About The Kimberley and beyond
The Kimberley is traditionally the last frontier of the Australian continent. Other regions may be remote, and tough, but this is still, in many ways, genuine pioneer territory. One of the reasons for this is the climate. In summer the temperatures rise into the roasting 40s. Then in late November it begins to rain. This is no ordinary rain: it’s the Monsoon, and it usually lasts until March. But if you visit in April or September, you’ll find a wonderland.
The Kimberley occupies over a third of a million square kilometres – about the same area as France or Texas – yet only 20,000 people live there. It includes mountains which rise to almost 1,000 metres, desert, jungle, gorges with bizarre and beautiful rock formations, great rivers and remote sheep stations.
There are two entry points into the Kimberley: Kununurra, which is on the Victoria Highway just across the border of Northern Territory; and, on the west side, there’s Broome, on the Great Northern Highway. To give you an idea of the size of the Kimberley, these two are 1,000 km apart. The road which links them (the Great Northern Highway) is sealed all the way, but at certain spots there are fords. During the rainy season these can sometimes become impassable for several days at a time; and the Fitzroy River, which runs from the heart of the Kimberley to the coast at Derby, can sometimes increase its width from 100 m to 10 km.
Having got this far, you should allow at least a week to cross between Broome and Darwin, and at least a week to explore the best places to visit in between.
There are buses along the highway between Broome, Derby, Kununurra and Darwin, daily by Greyhound (www.greyhound.com.au). There are daily flights to both Broome and Kununurra. But the only real way to see this region is by car, preferably 4WD.