Caravanning through the Kimberley

Submitted: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 18:29
ThreadID: 78761 Views:3845 Replies:7 FollowUps:4
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My wife and I are a couple of mid 60's adventurers, taking off in June with our 2006 Ford Explorer and 20' Coromal from Brisbane travelling through to firstly Kununurra and then onto Broome. We are bitumen travellers when we have the van on, but have a camping setup when we go on the dirt into some of the gorges, Cape Leveque and El Questro.
We were intending to do some "free camping" at sites listed in Camps 4 while in transit between major centres.
We have read some comments about the need to be extremely careful about certain areas in far north West Australia.
Has anyone done this same trip recently and do you have any suggestions on good and safe free camp sites.
Any advice about travelling in the Kimberley would be most appreciated.

Thanks

Poppa Ross
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Reply By: Member - DW Lennox Head(NSW) - Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 19:56

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 19:56
Poppa Ross

We stayed in free camps in a few locations. One was opposite the entry in to the Bungle Bungle which is near a bridge.
The other one was the closer one to Fitzroy Crossing and was near some cliffs. They are both in Camps 4. We had no problems at all.
When you pull up for the day ensure your entry door cannot be blocked by another car. Pull up along side a rail or similar and that way you can always get out of the van.
Enjoy your trip as it is so beautiful over there.
DW
AnswerID: 418107

Reply By: Motherhen - Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 20:02

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 20:02
Never had a problem; never heard of a problem. We do try and avoid towns and highways though. The more remote you go, the genuine and helpful the people are. If you have two or three weeks to spare, leave the caravan at Kununurra and go through the Gibb River Road and up to Mitchell Falls and Kalumburu. Don't miss Purnululu - two or three days needed.

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Reply By: Member - Teege (NSW) - Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 20:45

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 20:45
Poppa Ross
"We have read some comments about the need to be extremely careful about certain areas in far north West Australia."
Perhaps you might enlighten us to the perils we face and where we will face them. We are heading that way this year.

teege
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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 20:48

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 20:48
YES, Poppa Ross, you have to be EXTREMELY careful, otherwise you will have so much fun you might never want to go home.
The Kimberley is the most extrordinary part of this country. No where else is anything like it. It is also the hardest part of Oz to see, but all the effort will be rewarded.

Cheers,
Peter
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Follow Up By: Maîneÿ . . .- Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 05:48

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 05:48
Yes, that's so true, the people you will meet in the remote area's are not the same as those you see on news bulletins creating hassles and problems in the city, they are genuine people looking for the same adventure as you an me

Don't rush, take it easy and enjoy your stay over here in WA

Maîneÿ . . .
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 21:58

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 21:58
Hi Ross,

If you are using Camps 4/5 most of the places you choose to stop will most likely have others stopped there as well - people just like you! We have never had any problems free/bush camping, and especially not in the Kimberly. As others have said, plan to spend plenty of time there and do the Gibb and Bungles. It is a magnificent place.
J and V
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AnswerID: 418150

Reply By: Curlynan - Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 12:42

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 12:42
Also if you are doing the full length of the GGR, don't forget to head into Mornington Wilderness, not free camping but both the Dimond & Sir John Gorges are a must see.
There are quite a few places where you can get off road on the GRR & bush camp other than the ones listed in Free Camps 4/5. Just make sure you start looking mid arvo for possible good camps as it gets dark early and quite quickly in the Kimberley in winter.
Have a great trip.
AnswerID: 418218

Reply By: wendys - Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 11:11

Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 11:11
Due to past irresponsible behaviour by campers, it will be very hard to find a spot you can free bush camp, along the GRR. All the once good spots now have No Camping signs. You will probably just have to accept going to the approved camping places, and paying the fees involved - but some of these are quite pleasant.
I recommend Old Mornington, Home Valley, the King Edward River at junction of Kalumburu and Mitchell Plateau tracks, McGowans (north of Kalumburu). It is worth putting up with the dust and crowds at Mt Barnett, to access the Manning Falls walk. We still like the bush camp sites on ELQ, too.
On our most recent trip to those parts, left van stored at Kununurra because we could not take it into the Bungles - these are not to be missed and you really do need a few days in there. Since we had the tent stuff all loaded up, did a circuit - Fitzroy Crossing, Windjana Gorge, GRR, Mitchell Plateau, McGowans, and so back to Kununurra for the van. That is a good way to access the best parts of the remote Kimberley, without being limited by van worries.
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Follow Up By: Member - lyndon NT - Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 13:25

Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 13:25
Are vans banned from the Bungles and if so what about C/Trailers?
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Follow Up By: wendys - Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 15:05

Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 15:05
Our most recent visit was 2007 and caravans were banned then (we have a small off road van). I believe that, now, you can take in small, single axle campers - and presumably, offroad vans? You would need to check that, though. In July 2007, the Fletcher River was running quite strongly, and it was hard enough to get the Landrover across - wouldn't have wanted to be towing the van.
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Follow Up By: Member - Steve & Paula - Monday, May 31, 2010 at 17:49

Monday, May 31, 2010 at 17:49
This has been discussed several times. The following link will help See Here. Basically single axle off-road vans and trailers are permitted. I have confirmed this information personally with the authorities in Kununurra.

Steve
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