Enjoying the Kimberley with a disability

My husband and I would love to do a trip around the Kimberley area. He is a photographer and fairly fit. I suffer from arthritis so walking long distances can be a challenge and climbing things without stairs is virtually impossible.

After reading some of the descriptions for some of the gorges and falls, eg. some walks being 1 km from the campground, I am wondering how I might enjoy myself if some of these walks are inaccessible. Are there many attractions that can be accessed relatively easily for someone in my position?

We travelled from Perth up to Coral Bay two years ago and I just loved my first taste of 'red dirt'. The actual driving part was enjoyable as the scenery is fantastic. There were also a fair few things I could do as they were on the tourist route and catered a little more for people (ie. easier walking paths).

I would hate to plan a trip to the Kimberley and find that I had to miss out on most of the key attractions. So if you are able to enlighten me as to some places that would suit my capabilities would be great, as this sort of information is extremely hard to find out.

Thank you greatly for your time. I am enjoying the site!

Kind regards
Naomi (Melbourne)

Response to:
Enjoying the Kimberley with a disability

Hi Naomi,
Thanks for your kind words, and thanks for a great question. I am sure there are also a great number of people who simply don't enjoy long walks, and this is of interest to them as well.

I understand your concern and it is justified. Many of the walks that I describe are simply out of the question for someone like you. While there is still a lot you can see and do here, you would indeed miss out on a few things.

All gorges along the Gibb River Road require longer walks. Even Galvans Gorge is a bit further to walk into now, since the access track has been closed to cars.

Even the shortest walks in the Bungle Bungles are at least two kilometres, and require stepping up and down on uneven ground.

However, long hikes are not the only thing the Kimberley has to offer!

Here are some things you can do, from west to east:

You can certainly spend a few beautiful days in Broome, and also on the Dampier Peninsula. Cape Leveque is a place to just kick back!

One of the things that makes the Kimberley so attractive is that we have so much water, water, water. Both the Indian Ocean and our rivers offer awesome scenery.

Contact the visitor centres about boat cruises from Broome or Derby (there are great three day cruises to the Horizontal Falls and the islands out there from Derby).

You can possibly get into Windjana Gorge. Even just the gorge entrance is very impressive, and that's where the deepest pools and all the crocodiles are. (I say possibly because it is difficult for me to judge what exactly you can and can't do.)

You can definitely see Geikie Gorge on the CALM boat tour.

There are several smaller pools and gorges outside Halls Creek along the Duncan Road, none of them require much walking. And the Duncan Road itself is a beautiful drive, too.

You can drive into the Bungle Bungles. It's a nice drive, especially in the afternoon. The drive from Walardi to Piccaninny inside the park gives you great views over the domes. You can also take a helicopter flight from inside the park. That's if your husband wants to do some walking and photography inside. Otherwise you can fly from Warmun.

From Kununurra you can drive to Lake Argyle. That's one of the most scenic drives I know, and there are good facilities at the lake.

Triple J offer a boat tour from Lake Argyle (from the Ord Dam) along the river back down to Kununurra (Diversion Dam). Highly recommended!

Contact Home Valley Station and El Questro Station, and ask them what they can offer. They may have trips on their land that involve just 4wding and boating.

You could drive to the Mitchell Falls and take the helicopter flight from the campground. The drive in itself is a fantastic experience. And the King Edward campsites and the Aboriginal art sites in the vicinity are worth visiting, too.

That were a few ideas for you. For some of them you need to be set up to camp, but not for all of them.

If you get in touch with the visitor centres in Kununurra and Broome they may have more suggestions. (They know better what's available as far as commercial tours are concerned.)

You could definitely have a great time here. The only thing that I'd skip is the Gibb River Road. You can get a taste of it from the Kununurra side, but driving across does not make much sense if you can't get to any of the places.

If you do end up making the trip it would be great if you could share your experiences and impressions with other readers!

Related question:
Darwin to Broome via Gibb River Road - which bits are visible for someone with a disability?

Comments for Enjoying the Kimberley with a disability

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Nov 24, 2007
Thank you so much
by: Anonymous

Thanks so much for the speedy and detailed response, I very much appreciate it. I suspected the Gibb River Road might be somewhere we would have to skip, but it sounds like there is still a lot of things to see. On holidays, we still visit places that my husband can access and I can't, as I don't want him to miss out on everything. The beauty of him being a photographer is I get to see the gorgeous photos he has taken which is the next best thing!

I will definitely report back here after our holiday to let you know our thoughts.

Kind regards

Nov 25, 2007
Home Valley Station
by: Birgit

And that would have to be the speediest comment I ever received :-).

I just wanted to add something. Even if Home Valley Station doesn't have any particular tours or activities for you, driving out there from Kununurra for one night is still well worth it.

They are right on the Pentecost River (on the other side, so you get to cross it). Their sunset viewing area has the most beautiful views over the Cockburn Ranges. Most famous photos of the Gibb River Road were taken from somewhere in the area. And it's just a great place to camp for a night (they have other accommodation as well), and to have dinner and a few drinks and sit at the fire...

It's definitely a good way to get a taste of the Gibb River Road and station stays.

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