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Travel Experience – The Kimberley
By Nicole McGuinness
I had a wonderful time in the Kimberley’s with Adventure Wild!
I flew with Virgin via Perth to Broome. Once arriving at Broome Airport, I checked into the Cable Beach Resort desk, picked up my luggage and was transferred to the resort – this was a very easy process.
The same afternoon Adventure Wild had organized an Ocean Eco Cruise for me with Absolute Ocean Charters and they collected me from Cable Beach. We drove to Gantheaume Point to meet the boat. The next three hours was spent cruising around the bays and looking for the different dolphins that are local to the Broome Coast. We were lucky enough to see all three, the Bottlenose, Humpback & Snubfin. The cruise was a beautiful afternoon and a chance to see the gorgeous coast and water colour while the sunset was stunning. Dinner was at the Sunset Bar & Grill on site at Cable Beach. Checkout the next morning from Cable Beach was quick and easy.
Next night I was staying at Seashells. This resort is beautiful, the property is extremely easy to navigate, the pool was central, and the rooms are scattered around. My one-bedroom apartment had all required facilities including a washing machine – so good for extended stays. Next to the resort is a café called Zookeepers, the food was good and highly recommended. I would recommend Seashells as a holiday location as it’s convenient, beautiful and the staff were lovely.
Collection for the tour was at 5.30am and we met Wayne & Cheryle (Tommo and Goolz) ready for our tour. The bus was designed with a range of single seats, two seaters and the back row of 4 seats. All seats were equipped with power points as well so you could charge phones/cameras over the journey.
With Adventure Wild the first day is the only required day to set up your own tent – this was tough with it being a 37-degree day, everyone seemed to struggle slightly but working together we got it done. Tents every other night were already set up in the locations, quite roomy and very secure. We did find they got rather hot with the afternoon sun, but as we had a slight breeze in most locations and we opened up the window flaps and this cooled them down well. We had four two-night stays over the 12-day trip which was really nice to give us a chance to sort bags and a few of the people took advantage of the extended time to do some washing. All nights were in sites that had good facilities, all had hot showers and flushing toilets. El Questro Station & Home Valley Station had restaurant facilities, and a bar which was a nice bonus.
Each day on the tour we visited a beautiful location generally well known / unique to the Kimberly’s.
Day 1 – We went to Windjana Gorge, this was a beautiful location that was quite shaded (offering great relief from the afternoon sun). We sat on the banks of the river watching the bird life and the crocodiles.
Day 2 – Spent exploring Tunnel Creek in the morning, which was just stunning , there was a small walk through an underground tunnel made from the flow of the water and here we saw crocs – which we walked with through water (yes overcame a fear), lots of different bat species including the exclusive Ghost Bat, and we came to a stunning lagoon area on the other side. After this we headed out to Bell Gorge, a slightly challenging walk over some rocky creek beds and uneven paths but a beautiful swimming hole at the end to relax and cool down in.
Day 3 – There was an optional walk to Manning Gorge and this was extremely challenging. The majority of the group decided to stay around the camp and do some washing, enjoy the swimming hole or go for a bird watching walk in the gorge. In the afternoon, we walked the Galvan’s Gorge which was fairly easy with just a few large steps over some rock walls and small creek beds but again the swimming hole was worth it.
Day 4 – A long travel day and we did stop off at Ellenbrae Station, which is known for the best scones in the Kimberly’s. Here we met Logan the Station Manager who gave us some insight into running a station.
Day 5 – Today was the Emma Gorge walk, a very challenging walk rated level five on the walking tracks. It was extremely rocky, long and hot. A number of people did not complete the walk due to the difficulty. In the afternoon, we arrived at El Questro Station and settled in and went for a swim then went up to the Pidgeon Hole lookout which was a stunning view of the Chamberlain Gorge at sunset.
Day 6 – The morning started with a walk into Zebedee Springs where we enjoyed the warm water, this was an easy walk. We then continued to El Questro Gorge, again this was a rough and rocky challenge however much shadier and more protected than Emma Gorge but still providing quite a challenge. In the afternoon a few of us went on the Chamberlain Gorge river cruise. It was gorgeous to see the colours of the rocks from a different side and see some of the wildlife and again we saw crocs sunbaking with plenty of birds and rock wallabies.
Day 7 – I was extremely fortunate to do the optional excursion of the scenic flight from El Questro Station for a two hour flight over Mitchell Falls to Kalumburu. Kalumburu is a remote aboriginal community where we met an elder to learn about life in the community and see some rock art and meet some locals. This was an absolutely amazing day and I would highly recommend this to anyone – an absolute must do!
Day 8 – We had a day on Lake Argyle where we learnt about the eco system and the way they operate as well as how it all connects with the irrigation system. On this cruise we had lunch and swam with 30,000 freshwater crocodiles. After Lunch we headed back and swapped onto a river boat where we cruised up the Ord River to Lake Kununurra. Again, we learnt a lot more about the river system and how it operates and all the work that goes into it to make the environment and stations operate successfully. We received afternoon lunch on this trip, saw some good bird life and crocodiles again. This was a really great day and lots of fun.
Day 9 – A brief look around Kununurra, a visit to the Zebra Rock Area as well as the Sandalwood factory. We had a wander around town and shopped locally. In the afternoon we travelled to Bungle Bungle Station.
Day 10 – A visit into the Bungle Bungles this morning and we walked the Domes walk, Piccaninny Lookout and Cathedral Gorge. All were fairly easy walks with a few reasonably sized rocks to clamber over but nothing too bad. Cathedral Gorge was beautiful and to add to this amazing experience we were lucky enough to have it alone. After this we headed for a helicopter flight over the Bungle Bungles. It was remarkable to see how large the area is, and the visions of the different gorges and the sites. In the afternoon, we walked Echidna Chasm – this was a nice easy walk and the area was quite shaded once you get into the chasm.
Day 11 – Mostly a travel day with a small stop at the China Wall in Halls Creek to see the limestone formations, and then a small walk around Halls creek. On to an overnight stay at Fitzroy Crossing on a working cattle farm – this was our most basic facilities but still so peaceful and natural offering a great view of the stars.
Day 12 – A morning cruise on Geike Gorge to end the trip was relaxing and informative.
We then headed to Broome arriving late afternoon at our hotels.
Adventure Wild supply all meals on the tours which were really good each time. Our guides preferred to do all the cooking and preparing so we didn’t have to do any of this, however this is not the case on all the tours. You do need to assist with clean up, dishes etc. but with everyone helping it’s not too bad.
On my final night back in Broome I stayed at the Moonlight Bay Suites in a gorgeous two-bedroom apartment was overlooking the bay. The view was beautiful, the apartment was large and had all that is required including a washing machine. For dinner I went next door to Mangroves which was nice and reasonably priced.
I found this region beautiful and challenging and the tour was also very humbling after hearing stories from the aboriginal elders.