Best way to enjoy the Kimberley ?????

Submitted: Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 17:59
ThreadID: 53445 Views:3577 Replies:7 FollowUps:3
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After a three year stint in WA, the family and I are moving from Perth back to Sunshine Coast in Qld, heading off at the beginning of March and spending about 4 - 5 months to do it.

We have the first and last part of the trip worked out, but am stuck on how to make the most out of the Kimberley area.

Looking for some advise from Derby to Kununurra/Wyndham. We are towing an Jayco Expand (outback/off-road model) with a "revamped"100 series. Really after an idea of where the best places to stay and how long in each area to really appreciate it all. Is 3 weeks long enough/too short to do this part of the trip etc.

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Reply By: Member - joc45 (WA) - Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 18:29

Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 18:29
Hi Waza & Wend
Sorry you're leaving paradise!
-Windjana Gorge is easy and a must-see. Can do overnight
-Bells Gorge would have to be a must as well. Take two nights
-Mitchell Plateau/Mitchell Falls/Surveyer Pool also a must - just be sure that your CT will take the corrugations of the Kulumburu road. Take a day to get there, 3-4 days in, and a day out to the main GRR.
-Old Mornington is excellent, esp if you have an inflatable craft to explore the Dimond Gorge, but they will rent canoes anyway. Allow 3 days
-If down that way, enquire before leaving home with Mt House station about staying at Moll Gorge. They used to rent out this gorge (not cheap) but you have the place to yourself for that time. Truly magnificent camping under shady Cadjeputs with a million-dollar view across the gorge. Again, an inflatable will get you about 5km up the gorge. Crocs and nice fishing as well. Allow as long as you can take it.
And at the other end, El Questro isn't cheap, but you can get nice private spots along the river, and lots of gorges to see. Allow 3-4 days.
Bungles is a must. Allow 2-3 days. Take a helicopter ride if funds allow. Worth every penny.
If up Wyndam way, Parry Lagoon is similar to Kakadu with some wonderful lakes and birdlife. Allow 2 days.
Gotta start planning to go again....

AnswerID: 281425

Reply By: Max - Sydney - Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 18:34

Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 18:34
W & W

Three weeks will give you a bit of a feel for the area. You have to wait till the rivers have gone down and roads opened, so hopefully you are looking at May onward?

My top choices include:

Bell Gorge
Old Mornington Station
Mitchell Falls
Kalumburu (have a look at the museum at the church there and camp at Honeymoon Beach)
Drysdale River

Avoid El Questro unless you like tourist traps.

Bet you get lots of conflicting views but they are my abiding memories of a great region.

Happy planning

AnswerID: 281426

Follow Up By: briggzee (WA) - Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 19:38

Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 19:38
El Questro may be expensive but is still very much a worthwhile stopover. Get up early to visit the gorges to beat the crowds. It would be a real pity to miss it for the sake of a few dollars.
FollowupID: 545777

Follow Up By: Member - joc45 (WA) - Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 13:04

Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 13:04
Yeh, been a while, but my impression back then was that they mainly catered for the Toorak travellers who've jetted in, in their Drizabones and RMW moleskins, but for the average guy, the campsites by the river were good, albeit a bit pricey, and you could do your own thing.
The gorges are great, esp El Questro gorge if you take it right up to the end (and get your feet wet).
When I was there, the hot springs were off-limits to the plebs for part of the day, so the high-flyers didn't have to mix with the riff-raff.
Let's face it, you're in the area, the sights are good, so do it!
cheers, Gerry
FollowupID: 545864

Reply By: MEMBER - Darian (SA) - Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 21:33

Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 21:33
Three weeks should be plenty to cruise along the whole Gibb River Road - that would allow quality time in all of the gorges etc - a trip up to Kalumburu would be good, but can be very taxing on the hardware. A 2 hour flight out of Drysdale River Station, north over the gulf was our choice and turned out a total winner (even at $250 a seat). Tunnel creek and Wyndjana gorge etc were good too (but they take you a bit "out of your way". El Questro have an office in Kunnunurra - on seeing their prices for a simple bush camping stay, I resolved that they can bugger off ! The Bungles are well worth the time if you can wangle it - 2 full days there to walk some of the good spots would be the min I guess. The 5 rivers lookout at Wyndham is wonderful - well worth the trip if the weather is nice - don't expect much else there but :-o)...... Kununurra has a lot of places to access in that nearby region - see the tourist mob - the Zebra rock gallery was great - the 100k round trip out to Lake Argyle was worth the trouble too. If you budget allows it, a flight over Argyle is said to be worth every cent. Might do that one myself next time. Have a good 'un.
AnswerID: 281470

Follow Up By: Member - joc45 (WA) - Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 13:08

Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 13:08
Yep, the Drysdale flight is great.
Did it some years ago, up to Mitchell Falls (see it from a different perspective), Prince Frederik Harbour (amazing coastline) and over Mt Trafalgar (amazing mesa), down to the Prince Regent, then inland along the Prince Regent, over Mt Hann, then back to base.
Expensive, but if you're there, why not do it.
FollowupID: 545865

Reply By: Member - Barnesy (SA) - Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 22:33

Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 22:33
Interested to hear replies for this question. I am heading up there in 3 months and was going to ask the same question.

AnswerID: 281483

Reply By: Member - andrew B (Kununurra) - Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 07:54

Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 07:54
Gday Waza and Wend

Most have covered the good bits......not a lot too add. Send a MM when your close, I need very little encouragement to grab a few beers and put the boat in the water......

Personally, I don't think ELQ is a rip off. Last time I camped out there it was about $10.00 pp, in a very nice private camp by the river. To me it was a good bush camp, but also had just a 10 min drive to the station for a hot shower, a feed, or spend a bit of time at the bar. When we were there last, the meal at the restaraunt was excellent and a similar price for the quality you pay in a lot of city places.

On whether 3 weeks is enough, I'd say no, but thats not a bad thing, its impossible to see it all (I definately haven't in 8 years), but you will see most of the good bits. The best IMO is now, rain and storms, waterfalls, sometimes fish. The road closures are the limiting factor in the wet, and a late cyclone can see them closed 'til June.

Have fun, Cheers Andrew
AnswerID: 281501

Reply By: draff - Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 08:43

Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 08:43
We've been to the Kimberley area twice - personally we feel that El Questro is worth the visit for the $ and we would go back there as you do get many facilities and access to many places for your $ but Old Mornington station was more expensive in our opinion and not very good value. The impression we got was that it was set up more for the bird watching guests in accommodation with campers just an 'add on'. I'd skip Old Mornington and spend time elsewhere as it takes a long time to get in to Old Mornington and the entrance fee and hire costs of canoes etc push the price way up.

One of our favourite camps is at Home Valley station. They have a great bush meals/bar area and that most superb camping down on the Pentacost river where the view at sunset is incredible. Camping fees were very reasonable for such a view. (Also loos & cold showers at the river side camp - hot showers up the top but i'd choose the riverside view any day!). Very friendly people.

Mitchell falls is also one of those truely magic places. The Bungle Bungle national park still remains one of the best national parks we've been too.

If you have the time you could look at the Walcott inlet track .... . quite rough and 'full on' but defintely gives you that remote feeling like no where else we have been.


AnswerID: 281508

Reply By: Baz & Pud (Tassie) - Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 12:58

Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 12:58
All of the above answers just about cover the GRR, but i'm surprised no one has mentioned a flight out of Derby to the Horizontal Falls (depends on spending money available), we did it in 2006 and paid extra $100 per head to stay on the mother ship over night. Great fun and you get extra trips through the falls.

Enjoy the Kimberleys, great part of north WA.

Go caravaning, life is so much shorter than death.

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