Travels with Rob McGeary in the Kimberley
Rob McGeary was born into the travel business. He accompanied his father on tours as a young lad, and meeting and talking to passengers was his early training ground in the travel industry. Rob started work in the APT office as a teenager, then became a driver on tours in the Northern Territory. He is currently an APT Company Director and still travels regularly.
I have been fortunate to visit the Kimberley six times since 1993, and there’s not much I haven’t seen. Needless to say, it’s a place dear to my heart, with so many highlights. “Discovered” by a film team in 1983 are the unique beehive domes of the Bungle Bungle Range, a series of stunning formations where you can explore cool, narrow chasms and walk dry riverbeds.
At the remote Mitchell Plateau, the multi-tiered Mitchell Falls is breathtaking, showcasing the majesty of the region. And then there’s Bell Gorge (now known as Dalmanyi), a deep, winding chasm through the King Leopold Ranges (today referred to as the Wunaamin Miliwundi Ranges). The Indigenous rock art is also incredibly special: Bradshaw Art (also known as Gwion Gwion) must be seen to be appreciated, and the knowledge of expert guides is invaluable to truly understand its significance.
At Cape Leveque, the colours are an idyllic union of white beach, golden red cliffs, aqua water and blue sky. This is your backdrop while enjoying a wood-fired seafood pizza from Kooljaman at Cape Leveque resort’s restaurant – an experience you’ll be talking about for years. Also in the region is Cygnet Bay, gateway to Shell Island, which is completely submerged during high tide but slowly reappears as the tides recede – just in time for a drink at sunset.
Envisioned by Lord Alistair McAlpine in 1988, Cable Beach Club is perched on dunes overlooking the magnificent Indian Ocean. The accommodation and lush gardens have a strong Asian influence, a homage to the region’s original pearl divers. The Japanese restaurant, Zensai, is outstanding and don’t miss having a cocktail at Sunset Bar and Grill to watch the day disappear. The two pools allow for both family fun and a quieter adults-only experience. If you’re like me, you’ll never want to leave.
APT has three luxury lodges in the Kimberley, providing a memorable glamping experience. Canvas cabins come with comfortable king beds and ensuites. The dining facilities offer a wonderful Outback experience, where guests enjoy al fresco meals under the stars or around a fire. We are constantly investing in these properties to ensure they continue to set the standard in Kimberley accommodation. This year is no exception with the multi-million dollar upgrade to our Bell Gorge Wilderness Lodge.
Need to Know – Bell Gorge Wilderness Lodge Upgrade
Located 200 metres off the Gibb River Road, the lodge offers easy access to Bell, Windjana, Galvans and Barnett River gorges, as well as Tunnel Creek. This remote Kimberley wilderness property now includes 26 brand new tented cabins with state-of-the art facilities including contemporary interiors, private ensuites with clean flush toilets, comfortable beds with crisp linen, as well as solar power and a hot water plant.
Each cabin is spaciously positioned more than 10 metres apart and all feature a private deck, overlooking the King Leopold (Wunaamin Miliwundi) escarpment. The lodge’s dining facilities, recreational areas and staff accommodation have also been upgraded. We’ve included new menus, activities and trails and maintained our commitment to offering tours with minimal impact on the natural environment, as the only major tour operator to have Advanced Eco-Certification in the region.
APT’s three exclusive wilderness lodges located at Mitchell Falls, the Bungle Bungle range and Bell Gorge are strategically positioned to maximise experiences in these remote regions, so guests spend less time driving through this vast land and more time exploring. Together with APT’s extensive Kimberley cruise offering, APT has the most comprehensive program in the Kimberley region.