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.

Aug 07, 2020

Kimberley and NT News, Issue 88

At the time of writing the last newsletter (issue 87 from June 30) there was the hope that restrictions would continue to be gradually eased and that the borders will eventually open, allowing for a good second half of the tourist season.
By now it's abundantly clear that that isn't going to happen.
Given that, today's newsletter has some information for those lucky enough to travel in Western Australia this year, and also some information for those who are looking forward to a trip next year.

In this issue:

  • What To Expect Travelling This Year
  • Outlook For Next Year

Continue reading "Kimberley and NT News, Issue 88"

Jun 30, 2020

Kimberley and NT News, Issue 87

In this issue:

  • Summary Of Closures
  • New And Changed Opening Dates
  • International And Intestate Travel
  • Attention Dog Owners / Horses On The Gibb / A Plea

Continue reading "Kimberley and NT News, Issue 87"

Jun 19, 2020

Northern Territory Borders To Open July 17

The Northern Territory announced that it will open its borders to interstate travellers on July 17.

Unfortunately, to date there is no information about the WA borders and when they may open. So while people from the Kimberley could now travel to the NT, they would not be able to return without undergoing the mandatory 14 day quarantine.

But it's a step in the right direction, and it's still one month to go, and since the NT has technically eradicated Covid-19, maybe WA will rethink things...

Here's hoping!

Jun 09, 2020

Some Additional Little Kimberley Updates

  • Geikie Gorge boat tours are now running daily at 8am and 4pm.
  • Imintji Roadhouse will open July 1. This includes their campground.
  • Mt. Hart, which is already open for camping, will in addition start selling diesel and bar meals from July 17.

Jun 04, 2020

Attention Dog Owners

A new tick-borne disease has been found initially in the East and now also in the West Kimberley: Ehrlichiosis.

Ehrlichiosis is a serious condition that can become chronic. I has already made many dogs very sick.

If you are travelling with a dog, be aware that new movement conditions and controls are being implemented.

Jun 04, 2020

Kimberley and NT News, Issue 86

In this issue:

  • Opening Sooner Than Expected
  • Not Opening
  • It Rained!
Some small additions to the info in the newsletter:
  • Ellenbrae Station announced that they will remain closed for the whole 2020 season.
  • Drysdale Station also says they will remain closed all of 2020.
  • Parry Creek Resort will only open July 1.
  • And Kooljaman Resort at Cape Leveque is open! (Not running tours yet, though.)

Continue reading "Kimberley and NT News, Issue 86"

May 28, 2020

Rain Closing Several Kimberley Roads

After three days of unseasonal rain the following roads had to be closed:

  • The western part of the Gibb River Road up to Mt. Barnett is only open to 4WD vehicles and vehicles up to 4T.
  • In the east, the Gibb River Road between the Kalumburu turnoff and the Pentecost River crossing is only open to 4WD vehicles and vehicles under 15T.
  • The Fairfield-Leopold Downs Road plus Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek access roads are closed.
  • The Silent Grove and Bell Gorge Road is closed.
  • Mt Hart Road is closed.
  • Mt. Elizabeth is open but roads to their gorges are closed and their access road is very wet, too.
  • The Cape Leveque Road is open for 4WD vehicles only.
Update: As of June 3, everything is open again!

May 25, 2020

Kimberley Travel Restrictions Likely To Be Lifted Early, On June 5

The WA state government has asked for the Kimberley travel restrictions to be lifted on June 5, and apparently the federal government is likely to agree.

The 274 remote Aboriginal communities across the state will remain closed, as will the state borders.

May 21, 2020

Silent Grove Campground And Bell Gorge Now Open

Well, the Parks and Wildlife Service Rangers must have been doing overtime.
Less than a week ago Parks and Wildlife said Silent Grove and Bell Gorge would open on June 1, after the maintenance work is finished.

It is finished and Silent Grove and Bell Gorge are open and ready for visitors!

May 18, 2020

Kimberley and NT News, Issue 85

From today, May 18, travel between Kimberley shires is allowed again. At the same time, many roads, parks, campgrounds and businesses are opening.

If you live in the Kimberley, and you can get some time off, this is an opportunity to have many usually overrun places all to yourself.

If you don't live in the Kimberley, then unfortunately you will have to wait a little while longer. Or maybe a lot longer. It depends where in Australia or the world you are.

But at least it looks as if finally there is light at the end of the tunnel.

In this newsletter, we will look at what exactly is opening in the Kimberley and what isn't. And we'll also look at the timeline for travel into the Kimberley, as much as that is known today.

Continue reading "Kimberley and NT News, Issue 85"

May 14, 2020

Some Roads, Campgrounds And Tourism Businesses In The Kimberley Reopen

On Monday, May 18, travel between the Kimberley shires can resume. At the same time some, but not all roads, campgrounds and tourism businesses in the Kimberley will open. So where can you go?

  • The Cape Leveque Road and the Gibb River Road will open, but there will be no roadhouse services along the road!
    The Djarindjin Roadhouse at Cape Leveque as well as the Imintji and the Mt. Barnett roadhouses on the Gibb remain closed. All of them belong to local Aboriginal communities, which also remain closed. You should be self sufficient with regard to fuel and food.

    On the other hand you can get help with tyre and mechanical trouble. Nev at Over The Range Tyres & Mechanical Repairs will be open.
  • All Kimberley national parks and the campgrounds within them will open, except for Silent Grove. Silent Grove remains closed for maintenance until some time in June.
  • Kalumburu Road and Mitchell Plateau remain closed!
  • The following businesses plan to remain closed for the whole 2020 season:
    El Questro/Emma Gorge, Home Valley Station, Mornington Wilderness Camp, Charnley River Station, Bachsten Bush Camp.
  • Other commercial ventures across the Kimberley are gradually opening, many at this stage offering camping but no accommodation, meals or tours yet, though those will be starting over the next weeks. Some tour businesses are offering an adapted program. Please check their respective websites or contact them, there are too many to cover them all here.
  • All Aboriginal communities and the businesses operating out of them are still closed, restricted by the Federal Biosecurity Act 2015, see below.
  • I will be putting together another newsletter issue soon with more details.

May 12, 2020

Travel Resumes Between Kimberley Shires

From May 18, the travel restrictions between the Kimberley shires will be lifted.
That means Kimberley residents will be able to travel across all of the Kimberley again.

It does NOT mean that people from the outside can enter the Kimberley! The restrictions on travel into the Kimberley will likely remain in place for at least another month. They are expected to be reviewed on June 18.

May 05, 2020

Kimberley and NT News, Issue 84

In this issue:

  • Wet Season Summary
  • Travel Restrictions
  • When Will The Kimberley (And NT) Reopen?

Continue reading "Kimberley and NT News, Issue 84"

May 02, 2020

National Parks Reopen BUT...

Yesterday both WA and the NT started to reopen their national parks and the campgrounds within them to the public.

However, the remote Kimberley national parks and also the Kakadu and Uluru Kata Tjuta national parks were closed by the Federal Government under the Biosecurity Act 2015, which came into effect March 26.

And that means that those parks will remain closed until at least June 18, the date the Biosecurity Act restrictions will end.

Again: for now the remote Kimberley national parks remain closed!
(As does the whole Kimberley, see below.)

Apr 01, 2020

Kimberley Travel Restrictions

In short, the Kimberley is closed.

Travel to Australia is restricted.
Travel to WA is restricted.
Travel between the WA regions is restricted.
In addition, the Kimberley is closed to tourists and visitors and travel between the Kimberley shires is restricted.

Please see the following links:

Travel restrictions within the Kimberley region

Frequently Asked Questions regarding travel restrictions for the Kimberley region

Travel to the Kimberley is subject to a higher level of restrictions than the rest of WA under the Federal Biosecurity Act 2015.

These restrictions started on 26 March 2020 and will end on 18 June 2020. They may be extended.

This means even once travel within WA or travel to WA becomes possible again, the Kimberley may remain closed. For how long is anyone's guess.

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"

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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