

Camping & caravan parks

Experience the outback of the Pilbara with Cheela Plains Station Stay. A family-owned cattle station between Ningaloo and Karijini, accommodation includes a multi-roomed lodge, single and double rooms and campgrounds. Strike a pose in the Insta-friendly infinity pool at the Lake Argyle Resort, overlooking the water below.

 

Within Karijini National Park, you can stay at the Aboriginal-owned Karijini Eco Retreat, which has glamping eco tents and camping spots, as well as caravan sites and cabins. Alternatively, the nearby Dales Campground has great budget options for travellers.

 

If you’re staying in Broome, Cable Beach Caravan Park and Broome Caravan Park both have caravan and camping sites, and pools for much-needed cool dips in the what of the day.

Where to eat & drink in North West WA

With much of the charm of this region being its remote nature, much of the time you should try and be self-sufficient with food. Stock up on food and water (and fuel!) before you set out to explore remote sites like Karijini or Purnulu National Park.

 

That being said, there is plenty of stand out spots where you can have incredible meals. In Karijini, the Karijini Eco Retreat restaurant has western and outback-style meals and takeaway picnics. If you find yourself in Purnulu National Park, the Bungle Bungle Caravan Park has a bush-style restaurant and bar.

 

The Broome Courthouse Markets are held on Saturdays, with a smaller version on Sundays. As well as craft stalls, there is local produce on sale and a smattering of food vans selling delicacies like mango smoothies and Japanese shaved ice.

 

Eat under lush palms at Broome’s The Aarli Australian-Asian fusion restaurant (also featured in our best places to eat and drink in Broome). From starting your day with pork belly or wok-tossed mushrooms with roti bread, or kicking back with a mango daiquiri and kingfish sashimi as the sun sets, this Broome establishment has it all. Pencil in a trip to the Moontide Distillery, which offers tastings of their spirits that are distilled using native Australian ingredients.

 

In Kununurra, dine in a converted pumphouse over the Ord River, watching the loops of local birds as you sip on a sundowner.

Getting to North West WA

North West WA might be one of the most remote regions in the country, but getting here is easier than you think. There are flights from Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane and Darwin, to Broome, and flights from Perth to Kununurra and Paraburdoo.

 

To drive here from the Northern Territory, it is 2,416 kilometres from Darwin to Broome through the Kimberley and along the Gibb River Road. If you are coming from Cairns along the Savannah Way, you can add another 3,500 kilometres to complete the scenic trip.

 

From Perth, take the sealed roads of the North West Coastal Highway and the inland Great Northern Highway to Broome for a 23-hour trip. From there, the Great Northern Highway or the unsealed Gibb River Road will take you to Kununurra. From Exmouth, you can take a 2,500km road trip to Broome on the Warlu Way.

 

Integrity Coach Lines travel from Perth to Broome in around 32 hours.

Best time to visit North West WA

The dry season is widely considered to be one of the best times to visit North West WA. Between April and October, the weather is not too hot and the rain tails off, meaning you avoid the flooding that can see some attractions in the area close (though of course, this will mean more visiting crowds at these times).

 

Tours & packages for North West WA

What better way to see the North West than with a local? Book a small-group package to road trip along the famous Gibb River Road with organisations like Kimberley Safari Tours, or enquire with Karijini Tours for a small group and private tours of At Karijini National Park and the surrounding regions.

 

To visit majestic spots such as Montgomery Reef, Horizontal Falls, the Buccaneer Archipeligo and King George and Mitchell Falls, make sure to book in for a Kimberley Coast cruise with providers such as Kimberley Quest and True North.

 

For an unforgettable day, book a scenic flight over the Bungle Bungle with providers like Helispirit and Aviair. It’s truly the best way to see these one-of-a-kind sandstone domes in the majesty of the outback.

 

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