A Road Trip Adventure Across The Kimberley Australia

After visiting the Bungle Bungles Ranges in the Eastern Kimberley four years ago, I was lucky enough to explore more of  Australia’s ancient Outback region in North Western Australia. A few weeks ago, I went on a tour with a local operator specialising in Adventure Tours across the Kimberley.

I joined the tour for the 8-day-leg, from Broome to Kununurra, to experience the famous Gibb River Road.

A fun Kimberley Australia Adventure Tour

In 8 days, we covered over 1200 km of dirt roads, walked through creeks and rocky terrain, swam at spectacular lush gorges, waded a 750-meter underground tunnel, crossed over 30 creeks and marvelled at stunning landscapes and sunsets.

Kimberley Adventure Tours are very much about camping. We stayed at five different campsites, cooked and ate around a campfire, gazing at skies covered by millions of stars. But we also learnt how to set up a tent, roll up a swag, deflate and inflate truck tyres. And first and foremost, we cherished the company of fun-loving, caring tour mates and our fabulous tour guides.

  • Save

Let me now take you on a virtual tour of my amazing Kimberley Tour.

Exploring the wilderness across the Gibb River Road

As you may know, the Kimberley Region is located in North Western Australia and encompasses a huge area, pretty much Germany’s size. The main route that everyone raves about is the glorious Gibb River Road. This dirt track starts near Derby, 200 km northwest of Broome and stretches across the northern region of the Kimberley to Wyndham for over 650 km.

The Gibb River Road is the heart and the soul of the Kimberley wilderness. Corrugated red dusty roads, spectacular landscape peppered with boabs trees, dramatic gorges and lush rock pools is the perpetual scenery.

Gibb River Road - Kimberley Australia
  • Save
Picking up wood for our campfire – Kimberley Adventure

After long hours of driving with 32+°C on bumping dirt tracks, walking to a gorge for a swim was the best reward we could ask for. Here are a few of the many beautiful gorges we stopped at on our  Gibb River Road trip.

The main attraction on the Gibb River Road: the Kimberley Gorges

Tunnel Creek is an impressive and unique cavern of the Kimberley. Tunnel Creek is amazing. This 750-meter long tunnel was formed by limestone and remains of an ancient reef, 350 million years old. It’s hard to believe this area was a former ocean. While we made our way through the tunnel wading along the rocky bed river, we were lucky to spot freshwater crocodiles hiding in the water.

Tunnel Creek - Kimberley Australia
  • Save
Exploring Tunnel Creek in Kimberley Western Australia

Most of  Tunnel Creek is completely dark, and you need a good torch to walk across and see the limestone rock walls. When the light breaks through, it creates beautiful water reflections.

Tunnel Creek Photo Kimbe
  • Save
The azure water of Tunnel Creek in the Kimberley Australia

Windjana Gorge – Deep Solitude and wildlife at its best

I had seen many photos of  Windjana Gorge before going on this tour, and yes, it truly is as stunning as the photos. The walk along the Lennard River allows plenty of vantage points for admiring the spectacular gorge with its high walls.

There isn’t much water in the dry season, but it’s the only time of the year when access is possible to this 3,5 km long gorge—a great place to spot fresh-water crocodiles sunbathing on the river edges. You will see dozens of them! We stayed overnight at the nearby campsite, only 5 min walk from the gorge. Handy for an early morning walk and watching birdlife.

Windjana Gorge Photo Kimberley
  • Save
The view of the mighty Windjana Gorge Kimberley

Look at the proportion of these limestone walls. You get a picture of the size.

Windjana Gorge Limestone Walls
  • Save
Windjana Gorge Limestone Walls

Bell Gorge  – idyllic Oasis

Bell Gorge is another popular gorge and waterfall in the Kimberley. One of the prettiest gorges but probably the busiest among all Kimberley gorges. We got there from our Silent Grove Campsite. After 10 km on the dirt track, a 20 minutes walk along the Bell Creek leads to the main rock pools on the upper part of the gorge. We could admire the waterfalls downstream.

And peacefulness at its best when people have gone. Most visitors head down to the waterfall and U-shaped base through a steep path. We didn’t stay there long and spent our time on the upper part of the gorge only, which was rewarding.

Bell Gorge Serenity
  • Save
The deep serenity of Bell Gorge

The Bell Gorge Waterfall photographed from the upper plateau.

Bell Gorge Waterfall
  • Save
The view of Bell Gorge Waterfall from the upper plateau

Manning River and Gorge with a tropical oasis

Manning River is of my favourite places on Gibb River Road. The beach is only a couple of minutes walk from the campsite, which is great. I love this place with a shady beach on one edge, rich tropical vegetation, and huge rocks sticking out of water that creates a natural oasis for sunbathing or a chill-out. You can also cross the river by boat and from there start a 7 km return walk to the Manning gorge.

The only walk that I missed out on, unfortunately. I would have preferred having this walk early in the morning, but logistically it didn’t work out.

Manning River Kimberley
  • Save
The beautiful Manning River Gorge – Kimberley

Well, I’ll keep it for my next Kimberley adventure. To cross over the Manning River, you jump onto this quirky boat and pull the rope…

Crossing Manning River by boat
  • Save

 
Crossing Manning River Kimberley
  • Save

El Questro and Home Valley Stations

When we got to the Home Valley Station beautiful Boab tree-shaped gate, we knew an upgraded campsite was welcoming us, which meant time for some serious washing! We wanted to get all that dust off our clothes, bummer! We were delighted to get extra perks. Live music in a real Outback Station at the Dusty Bar. The first sign of civilization after days of Outback isolation!

Home Valley Station - Kimberley
  • Save
The Baob-shaped Gate of Home Valley Station

El Questro is a top-rated destination in Eastern Kimberley, Australia. The resort offers a pretty high standard of comfort and accommodation for all budget and type of travellers for those who are not keen campers, from the very luxury homestead down to bush camping.

El Questro encompasses a huge area within Cockburn Ranges and Pentecost River. It takes a lot of time to visit and two days don’t do justice to this place. The land around is magnificent, and I believe the varied offerings of outdoor activities make El Questro stand out among all Outback Resorts in Australia.
This was our campsite at El Questro with Adventure Wild Tour.

El Questro Station - Kimberley
  • Save
Our tents at El Questro Station Campsite

In two days, we walked to El Questro Gorge and spent an hour at Zebedee Hot Springs, which was packed with many visitors. On our last day, we did the walk to Emma Gorge in the Cockburn Ranges.

El Questro Station Kimberley
  • Save
Riding Horses at El Questro

The contrasts in the Kimberley landscape are incredible. From barren red rocks to lush tropical vegetation. Yes, hard to believe that the dusty Kimberley are at the Tropics. This is the scenery in August, the last month of the dry season. In a few months, torrential rain will completely change the scenery of this magic land.

El Questro Gorge
  • Save
El Questro Gorge Palms
  • Save

Birdlife paradise

The Kimberley is home to hundreds of native birds species that are unique to this region. Most of the times, birds are not visible to the naked eye. We were lucky to have a couple on tour who were passionate bird lovers and keen to spot many native birds. With the help of binoculars, I spotted some beautiful birds I had never seen before.

Here is a photo of a majestic red-tailed black cockatoo captured at Gibb River’s edges.

 

Red-tailed Black Cockatoo-Kimberley
  • Save
Amazing Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo

We were lucky to spot many Kimberley native animals. Water-monitor-lizards, a Dingo, rock wallabies, Kangaroos, donkeys, camels, and many cows, of course!

Amazing Sunsets at El Questro

It’s hard not to have pretty sunsets in the Kimberley. Even the sunlight reflection peering through high trees and rock formations makes it for a pretty sunset. The most picturesque sunsets are from lookouts or with Boabs trees, creating a black silhouette on orange and pink painted sky.

This is the Durack Boab Tree at the Branco’s lookout overlooking the Chamberlain River. This mighty Boab Tree at Sunset is absolutely amazing.

Boab-Trees-Kimberley
  • Save
Amazing Durack Boab Tree

On our second night at El Questro, we experienced a memorable sunset at the Pigeon Hole Lookout, overlooking the Pentecost River. We packed chairs+tables, cheese platters, chilled drinks and voilà, we had the best sunset scenery ever!

Sunset-Kimberley-Australia
  • Save
Stunning Sunset Colours at Pigeon Hole Lookout
Cooking at a campfire in the Kimberley Australia

There are certainly many ways to stay in the Kimberley. From cabins and eco-lodges to luxury homestay accommodation. But to really understand this ancient landscape and dive into the essence of what Kimberley is all about, I believe you need to be one with nature, and camping is the only way of being with nature. It’s part and parcel of any Kimberley Adventure.

Camping in the Kimberley Australia
  • Save
Camping Lifestyle in the Kimberley

There is nothing like sitting around a campfire, cooking, eating, sipping a glass of wine and contemplating the things you have just discovered and experienced during the day.

Campfire-Kimberley-Australia
  • Save
A get-together at a campfire in the Kimberley Australia

This is why evenings were special moments of the tour. Because it’s when we listen to our tour mates’ story and share our knowledge and experiences. On the 8 days we spent together, we had time to talk to each other, share our passions, say what motivates us to travel and why we were there.

The group was fantastic, and I have never seen such efficient teamwork, with positive-minded people, high in spirit, always ready to help, no matter what happens.
After all, we were there for the same reason. We all had something in common. A deep passion for the sunburnt country, to cite Dorothea Mackellar’s quote:

“I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains, of ragged mountain ranges, of droughts and flooding rains. I love her far horizons, I love her jewel-sea, her beauty and her terror – The wide brown land for me!”

Michela and Dot Kimberley Adventure
  • Save
Michela and Dot on the Kimberley Adventure Tour

Reasons for going on a tour of the Kimberley Australia

Joining a tour is all about creating connection, engaging and developing a genuine bonding with your tour mates who share the same passion for the great Southern Land.

As a veteran solo traveller over 50, you know how fond I am of my solo travels adventures around Australia.

This Kimberley Tour really took me out of my comfort zone and taught me how to be a better team player. I have learnt new things, have been inspired by fascinating personal stories, and last but not least, I have made new lovely friends.

This Kimberley Adventure Tour has been an eye-opener for me and made me realize how group travel and the bonding experience can positively impact my life and travels. It has definitely contributed to broaden my perspective in many ways.

Pin this for later

Crossing River Kimberley Australia
  • Save

First published in 2015, last updated in April 2021

If you find this article helpful for your trip, I’d appreciate it if you could support Rocky Travel and book your tours, accommodation, rental car, or purchase my book using the links in the box below. Thank you.

TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES

BOOK ACCOMMODATION AROUND AUSTRALIA
Search and find the right type of accommodation that suits your style and budget. For Australia get the best comparison results among apartments, homestay, B&B and hotel deals with booking.com.

SECURE CAR RENTALS DEALS  IN AUSTRALIA
Find the best deal among thousands of offers, with the no. 1 Australian Comparison Site for rental cars, campervans and relocation vans. We recommend booking your vehicles with our partner DriveNow.

TRAVEL SAFE WITH AFFORDABLE TRAVEL INSURANCE
Travel with peace of mind. Get travel insurance that is affordable and offers the coverage that suits you. If you are aged up to 66, we recommend the plans, including coverage for outdoor activities by WorldNomads.


GET HELP WITH YOUR AUSTRALIA TRIP

GET YOUR AUSTRALIA ITINERARY GUIDE BOOK
An Australia Book, with all planning elements to create a cost-effective travel plan. With 5 detailed itineraries, +40 customisation options, and +15 pages of sites, this is hands-down the best guide book you can find on the market.  Buy Your Australia Itinerary Guidebook

AUSTRALIA TRIP PLANNING SERVICES
Get Michela’s expert advice to answer your questions, clear doubts, and craft a personalised Australia itinerary with rock-solid knowledge, first-hand tips and professional help to plan your trip to Australia.

Crossing River Kimberley Australia
  • Save