ABOVE PHOTO: Broome beach Camel tour (Copyright: Luke Suen)
Rugged gorges, epic waterways and beautiful ocean views: this could only be describing the bewildering terrain of Western Australia. But if you’re really looking for the best sightseeing and activities, head north to the Kimberley, the gem of North West Australia. Famously known as being “the last wilderness” region, the Kimberley is the ultimate “bucket list” destination for adventure-seeking travelers.
The Kimberley has two distinct seasons, the dry and the wet. During the dry season, which runs from May until October, the temperature is warm and comfortable with blue skies and easier access to beautiful gorges, waterfalls and swimming holes. The wet season, which extends from November until April, is characterized by heavy and short downpours in the evening or late afternoon, providing a refreshing change to the heat of the day. The wet is when the landscape is refreshed and transformed into a lush, green environment with overflowing rivers and spectacular waterfalls.
From 30 million-year-old rock formations and waterfalls, to more than 1,300 native animal species, the Kimberley region is the perfect destination for those envy-inducing Instagram photos. Whether you’re seeing the destination by land, sea or air, here are some key experiences you’ll enjoy in the Kimberley region:
Rich history and culture on land:
• The Gibb River Road, which links the exotic pearling town of Broome to the town of Kununurra, is one of Australia’s most renowned four-wheel drive challenges. This legendary 600-kilometer (410 mile) stock route was originally used for droving cattle, but is now also a captivating destination for travelers seeking the ultimate Australian outback experience.. Campsites, swimming holes, waterfalls, Aboriginal rock art and walking opportunities are plentiful along this route. If self-driving on the other side of the road is not of interest, companies such as Kimberley Outback Tours offer hosted excursions.
• In Broome, Western Australia’s pearling town, you can shop for strands of pearls found in warm, crystal clear waters – and even tour a pearling farm for a firsthand look at the cultivating process! And, in both Broome and Kununurra, you can watch master jewelers at work on pieces incorporating some of the most exquisite pink and natural diamonds on earth, all mined within .the Kimberley region of Western Australia.
• El Questro Wilderness Park, located in the east Kimberley, extends about 80 kilometers (50 miles) north to south, totaling one million acres in size. Its landscape offers outstanding diversity including rainforests, gorges and waterfalls. Enjoy an abundance of birds, mammals, reptiles, fish and invertebrates congregating near one of the four major river systems, try your hand at barramundi fishing or set out on a horse trek to see beaches and dazzling landscapes all around. To stay right near the action, check out the lodging options at El Questro.
Fascinating sea adventures:
• Cruise the pristine waters of the Kimberley with a smaller ship operator, such as True North, for an adventure into the true wilderness, which offer a more personalized experience and opportunities to explore secluded gorges and swimming holes that are not accessible by larger vessels. You’ll journey past towering red cliffs and pockets of rainforest, observe rare wildlife and ancient Aboriginal rock art, swim in cloudless pools and shower underneath dramatic waterfalls.
• For stunning sights of wildlife and nature, divers and snorkelers can check out the Rowley Shoals off the coast of Broome, as it ranks amongst the most remote and pristine marine areas in the world. Amongst the three coral atolls found here, you’ll see colorful gardens, giant clams and schools of tuna and mackerel.
Excursions in flight:
• You can explore the Kimberley by air via the Kimberley Aerial Highway, which is a series of airstrips offering views of the region’s most iconic landscapes and one-of-a-kind accommodations. Along the highway, snap photos above or land near natural attractions such as the Bungle Bungle Range in Purnululu National Park, Cape Leveque, the world’s only Horizontal Waterfalls at Talbot Bay, and the El Questro Wilderness Park. For the ultimate in flight luxury, stay at the Berkeley River Lodge, accessible only via its private airstrip.
• Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures offers a four-night expedition, providing an exciting way to explore the untouched natural wonderland of the Kimberley. You’ll experience a seaplane flight over the Buccaneer Archipelago followed by a water landing on Talbot Bay. State of the art fishing and expedition vessels, helicopters and luxury houseboats await for amazing landscape views, personalized excursions and endless opportunities for private romance.
No matter how you want to explore, you’ll find an experience in the Kimberley that’s perfect for your sense of adventure. For more information, and to start planning your trip, visit westernaustralia.com.