We’re fortunate here in Australia to have so many amazing destinations on our doorstep. The Kimberley region is no exception – relaxing on the pristine beaches of Broome, enjoying a cruise along the picture-perfect coastline and heading off on a 4WD adventure through some breathtaking landscapes!
We sat down with Matthew Fleming, owner of The Kimberley Collection & The Territory Collection, to get his tips and suggestions for making the most of your time in this unique destination.
1. Are there specific times of the year that are best to visit The Kimberley? And how many days do you recommend travellers allow?
The best time to visit The Kimberley is between late April & mid-October. If travellers are flexible with their travel times, then it is recommended to visit early in the season – May or June, when the gorges & waterfalls are gushing, the vegetation is a vibrant green & lush and the ochre red pindan soil contrasts with the landscape.
Travellers need at least one week whether it be for a Broome beach holiday, a tour to the West Kimberley gorges & rivers or the East Kimberley attractions of the Ord River, Bungle Bungles & El Questro Station. For anyone wanting to do a cruise along The Kimberley Coast or an extended tour or self-drive holiday taking in the Gibb River Road then we would recommend a minimum of 2 weeks.
2. What can travellers expect from The Kimberley?
Friendly locals & outback characters to start. Visit the dramatic landscapes such as the King Leopold & Cockburn ranges, beautiful gorges such as Bell, Manning & Galvans, unique cattle stations – El Questro, Home Valley & Mt Elizabeth, stunning waterfalls on a Kimberley cruise – Mitchell, King Cascade & King George and the iconic Cable Beach in Broome.
3. What types of land tour options are there for travellers wanting a guided small group experience?
There are several options available for guided small group experiences. The main area to tour is the Gibb River Road which is unsealed for approx. 600kms from Derby through to Kununurra. The 3 options when travelling the Gibb River Road are Broome to Broome return via the Gibb River Road and Northern Highway, Broome to Darwin via the Gibb River Road or Northern Highway to Kununurra then sealed road to Darwin via Kakadu or Broome to Kununurra. Accommodation styles can include rustic cattle station accommodation, glamping safari tents with en-suites, already erected tents or put your own tent up. We can cater for all age groups & all price ranges.
4. If travellers are after a self-drive adventure, how easy is it to navigate this region on your own?
Pretty easy…. you can’t get lost on the Gibb River Road or the Northern Highway. One road up & one road back to Kununurra from Broome. Self-drives are popular for those with an ‘outback spirit’. You must have a 4WD to travel on the Gibb River Road as it unsealed; i.e. dirt & dust most of the way. But the experience is worth the red pindan soil dust all over the vehicle. We would recommend approximately 2 weeks to do the drive experience up the Gibb River Road & back to Broome or up to Darwin.
5. Cruising the coast is a popular option in this region. What advice or recommendations can you give about exploring by sea?
Now this is the ultimate way to see the Kimberley! It is all about the waterfalls; Mitchell, Horizontal & King George, rivers; Berkeley, Prince Regent to name a couple, the landscape & escarpments, indigenous rock – art; Wandjina & Bradshaw & the wildlife; dugongs, turtles & crocs.
It is important that clients can choose the vessel which will suit them (and we can help with that). The vessel sizes vary from 12 passengers up to 180 passengers. The smaller the vessel, the more flexible the itineraries and the more active the cruises. The larger ones will have more facilities; theatrettes, gyms, hairdressers in some cases. Whichever one you choose you will not be disappointed. Many clients return saying it the best holiday they have ever had!!
6. What are your top 3 unique or special attractions travellers should not miss?
Tough question considering there so many highlights…. but if I had to narrow it down it would be a scenic flight & walking tour through the Bungles, a cruise down the Ord River near Kununurra and the fast boat through the Horizontal Falls.
7. What is one of the highlights of your travels through The Kimberley?
Without doubt a Kimberley cruise. It is the adult equivalent of a kid in a lolly shop….so many different taste sensations on offer every day!
8. Any other tips or advice for travellers wanting to visit The Kimberley?
Plan ahead. Cruises can be fully booked up to 9 months ahead so it is worth booking as early as possible to get the date & cabin you would like. Also, school holidays, Broome Cup week & Easter are usually heavily booked many months ahead. If you are flexible with your travel times, it is suggested that you avoid July school holidays when Broome & the Gibb River Road are at their busiest.
Contact us if you’d like to know more about visiting this part of the world. There are a range of great small group tours to choose from or we can work with the team at The Kimberley Collection to put together the perfect private tailor-made itinerary for you!