Discover the Kimberley's Desert Dips
There's more to the Kimberley than sand and rocks. It's aquatic features are spectacular, too, writes Katrina Lobley.
During the Kimberley’s summer wet season, rain drenches the desert landscape, creating enough aquatic drama to last throughout the dry season. This vast region is home to all kinds of water features: ghost gum-lined creeks, cool rockpools, hot springs, spectacular multi-tiered waterfalls and one of Australia’s most famous beaches. For the best kind of Kimberley adventure, simply join the dots between these attractions.
Broome’s Cable Beach is famous for good reason. Take in its 22-kilometre stretch of sand atop a camel or watch its glittering waters from Cable Beach Club’s Sunset Bar & Grill. Sunset is the most popular time to do both. At the bar, sip on tropical cocktails or a cold ale, and drink in the panoramic view of a vivid Indian Ocean sunset.
There are many aquatic side attractions along the rugged Gibb River Road
between Broome and Kununurra. One is Tunnel Creek
, a natural,750-metre-long, water-filled tunnel that visitors can wade through with a torch
. Further along the road is Windjana Gorge
, where marine fossils are embedded in the walls
, while Bell Gorge features a series of tiered waterholes.
At El Questro Wilderness Park, scramble over Emma Gorge’s rocks to reach a shaded waterhole that’s perfect for a refreshing dip. Returning to Broome along the Great Northern Highway, detour to Geikie Gorge National Park. The gorge’s lower walls, bleached white by flooding of the Fitzroy, form a striking landmark.
Waterfalls and Waterholes
The other-worldly landscape of the northern Kimberley, dotted with rare cabbage tree palms, is home to Mitchell Falls
–a series of tiered waterfalls
. Using Mitchell Falls Wilderness Lodge
as a base, hike to Little Mertens Falls to see ancient rock art before heading to Mitchell Falls to soak in naturally carved pools located at the top. Back at the lodge, take a dip in nearby Camp Creek.
Cruise the Ord River
Spectacular birdlife is part and parcel of an Ord River
cruise between Kununurra and man-made Lake Argyle. The Ord River Scheme was developed to provide irrigation for agriculture and farmland in the state’s far west. The vast Lake Argyle
is its spectacular centrepiece: with a storage capacity of 10.7 million mega litres, it’s about 18 times the size of Sydney Harbour.
Soak in Hot Springs
Tucked within El Questro Wilderness Park is the pretty Zebedee Springs
–an oasis fringed with towering palms. Lounge on a rock seat within the thermally warmed waters and forget that the rest of the world exists.
These desert dips are highlights of our 24 Day Kimberley Complete with Grand Kimberley Coast tour. Start in Broome with a night at the renowned Cable Beach Club Resort and Spa. Next day, it’s time to hit the road – the Gibb River Road – en route to such destinations as Windjana Gorge, Tunnel Creek, Geikie Gorge and Purnululu National Park, where the sunset over the Bungle Bungle Ranges is unmissable. Continue on to Kununurra to explore the Ord River and Lake Argyle, before heading to El Questro, Home Valley, Mitchell Falls and Bell Gorge. Then it’s back on to the Gibb River Road to return to Broome, the starting point for a nine-night cruise up the Kimberley Coast. Discover highlights including Horizontal Falls, Montgomery Reef, Vansittart Bay and King George River. Disembark in Darwin for the end of this Kimberley adventure.