Planning a Trip to the Kimberley

Submitted: Monday, Mar 12, 2012 at 16:24
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Hi All,
Looking a doing a trip to the Kimberley in May. We only have four weeks available so time is of an essence. Thinking travelling from Adelaide to Alice and out the Tanami as being the quickest way there, and returning through Adelaide River and down the centre. I know we will have limited time to explorer the whole region , however what are the must see things to do while there.
Any assistance will be gratefully appreciated.

Cheers
Terry
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Reply By: Motherhen - Monday, Mar 12, 2012 at 18:30

Monday, Mar 12, 2012 at 18:30
Hi Terry

Why not plan a trip closer to home this time, and let the Kimberley wait until you can do it justice. We didn't see it all be a long way, and spent nine weeks in the northern Kimberley in 2008. Three and a half just doing a basic Gibb River Road tour. My blogs for 2008 include the Tanami. In 2009 we returned to Alice Springs to go to Darwin via the Stuart Highway.

Motherhen
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Follow Up By: Member - Terry (SA) - Saturday, Mar 17, 2012 at 11:05

Saturday, Mar 17, 2012 at 11:05
Hi motherhen,
Thanks for your reply . It was great to read your blogs about the area.A lot of great information in them. Given me food for thought. Definitely feel four week will not be enough to absorb all that the Kimberley has to offer.

Cheers
Terry
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Reply By: Kris and Kev - Monday, Mar 12, 2012 at 20:18

Monday, Mar 12, 2012 at 20:18
You will definitely need more time to do the Kimberley properly. We did it last year.
Entered the start of the Kimberley on the 14 June (Kununurra), having travelled from Katherine.
Travelled clock wise direction from Kununurra on the Great Northern Highway and back via the Gibb River Road.
Finished on the 13 August, just short of 9 weeks. 4 weeks of this was just on the Gibb River Road! That road is 640 kilometres long; however we did just over 3,000 due to the many roads and tracks off the Gibb that just have to be done.
It is a massive area and there is so much to see. It is a hard to list the must do’s. Do you want to do the Gibb? Visit Broome etc. Remember some of the roads off the Gibb may still be closed in May.
Having said all that, one absolute must do, the Horizontal Water Falls.

Kevin
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Reply By: Member - Paul B (WA) - Tuesday, Mar 13, 2012 at 00:15

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2012 at 00:15
We did the Kimberley in 4 weeks from Kalgoorlie a few years back & will go back & have a better more leisurely look, but I say better to see some of it and whet the appetite than not see it at all.

Give yourself a week on the Gibb River Rd, including a couple of nights at El Questro. If you can, fly over the Bungle Bungles and Mitchell Falls as the tracks in are very time consuming. The one to the Bungles in particular is an absolute joke, considering it is one of the great natural wonders of the world.

You probably won't have time to do the Dampier Peninsular this time, but you may have time at least to get to Beagle Bay.

Give yourself a few days in both Kununurra, Derby & Broome and that will probably be as much as you can do with the best part of a week each way to get there from Adelaide.

But go.

Cheers
Paul B Kalgoorlie

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Reply By: Karen G2 - Tuesday, Mar 13, 2012 at 08:27

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2012 at 08:27
Hi Terry,
Just remember when travelling the Tanami Track that Rabbit Flat Roadhouse closed just over a year ago, so don't count on that as a fuel stop.

Some of the highlights for us were:

El Questro - The very end of El Questro Gorge, Zebedee Springs, Emma Gorge and Branco's Lookout

Manning Gorge - long, hot walk in, but had a great time swimming and jumping off the waterfall at different heights. The swim across the river to get to the start of the walk was fun too.

Cape Leveque - and basically the whole Dampier Peninsula. Kooljaman was fantastic. The church at Beagle Bay was beautiful, Lombadina was a great surprise and has an incredible bakery, the trochus hatchery at One Arm Point was a big hit with the kids. Very hands on, especially the barra feeding.

Tunnel Creek and Windjana Gorge - walking through thigh deep water in pitch black while spotlighting stalactites and hidden waterfalls, and the odd baby croc. Very cool. You can get really close to the freshies at Windjana Gorge. The best part of the gorge is not far from the start, where all of the crocs laze around on the water's edge. For a bit of history, read about the adventures of Jandamarra, and stop in at the ruins of Lillimilura police station. Knowing his background makes this area more interesting.

Derby - was a surprise as we had no expectations. The Windmill cafe, behind the ANZ bank, has the best food anywhere. Nice cafe down near the jetty too. Cheapest fuel is down at the jetty(10cents/L cheaper).

Bell Gorge - is stunning

Mitchell Plateau - King Edward River campground was our favourite of the trip. Lots of Bradshaw and Wandjina rock art around the area too. As for the Mitchell Falls themselves, WOW! We spent hours swimming just down from where you walk across the river, and you can't spend long enough just staring at the falls. Very impressive. We were the last helicopter flight out, and actually had the falls to ourselves for the last hour. Magic! The rock art underneath Little Mertens is worth a look, and cooling off under the waterfall is a must.

The Bungle Bungles - an helicopter flight is the only way to really do them justice. Cathedral Gorge, Echidna Chasm, and the walk out to the lookout on Piccaninny Creek were all spectacular. The wildflowers were out everywhere also.

We went mid-end June last year, and had to re-arrange our itinerary a bit as the wet was late, and the Mitchell Plateau was still closed, and we were told it wouldn't open until early July.

Just a note if staying at Fitzroy Crossing, the best Caravan Park is the one as you come in to town from the Halls Creek side.

Also, don't forget to check the limitations on buying alcohol. Can't buy full strength until after 5pm(I think), and you can't get anything at all before 12noon. There were different times and limits on amounts in different towns. It pays to check.

Hopefully the wet has held off, and everything will be open for you. Have a great trip!

Cheers
Karen
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Follow Up By: myaussieadventure - Thursday, Mar 15, 2012 at 00:25

Thursday, Mar 15, 2012 at 00:25
Great info. Thanks Karen.
We are headed to the Kimberley's this year. Very slowly making our way there now from Melbourne.
Did you see the horizontal falls? I'm keen to see them but not sure how many flights we can afford.
Your tips are helpful, will make some notes :)

Lauren
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Follow Up By: Karen G2 - Thursday, Mar 15, 2012 at 07:18

Thursday, Mar 15, 2012 at 07:18
We actaully missed seeing the Horizontal Falls as we had to change our itinerary around due to some roads not being open. When we eventually made it across to Derby and Broome, the tides were all wrong and the tours weren't running those days. It is very expensive, but we ran into so many travellers who had been to the falls that said it was the absolute highlight of their trip.

Even without seeing the Horizontal Falls, which was high on our must see list, we had an incredible time. I wish I was going back tomorrow. Have a great trip!

Cheers
Karen
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Follow Up By: Member - Terry (SA) - Saturday, Mar 17, 2012 at 11:09

Saturday, Mar 17, 2012 at 11:09
Great information.Still in two minds whether to shoot up there and have a quick look around, or delay the whole thing ,do it justice and spend heaps of time exploring at a more leisurely pace.
Thanks for all the info

Cheers
Terry
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