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Kimberley and NT News: 2024 Kimberley season opening dates.
April 25, 2024

25 April 2024, Issue #102

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In this issue:
  • 2024 Kimberley Season Opening Dates


Yes, another newsletter already! (Please do not get your hopes up. It won't be becoming a regular thing again.)

First I want to thank everyone who responded to my last newsletter with well wishes. I was very touched by how many people care, so kind of you! And you instantly made me better, so all is good now. :)

Secondly, I want to thank everyone who managed to include the correct email address when requesting an update for their guide book. Give yourself a pat on the back! You are the rare exception. Ok, exception is exaggerated, but you are in the minority. (About one third of people.)

If you missed the information and need an update for your guide book, see the last newsletter for instructions on how to request an update, and then do your utmost to make it into that one third of people.

Which leads to the third point connected to the last newsletter: There were also quite a few people requesting an update for Destination Kimberley (my full guide, for which you get lifetime updates if you purchase it) although they only ever downloaded the free Pocket Guide (the one you get when you sign up for this newsletter).

Obviously an honest mistake, and for those people I have good news. You shall get an updated guide, too. :) I updated the Pocket Guide as well and you don't have to contact me to download the newer version.
You can just go here and download away.

By the way, when I went through that Pocket Guide I didn't find much that was out of date. The guide is so general, such a basic overview, there just isn't much that ever changes. The 2018 copyright notice however was a bit embarrassing and probably not too confidence inspiring to someone considering a purchase of the full guide. :)

Lastly, I removed most of the ads from the website. A few years ago I had allowed Google to place ads automatically, much less work than manually putting in every single one, and oh boy did they get annoying and intrusive over the years! And I didn't even know because I never go to my own website as a reader! I only view it inside my content management system when I update something.

A reader made me aware of the issue and now they are gone. Apologies for the bad reading experience. It is safe to go back now and read more. :) (The manually placed ads are still there but they aren't anywhere near as annoying or intrusive.)

And now that I got all that off my chest, let's look at some season opening information...

Your guide Destination Kimberley is still the most comprehensive and best advice for independent travellers to the Kimberley and I hope it continues!
We recommend it to everyone … and it is still compulsory reading for our new tour pilots every year.

(Steve Irvine, Managing Director of Shoal Air, on Jan 19, 2019. Read many more testimonials and reviews here.)

2024 Kimberley Season Opening Dates

I wrote in the last newsletter that you should expect everything in the Kimberley to open at the normal times.
"Normal" refers to the main season getting under way around the beginning of May as I explain on my website and in my guide books.

The East Kimberley saw some late, heavier rains but there should be no bigger delays in opening. Opening dates always vary by several weeks, even in "normal" seasons.

Having said that, a two week delay can be real problem if you arrive at the beginning of those two weeks...

Sorry folks, but a week ago the water level at the Pentecost crossing was still about 1.5 metres. Until it drops enough to make the crossing safe the Gibb River Road remains closed between the Pentecost crossing and Mount Barnett.
And, well, nobody can predict when exactly it will open. A week ago Main Roads talked about "end of the month", now it looks like it might take longer, but nothing is set in stone yet. You'll have to keep an eye on road reports, the usual FB groups etc.

(The yearly Gibb River Road Mountain Bike Challenge starts May 15 and I imagine Main Roads will do everything in their power to allow that to be run according to plan.)

Here's the thing: even if you can't drive all the way through, by the beginning of May you will be able to access almost everything along the Gibb by driving in from the western end, and you can access El Questro from the east.

Let's look at the details:
  • The West Kimberley national parks are already open!
    This includes Tunnel Creek, Windjana Gorge and the Windjana Gorge campground (closed all of last season!), Bell Gorge and the Silent Grove campground, and Lennard Gorge.

  • Mt. Hart is set to open on April 29.

  • Purnululu in the East Kimberley will follow on May 1. (The roads need a little more time to fix them up again because of the late rains.)

  • There is no fixed opening date for the Mitchell River National Park yet, but it is expected to follow in early May, provided the roads allow safe access.

  • Geikie Gorge remains closed for now. As I wrote last month, they do hope to be able to allow some sort of access for day visitors this year but there is still a lot of work to do.
    You have to understand, the big Fitzroy floods last year washed away not only the complete infrastructure (visitor centre, boat ramps, gorge access ramps, trails). The 37 hectares of riverbank on which that infrastructure was located washed away, too.
    So imagine the amount of work involved. They hope to open the park for day visitors at some stage but don't count on it. Plus, boat tours will definitely not be happening this season.

That's it for parks, let's look at the stations next...

"I've read your book back to front and it is a masterpiece!"

(Received February 9, 2021.
Thanks, Cameron!)

  • El Questro Station opens April 26. (The late rain again, their traditional fixed open date is April 1.)
    Emma Gorge will follow on May 1, also a traditional fixed date.

  • Home Valley Station of course is on the other side of the Pentecost crossing and therefore at the mercy of the wet seasons. They plan to open on Monday, May 13. BUT, this depends on Main Roads opening the Gibb River Road.

  • Ellenbrae Station haven't announced a fixed date yet. They are hoping for early May, again depending on Main Roads.

  • Sorry, I still have not been able to get any info on whether Gibb River Station will reopen at all or not. (They were closed all of 2023 and one reader wrote that it looked "abandoned".)

  • As so often, no information from Mt. Elizabeth Station and they also depend on Main Roads opening the Gibb.

  • Mt. Barnett Roadhouse is open (access from the Derby side), Manning Gorge and campground are expected to open May 1.

  • As you already know, Charnley River Station and Mornington Wilderness Camp will remain closed in 2024.

  • The Imintji Store is open, the campground will open May 1.

  • And Birdwood Downs Station is open.

And that's it for all the privately owned places along the Gibb.

Unsurprisingly, the Kalumburu Road is still closed, as is Drysdale River Station. (No point in opening a station that you can't access.)

As for other roads in the Kimberley:
  • The Broome Cape Leveque Road is open all the way as is access to all northern beaches. (The West Kimberley really did not have that much rain this wet season.)

  • The Duncan Road is open for 4WD only and only on the WA side.

  • The Tanami Road is only open from the WA side to Sturt Creek and there is water on the road, bad corrugations, bog holes and deep washouts.

Karunji Track, King River Road, Parry Creek Road... all still closed of course.

On the other side of the NT border, Keep River and Gregory National Parks are also still closed.

I am sure you detected the pattern: the further east you go the wetter it gets. So if you planned your early trip to start in Broome and end in Darwin, you are lucky.
And if you planned it the other way round you are also lucky because you get to see one of the most beautiful parts of the world, so go make the most of it.

And that's it already for today!

Don't forget that you can find links to all the road reports and also to national park opening information in the appendix of my guide books. (For NT national parks see Destination Top End.)

I kid you not, that's where I go myself whenever I need any of those links. It's a handy compilation.

I don't expect there to be another newsletter this year but you never know, if something big happens I may write one.

(And I am of course always here in case you have a problem with a purchase or a download.)

If you visit the Kimberley in 2024, I wish you a great trip. And if you don't, then have a great time wherever you are!

Take care,

Destination Kimberley, Destination Top End and Destination Red Centre have all the information you need to put together your dream trip.

To sign up for this newsletter and receive the free Kimberley Pocket Guide go here.

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(c) 2024, Birgit Bradtke. All rights reserved.
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