The Kimberley region in the northwest of Western Australia is one of the most remote and unspoiled wilderness areas in the world. Its unique geology, vibrant Aboriginal culture and diverse flora and fauna have fascinated visitors for many years.
A highlight of this tour will be our visit to Purnululu National Park to see the Bungle Bungle Range. This World Heritage-listed site is one of the most fascinating geological landmarks in Western Australia. The beehive-like mounds are encased in a skin of silica and algae, creating a striking stripe pattern. More than 130 species of bird reside within Purnululu, including Rainbow Bee-eaters, flocks of Budgerigars and Australian Bustards. The Nail-tail wallaby and the Euro live around the massif, while Short-eared Rock wallabies live on top.
Bird enthusiasts will particularly enjoy our visit to Marlgu Billabong at Parrys Lagoon Nature Reserve. These reserves are havens for a variety of waterbirds.
We will also spend two nights at Drysdale River station where on the second day it will be possible to undertake an optional flight (at your own expense) and hike to the Mitchell Falls. This trip will be visiting the magnificent Mitchell and Mertens Falls. Landscapes around the plateau vary from mangroves and swamps to woodlands and lush rainforest patches. A diverse array of wildlife populates the region. The rugged sandstone areas are home to some rare residents like the small rock wallaby called a monjon (Petrogale burbidgei), the Rough- scaled Python (Morelia carinata). The area also has a rich indigenous history. Wunambal Aboriginal people have lived in the vicinity for thousands of years, and the plateau offers many excellent examples of ancient rock art.
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Extended Trip Details
|Day 1||Kununurra to Purnululu (Bungle Bungle)||An early start today as we head for the Purnululu National Park. The 53 km trip into the park is our introduction to outback tracks with many creek crossings, wash aways and rough, slow sections. The journey from the highway to our accommodation takes around three hours. We will start our exploration of the national park by exploring the area around our camp. There will also be time to enjoy a wonderful Kimberley sunset. Accommodation: National Park Campsite - Purnululu LD|
|Day 2 & 3||Purnululu (Bungle Bungle)||We spend the next two days exploring the park including beautiful and unique geological formations of Echidna Chasm, the beehive does at Piccanniny Creek and Cathedral Gorge. You can also take an optional helicopter flight over the Bungle Bungle Range to see the stunning mounds from above. Accommodation: National Park Campsite - Purnululu BLD|
|Day 4||Purnululu (Bungle Bungle) to Kununurra||This morning we return to Kununurra. There will be free time this afternoon to catch up on washing, postcards or to relax while the crew buy the fresh provision for the tour. Dinner is at your own expense to allow you to sample some of the local delights. Accommodation: Campsite - Kununurra BL|
|Day 5||Kununurra to Home Valley||We leave Kununurra this morning and call into Wyndham for a look at the old port before moving on to Marlgu Billabong at Parry Lagoon Reserve to see a diverse array of wetland birds and this afternoon we start our journey down the Gibb River Road. Accommodation: Campsite - Home Valley Station BLD|
|Day 6||Home Valley to Drysdale River Station||We continue along the steep jump-ups and rough corrugations of the Gibb River Road crossing the Durack and Gibb Rivers to Drysdale River Station along the Kalumburu Road. Dinner tonight will be in the stations restaurant so we can meet some of the locals and enjoy an outback meal. Accommodation: Drysdale Station Campsite BLD|
|Day 7||Drysdale River Station||There is an opportunity for those that wish to undertake an optional flight and hike to the Mitchell Falls today. PLEASE NOTE This is is a full day side trip and will need be booked when booking onto this tour. Details on the flight and hike are included at the end of this itinerary. For those not wishing to undertake the Mitchell Falls trip the day will be spent exploring the station including the surrounding creeks and other water ways looking for a variety of birdlife including the Gouldian Finch and the Purple Crowned Fairy-wren. Accommodation: Drysdale Station Campsite BLD|
|Day 8||Drysdale to Manning Creek||Leaving Drysdale, we continue down the Kalumburu Road and return to the Gibb arriving at our campsite around mid-afternoon. There will be plenty of time for a swim in the local waterhole at Manning Creek. Accommodation: Campsite - Manning Creek. BLD|
|Day 9||Manning Creek||This morning we will undertake the walk to the picturesque Manning Falls and have a look at a small art site on the way. This afternoon will be spent exploring the wildlife that is found along the banks of Manning Creek and also gives us a chance too relax and catch our breath. Accommodation: Campsite - Manning Creek. BLD|
|Day 10||Manning Creek area to Mornington Station||Still on Gibb River Road, we head to Mornington Station, visiting picturesque Galvin’s Gorge for a swim on the way. We will arrive at Morning Station mid-afternoon, with plenty of time to enjoy a walk along the creek that runs along our camping area. Accommodation: Campsite - Mornington Station BLD|
|Day 11||Mornington Station||Today we explore this wilderness sanctuary, which is home to two endangered bird species, the Gouldian Finch and the Purple-crowned Fairy-wren. A visit to the station is not complete without a visit to the rugged and remote Dimond Gorge on the Fitzroy River. You can take a refreshing swim here, go bird watching, have a walk around and enjoy the scenery. Accommodation: Campsite - Mornington Station BLD|
|Day 12||Mornington Station to Silent Grove||This morning we’ll get back on the Gibb River Road and travel to Silent Grove. On arrival we’ll have lunch before visiting the magnificent Bell Creek Gorge to have a swim and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Accommodation: National Park Campsite - Silent Grove BLD|
|Day 13||Silent Grove to Bandilngan (Windjana Gorge)||After breakfast, we travel through the King Leopold Ranges and the Napier Range (Devonian Reef) which was once covered by a tropical sea. Early afternoon we will arrive at Bandilngan (Windjana Gorge) and take our first visit into the gorge with its water-streaked walls that rise to heights of 100 metres. We will spend the afternoon exploring this geological wonder that is a great home for wildlife including, water birds, and fresh water crocodiles. Accommodation: National Park Campsite - Bandilngan (Windjana Gorge) BLD|
|Day 14||Windjana Gorge to Broome||We will take an early morning walk back into Windjana Gorge, Mid morning we will leave the campsite and head to the port town of Derby to have lunch. During the drive we will take time to visit the Mowanjum community to have a look at aboriginal art. We should arrive in Broome late afternoon, where our outback experience ends and you will be transferred to your chosen accommodation. BL|
|Optional Mitchell Falls Flight & Hike||This morning the group will board an early morning flight to the Mitchell Plateau. After a short 4WD transfer we will arrive at the Mitchell Falls Trail and begin the 4.5km walk to the falls. Along the walk (expected to take 2.5 hours with breaks) we will view some Aboriginal art sites as well as the Little and Big Mertens Falls. When we arrive at the falls you will have a few hours to explore the area, take in the scenery. Early afternoon we will fly via helicopter from the falls to the start of the trail before transferring by 4WD back to the airstrip. The day will finish with a flight back to Drysdale station.|
NOTE: the above itinerary may be varied according to conditions and advice.
Places available on 16 July 2022 departure
- 3 crew members consisting of a naturalist guide, driver-guide and camp support crew member;
- Easy Camping included (camp is set up and packed away each day for you);
- Dome tents & chairs with arms;
- Well maintained vehicle with front-facing, seat-belted, mostly reclining, coach-style seats;
- Eating utensils;
- Meals as per itinerary;
- Morning tea each day;
- Fresh fruit onboard daily;
- All national park entrance fees.
“This was my second trip with Coates and I am sure I will be back for more. I think Coates offer very good value and provide a great opportunity to see and learn about wildlife, geology, geography etc.
Both Tom and Diana have an excellent knowledge of all things Kimberley – which is what I was expecting.”