The Kimberley The Kimberley

Our guide toThe Kimberley

A land of remote, spectacular scenery. Australia’s last frontier. A severe climate. A sparse population. And one of the most beautiful places in the world. The Kimberley region is larger than 75% of countries around the world. There’s adventure, stunning scenery, mountains and waterfalls to explore. The unique wilderness of the region will truly capture your imagination.

Top Things to See and Do in The Kimberley

From coastal wonder to spectacular geographic formations there’s a lot to do in the Kimberley region, but if you need any more encouragement, we have shortlisted the seven reasons you need to make that Kimberley dream trip a reality.

 

The vast region is home to remarkable landscapes, gorges, thundering waterfalls and some of the most beautiful untouched beaches with a huge variety of wildlife – both on land and water.

 

There is also so much culture to embrace and a lot of history to learn.  You’ll certainly be kept busy throughout your trip, usually done on a epic Gibb River Road trip. One thing is for certain, it’s truly unforgettable.

Broome

Most Kimberley adventures either start or end in Broome, so to get you off on the right foot here are three must reads.

 

Our best day trips from Broome, our guide to the best places to stay in Broome and then finally Broome’s 10 most amazing experiences guarantees you make the most of your time in Broome.

Road trip the Gibb River Road

Without a doubt the iconic experience of the Kimberley is to drive the Gibb River Road. A week exploring the gorges and tracks of the road from Broome to Kununurra is most definitely not enough. We have developed a classic 11 day Gibb River Road road trip itinerary and a helpful Gibb River Road map that shows you where everything is plus our guide to the attractions of the Gibb River Road.

 

Before you set off though you will want to brush up on how to get to the Kimberley prepared for the trip of a lifetime.

 

Many outback adventurers make the Gibb River Road part of their road trip from Darwin to Broome, the western half of the Savannah Way. The eastern half is Cairns to Darwin.

Geographic Formations, Waterholes and Waterfalls

The wilderness of the Kimberley is unique in every sense of the world – no where else in the world, looks, feels, smells or sounds like the Kimberley; it is full of natural wonders you will never forget.

 

The natural highlight for most visitors to the Kimberley are the beautiful gorges and waterholes perfect for a rejuvenating and cooling swim, and we have the list of the best five places to swim in the Kimberley.

 

One of Australia’s most striking landmarks, The Bungle Bungle Range is famous for the unusual orange and black-striped rock domes, at times, resembling beehives or even those delicious Jaffa chocolates. The range is within the World Heritage-listed Purnululu National Park. Don’t miss the truly awe inspiring Cathedral Gorge and their legendary acoustics and Echidna Chasm which is most definitely a photographer’s dream.

 

The waterfalls of the Kimberley are legendary. Mitchell Falls,  a series of tiered waterfalls, are worth a scenic flight.

 

At King George Falls the eponymous river plunges over the sandstone cliff into the tidal waters below. The Falls are inaccessible by vehicle and the highlight on many Kimberley cruises or or a scenic flight above.

 

But the iconic falls of the Kimberley are the Horizontal Falls. The natural phenomenon is caused by the intense tidal currents running through the two gorges on either side. Again your options are boat or scenic flight.

Cruising and Beachside Experiences

Deservedly at the top of most bucket lists, a Kimberley cruise comes in all shapes and sizes and some, like Unreel Adventures to the Buccaneer Archipelago are not that expensive. Typically Broome to Kununurra or Darwin, the itineraries range from 10 to 14 days although there are some shorter seven day options available.

 

Why is it such an iconic Aussie experience? Well access to the best parts of the Kimberley Coast is by boat only so if there is one region built for an expedition cruise, then this is it. Hoping in and out of zodiacs (and in some cases on board helicopters) gives you access to rock formations, waterfalls and Aboriginal rock art that very few others have seen. The excellent guides and naturists on baord help everyone find their passion and bring the landscape to life. It’s truly a moving and unique experience.

 

Another iconic Kimberley experience is the sunset camel ride on Cable Beach in Broome, and if you are there at the right time, the stairway to the moon. The beach sunset are pretty legendary across the entire region. Eighty Mile Beach with gorgeous panoramic views or the red rocks of the Dampier Peninsula is a stand out in an area full of stars.

 

The Kimberley high season from May to end of September coincides with whale season where massive humpbacks make their migration from Antarctica tot eh warm waters of the north, and a recently discovered whale nursery in Camden Sound. There’s also the snubfin dolphin which can often be found playing along the Dampier Peninsula coast.

Cultural Adventures

Of course, the Kimberley region is also steeped in history and has deep Aboriginal cultural significance, being the spiritual heart of Western Australia.

 

Part of a 375 million-year-old Devonian reef system, the Windjana Gorge accessible on the Gibb River Road is of great cultural importance to local Aboriginal people. It’s a highly spiritual place, believed to be where Aboriginal leader Jandamarra hid during a gun battle with Europeans in 1894. Jandamarra led an armed rebellion against European settlers in the 1890s. There are several walks to explore around the National Park and also ruins to discover.

 

The Lurujarri Dreaming Trail is an 82 kilometre walk which follows a section of ancient songline, an oral memory map of Indigenous stories, songs and dance that describe the landscape. This songline has been passed down from generation to generation. Along the way, stay at traditional campsites and share in the Indigenous culture. There are activities such as spear-making, bush-tucker hunting, fishing and mud crabbing.

And as you would expect, there is always something gong on during the high season, you may want to check the Kimberley event calendar to see what is on during your visit.

Best Places to Stay in The Kimberley

From five-star luxury to camping and caravanning, anywhere you stay in The Kimberley affords picturesque views and the ultimate serenity.

Luxury Accommodation

Described as a “pocket of luxurious exclusivity”, El Questro Homestead is a nine-suite hideaway surrounded by frangipani trees. It’s tranquil and relaxing and there are even complimentary excursions on offer meaning you can fully embrace the whole Kimberley region. Dining is all-inclusive at the Homestead too. There are several ways to explore the area, using the Homestead as a base, including four-wheel drive, helicopter, boat and even horseback.

On the grounds are other more affordable accommodation options including camping or rooms at the Station or  glamping at Emma Gorge.

 

Opposite El Questro on the Gibb River Road is Home Valley Station with a mix of upmarket suites, motel style rooms and camping. Home Valley is also home (pun intended) to a horse riding adventure for those looking for a true outback station experience.

 

Kimberley Coastal Camp: don’t let the ‘camp’ title fool you. This is a stunning remote glamping camp in a pristine location and is perhaps the most exclusive retreat in the Top End. There are only ever 16 guests on the property means it’s not only truly private but also the impact on the local environment is reduced. Access is limited to helicopter or float plane and there is loads to do while enjoying the scenery.

 

Another ‘luxury by virtue of its location’ option is Faraway Bay, an eco retreat atop the cliffs at Eagle Bay on the eastern coast of the Kimberley. Access is by plane only and the retreat experience is natural indulgence – fish, walk, rock art tours in complete and splendid isolation. It bills itself as the most remote wilderness retreat in the world, and it is probably right.

 

The Berkeley River Lodge is only accessible by air, making it truly luxurious and exclusive. Villas float atop the coastal dunes and you’ll be privy not only to gorgeous sunrises but also glorious sunsets. Villas include an open-air ensuite including a free-standing bath as well as a daybed to relax on. There are several tours available from the Lodge so despite its remote location, you can still get out and about to explore.

Hotels

Kununurra is the perfect place to base yourself to explore the Kimberley and The Kimberley Grande Resort is the perfect place to stay. With a relaxed atmosphere, an onsite restaurant and a delightful pool, the resort emphasises the quintessential outback hospitality.

 

Looking for Broome accommodation, the Kimberley Sands Resort and Spa is an adults-only resort located in a peaceful bush setting. It’s just minutes from Cable Beach with an award-winning restaurant, The Deck, onsite. There’s also a day spa which is a holiday within itself and despite having 72 room options, the resort has a boutique feel. There’s also a fitness studio and a gorgeous pool, including a 25m lap-lane, surrounded by sunbeds.

And there are holiday homes available in Broome, Broome Lagoon is our pick.

Motels & Caravan Parks

For some luxury glamping in the wilderness, one of the most awarded indigenous accommodation providers can be found at at Cape Leveque, on the Dampier Peninsula three hours north of Broome. Kooljaman has standard camping sites or the more upmarket glamping tents. While the location is outstanding it is the local tours that truly make the difference.

 

Lakeside Resort and Caravan Park is situated on the Lily Creek Lagoon in Kununurra and offers a tranquil environment to stay. The green lawns roll into the lake’s edge and there’s a restaurant on site to enjoy. There are several accommodation options from premier rooms to budget motel rooms, all with ensuites and air-conditioning.

 

There’s also the Caravan and Camping Park with powered and unpowered sites available. Some of the spots are directly on the water’s edge and most are situated under shady trees to protect from the sun.

Where to Eat in The Kimberley

Many restaurants in The Kimberley region pride themselves on using native and local ingredients, meaning you’ll be eating the freshest of the freshest meals.

 

Travel writer Flue Bainger has declared Faraway Bay as serving up her most memorable meal.

 

We have the low down on the best places to eat in Broome.

Over at El Questro Homestead there are several dining options. The Steakhouse Restaurant serves a selection of local food and beverages, but for something a little less formal, head to The Swinging Arm Bar and Grill. There’s a weekly barbeque, traditional Aussie food and a woodfire pizza oven. Alternatively, there’s Emma’s set on the spacious veranda next to the sprawling lawns of the resort. There’s a la carte or buffet breakfasts, and a contemporary internationally-inspired lunch and dinner menu.

Packages and Tours

From cruising to four-wheel driving and right through to helicopter flights, there are so many ways to see and do the Kimberley region that it’s hard to choose just one. Lucky for you, you don’t have to. There are many packages out there that combine all forms of transport so you can really get the best kind of holiday.

 

One of the major tours to do is the Gibb River Road, often described as a true outback odyssey. Gibb River Road is one of the country’s most unique 4WD tracks, going through the untouched wilderness and experiencing gorge country and cattle stations along the way. To truly see the Gibb River Road, allow yourself at least a couple of weeks. There are personlised, self-drive options to explore the Kimberley as well as small-group packages. And of course, there are day-trips that you can pick and choose so you’re itinerary isn’t fully-booked. There are also extended, fully-guided tours that you can go on to fully experience the region.

 

However you choose to see the Kimberley there’s no denying that it’s truly a unique and unforgettable place. The scenery, swimming holes, prolific wildlife and majestic canyons are one-of-a-kind and the region is most definitely one of the world’s most precious wilderness gems.

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