Every Luxury Adventure To Experience In The Kimberley
Every year, more than one million visitors come from all around the world to visit Australia’s North West. The region is two billion years old, twice the size of Victoria and tucked away over near Indonesia.
Still though, it’s small enough to be ranked a ‘best-kept secret’ considering Sydney alone gets about 10 times that many. So, what makes the North West so appealing? We list its highlights:
Australia, the 2008 blockbuster movie, might have had some of us cringing, but it did shine a light on some pretty special scenery and for those with the wherewithal, you can venture out into the remote reaches and stay at very exclusive resorts.
The better-known ones are El Questro Homestead, The Berkeley River Lodge and the ultra-remote Faraway Bay. Or there are more approachable digs closer to Broome or Kununurra such as The Pearle at Cable Beach or the Kimberley Coastal Camp at Kununurra.
Any way you look at it, ‘get away from it all’ takes on a whole new meaning in this part of the world.
Where is the best fishing in Australia? It’s a delightful argument to have and the Kimberley should be on that list.
All through the mangrove estuaries, narrow creeks and wild rivers, you’ll find the water loaded with fish. Fingermark snapper, Coral Trout, Mangrove Jack, Giant Trevally and Queenfish are all common, relatively easy to catch and great eating. Of course, you can try for the big Barramundi, and when you land one of those, you can truly call yourself a fisherman. These cunning fish require particular skill and you’d be wise to get tips from an expert. Luckily there are plenty on hand in the Kimberley on any of the exclusive fishing charters all through the region. For starters, you could try Kuri Bay, Honeymoon Bay or Derby.
You could even win a million dollars if you catch the right fish.
River and lake cruising
The Kimberley is world-renowned for its coastal cruising among the ancient cliffs and estuaries, but you can also have a wild time on the rivers and inland waters of Lake Argyle and Lake Kununurra.
The massive Lake Argyle is the second largest manmade freshwater lake in Australia and was designed to irrigate the land in Australia’s North West, but thanks to hungry birds and insect pests, those plans were never fully realised. Nevertheless, the huge lake makes a perfect venue for boating, fishing and watersports like kayaks and catamarans.
Our tip? Take a thrilling high-speed (1000hp) tour along the Ord River with Triple J Tours.
Light planes and helicopters are busy ferrying guests to remote lodges and conducting flightseeing tours. There are many choices available and the flights are sensational. You will truly get an understanding of the scope of the region from the air.
One excellent recommendation is the award-winning Aviair flight and ground tour combo to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Bungle Bungles (Purnululu NP) where you get a guided flightseeing tour over these incredible ‘beehive’ formations, thought to be around 350 million years old. Astonishingly, these landmarks have only been known to the wider world since the mid-1980s. A great place for hiking too, but please take a hat and water.
You can bring your own 4WD or AWD vehicle, hire one locally or take a guided tour. Either way, this is perhaps the best way to really make contact with this ancient land. If you BYO or hire, you can pick your own route, stop where you like and generally take your time and absorb the wonderful surroundings.
One of the bonuses with 4WDing is staying at stations along the way. Home Valley Station, just off the Gibb River Road is one great location where you can enjoy top Aussie bush tucker and comfy accommodation as well as tours and activities like horseriding.
But please, if you are tackling the driving yourself, take sensible precautions like having emergency supplies (food, water, spares), radio and phone communications as well making sure your vehicle is in tip-top shape.
Festivals and special events
Foremost on the events calendar in the Kimberley is Broome’s Shinju Matsuri Festival (Japanese for “Festival of the Pearl”) which originated from three cultural festivals – Japanese Obon Matsuri, Malaysian Hari Merdeka and the Chinese Hang Seng. During the festival, the main street, Dampier Terrace, is closed for the massive Pearl Harvest Party and is filled with music, artisan stalls, food trucks and parades.
This year’s festivities kick off September 7.
Then there’s the annual Cable Beach Polo in May, a delightful combination of casual glamour, gourmet delights and great entertainment and a top flight event for world travellers.
Also in May is Kununurra’s Argyle Diamonds Ord Valley Muster with 30 events over ten days showcasing some of Australia’s most acclaimed musicians and culinary personalities.
Our tip? While in Broome, you can take a hovercraft ride out on Roebuck Bay or do what everyone does and ride a camel along Cable Beach.
(Lead image: Helicopter over the Bungle Bungles / HeliSpirit Tours)
Published 29 May, 2019