The sun rises early in the Kimberley so there’s no point in sleeping in, we’ll pick you up from your Broome accommodation at 6 am and head for the wilderness. Leaving the comfort of the coastal community behind you head East for what many consider to be one of the last great expanses of rugged wilderness areas remaining in the world, the mighty Kimberley Region of Northern Western Australia. Our first stop is the famous prison tree near Derby, a huge hollowed out boab tree which was used as a prison in the early pioneering days, this is not only an amazing natural wonder but also gives us an insight into to challenging relationship between the early settlers and Aboriginal people of the Kimberley. Next you head to Windjana Gorge, a huge gorge cut into the ranges over a millennium to reveal beautiful scenery of high vertical cliffs, sandy beaches and a meandering creek. You head off on a hike at Windjana of about 4km and often see freshwater crocodiles swimming in the clear waterholes. From Windjana it’s off to our first wilderness bush camp. Bush camping is a great experience whether you are an experienced outback drover or first-time city slicker, there is nothing like finding a great spot of wilderness in the middle of nowhere, setting up a campfire, cooking up a feast on the fire and then rolling out the swags under the Kimberley night sky. Tents are provided for those a little nervous about under the stars experience.
With no roof over your heads the breaking dawn is your new alarm clock and you rise early. The mobile phones get packed up with the camping gear as they become useless and we head off nice and early for our first activity, exploring Tunnel Creek. Tunnel Creek is an amazing natural phenomenon and holds great significance to the local Aboriginal people, and getting there early normally guarantees we have the place for ourselves. It is a 750 metre long stretch of creek which runs underground through one of the oldest cave systems in Western Australia. Many aboriginal rock paintings are present in the cave and it was a hideout of the aboriginal warrior, Jandamarra in 1897. From Tunnel Creek you get on the Gibb River Road, a 700km long outback dirt road which runs between Derby and Kununurra, it’s not the easiest route, the track is often rough, there are a number or deep water crossings and a 4WD vehicle is essential. However it’s an amazing travel route as along the length of the Gibb River Road are vast tracts of wilderness and numerous rivers, gorges and waterfalls to explore. The first waterfall is Bell Gorge. After a 20 minute walk, you come to a beautiful Creek which flows through the centre of this impressive gorge and cascades over numerous falls. A deep swimming hole at the base of the main waterfall, surrounded by shady ledges and high cliffs, is an ideal lunch spot. From Bell Gorge we push on along the Gibb for a little before finding your 2nd bush Camp for the night, another remote wilderness location where you collect firewood, set up camp and settle in for the night.
Another day of adventure awaits. Emerging from camp it’s back on the Gibb River Road and onto Manning Gorge where you spend most of the day White sandy beaches with a Pandanus tree lined waterway opening into a wide clear waterhole greats you only minutes after starting the walk. You must swim across the river before following a trail leading to the top of gorge. The gorge has a waterfall plus a deep wide swimming hole surrounded by granite cliffs & rock outcrops. It is a spectacular setting with hidden examples of Aboriginal Rock Art. The return route from manning Gorge is a little less conventional as we swim and rock hop along the creek before reaching the main waterhole where it started. Depending on the time available, Galvin’s and/or Adcock Gorge’s are also visited. On departing Manning we locate our bush camp on the sandy banks of the Gibb River under the gum trees.
An early morning swim in cool waters of the Gibb River is a great way to wake up. From your camp, the day starts with a short walk to a little known Aboriginal Art site containing some fine examples of Rock Art and your guide will be able to explain the significance of the paintings. From here it’s back on the “The Gibb” where you continue on our easterly trek. Arriving at the Pentecost River we are presented with an incredible landscape of a wide river surrounded by rugged Cockburn Ranges, a classic Kimberley scene. Here we need to drive the 4WD through the Pentecost River, driving a vehicle across a 60 metre wide outback river which is occupied by Salt Water Crocodiles is not something you do every day, but it’s only way through so across we go. A short distance from the Pentecost is El Questro Station, home of more beautiful landscapes, one of which is Emma Falls. A hike through a spectacular gorge takes us to a very high and narrow falls with a deep cool plunge pool where we can swim. Another bush camp under the stars awaits us.
One of the highlights of this Kimberley trip is Purnululu National Park, more commonly known as the Bungle Bungles. Spend 2 days in this region hiking and exploring the Gorges and amazing landscapes the area contains. The long and dusty track into the Bungles is spectacular, it winds its way though valleys, over ranges and through creeks before arriving at what must be one of the world’s most unique landscapes. After locating your campsite you head off for Echidna Chasm form hike into the domes, following a creek to it’s source at a narrow passage buried within the Bungles. The day ends with a spectacular sunset from a hill top vantage point.
With an early rise you are able to take advantage of a spectacular Bungle Bungles sunrise, from your vantage point you watch the show with a cup of tea or coffee and breakfast from a remote location. A short drive from the sunrise area is the trailhead for the Cathedral Gorge hike, a spectacular hike through the beehive formations to Cathedral Gorge. The gorge itself is one of the most impressive geological formations you are likely to see anywhere. From here there is the opportunity to take a scenic flight over the Bungles, helicopter rides from 18 minutes are available. From the air, the bungles take on a completely new perspective and the open chopper is sensational. Scenic flights are at your own expense and organised on the day. Another bush camp awaits, this time on a lovely creek with a sandy beach.
From the bush camp, you head for Kununurra, the first sign of civilisation you have seen for a week. As you approach town the mobile phones start beeping and you take the opportunity to catch up on the world with some free time in this classic outback town while your guide replenishes supplies. From Kununurra you head to Lake Argyle for what is regularly voted as the highlight of the tour, Lake Argyle is a huge freshwater lake teeming with wildlife, from wallabies in the rocky shores, to freshwater crocodiles to birdlife. You board a boat where a local guide shows you the lake, there is time to swim before you watch the sunset from the water and then camp on one of the remote islands. This is a great experience, knowing you are the only people on a single island in the middle of one of the most remote lakes in the world is unforgettable We have a campfire, the sky is full of stars and the cool water is inviting to those brave souls who want a midnight swim.
The sunrise from your island camp is again unforgettable. You pack up camp, re board the boat and head back to your vehicle. From Lake Argyle you push east towards the Northern Territory border and Keep River National Park. Keep River is another amazing location where there are a number of hikes you can take before settling down for another bush camp.
On the final day of your big adventure you arrive in Katherine. Depending on the time available you explore Katherine Gorge or Edith falls, both offer more adventure, swimming and spectacular landscapes. We normally arrive into Darwin at around 6pm, your guide will conclude the tour by dropping you off at your accommodation.
KAT will pick up from anywhere in Broome
All passengers are asked to be ready at 6am on the morning of the tour.
This tour is available in 2 directions
Tours departs regularly from May to November.
This product is one of the most adventurous on the market, expect to be spending long days hiking and swimming further than the others, expect to go on rougher roads, expect to sleep under the stars, expect to camp in seriously remote wilderness areas, expect to go without a shower, expect to swim in waterfalls every day, expect an experience you will never forget!
Passengers on this tour should be prepared to endure a few hardships and can sometimes expect to spend 4 - 5 hours travelling between destinations due to poor road conditions. Most campsite are located in remote areas with few of no facilities.
The vehicle carries a maximum of only 9 passengers in a Toyota Landcruiser Troop carrier with side facing bench seats in the rear. Unlike a bus, these vehicles are chosen not for their comfort, but for their ability to go just about anywhere, the side facing seat configuration creates a very social atmosphere as the group all face each other. This means that driving time can be spent enjoyably socializing, playing games and having fun (instead of sleeping).