StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesGibb River Rd & Kalumburu Rd
FinishHoneymoon Bay
DifficultyDifficulty 4/5
Suitable for4WD AWD Camper 
Distance297.67 km
Minimum Days1
Average Speed57.6 km/hr
Driving Time5 hrs 10 mins
Article By: ExplorOz Team
Page Updated: 11 Apr 2013


The Kalumburu township is located in the far northern Kimberley and is a modern aboriginal community. This community was originally established at Pago and known as the Drysdale River Mission but was relocated to the present Kalumburu township site in 1927.

The Kalumburu community is run by the Kalumburu Aboriginal Corporation themselves. Visitors are welcomed by the community and a number of services operate to enable you to enjoy your stay for an extended period if you wish. When visiting Kalumburu, make sure you go see Father Anscar's museum. People continually report that the tour guided by Father Anscar is the best part of their visit to the area. The Kalumburu Mission also offers camping for those preferring to stay in town, otherwise there are campsites available at one of the private beach camps such as Honeymoon Bay or McGowan Island.

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Kalumburu Road

A considerable traffic load uses this track and the local cattle stations require that the track be in the best possible condition for the season to ensure that supplies and cattle trucks are not delayed. Grading is done on a regular basis during the dry season although conditions quickly deteriorate. Please read our road conditions for more information.

Due to the increased popularity of 4WD vehicles and the allure of self-sufficient camp/drive holidays, visitors numbers have boomed in even the most remote areas of Australia's outback. Kalumburu is certainly less visited than the Mitchell Falls, however it is well known that the waters off the Kalumburu coast hold great bounties for fishermen and so visitors of the fishing-type are prolific.

The extensive river crossings on the Kalumburu Road make travel impassable for much of the wet season, yet from around April the first tourists will start attempting to push through to the north. Drysdale River Homestead, can offer accommodation to those that cannot get through and find bush camping too wet at this time. Generally most travellers come once conditions have begun to dry - usually towards the of end May.


If you're planning a trip to Kalumburu, you've already planned to take in at least some of the Gibb River Road and probably another few thousand kilometres from home just to get there so hopefully your vehicle is already well setup and you've got spares and parts sorted out.

When you reach your final destination, you're really ready to do something other than driving, so make sure you have some rods and lures and have enough time in your itinerary to take a rest. It's quite an effort to get to Kalumburu, so plan to stay at least 3 nights at either Honeymoon Bay or McGowan Island. However, the ideal way to visit Kalumburu is to take your own boat.

We have seen people setup for over a month - a few advance arrangements and you can get yourself really setup, as you will see for yourself on your first trip. Our advice is to do some research and go prepared - who knows when you'll ever get the chance to go back again. Make your first trip as best as you can. Try to talk to other people who have been there a few times with their boat and learn from their experiences.

If you can't/don't want to take a boat, then the next best option is to spend a few nights at each McGowan Island and Honeymoon Bay and pay to be taken fishing. Costs vary from $50 - $70 pp for a half day but you must supply your own fishing gear and baits (although you will be shown how to catch live bait). A word of advice - take HEAVY fishing gear, and lots of it - as a gauge, the locals use 200lb line!

As most barra fishermen will already know, the best fishing time is usually at the most difficult times for vehicle access - either side of the wet season. However, Kalumburu offers excellent coastal fishing, with reef fish and pelagics being caught year-round. Spanish Mackeral, Queenfish, Golden Trevally, Threadfin Salmon, Coral Trout and Cod are all the usual catches from the sea, with barra and bream from the river (the mouth of the King Edward River is just 5km from Kalumburu).


Permits are necessary to visit Kalumburu because you are entering Aboriginal Land. Although you can arrange your permit in advance, there are no problems obtaining one on arrival. Permits are $25 valid for one vehicle for a maximum of 21 days. A permit consists of a windscreen sticker, received after completing some forms, and a handout on the region, including regulations and touring information. You can purchase your permit from the Kalumburu Aboriginal Corporation Office, Honeymoon Beach or McGowan Island.

If you wish to arrange your permit in advance, you can contact the community direct on: (08) 9161 4300 or (08) 9332 7044
Fax: (08) 9161 4331

If you wish to write to Kalumburu Aboriginal Corporation, address the letter to: Kalumburu Community, PMB 10 Via, WYNDHAM WA 6740


Your permit states that you are only allowed to camp within designated areas, which are the Kalumburu caravan park or the Mission Camping Ground - both in town, or head out to the coast to either Honeymoon Bay or McGowan Island which are run by Aboriginal families. No bush camping elsewhere is allowed. Fines and evictions are enforced.

Fuel Supplies & Usage

Fuel SymbolDrysdale River Homestead and Kalumburu depot. Both no gas.
4cyl 42 litres4cyl 48 litres4cyl 60 litres
6cyl 46 litres6cyl 54 litres6cyl 52 litres
8cyl 46 litres8cyl 49 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

Best Time To Visit

May to November would be the best time to visit Kalumburu since very heavy rains occur during the summer months.

Closest Climatic Station

Distance from Trek Mid Point 43.06km SW
Mean Max. °C33.232.633.
Mean Min. °C22.822.621.919.014.611.310.812.317.621.322.923.1
Mean Rain mm299.9243.8207.147.715.
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended

Services & Supplies

Very good supermarket in Kalumburu - no supplies at coastal camping areas. Fuel and basic supplies at Drysdale Station plus takeaway and counter meals.


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What to See

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This list may not be complete for the entire region. Places listed here are directly located along the plot file associated with this Trek Note. You can locate other nearby Places by browsing the map or searching Places.

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Where to Stay

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This list may not be complete for the entire region. Places listed here are directly located along the plot file associated with this Trek Note. You can locate other nearby Places by browsing the map or searching Places.

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LocationsDistanceDirection Time
Gibb River Rd & Kalumburu Rd to Kalumburu Rd - Gibb River3.06 kmN340° 2 min
Kalumburu Rd - Gibb River to Kalumburu Rd & Drysdale River Station Access54.64 kmN342° 44 min
Kalumburu Rd & Drysdale River Station Access to Drysdale River Station1.79 kmW271° 2 min
Drysdale River Station to Kalumburu Rd & Drysdale River Station Access1.79 kmE91° 2 min
Kalumburu Rd & Drysdale River Station Access to Drysdale River Crossing1.84 kmN345° 1 min
Drysdale River Crossing to Kalumburu Rd & Port Warrender Rd106.19 kmN350° 1 hr 33 min
Kalumburu Rd & Port Warrender Rd to Kalumburu Road & Carson Creek82.92 kmNE41° 1 hr 19 min
Kalumburu Road & Carson Creek to Kalumburu19.75 kmN353° 21 min
Kalumburu to King Edward River6.29 kmNW326° 11 min
King Edward River to Kalumburu Rd & Honeymoon Bay Access11.07 kmNE40° 12 min
Kalumburu Rd & Honeymoon Bay Access to Honeymoon Bay8.33 kmN10 min
Gibb River Rd & Kalumburu Rd to Honeymoon Bay297.67 km  5 hr 10 min
Distance is GPS recorded driving distance (not straight line), Direction is straight line from start to end, Time is calculated from actual GPS driving data.


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