The Kimberley | The Savannay Way
AUSTRALIA’S NORTH WEST
The Kimberley is renowned for its grand views, great gorge swimming and Aboriginal art on the rocks and in emerging galleries. It’s a series of fantastic experiences with regular facilities and a range of driving conditions.
Two wheel drivers and caravans have the sealed highway to traverse with classic towns and indigenous art galleries. The Gibb River Road provides an unsealed alternative or additional route, with remote cattle stations and connections to the coast. Many drivers plan a combination of these two and add a local tour or two to cover as many highlights as possible.
Kununurra is a hub, especially including the nearby El Questro and Home Valley, and the attractions around Victoria River and Timber Creek are increasingly accessible.
So explore! Choose your self-drive or touring adventure from the many options here, contact the local experts at the main towns’ Visitor Centres and enjoy one of northern Australia’s great regions – you’ll never forget it!
Please Note: The Western Australian Government and some local councils have adopted programs to restrict alcohol sales and public consumption in many communities.
The Kimberley has some fascinating aspects to its geography. It is only 500 kilometres from Indonesia and boasts some of the most ancient landforms on the planet. You’ll notice great variety in the mountain ranges you pass, from the limestone of the Napier Range you can explore at Tunnel Creek and Windjana Gorge to the striking sandstone layers of the Bungle Bungle Massif, Hidden Valley National Park at Kununurra and Keep River National Park.
The Kimberley Coast is renowned as one of the most ruggedly beautiful in the world. Derby’s tides are the country’s highest at 11.8 metres – note the wharf height on your town tour! You may choose to visit the “Horizontal Waterfall” on a tour as the tide changes.
Broome sits on Roebuck Bay and has some beautiful coastal scenery including beaches and sandstone weathering. The habitat suits migratory wading birds so even for the non-birder some times of the year this is quite a spectacle. For more on this see our birding page. Red pindan soil contrasts spectacularly with the ocean colours. This red sand has a high clay content as well as the colouring of iron oxide and supports low, scrubby vegetation including various acacia and Spinifex species.
The “Staircase to the Moon” is a famous Broome phenomenon when the reflection of the rising moon on mudflats gives an unusual and picturesque impression. Check dates with the Broome Visitor Centre. A regular Broome sunset is something to see as well.
Eastwards rich cracking clay soils replace the pindan, supporting the tussock grasslands that have allowed the cattle industry to develop.
The mighty Fitzroy River incorporates 20 tributaries and flows for 350 kilometres. Fitzroy Crossing is located at a naturally rocky section where cattle could be driven across the river during the dry season.
You can take some of Kununurra’s geology home in the form of Argyle Diamonds and the unique Zebra Rock, sediments formed within local siltstones.
Notice how the vegetation changes with each new landform. There are many endemic species here including in the classic Australian genera of Acacia, Eucalyptus and Melaleuca. The most distinctive tree is of course the Boab (Adansonia gregorii) which is long lived (perhaps over 1000 years), a valuable food source for Aboriginal people (fruit pulp) and very hardy. One giant was taken to Kings Park in Perth in 2008 and is doing very well in its new home.