Canoe/Kayaking the Kimberley's

by Paul

Basically, is it worth while carting a canoe/kayak up there to the Kimberleys? I don't care about fresh water crocs. We have paddled all around South Australia, East, and Tassie.

How many rivers are salt croc free or declared safe in June? We plan on doing the Gibb River Road loop from Derby/Kununurra and looking to paddle.


Comments for Canoe/Kayaking the Kimberley's

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Feb 22, 2009

by: Birgit

Hi Paul,

It is most certainly worth it! That's how I feel anyway. (I don't know the areas you have paddled, how much paddling they offer and how it would compare when looking at the "is it worth lugging them up there" aspect.)

Now, there are no rivers or waterholes that are "declared" safe at some stage. This isn't like the tourism centres in the Territory, (Litchfield/Kakadu/Katherine Gorge), where the crocs regularly move in and they survey after the wet and remove crocs and then declare something safe.

That doesn't happen here. But it is well known where the crocodiles are, and most of our gorges and many smaller inland waterways are unsuitable as crocodile habitat.

Some places where you can canoe:
  • Ord River, from the top dam (Lake Argyle) to the bottom (Diversion Dam in Kununurra).
    If you don't want to do the whole trip, explore just the Everglades (Kununurra).
  • (Lake Argyle is no good for canoes, it's just too big.)
  • Check with El Questro about Chamberlain Gorge.
  • Drysdale River area.
  • Gorges on Charnley River Station.
  • Dimond Gorge at Mornington (also offers canoes for hire). There is also Sir John Gorge but they only allow two people a day into it. Not sure if they let you in with your own canoe but doesn't hurt to ask.
  • Geikie Gorge (check with CALM about restrictions).

That are the obvious places that you'll pass on your way anyway. There are other, remoter or less known waterways. Plus, I probably forgot some.

I am currently looking for a kayak for myself, so at this stage I am not so clued when it comes to the remoter and harder to access places, but if you take your time, quiz the locals and the station owners/managers up here, you should find many more opportunities and I think it is well worth making that effort.

Having a little tinny or a canoe is definitely a plus up here. (Provided you have the time to make use of it.)

Aug 04, 2011
Canoe Trip
by: Anonymous

Beware!! Go wild adventure tours are very poorly organized. We had a trip booked but when phoned back to check time they said they had over booked so we didn't get to go.

Aug 04, 2011
by: Paul

We did take our kayak and paddled fished at Drysdale station, also exmouth, lake argyle, It's just exercise as it is too big and you see nothing.

Jun 12, 2019
by: Anne

Hi Brigit,

Re Drysdale River area (the station has canoes if you don't have your own).

No this is NOT correct, sorry we don't have any canoes for anyone to use. We had to stop lending free ones due to we would have had to provide trained persons to supervise use, even though we never charged for the use. So we had to stop doing it.
Cheers, Anne at Drysdale River Station

Thanks for the heads up, Anne! I had updated that in the guide book and on the website but missed this old reader question. It's updated now. B.

Nov 12, 2020
Have a suitable style of boat
by: Mick Jerram

There are a few comments about the 'size' of the waterways and that they are 'too big' to see anything. This is only true if you are using the wrong style of boat.

Lake Argyle for example is huge and an amazing paddle including island hopping in a sea-kayak style craft. The Lake offers many side gorges and bays which are excellent for exploring.

Canoeing on the Ord is also great if you are appropriately equipped and plan your trip so that you don't have to paddle 30-5okm in one day

I guess the advice here is to 'do your research'.


Feb 25, 2021
How far
by: sean

What is the length of Lake Argyle say from the boat ramp to Ord river entry point?

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