Western Australia’s Kimberley region is extraordinary. Many of the sights, sounds and experiences you’ll encounter here can’t be enjoyed anywhere else in the world, making it easy to see why Lonely Planet listed the Kimberley as the Number Two region in the world to visit in 2014. There’s never been a better time to start planning your extraordinary Kimberley adventure.
Regarded as one of the world’s last true wilderness areas and more than 20 million years in the making, the rugged ranges and coastline of the Kimberley region present a stunning blend of seclusion and majestic scenery.
There are many elements that make the Kimberley extraordinary. It’s home to the world’s only Horizontal Waterfalls, the unique beehive-like formations of the Bungle Bungle Range in World Heritage Listed Purnululu National Park and Lake Argyle – the largest freshwater lake in the Southern Hemisphere.
Covering an expanse of almost 423,000 square kilometres and with an estimated population of just 30,000, the Kimberley has fewer people per square kilometre than almost any other place on earth.
Visitors come here to immerse themselves in the awe inspiring landscape and to meet the locals who are friendly, unpretentious and proud of their history.
Located a three-hour flight north of Perth, Kununurra is the gateway to the east Kimberley.
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 characterised by heavy and short downpours in the evening or late afternoon, providing a refreshing change to the heat of the day. The wet season is when the landscape is refreshed and transformed into a lush, green environment with overflowing rivers and spectacular waterfalls, though access is limited to many areas during this time.
Enjoy sensational barramundi fishing in Kununurra, scenic flights over the Mitchell Falls and the unforgettable Bungle Bungle Range or take a boat trip on Lake Argyle. The lake and banks of the Ord River are home to an incredibly diverse eco system, including freshwater crocodiles, rock wallabies and hundreds of species of migratory and native birds.
Trek on foot into Purnululu’s palm-fringed Piccaninny Gorge or through the fiery-red rock of the Cockburn Ranges. Or, head into the Carr Boyd Ranges for refreshing waterfalls or to the Mitchell Plateau to marvel at ancient Aboriginal rock art.
Near Fitzroy Crossing you’ll find Geikie Gorge, where the yellow, orange and grey shades of the steep walls mirrored in the river create a stunning picture.
The Kimberley is one of the premier four wheel drive destinations in the world. The biggest four wheel drive challenge is the Gibb River Road between Broome and Kununurra. It cuts though some of the most rugged country on earth and provides access to spectacular wildlife and stunning red gorges.
Activities, Attractions & Events
Argyle Diamond Mine:
Tour the Argyle Diamond Mine – the world’s largest supplier of quality diamonds which accounts for approximately one quarter of the world’s supply. Learn how these precious stones are transformed from raw treasures to sparkling beauties.
Step back in time at the Argyle Homestead, located near Lake Argyle. The original Durack family lands and homestead are covered by the waters of the lake, but the homestead was reconstructed and is now a fantastic pioneer museum.
Visit one of the jewellery stores in Kununurra to purchase your own treasured gem. Several local stores specialise in Argyle Diamonds. Or to follow in the footsteps of the stars of Baz Luhrman’s movie ‘Australia’, visit Kimberley Fine Diamonds where Nicole Kidman selected unique diamonds as gifts for her friends and family.
Soak in a sensational view from Kelly’s Knob Lookout. At 191 metres above the surrounding plain, the lookout is one of the best places to view the glorious Kununurra sunset while taking in panoramic views of Kununurra township, Ord River irrigation system, Diversion Dam and Lake Kununurra.
Cruise on Lake Argyle, Australia’s largest man-made freshwater lake which is more than 20 times larger than Sydney Harbour. See fresh water crocodiles, fish, rock wallabies and over 240 different species of birds.
Mirima National Park:
Mirima National Park is often referred to as the ‘Mini Bungles’. Bearing resemblance to their bigger cousins, the Bungle Bungle Range, these 300-million-year-old limestone cliffs have been carved out of the ground by erosion. The park also offers opportunities for photography, bushwalking and wildlife spotting.
Paddle a canoe through gorges along one of WA’s most significant waterways, the Ord River. Parts of the river are renowned for catching barramundi as well as spotting numerous other species of wildlife including crocodiles. Some sections of the river are safe for other water activities such as swimming and jet skiing.
Purnululu National Park:
Explore the World Heritage Listed Purnululu National Park and the Bungle Bungle Range by four wheel drive or take a scenic flight over these fascinating formations which rise more than 300 metres.
The Argyle Diamonds Ord Valley Muster:
The Argyle Diamonds Ord Valley Muster held in May each year is a community celebration of the east Kimberley region, highlighting its cultural diversity, stunning landscape and friendly, country hospitality. Staged on the banks of the majestic Ord River at the Jim Hughes Amphitheatre, the pinnacle event of the Ord Valley Muster, the Kimberley Moon Experience has been running for ten years and has attracted Australia’s best performers including John Farnham, The Hoodoo Gurus and Jimmy Barnes.
In 2014, the event will feature celebrity chef Manu Fieldel (My Kitchen Rules); as well as musical acts Eskimo Joe, The Waifs and John Williamson.
Located a two –and-half-hour flight from Perth, Broome is the gateway to explore the west Kimberley and it’s where the outback meets the ocean. The spectacular red earth, blue water, white sands, green spinifex, blue sky and brilliant burnt orange sunsets create an amazing landscape. The warm tropical weather mixed with the coastal lifestyle and array of cultures has created a unique, relaxed way of life in the town, referred to by locals as ‘Broome time’.
With 22 kilometres of white sand, kissed by warm, crystal waters, it’s easy to see why this West Australian town is world famous and the ideal place to watch the sunset on a balmy, tropical night.
From fiery red ochre cliffs contrasting with bright turquoise waters to pearl diving sagas and dinosaur footprints – the history of Broome is as captivating as the scenery. Once the pearling capital of the world, Broome drew its population from a range of nations whose people came on the promise of pearls and the hope of making a fortune. Its colourful history has resulted in the town’s multi-cultural atmosphere.
Today, thanks to Broome’s unpolluted waters, South Sea pearls are among the most coveted in the world. Witness first-hand how Broome pearls are cultured at a local pearl farm. Pearl showrooms line the streets of Chinatown – this is also where you’ll find art galleries, shops and cafes – the perfect place for some retail therapy.
Another natural treasure found in Broome is the Staircase to the Moon. For three days after the full moon from March to October, reflections stretch out across shiny mudflats creating the beautiful illusion of a long silver staircase.
Activities, attractions and energy
Broome Camel Safari:
Take a camel ride along Broome’s beautiful beaches. Enjoy an afternoon ride along stunning turquoise waters or an evening ride during a spectacular Kimberley sunset.
Broome’s nine-week racing season concludes with Broome Cup Week, which includes Ladies Day and the famous Broome Cup Day.
Broome Hovercraft Adventure Tours:
With a variety of tours around Roebuck Bay, these hovercraft adventures can take you to places inaccessible by other means and are an exciting experience not to be missed.
Gantheaume Point is the resting place for dinosaur footprints that have been preserved for over 130 million years. The footprints are revealed in the rocky reef area when the tide is low.
Malcolm Douglas Crocodile & Wilderness Park:
The park offers a glimpse at the native fauna of Australia’s North West. It houses a large population of alligators, saltwater and freshwater crocodiles.
The coral atolls of the Rowley Shoals, 300 kilometres west of Broome, are famed for their unspoilt coral gardens and abundant marine life.
The annual Shinju Matsuri Festival of the Pearl offers multicultural events and activities showcasing the history, cultural diversity and talent of Broome. From the high spirited and colourful waking of Sammy the Dragon after his year-long slumber, followed by ten days of festivities, Shinju Matsuri culminates with a spectacular fireworks finale.
Staircase to the Moon:
Between March and October each year, when conditions are just right, visitors to Broome are treated to a natural spectacle – the Staircase to the Moon. The natural phenomenon of the Staircase to the Moon occurs when the full moon rises over the exposed mudflats of Roebuck Bay at low tide creating the optical illusion of a staircase extending to the moon. The staircase occurs three nights each month from March to October.
Opened in 1916, Sun Pictures is thought to be the world’s oldest operating outdoor picture garden.
The Great Escape Charter Company:
Get out on the water for a cruise on beautiful Roebuck Bay, go diving on the Rowley Shoals or sail the Kimberley coastline aboard the company’s custom built vessels.
If you’re heading to Broome between June and November, don’t miss the fantastic humpback whale displays. The humpback whales migrate north along the coast to shelter in Camden Sound, on the Kimberley coast, as well as Pender Bay and the sheltered waters directly off Broome’s coast, where females give birth.
Willie Creek Pearl Farm:
Willie Creek is Broome’s only pearl farm offering tours to the public. It is also one of Broome’s most popular attractions. Show rooms are located at Cable Beach