Is October too late for the Kimberleys?

I wonder if you could help us please. I purchased online today your guide to the Kimberley region.
We are planning on arriving in Darwin on 15th October & then making our way to Kununurra via Katherine on 18th October, but after reading your guide we're beginning to have doubts if this time would be too late in the season. But as we're also going on down to Sydney we didn't want to get there when the weather is cool!

What would your advice be please.

Comments for Is October too late for the Kimberleys?

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October IS hot...
by: Birgit

Well, it depends what you want to do and see, how you travel, what you like and dislike and so many other things. It is not the best time of the year...

I would never say, "This or that date is too late to visit the Kimberley". That's nonsense. We live here 12 months round, and every time of the year has advantages and disadvantages.

But late October WILL be stinking hot. There is no way around that. So you really need to think about what you may want to do, how the heat will affect that, and how you think you may cope. Or not.

So, what is it you plan to do while in the Kimberley, and how, and what do you most worry about? Tell me a bit more then I can advise you a bit better!

Thanks for your quick response!
by: Anonymous

We're 2 couples coming to Oz in Oct. My husband & I are both in our 60's & our friends in their 70's - so we won't be doing anything too strenuous!!

We haven't booked any flights or accommodation at all yet, but we really must start to get something organised.
These are our plans so far:

16th Oct - arr Darwin - pick up 4WD
17th Oct - o/n Darwin
18th Oct - Drive to Katherine & stay o/n somewhere
19th Oct - Drive to Gibb River Rd, maybe down as far as Home Valley & stay there the night
20th Oct - drive to El Questro & stay in Station Townhouse
21st Oct - Drive back to Kununurra - o/n Kununurra
22nd Oct - o/n Kununurra. Have a look around town
23rd Oct - o/n kununurra. Take a trip on the Ord River & to Lake Argyle
24th Oct - o/n Kununurra. Go on an organised air tour to the Bungles, maybe having a chance to walk to Cathedral Gorge.
25th Oct. o/n Kununurra. Have a relaxing day.
26th Oct - Drive back to Katherine & o/n there.
27th Oct - Drive back to Darwin
28th Oct - Fly to Cairns

Does all this sound crazy to you B? We'd planned on getting a 4WD so don't have a problem driving on the Gibb River Road.

We were in Kalgoorlie at the beginning of last year & I found it very hot there & didn't have much energy, but then there's not too much to do there!

What do you think - are we wasting our time & money coming to the Kimberley in October?

Kimberley in October
by: Birgit

I'll tell you a bit about what to expect, but at the end you have to decide if it there is any sense in visiting at all or not.

Ok, the driving and staying in places is not a problem. You just turn on the air conditioner.
You're not camping so the nights are not a problem.

If Cathedral Gorge is the only hike you do, as long as you do that in the morning you should be fine. However, the Bungles will be cruel after 10 am. (The sun comes up at about 5 am here. 10am sounds earlier than what it is.)

You could do a scenic helicopter flight, but any other hiking would be too hard.

At El Questro you could go to Emma Gorge early in the morning. The pool at the end is cool and shady, but it's a difficult walk over rocks and boulders and it's in the sun, so you need to do it real early (or real late).

You could also do the walk up El Questro Gorge. That's a shady walk nearly all the way.

You just have to be aware that after the early morning it will be very, very hot. Looking around Kununurra for a whole day is not really something worth doing in October. It's too hot to bother...

And then you have another relaxing day in Kununurra. Not sure what that would entail, but I guess if you spend it by the poolside it'll be fine :-).

Anyway, you have air-con in the car and at night. Get up VERY early and schedule anything involving walking so that you're done with it before 10 am the latest, and drink, drink, drink. Stay in the shade and near water in the afternoon (there are still places where you can swim) and you should be fine.

The only good thing about that time is that you'll see few other tourists here :-).

If you will enjoy that kind of trip, and even more so if your friends will cope, is something you have to decide. Most people do not enjoy anything in those temperatures, but others don't seem to mind at all.

And I can't emphasize enough just how hot it might be. It can vary, it might stay around 37/38, but if you are unlucky the temperatures can go up to 45 and higher.

Thanks for all your help & advice.
by: Anonymous

What we've decided to do is to put the trip off until next June/July & go to New Zealand instead. We feel it would be a waste of time & money to have to stay in a/c places to be comfortable, but I shall keep all your info & use it for next year.

Excellent decision
by: B.

Now New Zealand instead is a very good idea!

Good decision. I didn't realise that you also had the option to be here next year. If the choice is to see the Kimberley in October or to not see it at all, then it is a much harder decision to make.

October or June is a no brainer!

By the way, next year, before you leave for the Kimberley, make sure you email me for a fresh link to the updated version of the guide (best a few weeks beforehand in case I'm not around). Many things and prices and other details change and I update it all the time.

And anybody who buys it so long before they travel can of course get the freshest update when they need it.

Have a great time in New Zealand!
B.

Kimberly in Jan
by: Sally

Is it possible to do or see anything in the Kimberleys in January? We may be would like to leave Darwin for Broome around that time but don't know if it is firstly possible and secondly possible to view any of the Kimberley's along the way? if not then we may have to come back another time to do it. Also where is the best place to hire a 4wd from?
Cheers, sally

Kimberley wet season.
by: Birgit

Hi Sally,
To get a good idea what to expect I suggest you start by reading my free Kimberley guide.

Is september as bad as october?
by: Janneke

Hi,

I've been reading your guidebook and all the information on this website (both are excellent!!) and I would like to know if September is as bad as you discribed october to be.
We have no way out of traveling in september (as early in september as we can get). And we're going straight from Darwin into the Kimberley's.

We (husband and wife) will be traveling with our son who's three years old. We really want to do this trip b4 he's obligated to go to school and we won't be able to go for as long as we're planing now. (We're traveling from the Netherlands and as it's a long way, we want to make it worth our wild and stay 6 weeks). But as you will know, temperatures here are never that high, so i'm wondering if he's going to cope.

Ty,

Janneke

September/October in the Kimberley
by: Birgit

Hi Janneke,
Thanks for the kind words. Glad you like the site and guide.

While the free guide does not answer the question if your kid will cope (only you can answer that), it does tell you everything there is to say about the weather. You even have temperature tables for all the different areas, you have my detailed comments. Maybe you should have another look at that chapter.

Is August as hot as July in the Netherlands? I bet sometimes there are hot days in July, and sometimes in August. Same here. From August until November it gets warmer and warmer. Just as Europe warms up from Spring to Summer. Which day or week will be the hottest I can't tell you ahead.

It's a pretty safe bet that the last October week will be warmer than the first September week. But late September could be warmer than early October. We have normal ups and downs just like every other place in the world.

If you travel the Kimberley during the hotter time of the year, plan your days so you make use of the early mornings and late afternoons, and avoid being outside during the middle of the day. Yes, that applies September as well as October. For some people that applies even August. Or May. Some think 30 is too hot to do stuff.

How well you'll cope depends on any given day, where exactly you are then, what you do, and how much you let the heat bother you.

Is september as bad as october?
by: Janneke

Thank you for your reply.

I think my son will cope, but I won't be sure untill we're there. He's much like his father and he doesn't let the heat bother him at all. I think heatwise I'm the biggest worrie for the group. And if he (or I) doesn't cope we'll have to amend our plans when we're there.

I bought the Kimberley Travel Guide and right after we check out the Vacation Trade Show, that's on here in the next week, we'll be booking our flight and filling in the details :) (Hopefully there will be some nice sales on flights.) We'll be heading over to Darwin on or around september 10th. Hopefully it won't be too scorching.

I'm telling you, this planing stuff is half the fun :) Specially when you have good guidebooks to lead the way.


Guide Books
by: Birgit

Thanks, Janneke!

Darwin is a lot cooler. Broome should be fine, too. The further inland you go, the hotter it gets. The Bungles will be the worst since you are stuck between all those rocks that heat up like nothing else.

On the topic of guide books, I hope you are on the newsletter list. I'll be sending out some updates this week or next, and there will also be a new guide book for the trip between Darwin and Kununurra, out in January or very early February.

If you downloaded the free Kimberley guide you are automatically on the list. If not, you can sign up in the top right corner of every page.

Wow
by: Debbie

What a great site, we were planning on coming to Broome October/Nobember, after reading your site plans have now changed. We will make the trip April next year and instead of driving Broome to Darwin. We will make our trip to Darwin October which will give us more time April for Broome and the Kimberleys.
Thank you

Kayak in October
by: Rob

Hi,
We are travelling the Gibb River Rd in October, will there be any point taking my kayak? It's inflatable so it doesn't take up too much room, but it still adds 30Kg to my load.

Just about to leave
by: Janneke

We're just about to leave for Darwin on September 10th. After much consideration and reading (including the Kimberley Travel Guide) we've decided to travel the GRR through the Kimberley. In total we'll have three weeks to get to Broome and then we're spending a couple of days at Cape Leveque before we depart to Cairns.

We're a family with a 3,5 y.o. son. Hoping the weather doesn't turn wet too early :) Will let everyone here know how it went when we come back at the end of October.

Is November too hot for the Kimberleys
by: Janie

My (American) husband and I (I am the Aussie) will be in Darwin for a conference in late October (this year, ie 2010) and want to visit the Top End. We are planning Kakadau, probably Katherine (Gorge) and then were thinking of the Kimberlys and Broome over a two week period. It will be the only time that we will be in the area and wanted to take advantage of being there. What would you recommend?

Been away...
by: Birgit

Sorry that I haven't been around to answer questions. I've been overseas myself.

A bit too late now, but I couldn't have helped much anyway...

If it's worth lugging the kayak up here depends how much time you want to spend and where exactly you want to go. There are still places where you'd be able to use it.

As for the heat in November, Janie, I guess you'll find out in Kakadu etc if you can handle the heat or not...

If it's your only chance, I'd go. Just get lots and lots of info beforehand, go swimming lots, only plan walks for the crack of dawn and late afternoon etc and so forth.

The weather/temperature issues are much the same as in October, but in November you also find that many tourism businesses have closed their doors already.

But many others stay open year round. You can still cruise on Lake Argyle and the Ord, take scenic flights over the Bungles, go up to Kooljaman and Cape Leveque. Can't predict what else will be open as it depends on the weather.

Question regarding travelling to GRR in September
by: Rozanna

Hi Brigit,

Sorry, I sent my comment off too soon before I read most of the comments on the site! AND, I addressed my question to Geoff - apologies for that! Will be buying the guide. So my only question at the moment is: if you had to choose between driving from Darwin to Broome from 6-22 April OR 22 Sept-7 Oct, do you think the latter is the safer choice apart from the temperatures?

Thanks
Rozanna

Darwin-Broome
by: Birgit

Rozanna, if the Gibb River Road is a priority, and you want a guarantee that you can drive all the way through, then April is out. Simple.

If you were going to stick to mostly sealed roads anyway, if all you wanted to see was the NT parks, the Bungles, El Questro and Cape Leveque, then I personally would probably prefer April, especially if it wasn't a big wet season. The problem is that we can never predict how big a wet season will be.

This year EVERYTHING was still under water even in late April, but it was an exceptionally wet year. In an exceptionally dry year nearly everything could be open by mid April. Every year is different and you just never know.

I also can't tell you how well you'll cope with the heat later in the year or how hot exactly it will get, or how much water will be left in the gorges. Again, every year is different.

So, apart from the temperatures and water levels, September/October is much more predictable. At least you know everything will be open.

April is always a big gamble. It's only for flexible and adventurous people who are happy to take it as it comes and make the most of it.
(As is also explained in my guides, even in the free download.)

Wet Season Travel
by: Callum

Hi,

A group of friends and I are looking into planning a trip at the end of the uni year (so anywhere within Dec-Feb). Understandably, this is the wet season. I have a 4X4 and trailer with plenty of room to pack necessary equipment. My only question is, what are the days like during the wet season.

From what I can gather the rains and storms generally come of an afternoon. Are the majority of roads closed during this period? What are the basics of what we can and can't do during the wet? (were traveling all the way from the east coast - Newcastle)

Cheers, any insight would be great.

May-June or August-September?
by: Aude

Dear Birgit,

We are a french couple planning to visit the Kimberley. I've read your free guide book and I've to say it's extremely well done!

I understand weather is not predictable, but I' would like to have your advice about "when to go", especially because I've seen that 2010 and 2011 were unusual years.

As we are doing the trip (long and expensive trip) from France, we would like to maximize our chance to visit the Gibb River Road as well as Mitchell Plateau. We would also like to visit Karijini National Park at the the same time, and eventually Cape Leveque. We also would like to avoid the month of July and the beginning of August (too expensive in terms of flight prices).
With these informations, which period would you advice us to go?

We were thinking about May until early June or should we choose maybe end of August-September?

Thank you in advance for your precious answer.

Cheers

Aude

May/June or Aug/Sep
by: Birgit

I'd say, go May/June or August/September :-).

I can only tell you the advantages and disadvantages of different times, and I did that in the free guide. You already know the pros and cons well, or you would not have suggested those two periods, which are exactly the two periods I personally consider the best also :-).

Both periods should be okay if you leave the Mitchell Plateau until the very last in June.
I wouldn't expect a second hundred year flood next wet season.

But if you prefer a guarantee that access to the Mitchell Plateau will be open to a guarantee that there will be water coming down the waterfalls on the Gibb, then August/September is the better choice.

Of course, the country is more beautiful in May/June, no ifs or buts about it. Yes, there is always some weather risk left. Which doesn't mean that you can't do things. You may just be doing slightly different things...

I'm afraid the final decision you'll still have to make yourself!

Travelling in the Wet Season
by: cathy vines

We are travelling from Port Hedland to Sydney in late November and I wanted to travel via Derby down through NT to South Australia. My husband wants to go south down to Kalgoorlie then across the Nullarbor because of the possibility of getting caught.

In your opinion which is the best way to go?

Cathy Vines

5 Days
by: Jxx

I am wanting to take a trip here mid October with my partner. We are both very active and fit and up for lots of walking (in the early morning before it’s too hot I see). We are living in Perth for a year and hope to make it to the Kimberley’s before we depart in Feb and this mid Oct time might be our only chance.

I would love some recommendations for how best to use our time on a 5 day trip. Where is best to fly into? Would prefer not to use a tour company if that's possible. I have heard most of the sights are quite a distance apart!

Many thanks for any advice!
Jxx

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