14 Feb 2022
Bordered by the Indian Ocean to the west and the Timor Sea to the north, Western Australia’s vast Kimberley plateau forms the northernmost region of Australia’s largest and arguably most diverse state.
Famous for its massive swathes of raw wilderness, including 350-million-year-old desert ranges, dramatic gorges and beguiling water features, the Kimberley has been a drawcard for international visitors for decades.
At three times the land-mass of England, but with an estimated population of just 40,000, this landscape serves up an abundance of natural attractions, frontier experiences and Indigenous culture that needs to be seen to be believed.
Use this short list of must-see's to start planning your trip to one of Australia’s most jaw-dropping areas of natural beauty!
It’s easy to see why Broome is one of Australia’s most popular beach resort destinations.
With pristine waters, wide empty beaches, abundant wildlife, a tropical climate and diverse history, it’s no surprise people the world over keep coming back.
Originally founded by Europeans in the 1880s as a pearling port, Indonesian, Chinese, Japanese and Aboriginal cultures have all blended here to create the diverse personality that is the spirit of modern Broome.
The Yawuru are the native title holders of Broome and its surrounding areas, and have called the region home for some thirty thousand years.
Among a host of must-see attractions, don’t miss the opportunity to catch a shimmering sunset after a glorious day on the white sand of Cable Beach, where you shouldn’t pass on the chance to take a camel ride on the sand!
At the Gantheaume Point Lighthouse, which is at the far southern end, you can observe dolphins and migrating whales during the season, which runs from June to November every year. Dinosaur footprints estimated at some 130 million years old are visible in the rocks at low tide!
The otherworldly beauty of the coast is also alive during winter, when tidal flats reflect the moon to create a stunning visual phenomenon known as the ‘Staircase to the Moon’.
It’s easy to engage with Broome’s rich Indigenous culture, with local indigenous tribes making up almost 40% of the population. There is a diverse range of languages spoken here and each has its own story to tell.
Take a tour to learn about Aboriginal bushcraft that has been passed down through generations, kept alive and retold by guides, artists, musicians and local indigenous groups.
Bask in the orange glow of a classic Broome sunset along Aboriginal art trails and have your eyes and heart opened by the incredible tapestry of this ancient culture.
The Bungle Bungle Ranges
Another site revered by our Indigenous elders, The Bungle Bungles are a unique collection of naturally-formed sandstone domes rising from the Purnululu National Park’s plains.
The fluctuating shades of orange and black make for a striking view from above if you choose an aerial tour of the park, which was declared a World Heritage Site in 2003.
For a close-up vantage point, there are tours and trails available within the Bungle Bungle Range, and is well sign-posted for travellers on the ground. The park is teeming with wildlife, with over 130 species of birds and other native animals such as wallabies thriving in their natural habitat.
No, we aren’t talking about the latest squiggle from some aging international rock star, rather some of the oldest indigenous rock art in the world!
Scattered along the high walls of the Kimberley region, at locations including Mitchell Plateau, the Gibb River Road and the Kimberley Coast, the art here depicts the ancient Aboriginal dreamtime, with some pieces dating back over 20,000 years.
Broadly divided into two categories, the Wandjina rock art and the Gwion Gwion Bradshaw figures, these are some of the earliest examples of figurative art anywhere.
The Gwion Gwion or Gyorn Gyorn paintings were first seen by European eyes in the late 1890’s, distinguished by their stick-like human figures, which are often depicted with adornments or sashes.
The artists here used a special ochre to bind the art to the sandstone, which worked so well that thousands of years later the same stories are still on display today. They offer a fascinating insight into the region’s history, from the Paleolithic to the Modern era.
The Wandjina itself is revered as the Supreme Being spirit for the Worrora, Ngarinyin and Wunumbal tribes of the Kimberley. At the Mowanjum Aboriginal Art & Cultural Centre artists continue to depict Wandjina and Gyorn Gyorn figures based on the cave paintings central to their culture.
This incredible natural spectacle, best described as a horizontal waterfall, is produced by one of the world’s largest tidal changes pushing through two narrow gorges at McLarty Range.
These intense tidal currents make for a fun adventure by boat! Jet through the largely isolated Talbot Bay for a memorable way to experience the falls on your way to the Bucanneer Archipelago.
Known as Garaanngaddim to the local Indigenous people and also nicknamed ‘the Horries’, these waterfalls ebb and flow with the tide, providing an iconic right of passage for anyone visiting the Kimberley region.
While tidal movements are all year round, tour operators know best times to view the falls as some times are better than others to get the full impact of the rushing waters.
More than 1,000 tiny islands make up the Buccaneer Archipelago, a cruising and fishing paradise north west of the town of Derby.
Home to a medley of rainforest patches, secluded beaches and mangroves scattered throughout, blue ocean water meets tropical growth at every turn here. Snorkel, fish, swim and dive your way through this stunning collection of tiny tropical islands.
Amazing no matter how you choose to experience it, book a cruise or safari tour by land, sea or air from Broome and enjoy an unforgettable experience surrounded by tropical Australian nature, diverse wildlife and fascinating local culture.
El Questro Wilderness Park
At nearly one million acres, El Questro Wilderness Park is a truly unique and awe-inspiring destination.
With its main entrance a one-hour drive from the near border town of Kununurra, there is so much on offer that it is worth planning ahead to make the most of your trip.
The park is open from April to October each year, but the best months to visit are between May and August.
Scramble across rocks and water crossings, clamber up steep inclines and explore deep gorges like El Questro Gorge from land or air. Take a cool dip in crystal clear plunge pools before warming yourself up a short time later at Zebedee Hot Springs.
Emma Gorge is one of the park’s most impressive and accessible gorges. The walk to reach it is 3.2km long and involves some rock scrambling, water crossings and a few steep inclines. The water at Emma Gorge is typically quite cold, so after a dip head to the thermal springs to the right of the waterhole and warm up.
Race along during a 4WD adventure inside the park or get to grips with climbing some of the rockier, steeper hills. Camp out in the wilderness, horseback ride through gorge valleys or simply cruise along, there is something for everyone here!
A day pass or 7-day visitor permit is required to enter the park. Permit prices are capped at $22 for adults and $11 for children, and will be automatically added to your park accommodation booking if you book through El Questro’s website.
Western Australia’s largest freshwater reservoir provides the perfect setting for a stunning day of family fun or a leisurely cruise along its fertile banks.
Formed by the damming of the mighty Ord River, this has created an amazing marine environment which now offers a wide range of adventures and activities beginning at the Lake Argyle village.
Brimming with an abundance of wildlife and nestled among a one billion year old landscape, Lake Argyle is an outback paradise that has gone under the radar for too long!
Approximately 75km by road from Kunnunurra along the Victoria Highway, the shifting colours of the surrounding sandstone cliffs create a picture-perfect backdrop for paddleboarding, fishing and kayaking along the surface of the lake.
Also home to the world’s largest population of Johnstone River Freshwater Crocs, fear not, these dinosaurs are considered harmless to humans. If you don’t mind them there are great water sport activities available here, plus sunset cruises with swim-stops in all the best locations - of which there are too many to complete in a week, nevermind a day!
At 18 times the size of Sydney Harbour, Lake Argyle holds an astonishing 10.7 billion cubic metres of water when full!
Karijini National Park
This two-billion year old park is the cultural home of the Banyjima, Kurrama and Innawonga Aboriginal people, with evidence that the Banyjima have lived in the park for 20,000 years!
Set in the heart of Western Australia’s Pilbara region, this park makes an enthralling side-trip to any Kimberley adventure. A popular drawcard during winter and spring, rainfall is unpredictable during the summer months.
Descend into ancient cavernous gorges, scale some of the oldest rocks on the planet, paddle in crystal-clear waterways and cool off with a swim beneath cascading waterfalls. There is also an amazing network of walking trails that wind through some of Australia’s most amazing scenery.
The rain means a striking array of colours bloom from an intriguing collection of flora and fauna found in this epic National Park. Birdlife, red-kangaroos, lizards, pythons and snakes are all present here, making it a fascinating trip for nature-spotters.
Rockpools, waterfalls and stunning cliffs are dotted throughout the park’s vast landscape and for the more adventurous, challenging hikes like the six-hour return trek of Mount Bruce will set hearts racing.
Don't miss your opportunity to see Western Australia's Kimberley, one of the world's last true wilderness frontiers.