Kimberley Travel Guide Blog

On this "Kimberley Travel Blog" you find the latest additions and updates I made to the website, new trip reports that have been added by readers, and important travel news from the Kimberley region.

I also publish some updates I made to my guide e-books Destination Kimberley, Destination Top End and Destination Red Centre, information that you will not find on the website, but only in the e-books.

Another option to stay up to date with everything I offer is to subscribe to my free newsletter via the subscription box at the top.

Mar 18, 2020

Kimberley and NT News, Special Issue

I have already received several emails over the last couple of days, from people planning a trip in April or May, asking me about possible COVID-19 related travel restrictions and closures in the Kimberley.

I realise that many of you who are planning a trip in the near future are concerned how the current outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 may affect your plans.
The questions made clear to me that many people still do not realise what lies ahead.

Hence this special newsletter issue.

Continue reading "Kimberley and NT News, Special Issue"

Mar 05, 2020

Kimberley and NT News, Issue 83

In this issue:

  • Finally! The Wet Season Is Here For Real, Yay
  • Updates
  • Booking Hire Cars
  • 2020 Destination Guides

Continue reading "Kimberley and NT News, Issue 83"

Feb 10, 2020

Australian 4WD Hire Saga Continues

I have already covered the shady Queensland based car rental company Australian 4WD Hire in my newsletters several times.   (See issues 68, 73, 78 and 82.)

ABC just published the latest news in this apparently neverending and maddening saga.

Despite my warnings, I still receive regular emails from readers who had booked with this company and are now unable to get their bond money back. (Up to $5000!)

Therefore once again: Please, before booking a vehicle for your Kimberley holiday, DO YOUR RESEARCH.

Or even better:    Get competent, free help from someone you can trust.
I can not recommend this service enough and all my readers who have taken my recommendation have been very happy with the service they received!

Feb 01, 2020

Kimberley and NT News, Issue 82

In this issue:

  • Wet Season 2020
  • Updates
  • Australian 4WD Hire Continues Trading Under New Ownership
  • 2020 Destination Guides

Continue reading "Kimberley and NT News, Issue 82"

Jan 15, 2020

Whalesong Campground Closed For 2020 Season

The lovely Whalesong campground on the Dampier Peninsula will unfortunately be closed for the whole 2020 season and under refurbishment until further notice.
With one more year to go before the Cape Leveque Road will be fully sealed, Lenny and Jacinta are taking the opportunity to do some much needed works.

Additionally they are concentrating on their kakadu plum business.
Their Gubinge products are available throughout the Kimberley at various stockists or directly from their website.

Whalesong is one of my favourite places so I am not happy that they are closed for now, but luckily, these days you have many alternatives for relaxed bushcamping in stunning surroundings on this side of the Dampier Peninsula.
Just have a look through Destination Kimberley for your options:
Gnylmarung, Pender Bay, Smithy's...
It would take a fair bit of time to visit everyone anyway!

Oct 09, 2019

Kimberley and NT News, Issue 81

In this issue:

  • Season Review And Preview
  • Win a $560 Pangea map of the Dampier Peninsula
  • About Road Conditions
  • Trip Report And Reader Feedback

Continue reading "Kimberley and NT News, Issue 81"

Oct 01, 2019

Closing Dates for 2019 Season.

For the closing dates of parks, stations and other attractions along the Gibb River Road and in the East Kimberley see this page at the Kununurra Visitor Centre website.

For additional dates, including places along the Kalumburu Road and the Great Northern Highway, see this Facebook post by the Derby Visitor Centre.

Oct 01, 2019

Bell Gorge remains closed for this season.

Sadly, Bell Gorge and Silent Grove campground will not reopen this season.

The popular campground and gorge had to be closed after a bushfire in early September.
Lack of staff made it impossible to quickly make everything safe again for visitors. Additionally, there is now concern about the deteriorating water quality. Water has stopped flowing altogether and in the increasing temperatures the stagnant pools could become a health risk.

And that means that, sadly, for this season Bell Gorge is closed for good.

Let's hope that the next wet season will be a good one and bring the burnt country back to life.  :(

Sep 10, 2019

Bush fire closes Bell Gorge and Mount Hart

A large bush fire has swept through the King Leopold Ranges. After the closure of Lennard Gorge, Bell Gorge and the Silent Grove campground a few days ago, today Mount Hart also had to be closed.
So far 47,000 ha have been burnt. Very sad. It's not clear what started the fire.

Update Sept. 17: Mount Hart is open again. Silent Grove campground and Bell Gorge remain closed for now.

Aug 31, 2019

I will be away from 31.8. - 15.9.2019

During that time my internet access will be sporadic. So if you are trying to contact me you may have to wait for a few days to get a response.
Thanks for understanding!

Aug 07, 2019

Gibb River Road June 2019

We've just completed another Gibb River Road trip using your Destination Kimberley guide. Thank you for the excellent information and insight into so many

Continue reading "Gibb River Road June 2019"

Jul 12, 2019

Kimberley Water Report For Early July

Thank you, Vicki, for sending through your trip report!

Water report for our trip, July 2 - 8.

We have just finished our Katherine - Broome Gibb River Road trip today. Yes it is dry and we still had a wonderful time.

Katherine Gorge, Mataranka and Bitter Springs all had swimming water. Good camping, nice people.

Lake Argyle: A beautiful and professional setup, plenty of water there for swimming and fishing, good facilities, lovely oasis campground.

El Questro has water below the Black Cockatoo camping ground, the kids were swimming and having a great time. We did not do Emma George or Zeebedee as we had been there before.

Home Valley: the Pentecost River is considerably lower but still the best sunset spot to watch the Cockburn Ranges.

Did not do Mt Elizabeth but wished we had, not enough time.

Ellenbrae: Such a lovely spot, don’t tell anyone about their secret swimming spot. Just up the river, beautiful, all the kids were having the best time with noodles and the local canoe.

Mt Barnett: good road side facilities, coffee, homemade sausage rolls and burgers, best takeaway.

Manning Gorge was fantastic, worth the walk in and water for swimming, two big pools of it and that lovely rugged walk in. The campground swimming billabong had water and was getting a lot of use. Don’t forget your noodles.

Did not do Mornington, forgot to book but had done that before as well.

Mt Hart was wonderful, the drive in such interesting country with no 4WD Hooners. They had water and I think you could swim there, we just watched the bird life. The kids were swimming just in front of the camping ground. Nice bar, bathroom, laundry and food facilities, you had to order before 2 pm. The best part about Mt Hart is the countryside. Relax and enjoy the drive in and out. Also, they have a well advertised secret fishing spot. The drives out to the gorges are also well worth the effort.

Just left Windjana this morning, there are pools of water and lots of Johnston freshwater crocodiles in them. Bats are roosting, great river walks on the riverbed early morning and late afternoons, the landscape is spectacular.

If you really need waterfalls book a trip to Iceland.

We came to the conclusion that every trip is different for the people you talk to and a bit more interesting than believing Trip Advisor. If you go expecting to be critical there’s lots you will find a problem with. This is what this part of Australia is and so far it’s been fantastic.

As Birgit says, possibly even better in this dry year as the numbers travelling are down.

Happy days and happy travelling,

Jul 07, 2019

Kimberley and NT News, Issue 80

The last newsletter created an unexpected amount of feedback. Some of that I want to share with you to show you how people really felt about their trips in this drier than usual season.

I also have a couple of little updates and one reader sent such a long and detailed email that I asked him for a few photos and we turned it into a little trip report.

In this issue:

  • Road And Camp Updates
  • Reader Feedback
  • Trip Report

Continue reading "Kimberley and NT News, Issue 80"

Jul 06, 2019

Kimberley and Gibb River Road May/June 2019

Hi Birgit, I want to thank you for your guide re assistance for our trip - yet again. We just returned from three weeks to Broome (from Melbourne) including

Continue reading "Kimberley and Gibb River Road May/June 2019"

Jun 24, 2019

Kimberley and NT News, Issue 79

The consensus from travellers who have already completed their Kimberley trip is, "Yes, it's very dry indeed, and the trip was AWESOME."

Read the latest newsletter issue to find out how the poor wet season makes a trip this year even better.

In this issue:

  • Latest Updates
  • More Flights, More Bitumen, More Tourists
  • Safely Sharing The Road With Trucks
  • Reader Questions

Continue reading "Kimberley and NT News, Issue 79"

May 07, 2019

Kimberley and NT News, Issue 78

In this issue:

  • Roads and Parks Access
  • ACCC Finally Moving Against Australian 4WD Hire
  • Liquor Restrictions In Broome To Start In July
  • Reader Questions

Continue reading "Kimberley and NT News, Issue 78"

May 01, 2019

Liquor restrictions in Broome to start in July

The Broome Liquor Accord has agreed on a 12 months trial of liquor restrictions to be rolled out from the start of July.

At this stage the plan still requires the implementation of a takeaway alcohol management system across Broome outlets, and the relevant approvals from the State Government.

If everything goes ahead as planned, your daily alcohol purchase will be limited to:

  • 2 cartons of mid-strength beer; or
  • 1 carton full-strength, 1 carton mid-strength beer; or
  • 1 carton mid-strength beer plus 6 bottles of wine; or
  • 1 carton full-strength beer and 3 bottles of wine; or
  • 1 bottle of spirits and 3 bottles of wine; or
  • 1 bottle of spirits plus 1 carton of either full-strength or mid-strength beer.

Apr 30, 2019

Kalumburu Road Finally Open All The Way

The Shire of Wyndham-East Kimberley just announced that they opened the upper half of the Kalumburu Road today. With that the road is finally open all the way.

Apr 23, 2019

Mobile Phone Reception Along The Gibb River Road

Where can you get mobile phone reception and internet along the Gibb River Road? Phone reception along the Gibb used to be pretty much non-existent. Personally, I liked it that way. But things have changed. For those who can't do without their phones, here are your options.

Continue reading "Mobile Phone Reception Along The Gibb River Road"

Apr 18, 2019

ACCC Finally Moving Against Australian 4WD Hire

I first mentioned Queensland based car hire company Australian 4WD Hire in my newsletter issue 68.

At the time the company had been highlighted in the Queensland parliament, where Tim Nicholls MP spoke of a "relentless, systemic and well-rehearsed fraud" that the company was carrying out against unsuspecting tourists. (More info in said newsletter issue.)

Newsletter issue 73 followed up on that, reporting that Australian 4WD Hire had settled one of its major cases against a customer.
The company had demanded over $15000 from the man, for damage he had supposedly caused to the vehicle.
In court Australian 4WD Hire admitted that the customer had in fact done nothing wrong.

Quite a few of my readers also had negative experiences with Australian 4WD Hire, some finding themselves thousands of dollars out of pocket.

I encouraged everyone to lodge a complaint with the ACCC (the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission). While this will not get people their money back, it is the number of complaints that matters if we want to finally see action taken against Australian 4WD Hire.

Today I have good news:

The ACCC is finally moving!

Apr 13, 2019

Kimberley and NT News, Issue 77

In this issue:

  • Weather Update
  • Road and Park Opening Dates
  • What To Expect This Dry Season

In addition to what I wrote in the newsletter, I just received the following info from Charnley River:

They have not decided on an official opening date for the campground yet but are looking at around the middle of May. They will know more by early May.

Mt. Barnett have announced that Manning Gorge will open on Friday, April 19.

Continue reading "Kimberley and NT News, Issue 77"

Apr 03, 2019

Hike to Mitchell Falls with knee problems?

I have moderate osteoarthritis in both knees and have some pain when getting up out of chairs or with stairs (but all fine if I don't rush). Walking distance

Continue reading "Hike to Mitchell Falls with knee problems?"

Apr 02, 2019

100 Things To See In The Kimberley

Early March 2019 I received an email, asking me if I am interested in promoting a new book about the Kimberley, called "100 Things To See In The Kimberley", and receive a commission on sales.

Um, no, I don't recommend anything just for a commission...

Continue reading "100 Things To See In The Kimberley"

Mar 30, 2019

Kimberley and Gibb River Road, Required Permits and Passes

Which permits and passes do you need for a visit to the Kimberley or a trip along the Gibb River Road? Which parks and properties charge an entry fee?

To make things easier for you I have put all the permit and passes info you need, not just for the Gibb River Road but for the whole Kimberley region, on one page:

Continue reading "Kimberley and Gibb River Road, Required Permits and Passes"

Mar 28, 2019

Kalumburu Road Opening Delayed

Opening of the Kalumburu Road has been delayed due to the inspection crews experiencing some heavy rain while up there. The shire currently has a grader working alongside the inspection crew to deal with the wash-outs.

Please remember that driving on a closed road attracts big fines. Driving on a wet road can also damage the road even more and could delay the opening further.

Mar 27, 2019

Keep An Eye On The Weather Forecast

Yesterday's newsletter had info on the Gibb River Road (already open all the way since March 15) and the Kalumburu Road (expected to open on the 25th or soon thereafter).

It also mentioned that some weather models predict a weak monsoonal trough may redevelop over the coming week.

Well, today already it looks like there is a possibility of a low forming north of Darwin and heading west towards the Kimberley.

So please, if you plan to head up here in the next days or week, keep an eye on the weather forecasts!

Mar 26, 2019

Kimberley and NT News, Issue 76

In this issue:

  • Severe Cyclones In The NT And WA
  • Gibb River Road Open, Kalumburu Road To Open Today
  • More Updates
  • Reader Feedback

I totally forgot to include this in the newsletter as it's not on the Gibb:
Purnululu NP will open on April 1 as usual!

Continue reading "Kimberley and NT News, Issue 76"

Mar 17, 2019

Tanami Road Condition

Anybody planning to do the Tanami Road soon, please be aware of the following:

"The Tanami desert road from Alice Springs to the Granites is currently in the worst shape it has ever been. It is not suitable for any caravans, off road or otherwise. There are currently at least six triple road trains going in and out daily and they don't get through unscathed."

Thank you, Dave Egan, for letting us know!

Mar 10, 2019

Kimberley and NT News, Issue 75

In this issue:

  • Summer 2018/19 in Australia
  • Late Wet Season Outlook
  • A (Rather Dry) Wet Season On The Peninsula
  • 100 Things To See In The Kimberley
  • Can you help Jeff with his Kimberley - Top End itinerary?

Continue reading "Kimberley and NT News, Issue 75"

Mar 01, 2019

Suggestions for Kimberley-Top End Itinerary

I didn't see a lot of information posted by other users to help me for my itinerary needs. I don't know if its kosher to post such questions as I have

Continue reading "Suggestions for Kimberley-Top End Itinerary"

Jan 26, 2019

Kimberley and NT News, Issue 74

In this issue:

  • Wet Season Outlook
  • The Wet Season So Far
  • Latest Updates and Warnings
  • (Not Only) For New Subscribers
  • Broome - Singapore Direct Flights

Continue reading "Kimberley and NT News, Issue 74"

Dec 15, 2018

Travelling the Kimberley with a 10 month old kid

We have been wanting and waiting to do the Kimberley for a couple of years now. Life (pregnancy and first child) just got in the way! We would love to

Continue reading "Travelling the Kimberley with a 10 month old kid"

Dec 14, 2018

Kimberley and NT News, Issue 73

In this issue:

  • The latest on Australian 4WD Hire
  • 2019 Trip Planning and Booking
  • Mobile coverage at Kalumburu
  • Reader Question: Can you help?

Continue reading "Kimberley and NT News, Issue 73"

Nov 22, 2018

Kimberley and NT News, Issue 72

Not much from the Kimberley, some updates for the NT, booking recommendations for next season and lots of reader feedback and trip reports.

Continue reading "Kimberley and NT News, Issue 72"

Sep 27, 2018

Kimberley versus Kakadu National Park

Hi Birgit. We've read your brilliant books on Kimberley and the Top End but we need some help with a dilemma. We are planning a trip to Australia from

Continue reading "Kimberley versus Kakadu National Park"

Sep 27, 2018

Kimberley and NT News, Issue 71

The latest newsletter issue has info about bushfires, about impending closure dates of campgrounds and parks along the Gibb River Road, and lots of reader feedback and trip reports.

Continue reading "Kimberley and NT News, Issue 71"

Aug 31, 2018

Gibb River Road by motorbike

My husband and I travelled the GRR during the school holidays and found it to be a wonderful ride, meeting lots of great people along the way. Mostly

Continue reading "Gibb River Road by motorbike"

Aug 17, 2018

Kimberley and NT News, Issue 70

As I announced in the last issue, I am sending newsletters less frequently now, as always during the later half of the season.

We are nearing the end of the peak season and unlike during the first half, there just isn't that much to report...

Having said that, here are the recent news, updates and reader feedback...

Continue reading "Kimberley and NT News, Issue 70"

Jul 09, 2018

Kimberley and NT News, Issue 69

In this issue:

  • Recent opdates (Karunjie Track info, additions to Destination Kimberley).
  • Reader feedback on current conditions.
  • Future developments on the Mitchell Plateau.
  • I will be away from July 14 till July 21.
  • Trip Reports.

Continue reading "Kimberley and NT News, Issue 69"

Jul 08, 2018

Kimberley with Kiddos!

Dear Birgit, We just finished a three week road trip from Broome to Darwin, with the Gibb River Road in between, and wanted to say how much we enjoyed

Continue reading "Kimberley with Kiddos!"

Jul 07, 2018

Heads up!

Here are two additional items that arrived a few hours too late to make it into the last newsletter.

1.) Kununurra is currently seeing a surge in vehicle break-ins and the police seem powerless to stop it. It is recommended you don't leave your vehicle unattended for example when shopping.

Please remember that this not only applies to Kununurra. All Kimberley towns have had to sporadically deal with these issues. Always be vigilant.

2.) The car hire company Australian 4WD Hire was highlighted in a recent newsletter. The investigation continues and has been in the news again, here and here.

Jun 22, 2018

Kimberley and NT News, Issue 68

In this issue:

  • Roads/Parks/Campgrounds Updates
  • The Kimberley Is Changing
  • Travelling The Kimberley With Dogs
  • Car Hire Company Australian 4WD Hire In the Spotlight
  • Duncan Road Video

Continue reading "Kimberley and NT News, Issue 68"

Jun 07, 2018

Travelling the Kimberley (and Gibb River Road) with Dogs

A Kimberley travel guide for adventurous dogs!
(Ok, it's for dog owners, really...)

I never mentioned or advertised it anywhere, but years ago I put together a little guide book specifically for dog owners.

It's already included, as a free supplement, with every purchase of my popular main guide book, Destination Kimberley.

This page will not replace the guide book. But it will tell you everything you need to know to decide if you will visit us with your dog, or if you'd rather go somewhere more dog friendly...

Continue reading "Travelling the Kimberley (and Gibb River Road) with Dogs"

May 31, 2018

Kimberley and NT News, Issue 67

In this issue:

  • Roads/Parks Updates
  • Bushwalking In Mitchell Falls National Park
  • Cape Leveque Road Being Sealed
  • Red Centre Way Sealed?

Continue reading "Kimberley and NT News, Issue 67"

May 22, 2018

Kalumburu Road Open

As of May 21 the Kalumburu Road is open all the way!

The road is open for high clearance 4WD only and extreme caution is advised. Especially the last stretch before you get to Kalumburu (some 30km) is rough (very rocky).

But tourists, also those towing boats and large offroad campers, have been getting through.

Just take it easy!

May 18, 2018

Windjana Gorge and Silent Grove campgrounds

Ooops! I forgot to tell you in the last newsletter that both the Windjana Gorge campground as well as the Silent Grove campground (at Bell Gorge) can now be booked online!

You can - but you don't have to - book your campsite online. Only do this if you are on a rigid schedule and know exactly when you'll be there.

If you don't, then just make sure that you will get there early in the day. Both campgrounds can get very full during peak season and sites are allocated on a first come, first served basis.

The price at both is $13 per adult per night, payable to the ranger, in cash. You will need exact change!

Book a site at Silent Grove here.

Book a site at Windjana Gorge here.

May 17, 2018

Kimberley and NT News, Issue 66

In this issue:

  • The latest roads/parks updates.
  • More news on tourist destinations at Kalumburu.
  • Updates from the Mitchell Plateau.
  • Geikie Gorge cruise time table.
  • Flying drones in the Kimberley and NT.

Please note:
Since publishing the newsletter the shire of Wyndham East Kimberley has advised that due to ongoing grader work they don't expect to open the Kalumburu Road all the way to Kalumburu until 25 May.

Continue reading "Kimberley and NT News, Issue 66"

Apr 12, 2018

I will be away from April 13 - May 6!

Amit will be looking after you during that time if you have any problems or questions concerning any subscription or purchase. Amit can also reactivate your download link if needed. 

Sorry that I have to go quiet on you for at least four weeks at this time of the year! 

As promised in the last newsletter, here is the latest on the roads and parks in the Kimberley:

Gibb River Road:

  • Open for high clearance 4WD from Derby to Mt. Barnett. Grading has started from Derby.
  • Open for high clearance 4WD from Mt. Barnett to Pentecost crossing. The Pentecost is about 500mm deep, some other rivers and creeks may be deeper.
  • From the Pentecost crossing to the Great Northern Highway the road is open to all vehicles.

The Kalumburu Road and Port Warrender Road (access to the Mitchell Plateau) are closed. It could be 3-5 weeks from now until those roads open all the way, hard to say yet.
The Drysdale crossing is about 500mm deep (but difficult to cross due to big sand banks that the wet season left sitting in the middle of it).
The King Edward crossing is about a metre deep and flowing fast.

Parks, stations and gorges:

  • DPaW parks: Windjana Gorge, Tunnel Creek and Bell Gorge will open on the 25th of April. (This assumes the shire will open the road by then. Currently it is still closed. The road has sustained a lot of damage over the wet that the shire needs to repair first.)
  • Mount Hart Wilderness Lodge is opening on the 15th of April.
  • Mornington Wilderness Camp will open 30st of April.
  • Charnley River hopes to open within the next week or two, depending on when the shire will open the track in.
  • Mt Elizabeth will probably not open until 1st of May.
  • Home Valley Station expects to open late April.
  • El Questro Station is open.
  • Emma Gorge will open 1st of May.
Last but not least: Online information about DPaW parks, trail and road closures can now be found at
(Old links don't work any more and there are no redirects. Mind you, a minute ago the new link wasn't working for me either...)

If you are about to hit the road, have a good trip!
Everybody else, you'll hear from me again in May. :)

Apr 08, 2018

Kimberley and NT News, Issue 65

In this issue:

  • Wet Season/Roads/Parks Update
  • Wongalala Falls At Kalumburu Accessible For The First Time
  • Know A Good Mechanic Who Wants To Work On The Gibb?
  • Reader Feedback
  • Reminder: I Will Be Away April 13 - May 6!

Continue reading "Kimberley and NT News, Issue 65"

Travelling to the Kimberley?

The FREE Kimberley Pocket Guide
A great introduction to travel in the Kimberley region and along the Gibb. This free resource will answer all the questions you might have in the early stages of planning a trip.

Destination Kimberley
The full Kimberley travel guide shows you how to make the most of your adventure at Australia's last frontier. Destination Kimberley includes the most detailed and most current guide to the Gibb River Road available anywhere. Also called "The Bible" by its readers.

Travelling to the Northern Territory?

Destination Top End offers the same comprehensive, detailed insider information for the tropical regions of the Northern Territory. Be the best informed traveller in the Kakadu, Litchfield and Katherine Gorge national parks and beyond!

A must have if you travel to or from Darwin.

NEW! Destination Red Centre is the latest addition in this popular series. Monica Coleman takes you through Australia's red Outback heart, offering all the detail and insider tips that you have come to know and love about our guides. With special emphasis on Aboriginal communities and culture.

A must have if you travel to or from Alice Springs/Uluru.

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