6 Things to Do in The Kimberley (Besides a Cruise)

18 Oct 2016

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A cruise is not the only way to discover the Kimberley. APT's range of overland and air tours offer a different scope of the region's ancient beauty, and are studded with opportunities to immerse yourself in Australia's last frontier. Before, after or during your APT adventure, there a range of activities that will leave you with a true taste of the Kimberley to flavour your holiday memories. 

1. Fishing

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Barramundi fishing in the Kimberley
A successful barramundi fishing trip in the Kimberley. Photo: Roderick Eime

When folks talk about fishing in the Kimberley, their first thoughts are of the iconic barramundi. Known elsewhere in the world as seabass, this big, elusive fish loves rocky river estuaries and can grow to a metre or more.

Barramundi is the trophy fish for serious anglers all through the North West, and dedicated fishing charters and tours run from Broome, Wyndham, Dampier and Kununurra. While the hardcore will want to bring their personal kit and tackle, it’s also fine to just turn up and let your expert guide handle the gear. And if you don’t catch a ‘barra’, don’t worry; there are feisty queenfish, trevally, wahoo and salmon ready to give you a run for your money.

2. Luxury lodge stay

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Luxury eco lodge in the Kimberley
Mitchell Falls Wilderness Lodge. Photo: APT Kimberley Wilderness

Some of Australia’s finest and most exclusive lodges are hidden throughout the Kimberley, nestled like Easter eggs in a garden. Finding them, thankfully, is not so hard. Along the Berkeley River and the Gibb River road, up on the Mitchell Plateau and out toward massive Lake Argyle you’ll find an assortment of premium ranches, tented safari camps and resorts. Many can only be accessed by private plane for the ultimate in privacy and seclusion. When you’re there, you can fish, hike or take a guided drive and discover the mysterious rock paintings, which brings me to ….  

3. Discover Aboriginal art

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The ancient cave art of Wandjina, Kimberley
The ancient cave art of Wandjina. Photo: Getty

If you’ve never seen the Wandjina or Gwion Gwion rock art of the Kimberley, then you are in for a treat. Tens of thousands of years and an ice age or two ago, a long-lost group of Aboriginals created some of the most stunning frescos in secret alcoves and under rock ledges in the ancient cliffs. In fact, some researchers believe the Gwion Gwion mystical figures (also called Bradshaws after their discoverer) are the oldest rock art known to man. The ethereal Wandjina, on the other hand, are much younger and are still maintained by the local indigenous Mowanjum Community in many places. Whichever ones you meet, you’ll be sure to fall under their spell.


More Inspiration from the Kimberley

Kimberley Rocks of Ages
How to see Kimberley's Waterfalls by Air and Water


4. Swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving

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Rowley Shoals in the Kimberley Australia
Rowley Shoals, a diver's paradise. Photo: Getty

Even with all the talk about crocodiles, sharks and stingers, aquatic sports are still a thing in the Kimberley. You might need to hike a bit to get to your spring-fed billabong up on a low plateau, but you’ll have totally earned the super refreshing dip that provides a sensation like no other.

Snorkelling and scuba diving takes place way out west in the Rowley Shoals where one of Australia’s most intact reef systems supports an astonishing amount of marine life in the vivid coral. Whales, dolphins and turtles are common in this secret offshore sanctuary, but you can still throw a line in and catch exciting deep sea fish like tuna and wahoo. You’ll need to get a ship as there is no accommodation on the little bit of land, all of which helps limit visitors to a few score a year.

5. Flightseeing

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The Kimberley Bungle Bungle Range from an aeroplane
Flightseeing; the only way to grasp the scope of the Kimberley. Photo: Getty

You’ll only get a true grasp of the scale of the Kimberley from the air. If you fly into Broome or Kununurra, you’ll see the canvas of rich colours from the airliner, but nothing beats skimming across the prehistoric landscape in a light aircraft or helicopter for a true pterodactyl's eye view. The most popular flightseeing excursion is certainly a low pass over the spectacular and otherworldly Purnululu National Park (aka Bungle Bungles) with their gigantic beehive-shaped domes of karst sandstone rising 250 metres from the desert like some lost city of the giants.

6. Pearl shopping

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Western Australian pearls from the Kimberley
Western Australian pearls are known for their lustre. Photo: Getty

No visit to the Kimberley would be complete without a wander down Broome’s Dampier Terrace, where the pearl boutiques call out to you with their lustrous arrays of beautiful gems. Pinctada maxima, the Australian South Sea pearl, is renowned for its size and lustre. The superb Aussie oyster grows happily in these tidal-fed, nutrient-rich waters, producing some of the finest pearls anywhere in the world. Apart from a tinge of sunburn and indelible memories, it’s the authentic, lasting souvenir you should take home with you from the Kimberley.

For more information on adventures through The Kimberley contact your local Travel Associates Consultant. 

Roderick Eime

Rod began his adventures at the age of two, slipping his harness and making a run for it from his ever-suffering mother while in Adelaide’s busy Central Market. While she recovered him numerous times thereafter, he’s now been on the loose for more than four decades. His travels may be less haphazard, but they are still often driven by spontaneity and an inextinguishable quest for something. During his many escapades, he has flown, driven, walked, rode and sailed millions of kilometres across every meridian, every ocean, lots of rivers and more than 70 countries.