The Kimberley in Western Australia hold many ancient secrets, with a deep rich human history and heritage dating back at least 50,000 years. ‘The Kimberleys’ and ‘the Kimberley’ are used synonymously to describe this stunning region. The term ‘the Kimberleys’ became popular due to the separate development of the East and West of the region (therefore- two Kimberleys). The Kimberley has an intriguing geological matrix with incredible habitat and bio diversity, while displaying some of Australia’s most striking land forms and natural features.
Located in the far North West of Australia, The Kimberley Region totals 420,000 square kilometres, or 162,000 square miles. Not just a single feature, rather a country in itself combining countless dramatic features and remote wilderness areas. As a simple comparison, the Kimberley region is similar in size to the country of Spain, with a language diversity broader than that of the European Continent. The intimacy in which Charter North 4WD Safaris understand the Kimberley allows us to provide our clients with an unparalleled Kimberley Tour experience.
Significant aspects of the Kimberley Region
- The Kimberleys are one of the most geologically, ecologically and biologically diverse regions on our planet, dominated by mountain ranges, plateaus and savannas
- Glacial and more recent volcanic activity are responsible for the region’s stunning evolutionary display
- A millennium of prehistory evidenced through the countless rock art and early occupation sites of the region
- The Region is believed to be one of the first areas on the Australian mainland to have experienced human occupation
- The Kimberleys represent a vast wilderness area largely undiscovered and under explored by Europeans until as recently as the early part of the twentieth century
- The region supports many mixed lifestyles, from Australia’s highest percentage based indigenous populated towns and communities, to the more remote homelands and cattle stations
- The Kimberleys hold an interesting combination of endless, seemingly unspoiled vacant parcels of land, conservation zones, National Parks and developing commerce
- It is an emerging globally recognised and increasingly popular destination, providing visitors with unique wilderness opportunities and experiences
- The multicultural town of Broome, located in the far Western Kimberley is regarded as one of the pearl capitals of the world
- The construction and creation of Lake Argyle in the East Kimberley resulted in the largest man made fresh water reserve in the Southern hemisphere, measuring seven times the surface size of Sydney Harbour
Kimberley Experiences & Attractions
Perhaps the most remote and isolated part of our Kimberley Tour, the Mitchell Plateau and surrounding landscape unlock many secrets of ancient lifestyles and practices, as we visit some of the most artistic rock art ever revealed. This most northern region of the Kimberley is renowned for its Gwion Gwion (Bradshaw) and Wandjina rock art. The mighty Mitchell Falls, definitely one of the most impressive waterfalls in the Southern Hemisphere, also invite us to hike, swim and take another amazing aerial adventure over what is true Kimberley Wilderness. King Edward River/ Munurru reveals more rock art and cultural sites with the opportunity for a croc free swim in the river’s clear waters.
The area of the Mitchell Plateau all the way to the coast (Uunguu) is managed by the local Wunambal Gaambera indigenous groups. Since 2017, a visitor permit is required to enter this country and all commercial operators need to be accredited Uunguu operators.
Travel through the stunning Carr Boyd Ranges on approach to the world acclaimed Purnululu National Park. Hike through iconic features such as Echidna Chasm, Cathedral Gorge, Picannini Creek and the uniquely striking beehive formations. We finish the day with a sunset safari to catch the late afternoon colours on the Bungle Bungle Range as the sun dips behind the Osmond Range. Take an exhilarating chopper flight over this prehistoric landscape to gain a greater appreciation of the size and grandeur of this truly spectacular Kimberley Gem.
This historical and cultural journey takes us through the heart of The Kimberley visiting Home Valley and Drysdale River stations. On our journey along the infamous Gibb River Road we encounter ancient rock art sites and all of the Kimberley waterfalls including Barnett River Gorge, Manning Falls, Galvan’s Gorge and Bell Gorge. With plenty of opportunity for hiking and swimming this will be the most active chapter of our Kimberley Expedition.
Elquestro is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque and diverse areas of The Kimberley. With rolling hills, dramatic escarpments, pristine river environments, naturally heated thermal springs and abundant water features. There is an overwhelming amount of activity here for us as we hike and swim through Emma, Elquestro, Amalia and Moonshine gorges, with a rejuvenating soak in Zebedee Hot Springs. Indulge in a boat cruise, scenic flight, or horse ride and enjoy some amazing sunsets from the more remote vantage points only reached with our 4wd vehicle.
Home Valley Station is owned and operated by the Indigenous Land Corporation, and is one of the emerging Kimberley Indigenous outback experiences. Home Valley is nestled in the mighty Durack Ranges and home to a variety of natural attractions. Bindoola Falls are only one of Home Valley’s outstanding features and one of the lesser visited Kimberley destinations. The crest of the Pentecost Range provides the East Kimberley’s most admired panoramic vantage point over the Cockburn Range, exhibiting the most striking panoramic perspective of this classic Durack country. Home Valley also provides Kimberley Character accommodation, ranging from safari tents to homestead stay and luxury cabins. The Home Valley “Dusty Bar” also serves up a highly regarded Kimberley dinner and drinks experience. Horse riding, scenic helicopter flights and fishing tours are available, too.
The changing landscape and environments of the Western Kimberley expose the Napier Range as it rises abruptly from the surrounding Pindan Plains. The Napier Range is part of a previously submerged 350 million year old Kimberley reef system. The reef system and surrounding plains provide cultural and geological insights spanning millennium as we hike into Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek. Extreme weather events have created this geological masterpiece with its unique habitats and ecosystems. Windjana Gorge is also home to one of the largest populations of Freshwater crocodiles in the World.
The AWC’s Mornington Wilderness area encompasses diverse environments, imposing features and a rare opportunity to experience the vastness of the King Leopold Range and Fitzroy River Valley. While at Mornington we explore the dramatic and imposing land forms with a canoe and hiking expedition through Dimond Gorge. For sunset we take a 4WD challenge to Sir John Gorge for a late afternoon swim as the final moments of the day’s sun reveal the striking colours of the gorge. As a genuine micro group tour we are privileged to have access to this stunning property, and to witness the most innovative natural resource management that has created such eco- diversity in this rugged Kimberley environment (custom private tours only).
Our visit to Lake Argyle includes a two hour sunset boat cruise and even camping on a remote Island (private camping tour option). Measuring seven times the size of Sydney Harbour, this ambitious twentieth century irrigation project and the pioneering spirit that resulted in its creation is now one of the greatest spectacles of the Kimberley. There is no better way to admire and experience the outstanding charm and beauty of the lake and its hundreds of Islands than with a late afternoon cruise and refreshing sunset swim. Our cruise includes complimentary snacks and drinks to help you relax and take in the scale and tranquillity of the lake as the sun sinks beneath the waterline.
Located further north in the Kimberley along the peninsula on the magnificent Cygnet Bay is the oldest surviving Australian owned pearl farm “Cygnet Bay Pearls”. Not only is this a brilliant opportunity to learn about the pioneering of this industry, but to be able to visit a working pearl farm and see the farming process is a very rare experience indeed. If you have a passion for pearls, this is your chance to purchase some of the world’s best, and directly from the producer! The pearl farm also offers stylish safari tent accommodation on the beach. Cygnet Bay Pearls is another example of how some Kimberley enterprise are diversifying and embracing tourism. The pearl farm sits right on the picturesque Cygnet Bay and is the gateway to the Buccaneer Archipelago, a mass of around 1000 islands directly to the North. From Cygnet Bay Pearls we can explore the archipelago by sea or air and witness the spectacular horizontal waterfall phenomenon. When travelling the Dampier Peninsula, Cygnet Bay Pearls is a must and they warmly welcome us as day or overnight visitors. At Cape Leveque, the northern most point of the Dampier Peninsula, is the award winning “Kooljaman Resort”. This Aboriginal owned and operated resort is situated on what many would regard as the most stunning coastal real estate possible. This is a tasteful low key resort in suit with the natural environment and again welcomes Charter North as day or overnight visitors. The resort can be reached by road or air and offers land, air and sea adventures, including a chance to swim and cool off in the northern waters of the Kimberley.