The Kimberley: Australian’s Hidden Outback
If you think you’ve visited the Australian Outback with a trip to the red centre, think again.
One of Australia’s last frontiers can be found in Western Australia and is known as the Kimberley. Three times the size of England, the Kimberley covers more than 400,000 square kilometres of relatively untouched landscapes featuring emerald gorges, mesmerizing waterfalls and 1,000 nautical miles of incredible coastlines.
Taking in this incredible region can be done with either a cruise along the Kimberley coast, or head inland on a tour which is best taken using a four wheel drive vehicle to combat the rocky terrain, and with local guides who can share their extensive knowledge of the area.
Craig Ward, is an Expedition leader for touring specialists APT and has spent more than 14 years working in the Kimberley. When taking guests up to Raft Point, Doubtful Bay the team works closely with nearby locals at Fresh Point as Ward explains: “We’re incredibly fortunate to be able to connect with the guys and girls from Fresh Water Cove. They take a ride down the coast and meet us on the beach, it’s especially important because they welcome us traditionally. So there’s a smoking ceremony, we then get to make a hike up into this art gallery and the locals, who were good friends with, tell us their story and the tale that’s on the rocks. It’s a privilege.”
The vast landscape has a plethora of must-see locations but some of the most iconic in this region include Purnululu Park, Horizontal falls and Bell Gorge.
No trip to the Kimberley is complete without a visit to the iconic Purnululu National Park, which features the distinctive Bungle Bungle Range – a vast collection of beehive shaped sandstone domes. The park has been around for more than 300 million years but was only discovered in the 1980s and quickly became a World-Heritage listed site. The Bungle Bungle Range forms a spectacular landscape, as the rocks rise up to 250m above the ground. It can be experienced with a helicopter ride or take a walk along Piccaninny Creek where the domes will surround you. Further into the park you can also test your singing voice with the phenomenal acoustics at Cathedral Gorge.
While Purnululu is best enjoyed with a combination of a four wheel drive and on foot, many choose to cruise along the Kimberley Coast. Travelling this way offers a chance to take in the iconic Horizontal Falls, once described by David Attenborough as “One of the greatest natural wonders of the world.” The falls only appear twice a day when a surge of water bursts through two narrow gorges, leaving onlookers with a lifelong memory – and even more so when you’re able to take a boat ride right through them.
Back on dry land, if walking on rocky terrain isn’t enough exercise for you, make a stop at the popular Bell Gorge. Located along the Gibb River Road the gorge is a stunning set of cliffs surrounded by tiered waterholes. Here you have the option to hike to the lower pool of the gorge, where you can enjoy a dip under the cascading waterfall.
Book your next adventure
The challenging and remote nature of the Kimberley may conjure images of camping with minimal home comforts, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Touring and River Cruise specialists, APT offer luxury tours with exclusive lodges, custom made 4WD vehicles and small group touring starting from £6,095 per person.