It’s a place so beloved that Australians refer to it on a first-name basis—the Kimberley; a wild, mountainous region that forms the left prong of the continent’s trident.
It’s everything that the popular image of the outback isn’t: 430,000 square kilometres struck through with rivers that flood in the wet season, folded into spectacular mountains and gorges and frilled with a long coastline.
It’s also a place of adventure where intrepid travellers can mount custom-built four-wheel drives to experience a landscape straight out of a Dr Seuss book—soak in the thermal pools of Zebedee Springs, watch the sun set over the striking domes of the Bungle Bungle Range or fly over the four-tiered Mitchell Falls… then retire for the evening in one of a network of wilderness lodges.
The Kimberley’s has a tropical climate which heats up dramatically during the day and cools rapidly in the evening. Best then to schedule walks for early in the day, seek some shade in afternoon (or a cool gorge or waterhole) and enjoy the evening sunsets. Daily travel distances also vary according the terrain to be covered—in some places you can travel up to 500 kilometres in a day, others significantly less.
Every adventure needs a beginning, and most start in Broome on the Western Australia coast. From there, you’ll need about two weeks to make your way along the Great Northern Highway to the famous Gibb River Road (also known as the Kimberley Highway), an unsealed thoroughfare riddled with walks and waterholes. Here you can enjoy a helicopter ride over Mitchell Falls, savour a sunset over the Bungle Bungle Range, uncover Wandjina and Bradshaw (Gwion Gwion) rock art, and soak in the thermal Zebedee Springs at El Questro Wilderness Park.
APT has 15-day tours of the Kimberley, with Fly Free or Companion Fly Free Superdeals available if booking before the 15 December 2017. Call 0800 278 687, visit kimberleywilderness.co.nz or contact your local travel agent.