14 Days Darwin to Broome

by Tim Dobinson
(Cairns, QLD)

I have formulated the below itinerary for a 14 day Darwin to Broome trip. If you get the chance could you look at the itinerary and let me know if you have any suggestions.

I also wanted to let you know that I have recently purchased your e-book. Congratulations on your publication, it is excellent.

Thanks very much.

Tim Dobinson

China and Dobbo's Kimberley Adventure 08 (first draft)

13 June – Night 1
Arrive at Darwin airport at 9:15pm
Stay cabin or backpackers in Darwin?

14 June - Day 1
Get up at sparrows and drive to Katherine – stop in Katherine to pick up supplies, ice and anything else needed – brunch in Katherine.

Katherine to Lake Argyle in the afternoon.
Longest drive of the trip – 829 kms – approx. 10 hours according to RACQ trip planner.

Camp at Lake Argyle have a look around in the afternoon.

15 June – Day 2
Get up at sparrows – think this may be a recurring theme.

Drive Lake Argyle to Bungle Bungles.
Supposed to be a 6 hour drive 300 kms – the last 55kms is alleged to 3 hours.

Set up camp at southern end of the park campground "Walardi" spend afternoon doing the Cathedral Gorge via the domes walk – 1.5 hours.
Watch sunset from Windows Lookout.
Camp at "Walardi".

16 June - Day 3
Get up, pack up camp.
Walk up Piccaninny Creek for a few hours before turning around and coming back by lunch early afternoon.

Drive to northern part of the park and set up camp at northern campground "Kurrajong", in afternoon do either the Mini Palms walk or the Echidna Chasm walk before enjoying sunset at Walanginjdji lookout.
Camp at "Kurrajong".

17 June – Day 4
Get up at sparrows.
Drive from Bungle Bungles back to Kununurra – pick up some more supplies, ice, etc. - and head up to El Questro Station.

Set up camp by the river before going for a fish in the afternoon on a hire boat.
Camp at El Questro campground.

18 June – Day 5
Get up in the morning and go for an early morning swim in the Zebedee hot springs before taking a hike down in El Questro gorge itself.

Come to camp before heading across to the other side of the station to have lunch at Emma Gorge Resort and then spend the afternoon exploring Emma Gorge.

Come back to camp late afternoon – throw some lures.
Stay at El Questro campground.

19 June – Day 6
Get up and head up to El Questro shops to pick up supplies, ice, etc.
Drive from El Qustro to Kalumburu before camping at Honeymoon Bay (500kms).

20 June - Day 7
Get up early and pack up camp before heading back down to the Kalumburu Road to Mitchell Falls.

Arrive at the falls about lunch and set up camp before putting the packs on and catching the chopper up to the falls before hiking back to the campground along the Mitchell River gorge, takes 3-4 hours.

21 June – Day 8
Get up, pack up camp before jumping in the truck and heading back down to Manning Gorge.

22 June - Day 9
Get up early at Manning Gorge to have a look, a walk and a swim. Before heading 100 km south to Mornington Wilderness Camp, arrive by lunch - spend afternoon exploring Dimond Gorge and stay at MWC.

23 June – Day 10
Get up in the morning and head down to Sir John Gorge and stay at MWS for night 2.

24 June – Day 11
Get up early and head 40 kms down to Bell Gorge for a look, walk and swim. From Bell Gorge push on another 80 kms to Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek national parks. Walk through the tunnel.

25 June – Day 12
Get up and pack up camp before heading off to Kooljaman Resort at Cape Leveque.

26 June – Day 13
Kooljaman day 2

27 June – Day 14
Push off from Kooljaman Resort in the morning and head the final 180 kms to Broome via the Dampier Peninsula to arrive at Broome by early afternoon.

Head down to Cable Beach for a swim in the afternoon before finding ourselves at Cable Beach Club Sunset Bar at around 6 to drink Pina Coladas and watch the sunset before having a party night in Broome.

28 June –Day 15
Spend the morning looking around Broome including the museums and wartime sites etc.

Get to Broome Airport at about 1pm for the trip out.

Re: 14 Days Darwin to Broome

Hi Tim,

Phew, quite an itinerary you have there. I hope you can get by on next to no sleep! Some of your days are MASSIVE. It seems with the exception of day 10 and 13 every single day requires you to get up very early and to push it all day.

You know best how much of that kind of thing you can handle and what you want to get out of the trip. I have done similar trips myself, but to me they were not holidays, it was work. They were research trips and the only objective was to check out the locations and gather information. Those were demanding trips. And I think I might have had a couple more rest days...

Do you know how long it takes you to set up and pack up camp? I personally would not bother to shift camp in the Bungles, but I don't know your setup.

I would also not separate the domes/Cathedral Gorge/lookout walk from the Piccaninny Creek walk in your case. It means driving down there twice, walking to the Windows lookout turn-off twice, and then having very little time for Piccaninny Creek itself.

I think I would try to do Mini Palms/Echidna Chasm on the first day, then head to Walardi and camp there (or camp at Kurrajong if you'd rather experience both camps and both sunset lookouts).

Then do the southern part with a packed lunch on the second day, domes/Cathedral Gorge in the morning, then Piccaninny for as far as you feel comfortable, and get back to the lookout for sunset. Seems a more efficient use of the time you have available.

I personally would scrap Kalumburu from the schedule unless you have an important reason why you want to just drive in and out of there.

Kalumburu is mostly a fishing destination. You don't have time for fishing, you don't have time to check out the mission museum or meet any of the people there, you may not even have any daylight to see much. It doesn't seem worth to make the detour just to set up and pack up camp.

Another potential hiccup could be the long canoe trip at Mornington. You'd want to book it ahead to make sure you can get into the gorge that day. And that means come what may, you have to make it to Mornington on that day. And your itinerary does not allow for anything going wrong anywhere.

There's barely time to change a tyre but there is plenty of temptation to drive faster than you should... Let's hope nothing will go wrong!

I'd say, be prepared to possibly adjust your plans on the fly and drop something if it becomes necessary.

Other than that, it's all doable but very demanding. I personally would not want to do it that way, but as long as you are aware of what to expect and that is fine with you, it can work. You sure managed to cram in the absolute maximum possible :-).

Hope that helps!
And thanks for the kind works on the book! I'm glad you found it useful.

Comments for 14 Days Darwin to Broome

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Thank You
by: Tim Dobinson

Hi Birgit,

Thanks very much for the prompt reply.

I noted your comments re Kalumburu and will axe it from the itinerary accordingly. If we needed to axe some other aspects of the trip to be a little more relaxed, would you be able to comment on any other parts of the trip that aren't "must sees"?

Thanks very much again for your help.


Axing is the hardest thing to do...
by: Birgit

Hi again, Tim!

Well, the problem is that everything is a must see. Axing is the hardest thing to do.

I honestly think you did a great job in preparing that itinerary.

It's great that you have the two nights in the Bungles and also at Mornington. Those two destinations really deserve that much time. The Mitchell Plateau is another favourite of mine. To have a relaxing day at Cape Leveque at the end is also perfect. Those are the things I would not drop. And other than that you can just hope that the rest will fit as planned.

What to drop, in case it turns out that you need to drop something, is really a matter of personal preference, or it may become a case of where and when you run out of time.

I would wait and see how you feel once you are on the road. Some things that will affect you can't be predicted, for example when the roads were last graded. You could be lucky and find a perfectly smooth road and everything works out just fine!

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