The Kimberley Region
Experience the Ancient Majesty of the Kimberley Region
The Kimberley is a stunning region in the north-west corner of Australia. Often called the Kimberley's, this ancient part of Western Australia is bordered by the Indian Ocean, the Timor Sea, the Pilbara, and the Northern Territory. The Kimberley provides some of Australia's most unique wilderness experiences and intimate access to some of the oldest living cultures on earth. The original inhabitants of the Kimberley have been living there continuously for at least 40,000 years. Today, the population density is very low, with just over 50,000 people in an area of 423,517 square kilometres. While it takes time and effort to tour this distant part of Australia, most visitors are struck by the beautiful scenery and amazing sense of history and space that pervade this iconic land. From spectacular gorges to endless beaches, from complex aboriginal artworks to rugged outback towns, let's take a look at some of the unique places you can visit with AAT Kings.
Best time to visit
The Kimberley is an exceptional place, and climate conditions can be just as extreme as the natural landscapes. While you can travel to the north-west throughout the year, heat and rain confine most tourists to certain months. The Kimberley is one of the hottest parts of Australia, the average annual mean temperature is around 27 °C, with temperatures frequently reaching above 37 °C in November before the rains hit and falling to around 12 °C in July. Located right at the top of Australia in the tropical zone, there is a definite wet season that accounts for the vast majority of rainfall. About 90% of all rainfall occurs from November to April, and flooding and cyclones are relatively common. The dry season goes from May to October, which is when most people choose to visit. Not only is there less rainfall during these months, but the temperatures are also much more pleasant. If you want to experience the wonders of the Kimberley region, AAT Kings offers a number of tours across the north-west. We take care of the planning, provide the transportation, and make it easier than ever to enjoy this spectacular part of Australia.
Nature and wilderness – The best places to visit
The Kimberley is a nature lover's paradise. As one of the most isolated parts of the world, it's also beautifully untouched and pristine. There are numerous world-class wilderness attractions dotted across the Kimberley, from dry deserts to golden beaches and tumbling waterfalls. While it's pretty hard to see everything, there are a few places that you simply should not miss. Whether you've got a few days or a few weeks to enjoy a Kimberley tour, let's take a look at the best natural attractions that should definitely be on your list.
Located on the Northern Territory border, Lake Argyle is the largest lake in Western Australia, and just behind Lake Eyre as the second largest in the nation. Situated near the town of Kununurra, this man-made engineering marvel is recognised as a protected wetlands area. While Lake Argyle is teeming with birdlife and other wildlife on the surrounding mudflats and grasslands, the damming of the Ord River did profoundly change the surrounding environment.
The Ord River flows for more than 650 km, and it has a catchment area of more than 55,000 square kilometres. The lower part of the river supports a protected wetland area known as the Ord River Floodplain. The Miriwoong Gajerrong peoples know the river as Goonoonoorrang, with the English title added in 1879 in honour of Sir Harry St. George Ord. Along with its thriving flora and fauna, the Ord River plays an important role as a source of power generation and water storage in the Kimberley region.
Geikie Gorge is located in the Napier Range within Danggu Gorge National Park. Known locally as Darngku, this magical place is 20 km from Fitzroy Crossing and a very long way from pretty much everywhere else. Geikie Gorge is part of an ancient limestone barrier reef that formed 350 million years ago along the west Kimberley. Along with freshwater crocodiles and other abundant wildlife, this spectacular 8 km long and 30 m high gorge offers a number of boat tours guided by the local Bunuba people.
Known as Garaanngaddim to the local Indigenous people, Horizontal Falls is the location of a strange and beautiful natural phenomenon that lies on the Kimberley coast. This site features two narrow gorges, with tidal flows responsible for a horizontal waterfall effect on the ebb and flow of the tide. This location was described by Sir David Attenborough as “one of the greatest natural wonders of the world.” This incredible place offers breathtaking photo opportunities and memories that will last a lifetime.
Gibb River Road
The Gibb River Road allows you to get well and truly off the beaten track. Once you go "over the range" near the Gibb River, you are set for a 660 km journey through ancient gorges, untouched wilderness areas, and cattle stations the size of European nations. While it takes a couple of weeks to drive the entire route, you can enjoy sections of the Gibb River Road, including locations such as Windjana Gorge, Lennard Gorge, Tunnel Creek, Drysdale River Station, and El Questro Wilderness Park.
The Cockburn Range is a majestic location located on the Gibb River Road. This imposing and highly scenic destination lies just one hour from Kununurra and sits entirely on private land owned by El Questro Wilderness Park. Luckily, you can easily visit the range via 4WD, on foot, or on a scenic flight with some of the most amazing views on the planet. The scale of this place is hard to believe, rising more than 600 m above the plains and shaped like a round fortress.
Emma Gorge is a serene and relaxing destination with some of the best swimming in the Kimberley. Located within El Questro Wilderness Park at the end of an hour-long walk, Emma Gorge features a cool oasis pool, a warm thermal spring, a stunning 65 m waterfall, and spectacular cliffs with greenery and rock formations. If you're looking for peace and tranquillity, Emma Gorge is almost impossible to beat.
Bungle Bungle Range
Known the world over for its unique geological formations, Bungle Bungle Range is an ancient oasis located within Purnululu National Park. This place is famous for its distinctive beehive-shaped towers, which are formed from prehistoric seabeds and also feature an even older meteorite impact crater. The traditional owners of the Bungle Bungle region are the Karjaganujaru peoples, who help to manage the park together with the Department of Environment and Conservation.
If you're looking for pure white sand and bright blue ocean water, Cable Beach is the place to come. This 22 km section of coastline attracts people from around the world, who come for its pristine beaches, endless sand dunes, and stunning ochre red cliffs. This part of the Kimberley is a favourite with visiting families, many of whom enjoy a camel ride along the beach when they're not relaxing at the many resorts and caravan parks situated in and around the neighbouring town of Broome.
Located in the middle of nowhere, Halls Creek is a famous gateway town for even more far-flung locations. Halls Creek is situated at the edge of the Great Sandy Desert and Tanami Desert, and it is an integral part of the Tanami Road, Duncan Road, and Canning Stock Route. Australia's first gold town, Halls Creek is now home to a number of successful farming and mining industries. Halls Creek is a great gateway for World Heritage-listed Purnululu National Park, Bungle Bungle Range, Wolfe Creek Crater National Park, and the China Wall, among other natural attractions.
Local art & culture
The Kimberley is known for many things, from its spectacular landscapes and abundant natural resources to its isolated location and friendly locals. The culture of this area is another major attraction for visitors, with the local Indigenous peoples enjoying a complex and ancient history that stretches back more than 40,000 years. There are around 30 active Aboriginal language groups situated in the Kimberley and four language families. Aboriginal rock art can be seen across the Kimberley, with painting, engraving, and resin used to make images and patterns that represent spiritual life and the surrounding environment. Wandjina is the most prominent art style of the area, having been around for the last 4,000 years. Several thousand sites have been recorded across the Kimberley, many of which are protected or off the beaten track. There are lots of opportunities to see this amazing artwork, however, including many examples along Gibb River Road and El Questro Wilderness Park. Modern Aboriginal canvas artworks from the Kimberley have been featured in some of the world's biggest galleries, providing a significant source of income and pride for local peoples. Indigenous Australian art is widely recognised for its authentic vision and cultural significance – some of Australia's most renowned artworks emerge from the Kimberley region. There are opportunities to visit galleries and museums across the Kimberley, including many in the town of Broome.
If you want to experience the Kimberley region for yourself, AAT Kings offers a number of tours that anyone can enjoy. We take care of the planning, provide transportation, and make it easier than ever to enjoy this ancient destination.