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.
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.
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.