The Kimberley W.A.
The Kimberley region of Western Australia is a fusion of texture and earth coloured ochres. It extends from Broome and the Great Sandy Desert in the south to Kununurra and the Northern Territory border to the north east. The western coastline meets the beautiful Indian Ocean while the north is bounded by the Timor Sea.
The Kimberley is one of the most isolated and underpopulated regions in the world. Towns are few and far between with small populations and comparatively limited services.
The landscape is a variety of wide-open savanna grasslands, low shrub-country lined with Boab trees and magnificent gorges and waterfalls. The watercourses that flow into the ocean are pristine and untouched while underwater lie ancient coral atolls - rich with marine life.
Named after 'The Kimberley' region in South Africa, because of the similar landscapes, the Western Australian area is vast - twice the size of Victoria, three times the size of England and larger than Germany, Zimbabwe and Japan.
It is a unique environment, remote and visually remakable with much of the region inaccessible for large parts of the year due to wet season flooding.
Facts about The Kimberley
Area: 423517 km²
Population: 41,000 approx. with about ⅓ of aboriginal descent.
Climate: Tropical Monsoon
Geography: Steep, low sandstone and limestone mountain ranges and gorges. Dry tropical grasslands.
Flora: Savanna woodland and grassland, Bloodwood, Boab, Stringybark, Woollybutt trees, Coastal Mangroves, Spinifex and various grasses.
Fauna: Wallaby, Kangaroo, Saltwater Crocodile, Monitor Lizard, Frilled Lizard, Quoll, Bandicoot, Echidna, Dingo, various snakes, lizards and small marsupials. Over 300 species of birds including Eagles, Falcons, Bustards, Parrots and Brolgas.
The Kimberley offers a smorgasbord of experiences and sights for the traveller, the majority revolving around the rugged landscape. You won't find theme parks and high street shopping here. The Kimberely is all about the senses. It's about evading the burning sun to swim in the cool waters of rocky gorges and walking through the Bungle Bungles. It's about sunset camel rides along Broome's Cable Beach and helicopter flights over The Mitchell Falls. Notable attractions include -
- Purnululu National Park and The Bungle Bungles
- Gibb River Road and The Mitchell Falls
- Broome and Cable Beach
- Dampier Peninsula and Cape Leveque
- Geikie Gorge National Park
- Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek National Parks
- Wolfe Creek Crater National Park
- Lake Argyle and The Ord River
- Rowley Shoals Marine Park
- Derby and The Buccaneer Archipelago and the Horizontal Falls
- Numerous Wilderness Retreats
- El Questro and various 'Station Stays' (farm accommodation) with exclusive gorges and rivers.
- Wyndham, Halls Creek, Fitzroy Crossing and Kununurra
Broome, Derby, Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek, Kununurra, Wyndham
Getting Around The Kimberley
Getting around the Kimberley can be a little problematic. The terrain is extreme and during the 'Wet' much is inaccesible or open to four wheel drive only. River crossings become submerged and the many dirt roads become impassable. Saying this the major highway - the Great Northern is fully bitumised, remains open all year and provides access to many Kimberley attractions.
Tours of the Kimberley run out of Darwin, Perth and other major centres while Broome boasts an international airport. Other towns support small domestic airports with car and camper rentals available on arrival.
Seeing the Kimberley from the air, whether by small plane or helicopter, is a visual treat and offers a unique perspective of the landscape. Cruise ships moor off the coast and in major rivers while smaller launches and boats can be chartered for unforgettable waterside views of the gorges and cliffs.
By far the easiest and most economical way to see this remarkable place is in your own vehicle. Preferably a four wheel drive with high ground clearance. Camping grounds in the Kimberley are abundant and a camper van or camper trailer mean it's easy to find a secluded spot to watch an outback sunset.
Best Time to Visit
The Kimberley is hot. It has two distinct climates - the wet and dry seasons. The wet season builds up in November and goes through to April with large deluges of monsoonal rain that isolates communities and closes dirt roads. November temperatures are extreme with average daily temperatures nearing 40°C coupled with oppressive humidity.
The end of the wet, around April, is also the best time to see the rivers, waterfalls and gorges in all their glory - before things start to dry up.
May to August is the tourist season, peaking in June and July - when the temperature is the most comfortable. Clear blue skies are guaranteed with generally warm nights.
By September the heat begins to drive the tourists away. The country side begins to dry out and the months get hotter and the landscape drier.
Click on the map to see more Australian Regions.
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