The Kimberley rivals all destinations for the title of most unforgettable experiences in one place; start working through our list of truly memorable things to do in the Kimberly now.
The Kimberley is incredibly vast and diverse; sprawling over 422,000 square kilometres, it is roughly three times the size of England. From a walk with an Aboriginal guide through the Bungle Bungles’ dramatic sandstone karsts to marvelling at the turquoise tidal waters of the mighty Horizontal Falls, the Kimberley serves up sights that will stay with you forever.
1. Bungle Bungle Range in Purnululu National Park
Despite having existed for around 350 million years, the orange and black striped domes of the Bungle Bungles in World Heritage-listed Purnululu National Park were only ‘discovered’ by the wider world in the 1980s when a film crew captured them for a documentary about Western Australia. Now one of the major attractions in the Kimberleys, the Bungle Bungles can be seen by air from Kununurra or – if time permits – hit the road and walk among the sculptured rocks.
Purnululu National Park is dotted with orange and black striped domes. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
2. Horizontal Falls
Just when you think the Kimberley can’t get any more surprising, you find yourself in a seaplane on the way to the Horizontal Falls. It’s one of the many tours you can book to experience the Horizontal Falls.
Horizontal Falls is a sight to behold. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
In Talbot Bay in the remote Buccaneer Archipelago, massive tidal movements of up to 10 metres creates a waterfall effect as millions of litres of water rips and foams through two gaps in the coastal range. It’s a wondrous sight: turquoise blue water rushing between rugged red hills.
Buckle up for an exhilarating tour of Horizontal Falls. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
Want to stay longer than just a day? Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures now offers a 24-hour overnight stay aboard the 10-room Jetwave Pearl, moored in Talbot Bay. It includes seaplane transfers, a helicopter flight, powerboat rides, fishing, swimming in a marine enclosure to view sharks.
Get up close to sharks from the safety of a marine viewing enclosure. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
3. Camel rides on the beach
No visit to Broome is complete without exploring the 22-kilometre stretch of Cable Beach that boasts some of Australia’s whitest sand. Rent a paddle board and glide over the aquarium-like water or simply dive in between the red and yellow flags. But better still, make a beeline for the Cable Beach section known as ‘north of the rocks’ and take a dreamy sunrise or sunset camel ride.
Ride camels along Cable Beach at sunset. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
4. Cruise the Kimberley coastline
Taking a voyage along the eye-popping Kimberley coastline is a true once-in-a-lifetime experience. Departing from Broome (to either Wyndham, Darwin or your embarkation point), a Kimberley cruise takes ocean lovers through the Horizontal Falls and into mirrored bays where the rocks shelter ancient Aboriginal art, and along rugged gorges where ospreys look out from crags and crocodiles bask, open-jawed, in the tropical sun.
True North Adventures is one of several companies that offer Kimberley cruises. (Image: True North)
Seafaring journeys range from four-night adventures to 21-day odysseys – find the right Kimberley cruise for you in our guide to the best.
True North Adventures will take you to awe-striking spots. (Image: True North)
5. Kimberley tours
When it comes to an extraordinary adventure in the Kimberley, you won’t have to hunt for something to do. Instead, you will be rejigging your itinerary, trying to squeeze in as many extraordinary experiences as possible. And the best way to do it? Join as many of the best Kimberley tours as possible.
Keep your binoculars handy while on a Broome Whale Watching tour. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
Expect to choose your own adventure: take a seaplane to the Horizontal Falls; grab a 4WD and immerse yourself in the ancient landscapes; learn about Indigenous culture on a walking tour; search for humpback whales on a cruise out of Broome.
Explore the prehistoric Kimberley coastline with Broome Dinosaur Adventure Tours. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
Whatever part of the Kimberley you want to explore, there’s a tour for you, and you will have fun while learning about Australia’s northwest corner.
Stare in awe at real dinosaur footprints on the Broome coastline. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
6. Drive the Gibb River Road
Tackling this 660-kilometre rugged dirt track between Kununurra and Derby is the ultimate outback drive through the heart of the Kimberley. You will be covered in a thick layer of crimson dust, hot, craving fresh fruit and vegetables, and sunburnt, but then you come across wonders from freshwater swimming holes to ancient Aboriginal paintings, wedge-tailed eagles to fiery sunsets and splendid stars. Is it any wonder that the Gibb River Road sits in the same travel trophy cabinet as the Canning Stock route, the Birdsville Track and other great Aussie tracks?
Fiery orange hues paint the sky along the Gibb River Road. (Image: Sean Scott)
7. Lake Argyle
Near Kununurra, the vast Lake Argyle is the biggest human-made lake in the southern hemisphere. Part of the Ord River Irrigation Scheme, it is about 18 times the size of Sydney Harbour.
Lake Argyle is Australia’s second-largest freshwater man-made reservoir. (Image: Tourism Australia)
Jump on a cruise of the 55-kilometre stretch of the Ord River between Lake Argyle and Kununurra and you’ll get a glimpse into a wondrous aquatic world. Keep the camera handy as you’ll likely spot a myriad of bird species, flying foxes and freshwater crocodiles.
While in the area, don’t miss a visit to the Argyle Homestead Museum. Built in 1895, this was the home of the Durack family and serves as a time capsule of colonial life in East Kimberley.
Cool off the calm, refreshing waters of Lake Argyle. (Image: Tourism Australia)
8. El Questro Homestead
El Questro Station on the Gibb River Road, 110 kilometres from Kununurra, is synonymous with just about every Kimberley adventurer’s bucket list.
El Questro Wilderness Park is home to ancient boab trees. (Image: Tourism Australia)
A vast cattle station turned tourism venture, the property is peppered with boabs believed to be up to 5000 years old, rivers brimming with barramundi and thermal pools so perfectly shaded with palms you’d think a landscaper had been at work.
Enjoy the private al fresco stone bathtub at El Questro Homestead. (Image: Delaware North Companies)
But where to sleep? If you’re lucky, you’ll snooze at the exclusive El Questro Homestead. Other sleeping options include camping, a pre-erected tent with air con or hotel-style bungalow alongside the river.
Get closer to nature at El Questro Station tents. (Image: Tourism Australia)
Where else in Australia can you stay on the same property for as little as $60 or as much as $3,345 a night and still enjoy the same scenery?
El Questro Homestead is perched on the edge of rugged sandstone cliffs. (Image: Delaware North Companies)
9. Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm
Broome is famed as an old pearling village but heading north for 200 kilometres and exploring a pearl farm in the outback is where the real adventure lies.
Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm is situated on the pristine coastline of Broome. (Image: Tourism Australia)
On the tip of the Dampier Peninsula, Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm is a working farm that also provides unique tours and accommodation, ranging from safari tents to the fancy Master Pearlers Private Retreat.
Find the rarest South Sea pearls in the world at Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm. (Image: Tourism Australia)
Here you can immerse yourself in the epic story of this Australian-owned pearl farm, spanning four generations of the Brown family, since 1946. You can also catch a seaplane from Cygnet Bay to the world-famous Horizontal Falls.
Explore Horizontal Falls from above on a seaplane. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
10. King George Falls – King River Gorge
The 100-metre waterfalls of King George Falls are one of the Kimberley’s most wonderous sights. Think twin falls with water as white as wedding veils plunging into two emerald pools, which are surrounded by rust-red rocks.
King George Falls is nothing short of spectacular. (Image: Tourism Australia)
Due to its remote location, a cruise from Broome to the King George River or a scenic flight over the north Kimberley coast are the only ways to access King George Falls. April and May are the best months to visit, when the falls are thundering after heavy rain.
11. Ord Valley Muster
What better way to experience an outback town than by getting involved in its annual festival? Each May, Kununurra comes alive for the Ord River Muster. During this fun-packed fortnight boasting more than 30 events, you can watch rough riders at a rodeo, try yoga on a boat, dine under the stars and boogie to a dozen or so live bands, such as Birds of Tokyo, Toni Childs and King Stingray.
Catch the action-packed rodeo in the Kununurra during the Ord Valley Muster festival. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
12. Staircase to the Moon
Come nightfall in Broome and one of the best free shows is the Staircase to the Moon, when the glow of a full moon on the mudflats creates the illusion of a giant’s staircase reaching skywards. Travellers and locals flock to witness the spectacle at Town Beach, were night markets boast live music and stalls dishing up Asian street food. Want to watch this natural phenomenon in style? The Mangrove Resort is a comfy spot to admire the Staircase to the Moon, which occurs from March through to November.
The full moon creates a glowing staircase over the mudflats. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
13. Hoochery Distillery
In the 1990s when the sugar industry was booming in the area, the late American farmer Raymond ‘Spike’ Dessert III built a small pot distillery on his Kununurra seed farm. Now producing over 50,000 bottles of Ord River Rum a year, the Hoochery Distillery has won numerous awards.
The Hoochery Distillery just outside of Kununurra is a must-do. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
Spike’s Reserve 15-year-old sells for $349 a bottle, making it one of Australia’s priciest rums. But there are plenty more entry-level varieties to purchase at this charming rusted old shed. And don’t go home without sampling a slice of the famous Ord River Rum Cake.
Swing by The Hoochery Distillery Cafe to refuel. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)