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Kimberley News: Safety when Camping, Important Dates/Events, Weather and Roads...
April 10, 2016

10 April 2016, Issue #045

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In this issue:
  • How To Update Your Guide
  • New Website Preview
  • Safety when Travelling and Camping
  • Important Kimberley Dates/Events
  • Weather and Roads


Mid April already! The tourist season in the Kimberley has kinda, sorta started, and some of the more adventurous of you are already on the road. Or maybe you went for a short Easter break and are back home again? In that case we want to hear how it was!

I know quite a few people were planning early season trips because I received several dozen requests for access to the most recent version of my Destination guides.
(Destination Kimberley and Destination Top End.)

Both guides are 100% current and up to date. If you plan to travel soon, feel free to request a fresh download link through this form.

If you plan to travel later in the season, I recommend you wait with updating your guide. The guides are 100% current right now, but things keep changing.

The guides get continually updated as new information becomes available during the season. Get a fresh download a few weeks before you plan to leave and you'll have the freshest information possible.

How To Update Your Guide

If you are a customer who is travelling soon and would like a fresh download, you must use the form on this page.

I have also updated my contact page to reflect this.

(If you read my comments above the new request form, you'll understand why I created the form and why I can only accept requests made through that form.)

New Website Preview

When you go to either the new request page or my usual contact page you will notice that they look different.

I am about to start a major overhaul of the whole website, and what you see is a preview of the new look.

At this stage it's still a bit rough around the edges, there will be many more minor changes and additions until I am happy with it, but overall that's what the website will look like. The new design should also work fine on mobile devices of of all sizes.

But it's not just about the upgraded look. I can't wait to overhaul all the information on the site, so that it will be as 100% current as my guide books!

Important Kimberley Dates/Events

I want to point out two important dates/events for those of you planning to travel in May:

The first one is the Gibb River Mountain Bike Challenge from May 15 - 19. On those days you'll have a huge number of bikers and support vehicles on the road, and in the evening in the campgrounds. The race runs from west to east, camping at Imintji Community, Mount Elizabeth Station, Ellenbrae Station and Home Valley Station, finishing with two nights (May 19 - 21) of rest and exploration at El Questro. Do your best to avoid whichever section the race is on on any of those days, unless of course you want to be in the middle of it all.

The second event is the Ord Valley Muster from May 13 - 22. (The Bike Challenge is part of it.) The Muster draws huge numbers of people, especially the Kimberley Moon Experience on May 21. Kununurra will be packed, accommodation hard to come by if at all, and prices even higher than usual.

Safety when Travelling and Camping

A little while a go I received the following question through the website:

Hi Birgit. We are going to NT (Kakadu and Kimberly) 6 weeks in September/Oktober, we have rented a 4WD Safari Landcruiser. Is it dangerous to go bushcamping?
We have looked on the internet about safety/robbery when camping, but can't find anything. What is your experience?
Great E-books, we got them both.
Many regards, ..., Denmark

The question is not uncommon. On some level those questions make me smile but they are also a bit worrying.

Try this: approach the question from a different perspective. Imagine you are a bad person, wanting to break into other people's caravans and campers. What would you rather do?

Go to the hassle of getting a permit for Koolpin Gorge, driving hundreds of kilometres and on rough tracks to hang out in a bush campground with no facilities, hoping there will be a other campers who leave valuables behind and easy to get to?

Or would you rather stay at home, in the comfort of your home, in the anonymity amongst thousands of other people, with several campgrounds and parking lots around and hundreds of opportunities every day?

Don't worry about break ins when bushcamping. I am not saying it is not possible that something happens or that you will never encounter bad people out there. And I urge you to always use common sense. Do not leave valuables in sight, don't flaunt them, lock everything, etc.

What I am saying is that you are a LOT more likely to get broken into in one of our towns.

In fact, this danger is very real and is not something that the glossy tourism brochures will tell you about.

The time around Christmas is notorious for break ins and stealing, but this year things have not quieted down as usual. I was told break ins happen every night in Halls Creek, Fitzroy and Broome and I imagine the other towns to be similar.

Ask about safe parking for your vehicle, lock everything away, take valuables up to your room with you etc. Don't take this lightly.

In town is where you need to be extra vigilant, not in the bush!

Weather and Roads

The wet season has remained, well, not very wet. But as I wrote last time, cyclone season does not officially end until April 30. And anyway, the cyclones don't know that. And even if they did, it does not take a cyclone to close a road. As you read in Destination Kimberley, in the past we even had that happen in June! It only takes one local shower to do so.

Always keep an eye on weather forecasts and road reports.

(You may find conflicting information on some of the road reports I link to. In that case check when they were last updated and trust the newer one.)

The Kimberley forecast and river conditions can be found here and here (click on the map to zoom in).

For the NT the same info can be found here and here.

On this page you can check how much rain fell over a recent time period, just select the area and time period.

Kimberley road reports are here and here.

NT information is here (click on map to zoom in, take note of left hand menu) and here (all closures), and for the national parks here and here. Kakadu has its own road report here.

The state of things right now (or rather, at the time of writing the newsletter! Always check!):

Spring Creek Track into Purnululu is open.

The Gibb is open all the way. (High clearance 4WD needed to cross Pentecost and Durack rivers which are still at about 500mm.)
Grading is in process as we speak and scheduled to be finished by April 20.

Note: Even though the Gibb is open, access to Lennard Gorge, Bell Gorge, Mt. Hart and Mornington is still closed!

Fairfield Leopold Downs Road is open but you can't access Windjana Gorge or Tunnel Creek.

Kalumburu Road is still closed.

Tanami Road is open, Duncan Road is open for 4WD.

As for the rest of the NT, there are too many different roads and tracks to make a report here. Use the links above to check the ones relevant to you.

It's been drier than usual up there as well, and while I can't guarantee it, I would expect everything in the NT to open rather early, too.

And that's it for today.

You'll hear from me again as soon as there is something interesting or important to report.

Whenever you plan to travel, I hope you'll have a wonderful trip and look forward to seeing your photos and trip reports!


Got any feedback? Or maybe you found some out of date info in one of my guides? Let me know via

(c) 2005-2016, Birgit Bradtke. All rights reserved.
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