From Australia’s tropical north, travel south via Katherine Gorge to explore the highlights of the Kimberley on this overland adventure – including the iconic Gibb River Road, the vast wilderness of El Questro, Purnululu National Park and the Bungle Bungles and the west Kimberley gorges: Bell & Windjana. The adventure ends on Day 9, by beautiful Cable Beach in the outback pearling town of Broome.
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Katherine, Lake Argyle, Kununurra, Bungle Bungles, Cathedral Gorge, Echidna Chasm, El Questro Wilderness Park, Gibb River Road, Windjana Gorge, Indigenous Guided Walk in Tunnel Creek, Broome
Day 1 Darwin to Katherine Region
This overland adventure kicks off from the Northern Territory’s tropical capital with a drive south to Nitmiluk National Park. Depending on the season, your adventure will get underway with a swim in the natural pool by the base of Edith Falls or an optional cruise through the croc-filled waters of Katherine Gorge. After lunch it’s on to our private campsite on the edge of Nitmiluk, where you have the option of spending the night in a permanent tent or snuggled up in a swag (an Aussie bedroll). (LD)
Day 2 Katherine to Lake Argyle
The Outback of the Kimberley region, which spreads across the northern region of Western Australia, is not as flat, dry and barren as many first expect. Today we’ll visit enormous Lake Argyle, which looks perfectly at home despite being entirely man-made. You have the option of taking a cruise and looking for native fauna have settled here in huge numbers – try to spy crocs, wallabies and rare birds. Soak up the backdrop of mountains-turned-islands as we explore some of the 700 square kilometre surface of the lake, then turn into camp under some seriously starry skies. (BLD)
Days 3-4 Purnululu National Park: Bungle Bungles
The distinctive sandstone towers of the Bungle Bungle Range only became known to wide Australia when a group of documentary filmmakers stumbled across them in 1982. Travelling by both foot and vehicle, we’ll take you through the craggy gorges, past unique rock formations, and to hidden waterholes. The day closes with a stunning Kimberley sunset witnessed from this evening’s bush camp. Day 4 is all about getting to know the Bungle Bungles proper. First stop for the day is the ever-narrowing gap of Echidna Chasm. Formed over millions of years by water flowing through an opening in the sandstone, the path winds through palm-filled gorges up to 200 metres high though in parts only 1-2 metres wide. Next, trade the tight spaces of Echidna Chasm for the wide-open natural amphitheatre of Cathedral Gorge. From feeling dwarfed by these giant rock structures, get a very different perspective with a helicopter flight over the Bungle Bungles. Though an optional activity at extra cost, this is definitely an experience worth shelling out for. (BLD/BLD)
Day 5 Bungle Bungles to El Questro
Hit the road again, this time passing Warmun (Turkey Creek) and the Durack Ranges on the way to El Questro. Not too long ago, it was mostly cattle that got to enjoy the million-acre sprawl of El Questro. Thankfully for the rest of us, the owners recognised the beauty they had on their hands and turned it into a wilderness park in 1991. Arriving at our campsite, there’ll be time for a beer or two at the Swinging Arm Bar before dinner. (BLD)
Day 6 El Questro Station
At more than one and a half times the size of the UK, there are plenty of scenic spots to explore in El Questro. On the drive in you will have got some clue as to the huge cliffs, deep gorges, waterfalls and swimming holes contained in the Cockburn Ranges, but now you’ll be exploring them on foot. Walk to Emma Gorge, cool off in a waterfall-fed subtropical pool and bliss out in the thermal springs of Zebedee. (BLD)
Day 7 Gibb River Road & Mt Barnett
Fording rivers and weaving through gorges, travel by 4WD along the wild Gibb River Road – a 600-kilometre stretch that winds right through the heart of the Kimberley. We’ve got a fair bit of ground to cover today, so there is a fair bit of drive time, but we’ll be breaking the journey up with lunch and at a few stop-offs along the way. Tonight’s camp is at Mt Barnett station located very close to Manning Gorge. (BLD)
Day 8 Manning Gorge to Silent Grove
We spend the morning exploring the stunning Manning Gorge and enjoy a swim in the pools under Manning Falls. Depending on the season, post-lunch we spend the afternoon exploring Adcock or Galvans gorge before making our way to Silent Grove and setting up camp for the night. (BLD)
Day 9 Bell Gorge & Windjana Gorge
The western Kimberley region is full of endless stunning gorges that have to be explored and this morning is no exception. After breakfast we adventure to Bell Gorge home to a stunning cascade of water flowing from the previous wet season rains that fall in the King Leopold Ranges. The afternoon sees us head to Windjana Gorge, a segment of 375 million-year-old reef that was once underwater. Cut through by the Lennard River, which runs during the wet season then breaks up into little billabongs during the dry, this gorge attracts many species of bird and bat and is a great spot to see wild freshwater crocodiles. (BLD)
Day 10 Tunnel Creek & Broome
Begin the day exploring the Napier Range. The major attraction here is Tunnel Creek, an extensive limestone cave system that extends 750 m underground. Inside, shards of sunlight stream in through crevices, little bats flutter about and enormous stalactites rear down from the ceiling. In the late 1800s, an indigenous man called Jandamarra waged a one-man uprising against European settlers, becoming a hero to his people. You’ll hear a bit about his legacy during a tour through Tunnel Creek, then make the final drive on to Broome, hopefully arriving in time for a stunning Cable Beach sunset. (BL)
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|Night 1 For our first night we enjoy the comfort of our private Katherine Safari Camp. Our Permanent Tents feature twin beds while the shared amenities, including toilets and hot showers, are located nearby.|
|Nights 2, 5, 6, 7, 8 & 9 Camping in National Parks and on Cattle Stations involves dome tents (twinshare) and swags. Most camp sites have on site ablutions including hot showers and flush toilets.|
|Nights 3 & 4 Camping in Purnululu National Park is at the public campground, managed by the Department of Parks & Wildlife. Facilities are basic with National Park drop toilets only.|
- Experienced Guide
- Meals as specified
- Camping Accommodation
- National Park Entry Fees
- Scenic Flights – allow approx $375 per person
- Sunset Cruise Lake Argyle – allow approx $30 per person
Your Tour Guide can assist with booking these optional activities while on tour.
Our Western Xposure groups that travel through the Kimberley enjoy the comfort of our big custom-built 21-seat 4WD high clearance trucks, while we operate Western Xposure trips that travel up and down the West Coast in similar heavy duty vehicles, but 2WD. All our vehicles have a PA system and built-in storage (no risky trailers!). Being larger vehicles, they allow our small groups extra space to kick back and relax as the Australian outback drifts by. They are all fully air-conditioned and are fitted with adjustable air-vents, reclinable seats and map pockets to keep your book, drink and MP3 player in. Note that the vehicle could be branded Kimberley Wild, Kakadu Wild, Western Xposure or Adventure Tours Australia!
What to Bring
It is essential that you bring a torch, shoes you don’t mind getting wet – and we mean fully immersed in water: ideally, wet shoes, sandals or old runners, broad-brimmed hat with sun visor for all round protection, sunscreen, swimming costume and towel, good walking/trekking shoes, a personal water bottle and a pillow.
It is also recommended that you bring insect repellent, warm clothes for the evening (particularly if travelling in Winter), personal toiletries and first aid, with any personal medication required.
You will also need to bring a pillow and a sleeping bag. 10ºC sleeping bags are available for sale at $35pp – these must be requested with our office prior to travel and can be kept following your trip or donated to local indigenous communities.
- Your tour vehicle may be branded as Adventure Tours Australia, Western Exposure or Wild Expeditions, but this tour is operated by Adventure Tours Australia.
- Itineraries may vary and/or attractions be substituted for any cause including seasonal conditions, weather extremes, traditional owner and national park requirements.
- This tour is only for fit and active people, who can hike 5-9kms a day over uneven terrain, often in high temperatures. Temperatures can be extreme i.e. very high during summer days and very cold during winter nights. The operator reserves the right to assess the fitness capability of passengers prior to tour departure.
- Are you over 70 years old? Due to the remote location and challenging nature of our extended camping tours it is essential for older travellers to review and sign our Medical Form to ensure you can participate fully in the itinerary.
- Due to distances covered, this trip involves early departures on some morning and frequent stops between destinations.
- This tour is not suitable for children. If you are travelling with a family, consider our 10 Day Wild Kimberley Loop
- Travel Insurance is compulsory for all travellers on all tours and details must be presented to tour guide before departure.
- It is your responsibility to advise Wild Expeditions if you have any special dietary requirements or medical conditions (including allergies) well ahead of departure.
- It is you or your clients’ responsibility to contact Wild Expeditions with your preferred accommodation pick up point. Please contact our inside sales teams for information on other available pick up points. If we do not hear from you, we will assume you will make your way to our default pick up point as listed on this document. We will not be responsible for missed pick-ups (and a missed tour) if we do not receive notification from you or your travel agent, and if you are not at the default pick up point at the appropriate time.