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Kimberley News: Roads and parks finally all open, thoughts on trip timing, admin stuff.
June 15, 2017

15 June 2017, Issue #056

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In this issue:
  • Roads and Parks Updates
  • Thoughts on Timing of Trips
  • Reader Feedback
  • Admin Stuff

Hi everyone,

It is mid June and finally (!) this season seems to be under way in earnest...

Roads and Parks Updates

After one of the driest wet seasons in a long time in 2016 followed one of the wettest wet seasons in a long time in 2017.

I do remember seasons where parks or gorge access tracks had to close again due to unseasonal rains. Just ask all the people stuck for days at Manning Gorge last year! Here is an older newsletter with an email from a man who was there. (That older issue also contains more info about freak weather events in recent years.)

But I can't remember a season where three of the most popular national parks did not even open until June!

Well, hallelujah, as of June 1 you can visit Windjana Gorge, Tunnel Creek and Bell Gorge, as well as stay in the campgrounds at Windjana and Silent Grove.

Mt. Elizabeth Station opened for business at the time of the Gibb Bike Challenge, and as of June 4 their campground is also open again. (For the first couple of weeks it was only possible to book into the accommodation.) Their new website is also online:

Charnley River opened June 7 (or rather, that's the day I heard that it's open).

The Kalumburu Road has been open for quite some time but, as always early in the season, offered a very rough drive! It is being graded now, as we speak.

So the only place along the Gibb that is still closed is Lennard Gorge.

Further in the NT, in Kakadu the whole Jim Jim Falls/Twin Falls area is still closed and expected to open bit by bit during late June/early July. (Graveside Gorge not until late July.)

All other big name attractions are open, but do expect to find many bush campsites and some of the lower lying bush walks still closed. (See the road report for details. Link, of course, in the appendix of Destination Top End.)

Not surprisingly, all 4WD tracks in Litchfield NP are still closed. (They are notorious for opening late, even in an average season.) Everything along the main, sealed loop road, however, is of course open, as it has been for most of the wet season.

The crocodile surveys in Katherine Gorge are still ongoing so the gorges are still off limits to swimming and canoeing. (Boat tours are operating.)

Those are just the super big name attractions. If you own Destination Kimberley and Destination Top End then you know there is a hell of a lot more to see and do, and with the appendix you also have access to current information about what is open and what isn't.

Thoughts on Timing of Trips

As I mentioned above, last season was one of the driest we had seen in a long time.

I remember getting an email from a reader. It was towards the end of that wet season and he explained they wanted to visit the Kimberley mainly for the waterfalls and gorges. (Doesn't everybody?)
And since it was so dry, they were now considering postponing their trip by a year.

He asked what my advice would be.

At that time the wet season hadn't even ended yet, so I said what I always say: I have no crystal ball, I can't tell you. The weather does whatever it wants.

However, I did point out to him that his alternative May 2017 trip would be a gamble, too, because at that time of the year, if it turns out to be a big wet, some roads may still be closed. So he is trading the possibility of waterfalls and gorges having little or no water for the possibility of waterfalls and gorges being inaccessible.

Which is better?

I think it does not matter. What makes the trip better or not so good is in both situations your attitude.

Our waterfalls and gorges are awe-inspiring, even with little water in them.

And with a lot of water around even the more easily accessible, otherwise not so spectacular places turn into something pretty darn spectacular.

Either way there are great experiences waiting for you.

You can not experience and see everything there is to experience and see, unless you spend 12 months of the year.
So fully enjoy the awesome experiences you are having (the trip will be awesome either way, I guarantee) rather than focussing on the things you can't see or do.

Here is another older newsletter issue, with another reader email and trip report from a time when many places were closed due to late rains.

If you have been on the road early (or not so early) this year, then I and all of my readers would love to hear about your experiences as well!

Reader Feedback

Tom, one of my readers, is a drone pilot and he brought back some stunning footage from his April trip to Broome.

Here is the YouTube video he put together.

Tom is also planning a trip to El Questro later this year and promised to let me know when the footage of that is ready for viewing. I for one look forward to seeing that!

Admin Stuff

The last weeks and months have been a very busy time in my inbox.

Several issues and questions have been coming up again and again. I am about to overhaul the FAQ page since it does not address some newer issues, and I thought I'd also add some info here:

1.) You are more than welcome to forward my newsletter to other people. Thanks for spreading the word!

However, be aware that the link to remove yourself from the mailing list, which can be found at the bottom of every newsletter you receive, is unique and personalised to you.
It does not matter who clicks it, if it gets clicked, you get unsubscribed.
And it appears that the recipients of your thoughtfulness make liberal use of that link!

So you may want to send a note with the newsletter, or simply cut off the bottom bit with the links before forwarding it.
Or better still, send people to this page so they can sign up for themselves AND get both free guide books.

If it happens to you anyway, simply go to that page yourself and sign up again.

2.) Credit card payments:
I offer payment via PayPal account or credit card. However, PayPal is my credit card processor. So when checking out, you will initially land on a PayPal page.
PayPal would very much like you to sign up for an account, so they do not make it very obvious that you can pay by credit card WITHOUT opening an account.
The option, however, is there! So don't hit the back button immediately but look for the (unobtrusive) link.

3.) Hotmail users!
When you purchase my books, please do not forget to check your junk folder for the download mail.
Not a day goes by without a Hotmail user telling me they never got the link.
(And while most emails are polite questions and requests, some of those mails are quite rude and squarely blame me.)

4.) IPad users!
I get more and more mails telling me that people are "losing" their download.
If you want to download and save one of my guides to your iPad, tap near the top of the document in the iPad browser window and choose "Open in iBooks".
It will download and store in the iBooks app until you delete it.

And that's it for today!

With the season now well under way and things having settled into their usual rhythm, I expect to be sending out newsletters less frequently. However, I will still be sending them, and I am still here for you if you have any problems with a purchase or download or other issues!

Talk again soon!

Those of you planning on leaving for their trips soon, please always also refer to the appendix of Destination Kimberley, Destination Top End and Destination Red Centre or to the links in this and in previous newsletters to keep yourself up to date about the conditions.

Happy travels,

Feedback? Found some out of date info in one of my guides? Let me know via

(c) 2005-2017, Birgit Bradtke. All rights reserved.
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