Kimberley Trail Broome to Darwin
Experience the beautiful rugged Kimberley on this true Australian adventure from Broome to Darwin. Uncover some of the country’s most incredible, untouched territory on an all-terrain journey down the Gibb River Road, taking in hidden caves and indigenous history at Tunnel Creek, the unbelievably picturesque oases of the Bell, Galvans, Adcock gorges, and the vast waterfalls of the Mitchell Plateau. Soak up the idyllic isolation of remote stations like El Questro and head out to discover secret palm-shaded waterholes. Squeeze through the narrow rock passages of the striped Bungle Bungles, sail across the vast waters of Lake Argyle, and learn the customs of the traditional land-owners while cruising through the gorges of Nitmiluk. Come face-to-face with vast horizons and immense wilderness with this unforgettable taste of Australia at its most untamed.
Ages: 12 - 99
Theme: Explorer, Overland
Accommodation: Camping - with basic facilities(6nts), Safari Tent - shared facilities (3nts), Private Room - shared facilities (4nts), Private Room - ensuite (1nt)
You can arrive in Broome at any time today. An airport transfer is included if you advise us of your flight arrival. Spend the afternoon exploring Broome at your leisure: Broome is one of the most interesting outback towns in Australia. From the age of the dinosaurs and the ancient stories of local Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people to the region’s role in early global exploration and the flourishing south sea pearl industry, this cultural melting pot has many a tale to tell. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6:30pm. Please look for a notice in reception. Afterwards, have dinner with your group and a drink before we set off tomorrow.
Departing Broome at 7:00am, travel through the remote and beautiful landscape, as the guide shares stories of local history, people and the environment. Enjoy a morning tea break by the Fitzroy River and visit the Derby 'Boab Prison Tree'. Before long we hit the Gibb River Road, and travel towards the Napier Range. Once a Devonian reef, these mountains are over 350 million years old and home to a diverse array of animals and plants. The perfect place to experience the stunning natural beauty of an outback oasis is the 3.5km geological wonder of Windjana Gorge. Beneath gorge walls rising 90m, we search for freshwater crocodiles, local birdlife and traditional bush tucker. After a picnic lunch, the afternoon is spent exploring Tunnel Creek with our local Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Bunuba guide, who will share ancient rock art and reveal the legend of his ancestor, Jandamarra, an Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander freedom fighter who used the tunnel as a hide-out in the late 1800's. In this 750-metre cave system carved through the Napier Range, we also discover stalactites, secret caves and a large variety of wildlife. A refreshing swim in an idyllic waterhole is a highlight of the day. Return to Windjana Gorge that evening to camp.
The day is devoted to exploring Bell Gorge, a hidden highlight of the West Kimberley. This idyllic retreat, considered amongst the most beautiful in the area, boasts cascading waterfalls and crystal clear pools formed over millions of years - an easy place torelax for a few hours!
En route to the Mt Elizabeth Station Homestead, discover lily-laden Galvans Gorge, and the tranquil retreat of Adcock Gorge, pausing for a refreshing swim. Once arriving at Mt Elizabeth homestead, which has been family operated since 1945 and in recent years has established tourism facilities for all to experience, you will be able to take in the natural beauty and isolation of the property. With creeks, gorges and diverse vegetation, you will be sure to enjoy the view and spend the day well relaxed. Take the opportunity to photograph the scenery, pick a nice spot to drop your fishing line or simply take a dip in the refreshing water.
Your two day diversion to the majestic Mitchell Plateau is a highlight of the trip. Take on real 4WD country as we travel the rugged Kalumburu Road then turn off onto the Mitchell Plateau Track. After crossing rivers and passing through ancient Livistonia palm forests, we emerge from the savannah and onto the Mitchell Plateau. With two nights camping in the National Park, we trek to Little and Big Merten Falls, take a dip in pristine plunge pools, enjoy a short scenic helicopter flight and view Bradshaw rock art.
Drysdale River Station is an oasis in the outback. This million acre, family owned and operated cattle station, runs approximately 10,000 head of cattle and lies in the North Kimberley on the Gibb River Road. Hanging out in the true blue Australian outback means you have all the magical scenery and feeling of isolation you could ask for. On arrival you may wish to explore the nearby surroundings or sit back and enjoy a delicious dinner and beverage in the beer garden, warm yourself around the log fire in the cool night air and camp riverside at Miners Pool.
We continue our journey up the Gibb River Road to the iconic El Questro Wilderness Park. Two nights here allows join one or more of the many activities on offer. This could include a refreshing dip in the Zebedee Springs, a trek into El Questro Gorge, Emma Gorge or a cruise on Chamberlain Gorge (own expense). Or simply explore this beautiful wilderness park at your own leisure.
Head south down the Great Northern Highway to Purnululu National Park, home of the magnificent Bungle Bungles. Two nights camping in the heart of the National Park allows a full day to explore the highlights of this extraordinary National Park, the most famous of which, are the Bungle Bungle domes. Rivers created this landscape of unique orange and black striped 'beehive' geological formations over a period of 20 million years. Unbelievably, only the locals knew it existed until the early 1980's; once discovered by others, the area was made a national park in 1987. We explore Echidna Chasm (2km), known for its towering Livistonia Palm trees, and take a short walk (2-3km) into stunning Cathedral Gorge, where towering rocks create a natural amphitheatre. There is time in the afternoon to take an optional scenic flight and enjoy a birds-eye view of the beehive domes (approx $400pp, own expense) to put it all into perspective.
Returning north we pause in Kununurra en route to the shores of the expansive Lake Argyle, the heart of the Ord River Irrigation System which has transformed this dry region into a lush agricultural oasis. Visit the historic Durack Homestead Museum or take on one of the many bush trails to explore the area. A sunset cruise on the lake is a stunning way to end the day.
Continue east along the Victoria Highway and cross the border into the Northern Territory as we travel to the outback town of Katherine, home to the spectacular Nitmiluk Gorge.
A morning cruise through Katherine (Nitmiluk) Gorge is a great start to our last day. Nitmiluk Gorge is an inspiring natural wonder comprising 13 different gorges, carved over a millennia by the Katherine River. On the Nitnit Dreaming Cultural Cruise, we explore two of these gorges, and discover the customs of the traditional land owners, the Jawoyn people. After the cruise, enjoy a dip in Edith Falls then travel into Darwin, arriving at approx 5.00pm.
You are free to depart Darwin at any time today. If you have more time we recommend you join another adventure into Litchfield National Park or Kakadu National Park – or both!
- Nitnit Dreaming Cultural Cruise
Kimberley Travellers Lodge
9a Bagot St
Your Darwin Hotel
Multiple pick up points
ATTENTION: This tour is only for fit and active people, who can hike 5-9kms a day over uneven terrain, often in high temperatures. Some hikes may require sections of walking/swimming through water. Temperatures can be extreme; very high during summer days and very cold during winter nights. Due to the remote nature of the Kimberley region we use bush camps with limited facilities on some nights. The operator reserves the right to assess the fitness capability of passengers prior to tour departure. Tour is not suitable for children. There is a STRICT LUGGAGE LIMIT of 15kgs per person, in a backpack or soft bag.
1. This trip starts in Broome with an arrival day and finishes in Darwin. Onward travel can be booked at any time.
2. This trip requires a sleeping bag
3. Trip also runs in reverse, please trip see code PKTDB-O
All group trips are accompanied by a group leader. In Australia your group leader is also your driver, taking you from start to finish in a specialised vehicle. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Yor leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, organise the camp and cooking for camp or kitchen cooked meals (though passengers are required to help out) as well as recommend great local eating venues. They will also introduce you to our local friends along the way. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the areas visited on the trip, including historical, environmental, cultural and social aspects.
In addition to your driver/guide, a camp host is provided on this trip. The camp host is responsible for the provision of healthy and appetising evening meals and will oversee camp chores and set up.
REMOTE AREA TRAVEL:
We carry a satellite phone on all of our remote/overland trips to be used by our leaders in the event of an emergency and for your safety. In addition, all of our leaders are First Aid trained and certified.
Daytime temperatures can be extreme from Oct to March with temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius. Please bring a large refillable water bottle. We strongly recommend the use of dehydration salts and sports drinks as a way to combat dehydration during times of extreme heat.
Rip currents are the leading surf hazard for all beach users. They can occur at any beach, and can sweep even the strongest swimmer out to sea. Rip currents are responsible for around 15,000 beach rescues and up to 120 people being drowned each year in Australia (source: Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA).
To enjoy Australia's beaches safely, take the following simple precautions:
* Always swim between the red and yellow flags, as these indicate it is a supervised location where a lifesaving service is currently on duty.
* Do not swim at unsupervised locations.
* Observe and obey safety signage, which indicates current and typical hazards for that location.
* Ask a lifeguard or lifesaver for advice on conditions; they are there to make your experience safer and more enjoyable.
* Always swim with a friend; never swim alone.
* If you get into trouble, stay calm and signal for help by calling and waving your arm above your head.
Be aware of your own limitations in terms of your physical health and your swimming ability in the given conditions. Never swim while, or after, consuming alcohol.
All travellers, except New Zealand citizens, must obtain a visa or travel authority before travelling to Australia. Failure to do so means you may not be allowed to board your flight to Australia. Most nationalities can obtain an Electronic Travel Authority via the internet before arrival. Please check the following website or with your relevant Australian visa issuing office for your nationalities requirements. http://www.eta.immi.gov.au/
Why we love it
Tunnell Creek has a rich Aboriginal and bushranger history. Walk through the underground passage learning about the culture and traditions of the first Australians
Discover a hidden highlight of the West Kimberley with a stop in the idyllic retreat of Bell Gorge
Test the 4WD as you take on the rugged terrain of the Mitchell Plateau. This extraordinary area is home to the huge, four-tiered Mitchell Falls – a stunning testament to the power and scale of nature
Enjoy plenty of time to discover the untamed natural beauty of El Questro Station. Paddle around in waterfalls, hike through gorges and access remote parts of this huge park on adventurous 4WD expeditions
The red domes of the Bungle Bungle Ranges in Purnululu National Park form one of the most iconic Australian landscapes in existence. You'll have two nights and a whole day to explore the gorges and valleys of the park, not to mention soak up a few fiery sunsets
Climb aboard a Nitnit Dreaming Cultural Cruise through the inspiring natural wonder of the Nitmiluk Gorge – made up of 13 different chasms carved by the Katherine River – and acquire an understanding of Jawoyn customs
Is this trip right for you
This trip requires a HIGH level of fitness as it involves a lot of walking, allowing you to truly enjoy the surrounding nature. Some long hikes will really get the blood pumping, and involve wading through water and clambering over rocks. Please bring sturdy, comfortable walking shoes and comfortable clothing.
On some days of the trip, you will spend several hours driving, often through very sparse areas of desert. Some drives along off-road tracks can be bumpy as you really get 'amongst it'. Get to know your fellow travellers and sit back to enjoy landscapes that you would miss in any other form of travel.
Temperatures in Western Australia are extreme. During the day the weather can be hot (and the Australian sun is strong) so please bring appropriate clothing, use sun protection and drink plenty of water. In the evenings temperatures really drop, so ensure you have base layers and warm clothing.
Please note this tour operates in remote regions and as such medical facilities may be difficult to access. If you have any medical conditions or take any form of medication please provide full details & nature of condition. Please provide details of medication taken.
Food and dietary requirements
Passengers with special dietary requirements or food allergies MUST ensure they or their travel agent inform Intrepid/ATA at the time of booking. Food for the trip is purchased prior to the start of the trip and special requirements cannot be catered for after departing Darwin. If you have not notified us prior to departure, you may be asked to pay for any additional food yourself. Due to the nature of our trips, food is basic but plentiful. We provide the below substitutes, please bring your own staples if you require specific foods not listed below:
No Pork (Ham alternative provided)
No Dairy (soy milk provided)
Vegetarian (additional veg and veg burgers provided)
Vegan (supply of additional fruit and veg provided)
Gluten Free (cereal, bread, wraps, pasta, snack bars, sweet and savoury biscuits provided)
*Unfortunately religious dietary requirements and specifically prepared/sourced produce are generally unable to be catered for on these remote trips.
The Australian Dollar (A$) is the currency of Australia.
Credit and debit cards are readily accepted just about everywhere in Australia. Occasionally there may be a minimum spend for both in smaller shops. You can usually withdraw money from shops where EFTPOS is available. Automatic teller machines (ATMs) are common across Australia. ATM's may be limited in remote areas and your leader will advise you when to withdraw extra cash.
Credit cards in Australia require a pin number rather than a signature and may have a small surcharge for purchases.
Tipping is not expected but appreciated.
We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you bring an extra USD500 for emergencies (e.g. natural disasters or civil unrest). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to our itineraries, and we can’t guarantee there won’t be some extra costs involved.
What to take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances.
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags are convenient and we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day.
Please keep your luggage to a minimum. Due to limited space and strictly enforced road laws regarding weight limits, Intrepid travellers can carry a maximum of 15 kg.
For our West Coast trips it is essential you bring only one small to medium soft-sided bag plus a day pack. We are not able to carry large suitcases, particularly hard/externally framed suitcases as they are difficult to store and can damage equipment and other travellers' belongings.
If your trip is beginning and ending at the same location, excess luggage can usually be stored at your arrival/departure hotel and can be collected after your trip. If your trip does not return to the same starting point we suggest you look at freighting your excess luggage. One option is with greyhound: http://www.greyhoundfreight.com.au/
Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.
SLEEPING BAG & MAT:
Comfortable sleeping mats are provided when camping. Please bring a travel pillow and sleeping bag or pre-purchase a sleeping bag from us. 10ºC sleeping bags are available for sale prior to travel. If you do not wish to keep your sleeping bag we will return them to our Operations Department, where they will be washed and donated to local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Below are some ideas and helpful tips on what you specifically need for this trip.
- Lightweight clothing. You will need to bring a mixture of lightweight clothing and layers. Long shirts and pants are useful to protect against the harsh Australian sun. Clothes should be easy to wash and dry.
- During dry season months (May - August) overnight temperatures can drop below 0 Celsius but daytime temperatures can still exceed 30 degrees Celsius. Daytime temperatures and humidity can be extreme in the shoulder seasons of March, April and September, October with temperatures over 35 degrees Celsius
- Comfortable closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings.
- Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses
- Personal medical kit. A larger kit will be on hand with your guide, but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes, Band-Aids and insect repellent.
- Water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity.
- A headlamp or torch is recommended for around your accommodation at night.
- Camera with spare batteries.
- A spare pair of shoes that can get wet, along with two towels.
- A pair of slip on shoes/sandals that you can carry in your day pack for riding the bus and casual wear.
- Sleep sheet. If you are travelling during the hot season you may wish to pack a sleep sheet so you will be comfortable no matter what the weather.
- Ear plugs
- A good book, a journal and music player
- Binoculars for spotting wildlife
Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables. We strongly recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.
Most of our trips have access to power to recharge batteries for phones and cameras every couple of days. There are some days where there is no power at the campsites at all. We always recommend that you carry an extra battery for your camera just in case. Your vehicle will be equipped with a 12 volt “cigarette lighter” socket which may be used at the crew’s discretion, however, do bear in mind that only one piece of equipment can be charged at a time and it will not be allowed if there is a risk of running the vehicle’s batteries low. Batteries may also be recharged from hotel room wall sockets. Hotels and many campsites have electricity and charging of batteries is advised before checking out the following day.
If you need some further tips for packing, you can always check out our ultimate packing list.
Climate and seasonal
Itinerary may vary and/or attractions substituted for any cause including seasonal conditions, weather extremes, and traditional owner/national park requirements. The Gibb River Road and Purnululu National Park may be closed in the shoulder seasons (approx. April and October). See terms and conditions of travel for full details.
While Australia's south and the West Coast experience a traditional four season year, Australia's north including the Kimberley and the Top End - has a tropical climate with a Wet Season (November to March/April) and a Dry Season (April/May to October). All of our tours in the north operate during 'the Dry', when it can get surprisingly cold overnight, depending on where you are — in Broome it can get down to 12ºC, while in the Bungle Bungles, it can fall as low as 5ºC! During the day, in Broome and Darwin we usually enjoy a lovely 28 to 30ºC.
A couple of rules
Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
PERTH AND BROOME: ALL general enquiry must be directed to our Reservations team on 1300 654 604. In the case of a GENUINE EMERGENCY, or concerns about a missed pick-up on the DAY OF DEPARTURE ONLY please contact our Operations Manager in Broome. If your call does NOT warrant an emergency situation you will be asked to call our Reservations team in business hours.’
Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers and staff are trained on these principles, and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel.
Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting:
Australians are not required to be covered for hospital care due to being covered by Medicare. However we strongly recommend that Australians have a domestic travel insurance policy which covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. It is also strongly advisable that Australians have current ambulance cover in the case of emergency evacuation or incidents requiring ambulance transportation.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all international travellers and should be taken out at the time of booking. Your travel insurance must provide cover against personal accident, death, medical expenses and emergency repatriation with a recommended minimum coverage of US$200,000 for each of the categories of cover. We also strongly recommend it covers cancellation, curtailment, personal liability and loss of luggage and personal effects. You must provide proof of your travel insurance on the first day of your trip; you will not be able to join the trip without it. If you obtain travel insurance through us you acknowledge that you are satisfied with the level of insurance we have arranged.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.
During ‘the Wet’ most 4WD roads and National Parks in the Kimberley are closed, including the Gibb River Road which in the wet season turns into a fully flowing river. Due to the region being mostly inaccessible, we only operate these trips through the dry months, usually April until October. Departures during the shoulder season (usually April/early May and October) are at some risk of road and National Park closures. In most cases we will try and operate an amended itinerary, depending on the extent of the closures. We reserve the right to amend itineraries at short notice, during any time of the year.
ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER CULTURAL EXPERIENCES & COMMUNITIES:
Please note due to cultural sensitivities, entry to particular parts of local First Nations communities may be unavailable. Where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander guides are unavailable in the Red Centre an Intrepid guide will lead the interpretive cultural walk. Top End cultural experiences are only available during the dry season (May-Oct) as site is subject to flooding (contact our customer service team for availability). Participants may be absent due to cultural commitments with minimal prior notification and Intrepid reserves the right to amend the itinerary in these circumstances with no obligation to refund.
The relationship between ATA and Intrepid Australia
For over 25 years, Intrepid Travel and Adventure Tours Australia have been leading brands in the adventure travel business. With Intrepid’s global product range and Adventure Tours’ local knowledge, the two brands joined force in 2011 to provide the ultimate range of Australian product with Intrepid running all of it’s local trips under the Adventure Tours Australia name. Today we’re proud to bring Aussie-made trips to the world, both here with Adventure Tours and overseas through the Intrepid brand, so no matter which brand you have booked through, you’re travelling with the best.
Camping - with basic facilities(6nts),Safari Tent - shared facilities (3nts),Private Room - shared facilities (4nts),Private Room - ensuite (1nt)
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