Epic Outback - Darwin to Broome

An incredible ten day 4WD journey through the remote and undiscovered Kimberley region in North and Western Australia.

Highlights

  • Heart of the outback, Katherine
  • The unique destination of El Questro
  • The historical past of Fitzroy Crossing
  • Spectacular Bungle Bungles


Day 1 - Darwin to Katherine (315 kms)
Pick up your Avis Full size 4WD automatic vehicle at Darwin Airport and begin your journey to Katherine. Depart on the Stuart Highway and travel via Adelaide River, Hayes Creek and Pine Creek to Katherine.  

Adelaide River township played an important role during World War II; after the bombing raid on Darwin in February 1942, Adelaide River became the centre of military activity as the Australian and American headquarters were relocated there, along with camps, hospitals, airfields and army supply depots. There are a number of World War II sites, including the War Cemetery and the large ammunition depot at Snake Gully.

Pine Creek was the scene of extensive mining in the 1880's and is now experiencing a renewal of interest with the reopening of mining activities. There are numerous historic buildings still standing, including the Old Playford Club Hotel, the Repeater Station, the Bakery and the Railway Siding Complex. 

Katherine is the heart of the real Outback.  Attractions in the area include places of historic interest, birds and wildlife in their natural surroundings, caves, gorges, Aboriginal lore and art, and for the adventurers, magnificent waterfalls, canyons and billabongs that are still unspoiled.

Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park - The highlight here is undoubtedly Katherine Gorge, located in the Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park. The main entrance to the National Park is 32 kilometres from Katherine.  Over millions of years, torrential summer rains in Arnhem Land during the wet season have caused the waters of the Katherine River to cut thirteen spectacular serpentine gorges.  Cut into ancient rock, the canyon walls climb steeply above cool blue water, and there is abundant bird, fish and animal life, including the fresh water crocodile.

Accommodation: Ibis Styles Katherine

Day 2 - Katherine to Timber Creek (285 kms)
This morning you may wish to take a cruise on Katherine Gorge.  Another highlight of the area, are the Cutta Cutta Caves, which are situated 28 km south of the town.  They are weirdly shaped rock formations and underground caves. Guided tours of the caves are conducted every day and a short walking trail takes people through typical tropical woodland. 

Depart Katherine today and join the Victoria Highway to travel towards Timber Creek via Tindal and Victoria River Crossing. 

Optional Cruise: 
Timeless Land 3 Gorge Cruise - 4 hours
Prepare for a truly memorable experience as you travel though time and the first three gorges. Marvel at the altering fractures and sheer rock face walls as the scenery becomes more striking as you head further into the gorge. Before you return, cool down with a swim and be served some morning or afternoon refreshments. 

Timber Creek is the gateway to Gregory National Park. Points of interest surrounding Timber Creek are the Parks and Wildlife Commission Headquarters, Timber Creek, Gregory National Park, Limestone Gorge, scenic walks, Telecom Lookout, Heritage walk, Victoria River Crossing and Gregory's Tree.

Accommodation: Timber Creek Hotel

Day 3 - Timber Creek to Kununurra (240 kms)
Depart Timber Creek this morning and travel to Kununurra via the Victoria Highway.  There are not a lot of towns along this section however you may be interested in visiting Keep River National Park and Hidden Valley National Park.  

Kununurra is a rich green oasis amid the rugged land of the Kimberley, Kununurra is in the centre of the Ord River Irrigation Scheme, about 1057km east of Broome. Lake Argyle, which was formed as a result of damming the Ord River in the Carr Boyd Ranges, has many tranquil bays, inlets and islands, and the irrigation canals are a fascinating feature of the district. Hidden Valley, 3km away, has some interesting rock formations and birdlife. The Argyle Diamond Mine just south of Kununurra is a must to view the regions famous pink diamonds.

Accommodation: Ibis Styles Kununurra

Day 4 - Kununurra to El Questro (100 kms)

A suggestion for this morning is to rise early and take a scenic flight over the Bungle Bungles.

Depart Kununurra and travel to El Questro, which is situated in the East Kimberley.

Your accommodation this evening is in the El Questro Bungalows.   The bungalows are at the heart of the operating cattle station on the banks of the ever flowing Pentecost River.

Purnululu (Bungle Bungle) National - are thousands of huge beehive shaped mounds striped in orange and black make an astounding sight from the ground or the air. The stripes are a thin layer of Silica and Cyanobacteria protecting the soft white sandstone formations of the domes. The Park is home to many species of plant and wildlife such as wallaby and green tree frog.  

El Questro is now considered to be one of the world's most unique holiday destinations. El Questro is on the eastern perimeter of the Kimberley and runs for approximately 80 km into the heart of the region, most of which has never been explored and certainly never settled.  Animal, bird and fish life congregates on the rivers and waterholes.

Accommodation: El Questro Wilderness Station

Day 5 - El Questro
Enjoy a full day at your leisure to explore this pocket of the Kimberley. 

Perhaps take a short walk from the base of the Emma Gorge past butterfly filled trees and vines to a huge turquoise waterhole, perfect for swimming and even a gentle massage under the permanent droplet waterfalls. You may wish to take an afternoon cruise on the Chamberlain Gorge, a 3km fresh waterhole bounded by tropical vegetation belittled by towering 200 ft escarpments. The Gorge can only be travelled by boat, and guests are rewarded by excellent examples of Wandjina Rock Art at the far end. Another alternative for a unique experience is the Zebedee Springs - a short walk off the graded road through dense Livingstonia palms to a series of thermal pools, a fabulous place to soak and relax.

Day 6 - El Questro to Halls Creek (400 kms)
Depart El Questro this morning and drive back out along the Gibb River Road to the Great Northern Highway and travel to Halls Creek. 

Halls Creek is Often referred to as the oasis of the Kimberley and sits on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert. In all directions the landscape is vast and harsh. Halls Creek is a service centre for pastoralists, mineral exploration, Aboriginal communities and booming tourism surrounding the Purnululu and Wolfe Creek Crater National Parks.

Accommodation: Kimberley Hotel

Day 7 - Halls Creek to Fitzroy Crossing (295 kms)
Depart Halls Creek and travel along the Great Northern Highway to Fitzroy Crossing.  

Fitzroy Crossing is not a big town, but it has a big past. It is surrounded by some of Australia's biggest and best pastoral properties. No visit to Fitzroy Crossing is complete without a drive out to the original town site. There you will find the legendary Crossing Inn, built in 1897 as a shanty inn and trade store for long distance travellers about to ford the mighty Fitzroy River.  Here you can hear yarns about the awesome power of the Fitzroy in flood.  Fitzroy Crossing is an ideal base to explore the national parks and gorges.

Geike Gorge National Park - Boat tours, during the dry season only, show off the sheer yellow, orange and grey gorge walls.  This is one of the Kimberley's most prominent and popular attractions.  Crocodiles abound and you may even spot sharks, sawfish and stingrays far from the ocean they inhabited millions of years ago.  There is also a fascinating tour run by local Aboriginal people whose connection to the land goes back to the Dreamtime.

Accommodation: Fitzroy River Lodge

Day 8 - Fitzroy Crossing to Derby (262 kms)
Depart Fitzroy Crossing and continue your journey west. 

Windjana Gorge National Park, a spectacular area where you can see the full glory of the 350 million year old Devonian reef rising above the plains.  A 3.5 km easy walking trail winds through the gorge displaying primeval life forms fossilised in the gorge walls and an array of local flora and fauns.

Derby is located on King Sound, near the mouth of the Fitzroy River.  While Aborigines inhabited this area well before the coming of the white man, it was Alexander Forrest who blazed his way through this region in 1879 and started a land rush that quickly saw Europeans take up land along the Fitzroy River in huge pastoral properties.  There are a number of historic attractions to interest the visitor, such as the Pigeon Heritage Trail, the Boab Prison Tree (a giant, hollowed out boab tree with a girth of 14 metres) and the Old Derby Gaol and Police Yard built in the 1880s.

Accommodation: King Sound Resort Hotel

Day 9 - Derby to Broome (222 kms)
Depart Derby and return to the Great Northern Highway at Willare Bridge Roadhouse to arrive in Broome.  

Broome, a unique, exotic town and the southern gateway to the raw wilderness area called the Kimberley.  Established as a pearling port in the 1880's, Broome boasts a multi-cultural population made up of many nationalities that flocked to the shores of Roebuck Bay in the hope of making their fortune from the pearling industry.  Broome's unique beauty needs time to explore. Pristine beaches and bays fringed with glistening white sands, red cliffs and the sparkling waters of the Indian Ocean are some of the wonders of this coastal delight. The climate is also something to boast about with the warm sunny days, balmy nights and summer tropical storms during the monsoon season.

Accommodation: Mercure Broome

Day 10 - Broome
Today is free for your leisure. Places of interest to visit during your stay are the dinosaur's footprint at Gantheaume Point, estimated to be 130 million years old, Cable Beach, with its 24 km of clean, white sand, the nearby Pearl Coast Zoological Gardens and the Broome Crocodile Farm.

Return your vehicle to the Broome Airport depot or Broome city Avis Northern Territory Rental Depot.

10 day self drive - from £1375

$1100 one way fee payable locally Self Drive available April to 23 Oct only All prices are per person, based on 2 sharing a double or twin room, and include pre-booked accommodation, air conditioned car and unlimited kilometres. Hotels specified are subject to availability and may be substituted by one of a similar or higher standard.

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Self Drive Tour

Relaxed and enjoyable self drive touring. Book them as they are or ask your consultant to add extra days in the places you choose. Available in both directions.

Your self drive tour includes:

  • Well planned route
  • Air conditioned car
  • Standard or deluxe hotels
  • Inclusive vehicle insurance
  • Maps and information
  • Flexible itineraries

 

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