The Kimberley is a pilgrimage for the soul and the body.
It is an ancient landscape that breathes in eons, and it should be at the top of your bucket list. We’ve been enough that we’ve stopped counting the past and started wondering how many more times we can go again.
This is your 2021 guide, from our heads and hearts, to the best destinations and experiences that the Kimberley has to offer. This is the 2021 Kimberley Gold Standard.
Explore the Kimberley’s most iconic locations with Kingfisher Tours. Let the team guide you from Mitchell Falls, along the gorgeous Kimberley coastline through the depths of Purnululu National Park on the journey of a lifetime.
Experience the uncommon beauty of the Kimberley’s varied landscapes from air, land and sea on their plane, 4WD and boat tours.
With more than eight years of experience operating in the Kimberley region, Kingfisher Tours have learnt to facilitate truly unique experiences by partnering with local Aboriginal guides with a deep understanding of the land, top-rated accommodation providers and their aviation partner Air Kimberley.
VEHICLES: The team utilise Toyota Prados for touring comfort when travelling around the Kununurra area. When travelling further afield into Purnululu National Park, Mitchell River National Park and to the north coast, they make use of a fleet of tough and reliable LandCruiser Troopcarriers.
For their air travel tours, the Kingfisher Tours team utilise a range of light fixed wing aircraft including Cessna 210s, GA18 Airvans and Kodiak touring planes. They also partner with Helicopter Logistics to charter tours to some locations.
KIMBERLEY EXPERIENCES: The Secret Locations Tours is an approximately 10-hour adventure departing at 6am and including gourmet lunch, afternoon tea and sunset drinks while taking in some of the Kimberley’s most glorious sights.
Alternatively, book a customised Kimberley package out of Broome, Kununurra or Darwin with meals and accommodation included.
PURNULULU NATIONAL PARK: The mesmerising Bungle Bungle Ranges are a true geomorphic phenomenon, protected within the world heritage-listed Purnululu National Park.
Choose your own adventure with daily Purnululu Explorer and Purnululu and Cockburn Explorer tours available.
Alternatively, bundle your tour with a scenic flight experience, trekking experience, full day flight/4WD/trek combo or even a multi-day adventure with overnight stay at the stunning Wilderness Lodge.
MITCHELL FALLS + KIMBERLEY COAST: Choose from the full day Wandjina Explorer Tour with scenic flight over Mitchell Falls, meals and guided tour of the north coast country, or the Mitchell Falls Day Trek Tour, with scenic flight over the falls, guided tour to Mitchell Falls, meals and one-way helicopter flight from the falls.
Alternatively, the Mitchell Falls + Wandjina Explorer includes scenic flight over the falls, guided Wandjina and Mitchell Falls tour plus meals and Superior Tent at Mitchell Falls lodge.
The four-day Mitchell Falls + Kimberley Coastal Camp Tour includes scenic flight over Mitchell Falls and the coast, guided tours, three nights accommodation, meals and activities.
DAYTRIPS: Departing from Broome, see the best of the Purnululu National Park, Mitchell Falls or the Kimberley Coast in an action-packed daytrip.
Go north young man, to the tip of the Dampier Peninsula and hang a hard right in the direction of Mission Bay, here you’ll find Australia’s best known pearl farm and a springboard to so much more.
Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm has been a must-stop for decades for all who ply the western flank of the Kimberley, either by 4WD or by boat.
It’s a destination that has it all, and that’s before you even start touring the irridescent waters of the Buccaneer Archipelago.
THE SETTING: The peculiar tidal flow at King Sound has made it the ultimate place to cultivate pearls since chancers arrived here 140 years back. Here at ‘lands end’ you’ll find one of the most famous pearl farms anywhere on earth, though these days it’s often overshadowed by its tours and accommodation options.
THE STORY: The pearl farm was founded by Dean Brown in 1946. Dean was navigating the Kimberley coast in a wooden lugger when he discovered the secluded and unspoilt beauty of Cygnet Bay along with the precious gift of the Pinctada Maxima pearl shell.
This is where his pearling dream was realised, with the creation of the first Australian owned and run South Sea pearl farm, before this only the Japanese had the expertise to culture pearls. Dean’s son Lyndon, was the first non-Japanese to successfully culture pearls and to do so in a commercial manner.
With the same respect and connection to the sea, the Brown family are proud custodians of their grandfather’s 70-year legacy. As one of only three remaining pearl farms in the Broome area – the Browns are proud to welcome you into their family story and share in the rich history of the area.
THE ATTRACTION: The tours at Cygnet Bay are put together with the same meticulousness that they bring to their pearling operations. They have a range of time-proven experiences that will see you really involved with this particular nook of the Kimberley. They’ve gained a nationwide rep, especially for their giant tides and Waterfall Reef Sea Safaris. Our enduring favourite each time we’ve been through here would have to be the ‘Sunset In Style’ tour.
THE DRIVING: Are you kidding, this is the Dampier Peninsula! If you can’t find epic beach runs and challenging corrugations to get your wheels dirty out here, then you might need to pack it in. And this is your last chance to do it, with the paved road being opened at the end of 2020.
THE ACCOMMODATION: Master Pearler’s Private Retreat: The original family homestead offers complete seclusion and privacy on its own elevated headland.
Safari Tents: Nestled between the foreshore and remnant Kimberley rainforest are ten comfortably appointed safari tents (with newly renovated deluxe versions installed last year).
Pearlers’ Shacks: Stay in the self-contained heritage buildings used by early pearlers.
THE DINING: Visit the licenced restaurant for brekky, lunch or dinner for a good feed, cold beer or even just a dip in the only pool on the peninsula. Insider tip: try the local specialty of pearl meat, fresh from the farm.
THE CAMPING: Campsites are limited so are well worth booking in advance. There are less than ten sites but they are powered and secluded in a shady alcove.
THE X FACTOR: The Australian Pearling Story starts with the local Bardi Jawi people. Discover the ancient art of ‘Riji’ pearl shell carving with Bruce Wiggan’s beautiful artwork on display and for sale from the farm gallery, or join Terry Hunter on his Borrgoron Coast to Creek tours to share in his family connection to country at Cygnet Bay.
THE MUST-DO: A must for all who make the drive out here? You need to find out how the harvesting process works, otherwise known as their ‘Discovery Tour’.
(08) 9192 4283
Cape Leveque is where the truest pindan clashes with the cerulean sea.
Kooljaman Wilderness Camp, a touring icon, feels like paradise at the end of the world, because that’s what it is.
This is Bardi Jawi country and the rare experience that any 4WDing tourist can engage in here with the locals simply cannot be done anywhere else in Australia.
THE SETTING: You’ve made it. After a bumpy couple of hours in the saddle, the iconic red Cape Leveque Road deposits you at the gates of paradise, right here at Camp Kooljaman.
Cape Leveque deserves every bit of its wrap as one of Australia’s favourite remote coastal destinations, and Kooljaman is the shining gem in the Cape’s crown.
Sublime beaches are adorned with rustic beach huts, all the mod cons you could desire, and all bathed in that indescribable Kimberley light. Take me to Kooljaman!
THE STORY: The local Bardi Jawi people set up shop here at the tip of the peninsula eons ago, and they’ve developed a culture in tune with the marine ecosystems they interact with daily. Kooljaman is regularly held up as a prime example of indigenous tourism done right. The camp is owned and run by the local communities who form the board. The managers and staff are friendly and their welcoming vibe is infectious.
THE ATTRACTION: The cultural tours are on another level. The tour guides Bundy, Brian Lee, and Bolo Angus, draw on decades of lived experience plus the knowledge of ancestors to impart some real wisdom on visitors.
Learn to identify seasonal bush fruits, then take a crash course in traditional fishing and mudcrabbing methods before putting your skills to the test and whipping up a sensational fresh caught seafood feast.
THE DRIVING: Seriously, some of the best beach runs anywhere. Take Brian Lee’s cultural tour and follow his trusty HiLux through the dunes, deep into Bardi Country and explore the hidden reaches of Hunters Creek.
THE ACCOM: Deluxe Safari Tents: Perfect for couples. Complete with king size bed, gas BBQ, private ensuite and spacious balcony with uninterrupted views.
Family Safari Tents: Spoil yourself and family. Awesome views, ensuite, decks, one queen bed and two singles.
Ensuite Cabins: Ideal family option with queen bed plus three singles and an extra trundle. All set in a private bushland setting.
Beach Camping Shelters: Get your Robinson Crusoe on. These beach shelters are simple but elegant and allow you to get back to basics with a million dollar view.
Camping: Powered and unpowered sites to match every camper’s needs.
THE DINING: At Raugi’s Restaurant experienced chefs marry modern culinary techniques with local ingredients to create distinct Kooljaman feasts. Midweek pizza + live music is a specialty.
Pro Tip: Try the barra. But if you want to match it with a crisp glass of sauv blanc, you’ll need to bring your own, this being a ‘dry’ region. BYO is welcome.
THE CAMPING: For our money, you just can’t beat a couple of nights in the Beach Camping Shelter.
Each shelter has palm frond walls and roof with a sand floor, private fire pit with a night’s wood supply, picnic table, outdoor freshwater shower and a view you’d mortgage your left kidney for.
THE X FACTOR: The locals are full of fantastic stories. Make the effort to join them on the 4WD, cultural and fishing tours and you’ll be brimming over with new knowledge bites to drop on your mates and family back home.
THE MUST-DO: If you’re any way piscatorially inclined, get out there for a day’s fishing on the good ship Oolard, or try a daytrip out to Sunday Island. Almost within casting distance of the shore, the skipper will have you stuck into shoals of coral trout, blue line emperor and perhaps even a feisty Spanish mack.
(08) 9192 4970
Welcome to cattle country, where diesel meets dust, where jagged mountains meet wild rivers. It’s the Aussie outback in a single snapshot.
The name El Questro is known around the globe as a benchmark for exploration, and for offering every form of accommodation for every form of budget, with the consistent hallmark across all of them being an authentic experience of a working East Kimberley cattle station.
YOU ARE HERE: The 69th biggest station in Australia might just be our most spectacular. At just over 700,000 acres in size, it sprawls 80kms right into the heart of our last great frontier. It’s still a working station with 6000 head of cattle, and it also houses the famous El Questro Wilderness Park. Within its borders, it encompasses the Cockburn Range, part of the Durack Range, and sections of the Pentecost, Chamberlain, Salmond and King Rivers.
HISTORY: The first lease to be taken up in one of the most remote areas of the empire was in 1903, and it was then known as ‘Spurlings Pocket’. Long before the Gibb River Road, this grazing lease bisected old stock routes that linked to the meatworks at Wyndham. In the 50s, two graziers took over the spread and named it El Questro.
WHY YOU SHOULD STOP: The corrugations of the Gibb can give even the hardiest of drivers a need for some human comforts, with the best panacea being to dip the aching limbs in the El Questro Gorge waterfall and to dip the taste buds into an ale at the Swinging Arm Bar.
4WDING: This is what we’re here for, after all. There’s some snappy shorter roundtrips close to the station, including Explosion Gorge and Saddleback Ridge, that give access to thunderous waterholes and expansive views. However, the meat to this entrée is the Cockburn Circuit. The track circumnavigates the Cockburn Ranges as well as tidal rivers and savannah plains.
A ROOF OVER YOUR HEAD: These are at the high end when it comes to station accommodation. Especially in the five-star luxury of the Homestead overlooking the Pentecost River, and the tented cabins nestled at Emma Gorge Resort in the Cockburn Ranges. More accessible rooms can be found at El Questro Station, and rooms are available from April to October.
CAMPING: Is, of course, a cheaper option than the station itself. You can either set up shop at the general Black Cockatoo Campground ($60 for the family per day) or at a limited number of private bush camping sites ($90 for the family per day) along the river.
DID YOU KNOW: By the 1990s the station was in such a state of disrepair that new owners Will and Celia Burrell turned it into a wilderness park and embarked on a successful building program to turn it into one of the Kimberley’s most famous drawcards.
DON’T MISS: This is one of the most spectacular areas in the world to see from a helicopter, from the diamond mines of Lake Argyle to the beehives of the Bungle Bungles.
1800 837 168
The Fitzroy River lodge is situated on fifty acres of natural bushland on the banks of the pristine Fitzroy River. A bastion of comfort and hospitality deep in the heart of the Kimberley, the lodge is a must-see destination for weary travellers seeking to recharge their batteries.
The lodge is surrounded by spectacular natural wonders including Geikie Gorge National Park, Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek. Not to mention the fact that the Fitzroy River itself is a world famous barramundi fishery!
Visitors can post up at the well-equipped campground and make use of the immaculate facilities, choose from a range of comfortable accommodation options and make use of the swimming pool, fully licensed bar and onsite restaurant.
THE LOCATION: The lodge is located on the northern side of the Great Northern Highway, just a few minutes drive east of the Fitzroy River township. It’s located approximately 400km east of Broome and 250km southeast of Derby.
All main roads are sealed, making Fitzroy River Lodge generally accessible year round.
TOURS AND ATTRACTIONS: The Fitzroy River Lodge is the perfect base from which to explore some of the Kimberley’s most stunning natural wonders. The Department of Parks and Wildlife provide a guided tour of Geikie Gorge National Park.
Venture a little further from town to visit the unique and historically significant Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek.
THINGS TO DO: Visitors can make use of the refreshing outdoor swimming pool, tennis court, riverside restaurant and licensed lounge bar.
Facilities include free unlimited WiFi, barbeques, camp kitchen, coin laundry, caravan storage and more.
THE ACCOMMODATION: Visitors can choose from powered, unpowered and drive-through sites when posting up at the spacious and well-appointed campground.
Those looking to splash out are spoilt for choice, with spacious motel rooms, luxury Riverview Studios and self-contained one and two bedroom units to choose from, as well as safari tents for those looking to add a touch of luxury to their night under the stars.
(08) 9191 5141
If you’re talking about launch pads to adventure, no place can hold a candle to Kununurra, where you can easily shoot off into 1000 different East Kimberley directions.
This is Northwest delta country, where the land is governed by life-giving rivers that crisscross through stunning country in the form of gorges, waterfalls, lakes, jungle and savannah.
Kununurra is the opposite bookend to Broome in the west, and it’s a town that’s always got an incredible vibe because it’s either the start or end of every 4WDers’ pilgrimage. Either way, people are smiling in Kununurra.
THE SETTING: This year represents a hat-trick of Gold Standard gongs for Kununurra Country Club Resort. And deservingly so, become there are few places that make 4WDers as welcome anywhere in Oz. As far as word of mouth goes, this place is always talked about glowingly when you bump into other tourers along the Gibb. It’s all about ease here, and it’s the perfect base for deeper missions to the Ord River’s reaches, or Purnulu NP.
THE STORY: Even though it’s the largest outpost between Broome and the Top End, Kununurra is still only home to 6000 people and retains an idyllic village vibe. It’s a relatively new town too, created to service the damming of the Ord River some 50 years back: the result of this being Lake Argyle and decent year-round irrigation.
THE ATTRACTION: Kununurra is the axis, from whence all East Kimberley adventure branches from. And right at the heart of this axis, you’ll find this place – centrally located to everything in Kununurra, but the layout of the resort is such that your room is still surrounded by a green and blissful privacy. It’s the ultimate place to kick back, switch off your odometer-weary bones, and plan your next foray.
THE DRIVING: If you threw a dart at a map of the best offroading in Australia, the bullseye would land squarely at the Country Club. All of the Kimberley’s greatest hits are nearby; the stations, the rivers, the lakes. If you zoom out slightly, you’ll also see you’re right on the NT border, should you want to chase northern jungles; and just a couple of hours from the Canning Stock Route, should you want to chase empty deserts.
THE ACCOMMODATION: The reason the Country Club has been a winner for so long is due to the uncomplicated, luxurious and modern rooms, surrounded by native tropical gardens. The spacious rooms are also drenched with hyper-chilled air-con. Though most of the rooms are King and Club sized, there’s also a selection of rooms configured for families and, if you have strange numbers and strange touring buddies, there are triple-share options, interconnecting rooms, whatever you’re chasing.
THE X FACTOR: As far as the best eating in the East Kimberley goes, few places have as strong a rep as Kelly’s Bar & Grill, and it just so happens to be on premise here at the Country Club. Sure it’s well priced and the food is next level, but the experience is magnified because you’re on a shaded deck overlooking the swimming pool.
(08) 9168 1024
Where wilderness and luxury collide. Nestled at the foot of the Dampier Peninsula, where the white sands of Cable Beach give way to pindan cliffs, Willie Creek Pearls offers a unique glimpse into the coast’s pearling past, as well as some of the best pearls in the world, right here on the best coast.
Willie Creek Pearls offer the complete pearling experience, from telling the history of pearling in Broome, to educating thousands of visitors per day about modern pearling, through to commercial pearl farming and luxury jewellery manufacture and sale.
THE LOCATION: Willie Creek Pearls are available at six showrooms throughout Broome and Perth. Willie Creek Pearl Farm is located 38km out of Broome, on the shores of bucolic waterway of Willie Creek itself.
THE HISTORY: Willie Creek Pearls is owned and operated by the Banfield family who’ve turned the business into one of Broome’s most awarded tourism operations. For more than three decades, visitors have come to the farm to learn about the process of cultured pearl farming and to see first-hand how modern pearls are sustainably produced.
THE TOURS: A trip to Broome and the Kimberley isn’t complete without a visit to Willie Creek Pearls. Plan a visit and choose from the Willie Creek Pearl Farm Tour, the Pearl Luggers Tour and the Complete Pearl Experience.
EYE IN THE SKY: Opt in for the full experience and take a helicopter flight over Willie Creek Pearl Farm! The team offer local and extended scenic flights, which are bookable onsite at the Pearl Farm, and are subject to availability.
(08) 9192 0000
Do yourself a favour and make sure to factor in a visit to the historic Crossing Inn – the oldest licensed venue in the Kimberley, and an iconic Australian pub that’s oozing with regional flavour.
This remarkable establishment was always destined for success – its enviable location on the banks of the stunning Fitzroy River is hard to beat. Certainly no flash in the pan, the Crossing Inn has stood the test of time. It’s a Kimberley institution that’s stood here on the same site since 1897!
The perfect spot to pump the brakes and stop in for a tasty meal and refreshments. There’s a caravan park with camping available and excellent facilities, so you might want to post up for a while and soak in the serenity.
THE LOCATION: Nestled amongst native bushland on the banks of the pristine Fitzroy River, it’s little wonder that the Crossing Inn’s appeal has been so enduring. The famous pub is located at 35 Skuthorp Road, Fitzroy Crossing.
THE HISTORY: The inn has welcomed weary travellers and thirsty locals alike since its establishment on 5th July 1897 by founding publican Joseph Blythe. While the facilities have been upgraded significantly, the historic pub retains all its old time charm and character.
THE ACCOMMODATION: Patrons can choose from comfortable motel, family and workers rooms, with riverfront or garden view options. Short and long term stay arrangements are available.
Travellers also have the option of posting up in the peaceful Caravan and Camping Park and choosing a powered or unpowered site set amongst a multitude of shady trees.
OTHER FACILITIES: Camping and Caravan Park visitors have access to a well-facilitated camp kitchen, barbeques, amenities block, picnic tables, laundry room and more.
Pub patrons can enjoy a range of tasty dining options with their refreshments, including ordering from the award-winning à la Carte menu.
(08) 9191 5080
Even if you’ve seen it in footage your whole life, still expect to be floored when you first clap raw eyeballs on Cable Beach.
It’s considered one of the World’s Top 10 Beaches for good reason.
The camels, the crystal clear water, the beer o’clock serenity… yep, the Kimberley might be the only place on earth where the gateway is just as stunning as the rest of the journey.
It’s where you’ll either be a) planning your pilgrimage, or b) successfully at the end of your trip, collapsing into the chalk white sand of one of Australia’s coolest historical towns.
The hardest thing you’ll have to do is leave, because you’ll think surely the rest of the Kimberley can’t be any better than this, and for some people this is as far as they get.
THE SETTING: Just a short salty stroll from the gleaming white expanse of Cable Beach, one of Australia, nay, the world’s, most coveted stretches of sand, you’ll find little reason to change out of your boardshorts.
After bumping across the Gibb’s million corrugations, this is your chance to chill.
THE STORY: Cable Beach has been attracting travellers of all stripes to its luminous shores since Broome first made it onto a map. In fact, the gleaming white strip of sand earned its name after the telegraph cable laid between Broome and Java, deep beneath the Indian Ocean, way back in 1889.
The bone-white shores and soft red ochre cliffs are known to send visiting photogs into fits of frenzied delight. Mind you, that’s only if they can manage to drag themselves from lazing on the beach or beneath the swaying palms by the resort pool.
THE ATTRACTION: Location, location, location! Over the road from the best strip of sandy real estate in town, the RAC Cable Beach Holiday Park is one of nine RAC Parks & Resorts properties dotted between WA’s most iconic destinations.
The park is just a kilometre from the lively local restaurant precinct and just a seven-minute drive to the bustling heart of Broome.
With all the facilities you could want on hand, the scenery and a balmy tropical climate through the entire touring season, you’d be mad not to take the opportunity to stop and recharge your batteries.
THE DRIVING: 4WDs are permitted on Cable Beach ‘north of the rocks’ with vehicle access provided at Cable Beach Road West. The flat sandy expanse is spot-on for low tide forays and offers one of the best beach driving backdrops in WA.
THE ACCOMMODATION: Suit yourself. Seriously, there’s something for everyone at this place.
Two Bedroom Cabins: A roomy two bedder was our choice when dropping past for a couple of nights last year with film crew in tow and a bunch of electronics to charge. Sleeps up to six.
Studio Cabins: Ideal accommodation for couples and singles. Treat yourself to a night or two in a proper bed under air con.
Powered Van Sites: Number one choice for self sufficient travellers, who want to post up in paradise without the price tag.
Talking of great value, lay-by payment plans are available and RAC members save 20%. There are even pet friendly sites available.
THE DINING: The park is just a 10-minute stroll from Cable Beach’s cosmopolitan foodie strip. You won’t struggle to find top tier coffee options, or fantastic brunching, and lunching.
THE CAMPING: Shady, spacious sites are suitable for camper trailers, caravans and even motorhomes. All in close proximity to the amenities block, laundry, camp kitchen and barbeque areas.
THE X FACTOR: Broome in general, and Cable Beach in particular, feels like an exclamation mark on any proper Kimberley journey. You’ve seen the sites, survived the long days in the saddle, now drink in the beauty and get your Zen on.
THE MUST-DO: Visit Gantheaume Point. It’s at the southern end of Cable Beach and marked by a lighthouse. The rocky headland is the pre-eminent local whale watching possie, plus at low tide you can check out the 130-million year old dinosaur footprints.
1800 871 570
Run by a small group of locals, Moontide Distillery is one of the most isolated distilleries in the world.
Andrew and Trish Davidson founded, own and operate Broome’s first distillery here on the edge between the shimmering Indian Ocean and the wilds of the Kimberley.
Knowledge of native and local botanicals gained from those who’ve walked the ancient pindan soils of Broome and the Kimberley have enabled them to craft unique flavours within their spirits.
Producing some of the world’s finest gin, their spiritual artistry is informed by the land they call home. Their list of botanicals includes locally sourced Gubiny (Kakadu Plum), Guwarl (white berry bush), native myrtles, mango, tamarind and exotic spices.
Plan a visit and experience the unique spirit and delightful flavours of Broome and the Kimberley.
THE LOCATION: Moontide Distillery is located in ‘Blue Haze’ – a place (in Broome’s north), not a state of mind. Drop in at 17 Gwendoline Crossing, Bilingurr, Broome – on the corner of Gwendoline Crossing and Lona Link.
THE STORY: Founders Andrew and Trish Davidson made the move to Broome’s sunny shores (an idyllic tropical paradise, perfect for drinking gin) and founded Moontide Distillery in 2020.
According to Andrew, “my personal philosophy is akin to a certain bird, ‘Jonathon Livingston Seagull’. For me, distilling spirits would be a creative endeavour, a pursuit of learning and striving for perfection, ‘it always works when you know what you’re doing’ but until then you keep trying (Richard Bach).”
THE SPIRITS: Pure monsoonal rainwater blended with native botanical and exotic spices are integral to creating Moontide’s distinct flavours, which reflect the charm and bold character of the Kimberley. The purity of the monsoonal water creates a crisp, freshness of spirit that excites the palette.
Moontide’s signature line up of spirits includes their White Pearl Gin, Pride Tide Gin, Black Pearl Aniseed Spirit and Roebuck Bay Bitters. They also offer special bundles including a reduced price three-spirit pack.
THE CELLAR DOOR: Visit the boutique craft distiller’s cellar door to sample their range of spirits. Open six days from 12pm-6pm (closed Tuesday only).
Be sure to try their Roebuck Bay Bitters in a classically refreshing and low alcohol lemon, lime & bitters!
0407 974 492
Now, we’re getting into the seriously exotic… because you have never seen anything quite like Lake Argyle.
The eastern flank of the Kimberley is dominated by the Ord River delta, and the successful damming thereof, into the other-worldly reservoir of Lake Argyle.
You can trace the fertile headwaters of the Ord itself, into a world of scarps, jungle, savannah and wetlands. Or, you can visit the bizarre, colourful mountain range that seems to have slipped into a still lake.
While the surface of the lake might be placid, the action nearby certainly is not. This is a hotbed of adventure for 4WDing, walking, and most spectacularly, by boat. To take all this in, it’s not hard to see why Lake Argyle Resort is the logical basecamp.
THE SETTING: Why is this giant lake so bizarre looking? Because many moons ago, some actual geniuses were sick of seeing all the Ord’s monsoonal rains washing out to sea each year, and they decided to dam the basin. In doing so they were able to use the rainwater for irrigation throughout the rest of the year. As far as successful nation building projects go, it’s right up there with the Snowy Hydro Scheme. It made the region around the lake a fertile place for farmers, and also for modern explorers.
THE STORY: The world’s biggest diamond mine is not far away, and travellers couldn’t resist giving Lake Argyle Resort the title of ‘Jewel of the Kimberley’. And it’s a title deserved on its own merits. The resort hang-glides above the mirrored lake, and takes in the wild colourshow, that stretches from primary to pastel colours throughout each day. The resort is also set within the Mirriwung Gajjerong dreaming history. At 50, 000 years, it’s one of the oldest cultures on earth.
THE ATTRACTION: The Sharpe Family has been exploring their backyard since the dam was built 50 years ago. They set up Lake Argyle Tours to share their experiences, and have honed these tours in the decades since. The tours are all killer, no filler. You want a lunch tour or sunset tour? Or perhaps a float plane or a chopper is more your style? On our last trip we got our heart rates up with a canoe trip.
THE ACCOM: Options here are varied and all spectacular. Here are just three of them…
Lake View Grand Villas: Sprawling new 4-bedroom villas overlooking the lake.
Lake View Villas: One and two bedroom units overlooking the lake.
Studios and Cabins: Private, air-conditioned bungalows.
THE CAMPING: We’ve worked closely with these guys for a decade, simply because the place has it all. We’ve lived it up, up in the Villas when we’ve needed to treat ourselves, and we’ve stayed in the Caravan Park when we want to catch the world’s best star show. And both experiences are equally rewarding. Why? Because the 5ha camping area is flanked by hills and shaded from the harsh western sun that can make other campsites in the Kimberley an ordeal in the afternoons. You also have access to the restaurant and bar.
THE X FACTOR: Durack Homestead. It was rescued, moved brick by brick before the valley was flooded in the 1970s
THE MUST-DO: As far as life-affirming experiences go, they don’t come more stunning than the famous infinity pool. We did the Kimberley from Broome westward, and talked about hitting the pool for probably about six hours of that travel time. And then we spent about six hours in the pool when we finally made it. Well maybe not six hours but enough to have our skin prune up enough to resemble a mud terrain tyre.
(08) 9168 7777
Explore the east Kimberley’s stunning landscapes and waterways from the comfort of Kununurra’s best-located waterfront accommodation and Holiday Park.
Take advantage of the excellent facilities while staying on a powered or unpowered site, or splash out on a self-contained villa or cabin.
Be sure to enjoy the view from the rolling green banks of the park’s foreshore, where waterlilies bloom and the colours of the iconic Elephant Rock come alive on sunset.
THE LOCATION: At 1549 Victoria Highway in Kununurra, Kimberleyland is an oasis of comfort and relaxation, on the doorstep of the adventure capital of country!
You won’t have to travel far to tick of two of the most iconic water crossings ever (the Pentecost River and the Ord River’s Ivanhoe Crossing), and the thermal pools of Zebedee Springs, within El Questro Station, are only an hour away.
THE ACTION: After rinsing the rig’s underside with multiple river crossings and having a relaxing soak in the thermal pools at El Questro Station, plan a cruise on nearby Lake Kununurra (the longest in the country!) and a visit to nearby Lake Argyle.
See the wonderous Bungle Bungle Ranges in Purnululu NP (about five hour’s drive), or for something closer to base, a hike to the top of Elephant Rock takes around an hour, and it’s only ten minutes drive from Kununurra.
THE ACCOMMODATION: If you’re craving air con and a comfy bed, take your pick between the new waterfront villas, ensuite poolside cabins, ensuite family cabins and the new two-bedroom waterview cabins.
If you’re planning a longer stay, post up in the spacious, grassy and well-shaded campground. Depending on your camping setup and power needs, you’ll need to choose between the waterfront powered caravan sites, powered caravan & camping sites and the lakeview unpowered camping sites.
FACILITIES: Free WiFi is available throughout the park, and all bathrooms are newly built or renovated. There’s an outdoor kitchen with dining space, entertainment, USB chargers and large fridge/freezers, three guest laundries and a huge tropical pool surrounded by sun lounges and BBQs.
Caravan storage is available, plus there’s a tours sale desk and regular live entertainment poolside and by the foreshore.
Wildlife lovers are in for a treat, with a rare finch aviary on site, and ‘Gummy’, the park’s resident toothless freshwater croc, is a social media star and always up for a selfie with visitors.
1800 681 280