The Kimberley is where WA really gets wild. Desert, gorges, scrublands, coastline; hordes of camels, herds of buffalo, packs of dingoes, flocks of jabirus; the prints of dinosaurs stamped along the Dampier Peninsula, the tracks of their modern-day ancestors marking the riverbanks – and one sealed road running through all 423,000 km2 of it.
Broome and its foreshore are enough to keep visitors for days, but it’s really the Kimberley’s natural gloats that lure travellers from afar. Cape Leveque and the Bungle Bungles? Sure – though they’re only the beginning. If you manage to drag yourself away from Cable Beach, the region rapidly unfurls into worlds of dense rainforest, vast underground cave systems and African-esque boab-blotched horizons.
The Gibb River Road is a 660 kilometre stretch of road that runs through the Kimberley. Along the track you’ll see most of the region’s icons, like the gorges, falls, mountains and diverse landscapes. During the wet season (from November to March) the Gibb River Road is closed, so if you want to take the epic drive, you’ll need to do it during from April to October.
For gorges you’ve got Windjana, Bell, Emma and Geikie (to name but a few); for falls, Manning and Zebedee. For mountains there are the Cockburn, Napier and Oscar Ranges. Even for a region larger than 75% of the world’s countries, the Kimberley packs in stacks.
A World Heritage-listed landscape of striped, beehive-shaped, sandstone domes. Other highlights include Echidna Chasm and Cathedral Gorge.
The Lennard River has wound its course through the Napier Range for millions of years. The fruit of its labours is Windjana Gorge – an ancient Devonian reef system brimming with freshwater crocodiles and aflutter with fruit bats.
This million-acre sprawl of wild bushland and palm-shaded springs was opened up to visitors when its owners decided its beauty was wasted on their cattle. We’re forever grateful.