Four over 60's on the trip of our older lifetime (Kimberley and Northern N.T.)
by Ann Cullerton
(Central Coast NSW)
Well thank you Birgit for helping us feel confident to do so - My husband and I, along with our American friends, have just returned from a wonderful 5 week trip in the Kimberley and Northern N.T.
We flew from Sydney to Broome and spent 5 days in a very pretty town. After which we hired a 4WD Prado (none of us ever driving an off road large 4WD before) and especially on the notorious Gibb River Road...
IT WAS A BREEZE! We drove carefully, and combining our years of driving experience, did not have any trouble at all - even though we went off to see gorges along roads that were a lot worse than the Gibb River Road at times... We were a little lucky as SOME of the GRR had been graded just before we arrived.
We flew on the Seaplane to Horizontal Falls, flying over Cape Leveque - Buchaneer Islands - etc. and wow what a wonderful flight... Landing on the Talbot lake and then going thru the Horizontal Falls - jetboating thru the lovely scenery of the area then feeding the sharks and having a great Barra lunch... then flying back to the mainland. A TRIP NOT TO BE MISSED IF POSSIBLE...
From Derby we drove down the highway to Geike Gorge and onto a boat cruise down the gorge with excellent commentary. Then down to Fitzroy Crossing staying at the Fitzroy Inn - a great experience and great accommodation right on the Fitzroy River... with excellent dinners...
Then we drove from Fitzroy along the dirt road to Tunnel Creek and Windjana Gorge - two great places not to be missed. Then onto Bell Gorge - where we stayed for 2 nights at APT camp.
(This camp is luxury camping in tents but is not at Bell Gorge, you MUST NOT turn up the turn off to Bell Gorge but continue on the GRR another 9km to the camp site. Many folk went 30 km into Bell Gorge and found that they had to return another 30 km back to the camp, they were not happy little campers...
Bell Gorge is beautiful and worth seeing...
Then onto Mount Elizabeth, where Pat is an excellent host and we enjoyed our 2 nights here - exploring their wonderful property during the day.
Then onto Drysdale River Station - which is not run by the owners but by APT group - a little disappointed - as we could not take the hire car up Kalumburu Road to see the Mitchell Falls - and the 4wd tours from the station were no longer available only a flight over, which already finished mid September?
Suggest you stay on GRR if not doing the Falls as it is 60km in and 60km out on a very rough road to Drysdale - maybe go Ellenbrae instead (where we had morning tea).
We continued our journey to Home Valley (for lunch) then onto Emma Gorge and ElQuestro. Do not miss either of these great places - Emma Gorge Safari Tents are excellent and the food at the restaurant is very good. BUT the walk into Emma Gorge is the BEST (even if a little hard). Do it early morning or late afternoon.
Then into Kununurra via Wyndham and the 5 Rivers Lookout and spent one night at Hidden Valley next to Mirama National Park (mini Bungle Bungle structures).
Next day we drove down to the real Bungle Bungle where we stayed two nights in the safari tents - excellent all round.
We took a flight over the wonderful sights in a helicopter, my first experience in one at 64 yrs and it was just wonderful... So you younger folk can do it...
After 2 of the most exciting days of sight seeing around the area we returned to Kununurra for 2 nights before heading off to the Northern Territory.
Suggest that you look into a tour/trip from Kununurra to the Bungle Bungle - eg flight down (over Lake Argyle and the Diamond mines) to Bungle Bungle - then stay the 2 nights in the safari tents and explore yourself or with guide and then fly back to Kununurra. As the trip down is a little long and the road into the N.P. is very rough.
Sorry this report is a little long but we did do and see a lot and I could go on and on with more details but I think this gives you a fair idea of a great trip through an area well worth travelling along. We took approx. 3 weeks to do it but I suggest longer if possible. Although I have read of people who do it in less time and are still happy.
Hope this helps anyone thinking of doing it... Happy Travels -
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