Most visitors enter via Broome, a tiny pearling town whose many cemeteries provide a poignant reminder of the price many divers paid to obtain a handful of iridescent South Sea treasures. To the town’s west is Cable Beach, a Western Australian landmark, lapped by turquoise Indian Ocean and flanked by white sands. Time your visit to coincide with the “Staircase to the Moon” optical illusion, which occurs between March and October for around 3 nights each month when a full moon rises over exposed mudflats.
Another must-see in the Kimberley is 800km inland – the black-and-ochre striped sandstone domes known as the Bungle Bungles. Kununurra, the region’s second largest settlement, lies just north of these formations and provides another entry point to Purnululu National Park as well as a base to explore east Kimberley. Then there’s the exquisite northwest coast, a rugged, unpeopled paradise, home to big bronze rivers, towering waterfalls and Australia’s largest inshore reef – best explored by cruise ship.
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Although clichéd, a sunset camelback ride along Cable Beach is a must. At low tide, walk across Roebuck Bay to see mud-entombed “flying boats” shot down by Japanese aircraft during World War II. Board the multi award-winning True North cruise ship in Broome to visit icons of the north-west coast such as Horizontal Falls and the Hunter River. Take a scenic flight over the Bungle Bungles departing Kununurra, before exploring the wilderness of World Heritage-listed Purnululu National Park on foot and by 4WD.
- A remote and rugged region three times the size of England
- Home of the impressive, beehive-shaped Bungle Bungles
- Remote El Questro Wilderness Park and the breathtaking Purnululu National Park
- Broome, Australia’s pearling capital and gateway to the northwest Kimberley coast
- Dazzling Indian Ocean sunsets
- Iconic Cable Beach and the intriguing “Staircase to the Moon” phenomenon
- Rich Aboriginal heritage and culture
- Magical waterfalls and secret swimming holes
- Pretty Kununurra, gateway to east Kimberley
- Solitary homesteads and isolated cattle stations
Accommodation – The Kimberley
Suggested Tours Featuring the Kimberley
Broome is the most common entry point to the Kimberley, connected to most Australian capitals by air. It’s possible to drive here from Darwin or Perth, but bear in mind that distances are vast and road conditions in the north may be challenging in wet weather. Another option is Kununurra, accessible commercially via Darwin, Broome and Perth.
Most trips to isolated Kimberley region originate out of Perth or Darwin. Once up here, why not consider a few nights at a glamorous outback retreat such as El Questro Homestead or Berkeley River Lodge? Alternatively, leave the parched pindan landscape behind for the Northern Territory’s pristine wetlands; Bamurru Plains and Wildman Wilderness Lodge are two upscale bush lodges that provide a great introduction to northern Australia’s lush tropical wilds.