See the Kimberley by Foot
There’s no better way to get to know the real Kimberley than by foot. Here, Lee Atkinson explores some of the region’s most spectacular walks.
The Bunuba and Jandamarra
A fascinating place to start is at the hideout of a man who was seen as a freedom fighter and hero by the Bunuba – the traditional custodians of the central Kimberley – and an Aboriginal outlaw by the Europeans. This was Jandamarra, a former police tracker who led one of the few organised armed insurrections against the colonisation of Australia, and became one of the most infamous men in the Kimberley in the 1890s.
Known as “Pigeon”, Jandamarra was believed by the Bunuba to be able to “fly like a bird and disappear like a ghost”. Whatever the case, he evaded capture for several years, until, in 1897, he was finally killed outside the 750-metre-long tunnel-like cave he used as a hideout. The site is now part of Tunnel Creek National Park, a 91-hectare reserve north-west of Fitzroy Crossing that comprises Western Australia’s oldest cave system. You can walk through the tunnel, which is home to ghost bats and fruit bats, as well as stalactites that hang from the roof. Be prepared for sections where water is knee deep; otherwise it’s an easy walk. Watching the reflections that dance across the walls of the always-cool cave is one of those magical moments that sear into your memory.
Need to Know
You’ll have the opportunity to walk these spots on our 15 Day Kimberley Complete tour.
Start – in Broome, gateway to the Kimberley, where you’ll stay at the Cable Beach Club Resort and Spa for a day at leisure. Your 4WD adventure begins the next day, travelling along the Gibb River Road, between Broome and Kununurra.
See – Windjana Gorge, walk Tunnel Creek and end the day at Fitzroy Crossing. Next day, explore Geikie Gorge en route to APT’s Bungle Bungle Wilderness Lodge, where you’ll stay for two nights. Purnululu National Park is yours to explore on Day 4, including Piccaninny Creek and Cathedral Gorge. Watch the sun set over the Bungle Bungle Range. Over the next three days, hike Echidna Chasm, take a wildlife-spotting cruise on the Ord River and relish in the divine El Questro.
Swim – at Emma Gorge and soak in Zebedee Springs before returning to Gibb River Road on your way to Mitchell Plateau. On Day 10, take a helicopter flight over Mitchell Falls, see Gwion Gwion and Wandjina rock art before arriving at Drysdale Station. Manning Gorge, Bell Gorge and the King Leopold Ranges (now known as Wunaamin Miliwundi Ranges) are all on the itinerary before you head back to Broome.