The Kimberley is a wild rugged region in the north west corner of Australia, famed for wide gorges, sandstone escarpments and sprawling wilderness. During the wet season much of the area is covered in water making the roads inaccessible. In the dry, the Kimberly is best discovered by taking a four wheel drive along the notorious Gibb River road. But renting an off road vehicle can be expensive and not everyone is comfortable driving one. There are some areas of the Kimberley which are accessible in a two wheel drive vehicle, which we discovered in our rented campervan.
After participating in a salad amnesty crossing the border into Western Australia from the Northern Territory, the first town we arrived in was Kununurra. The town is the eastern gateway to the Kimberly region and home to the Hidden Valley national park. The big draw of the Kimberly is Purnululu (Bungle Bungles) but it is impossible to visit without a four wheel drive or forking out for a very expensive trip. Hidden Valley is the next best thing with the same beehive striped rock formations on a smaller scale. Hiking amongst the flora and fauna of the park is a great way to spend a day.
Wyndham is the only coastal town in the eastern Kimberley and located 100km north west of Kunununra. It’s a small town that most people could probably live without seeing, but if you do find yourself in Wydnham there are a few things to occupy your time. The five rivers lookout offers impressive views across the coast and the large aboriginal statues in town are worth a look. You can also visit a giant boab tree in a local caravan park, which is actually a lot more fun than it sounds.
Geikie Gorge is the only two wheel drive accessible area of Devonian Reef national park. The impressive gorge is just north of Fitzroy Crossing and is a great place to spend the day. An informative boat trip allows you to view the gorge from the water, taking in impressive rock formations and picture perfect landscapes. There are also walking trails in the park to explore on foot and indigenous tours.
Arriving in Broome signifies the end of a Kimberley adventure and it is the perfect place to shake off the red dust. It’s not cheap in Broome; even basic accommodation can break the bank, but it is worth staying a while for the laid back holiday vibe. Our visit to Broome coincided with the ‘staircase to the moon’ event; a natural phenomenon which occurs when the full moon rises over the tidal flats. The area directly below the moon is illuminated in a stunning staircase effect. Lazing on cable beach watching the sun melt into the Indian ocean is an iconic Broome experience, not to be missed. As is a visit to Matsos Brewery, where you can easily lose track of an afternoon drinking mango or lychee beer on the terrace.