Karijini and Kimberley Trip From Perth- Advice?

Submitted: Saturday, Aug 04, 2018 at 13:00
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Hi, we're thinking about a trip to the Kimberley via Karijini around autumn/winter of 2019. We're in Perth and are wondering about people's opinions on how long to spend doing this. We'd be driving there and back from Perth and would hope to have four weeks in total.

Is that long enough?

I understand that it's a two day drive to Karijini and I'd imagine we'd want three days there at least. Following that would be a two day(ish) journey to Broome. Once there, would three weeks (including the drive back to Perth- 3 days?) be enough?

I know this depends on what we want to do when there, but I haven't thought that much about that at this stage yet. It would be along the lines of 4wding, fishing, camping, etc.

Also, when's the best time to go? I take it June onwards?

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Reply By: Member - peter_mcc - Saturday, Aug 04, 2018 at 15:18

Saturday, Aug 04, 2018 at 15:18
Karijini is mostly walking/swimming in gorges. If that's your thing 3-4 days would be great. In my mind, the fun part of the Kimberley was also walking & swimming in gorges!

You don't want to get there too early because it will be too hot and roads will be closed because they haven't dried out.

You don't want to get there too late because the gorges will have dried up and it will be hot (depending on how late you are!).

We were in Karijini early June and the Kimberley late June in 2017 - it worked well that year. But it does depend a bit on what sort of wet season they have.

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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Saturday, Aug 04, 2018 at 15:52

Saturday, Aug 04, 2018 at 15:52
Our first trip to the Kimberley was 6 weeks from Adelaide. We got there and back as fast as we could.
We have been back to the Kimberley 6 times since for periods of 2 or 3 months (in the Kimberley) each time.
We have yet to see everything we want to see there.

There are relatively few places to fish in the Kimberley. Most are not easy to get to and some need local knowledge. Ocean fishing is unlikely to be successful without a boat plus a few weeks to learn your way around.

Get into the Kimberley as soon after the roads open as possible. This varies from year to year depending on the wet season. June is probably OK, but could be too early (or too late) some years. It is a bit late for Barra who are best caught during the run-off, but there will still be some still around in the right places.

Karajini is a great area and you need 3 or 4 days there minimum, so I would skip it and spend the extra time in the Kimberley. Alternatively, skip the Kimberley and spend the whole time exploring the Pilbara.
Neither will disappoint....
And don't waste time sight seeing on the way north.

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Reply By: Motherhen - Saturday, Aug 04, 2018 at 22:58

Saturday, Aug 04, 2018 at 22:58
I agree that it would be better to do these in separate holidays. Four week would be pushing it for the Kimberley but on a quick trip there and back you could do the loop of Gibb River Road and return picking up Purnululu and Geikie Gorge on the return.

We spent just over three weeks on the Gibb River Road alone with the side trip to Mitchell Falls and Kalumburu, arriving early in June.My Blogs from 2008 outline the Gibb River Road and Kimberley. We then spent a further few weeks based in Kununurra. This trip did not include Broome or Cape Leveque. I think we had four or five nights between Perth and Derby on actual travel, but we spent longer, house/dog sitting for our son and d.i.l. in Wickham on the way.

We visited Karijini in May and spend three nights there. This just covered the gorges, seeing Hamersley Gorge on the Western side after leaving the campground. We did not climb Mount Bruce nor did we go to Mount Meharry.

You could spend another four week holiday another year in the Pilbara and only see a number of key places.

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Reply By: Craig M1 - Saturday, Aug 04, 2018 at 23:46

Saturday, Aug 04, 2018 at 23:46
Hi Donlogan
All the previous advice is pretty spot on.
We have just returned from our second trip on the Gibb and have been to Karijini on many occasions.
We did the Gibb from 16 June to 16 July and included Mitchell Falls, Mornington Wilderness Park and Kununurra/ Lake Argyle and Purnululu on the way home. As you said you lose 6 days out of your month travelling from Perth to Broome and then return.
So in my opinion to include Karijini is possible but you would need to drop out something along the Gibb and if you are going to drive all that distance up there then it's probably not the best decision.
The Gibb is not something you want to rush as road condition can be pretty horrendous just depending on when it had its last grade.
We did both our trips in June/July and conditions were perfect . They usually give the roads a grade just before the school holidays which are usually late June to mid July.
I suggest you ask the boss for another week without pay if you want to squeeze in Karijini.
Cheers Craig

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Reply By: Member - McLaren3030 - Sunday, Aug 05, 2018 at 09:14

Sunday, Aug 05, 2018 at 09:14
Hi Donlogan, all good advice from previous replies. In 2004, we spent about 6 weeks between Kununurra & Broome, and still did not see everything. This included Mitchell Falls & Kalumburu, Purnululu, Fitzroy Crossing, Winjiana, Horizontal Falls. As others have advised, I don’t think you will see enough if you try and include Karijini as well.


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Reply By: Donlogan - Sunday, Aug 05, 2018 at 16:34

Sunday, Aug 05, 2018 at 16:34
Thanks for the replies everyone; some good advice. It looks like we'll head straight to Broome then and go to Karijini some other time. I'm sure i'll be back on and asking for more advice nearer the time...

Thanks again.
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Reply By: Donlogan - Sunday, Aug 05, 2018 at 22:49

Sunday, Aug 05, 2018 at 22:49
And how's camping throughout the area? We'd probably take two double swags and aim to camp most of the time, splashing out on the cheapest possible accommodation from time to time. What kind of costs can we expect and is it easy to find campsites/do they need to be booked in advance?

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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Monday, Aug 06, 2018 at 22:51

Monday, Aug 06, 2018 at 22:51
Broome is expensive, and needs booking at caravan parks for peak season.

Along the Gibb River Road National Parks campgrounds at Windjana Gorge, Silent Grove for Bell's Falls are $13 per person or $10 for concession card holders. (Same price at Purnululu too.)

When we were there, Manning Gorge (pay and access from Mount Barnett Roadhouse) was a flat entrance fee of $20 and this covered camping.Campground even had hot showers.

Station camping was quite expensive.

Although there is no camping where there are no toilet s (due to problems in the past) people still do find gravel pits, and some still talk about camping near the Gibb River crossing on the Kalumburu Road.

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Reply By: Rob J8 - Tuesday, Aug 07, 2018 at 11:05

Tuesday, Aug 07, 2018 at 11:05
Hello Donlogan,

When I worked I would get 2 lots of 2 weeks a year so could never take a month in one hit. Our theory is even if you only have a short time don't let distance stop you.
We would hook up the van and leave Busselton Friday night and get into Broome Tuesday morning; stay 7 days at the PCYC in Broome and then head back home and get back so we could have the Sunday resting and back to work Monday.
A rushed trip up and back but really enjoyed the week up there.

Some will say we were nuts but if you are time poor then what else do you do, stay home.

Rob J
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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Tuesday, Aug 07, 2018 at 22:00

Tuesday, Aug 07, 2018 at 22:00
In 1970, Margaret and I drove a Mini from Adelaide via the western side of Lake Gairdner to Uluru, spent a day and a half there with friends and then drove back to Adelaide.
This was before the Stuart Highway was bituminised. We did this in an Easter weekend.
You have to do what you have to do.
Thankfully, those times have gone.
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