Nothing compares to The Kimberley.
I don’t think I could even anticipate how much this well known region, covering the north of Western Australia would resonate within me. Was it the trees? Those sunsets? Definitely the ranges…
We explored from Kununurra to Broome, I was entranced! Here’s why we loved the eastern Kimberley and our introduction to the Gibb River Road…
1. Kununurra town
We had to get through some work deadlines, and back then we secured an awesome family rate – so it was our longest stop in our lap – ten days! The friendly town is surrounded by water and red hills. We dined out and caught up with the footy at a pub, took scenic drives to see the irrigation systems, loaded up on beautiful local produce at farm stalls, Sandalwood products (an interesting industry, we learnt they are a parasite) – the kids loved the frozen mango and zebra rock. We could walk to town from our caravan park, we enjoyed exploring shops and supporting locals by buying from the Saturday market. Yummy Asian meals!
However, there was so much birdlife, fat boabs and western sunsets – all from our campsite – I would have been content to stay put. But we didn’t, there was so much to experience…
2. Ivanhoe Crossing
This is really a necessity when visiting Kununurra – we didn’t see any, but crocs like to frequent the area around this concrete causeway. During “The Wet” the crossing is impassable. It is popular for fishers, but definitely no swimming!
3. Kelly’s Knob Lookout
Thegoowiyeng is the place for 360 degree views over town. It is so close to town – you can see the river and farmlands and Elephant Rock. It is only 1.2 km return so it was easy for all of us.
4. Mirima National Park
We took an excellent walk and views through the “mini Bungles”. There is no camping or fires in this national park, also known as Hidden Valley. There are three short walks here. Again, this location is so close to town.
5. The Hoochery
Built by hand on a family farm – it is the oldest legal still in WA. There was a lot to try – gin, too. They really catered to the kids, a frog in jelly each kept them smiling whilst we sampled. WE still have our Hoochery pottery shot “glasses”. They travel in our van for the port!
6. Ord River Dam and River
There are a few ways to explore the river, we chose a self guided two day kayak adventure and camping! Wow, we loved it, the spectacular scenery especially the boat cruise home – and a little croc bumping into our canoe!
7. Bungle Bungle Flight
It was amazing seeing the Kununurra, Lake Argyle, Agyle Diamond Mine and the Bungle Bungles (Purnululu National Park) from the air. Shame the boys weren’t so impressed, despite being given a front seat with the pilot – he was using the sick bag with a few minutes. The another joined in! As our daughter diarised: “It felt pretty good to be back on the ground.”
8. Lake Argyle
We camped at Lake Argyle Caravan and Camping Park, best known for the infinity pool over the lake – amazing views and it really was bucket list for me! The lake is 25 times larger than Sydney Harbour! It really is a wonder.
9. Durack Homestead Museum
Relocated from the dam area, this was also on my bucket list, having read “Kings in Grass Castles” by matriarch Mary Durack, seeing how they lived and learning about the family and the country was worthwhile.
10. Travel the Gibb River River Road
An Aussie Icon in itself, especially crossing the Pentecost River. The Gibb River Road is arguably Australia’s most epic 4WD adventure. My eyes were mesmerised by the Cokburn Ranges and the different landscape.
11. Home Valley
It was here that we decided to double our time away. Lapping from Queensland south then up through the Red Centre, to the NT’s north – we were due to return – kids back to school and us to work.
It was the lure of the ranges – either that or the offerings at Dusty’s Bar and Grill! Or perhaps it was the upgrade from glamping tents to three separate rooms and only pairs sharing – instead of six in our six berth motorhome. The pool swims and playground were also welcome. Whatever, we decided to keep working on the road, and see Australia’s west!
No wonder I have such good memories of the Kimberley! I am so pleased that Balanggarra, as it is also known, is opening again for the 2023 season.
12. El Questro
Attractions at El Questro were a highlight – the rocky trail into (with stepping stones) brought us to the lovely Emma Gorge.
Hot Zebedee Springs – very comfy but watch your timing so you make the most of it here. There were water crossings to get to the camp area of the station.
Again we scored here – with a fantastic site at Kimberleyland Waterfront Holiday Park. We were so waterfront we could see pairs of shining lights on the water nightly. Croc’s eyes! Pretty cool.
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