With just two opposing seasons, the Wet and the Dry, the Kimberley is a land of extremes – semi-arid plains dotted with spinifex and outback roads that flow like rivers, spectacular ranges cut by steep stony gorges and tiny pockets of tropical rainforest and tranquil waterholes. It’s these dramatic contrasts that make a trip here so compelling.
But despite the region’s many attractions – from the pristine Dampier Peninsula and splendid Cape Leveque to the magnificent gorges of Geike and Windjana and Tunnel Creek, and the rough and tumble of Gibb River Rd – there’s still no place as engaging or as full of contradictions as Broome, with its rich, ancient indigenous history and exotic 19th-century pearling past. And then there’s its present as a big outback town that plays host to amateur rodeos the same week it holds its annual cultural festival, the Shinju Matsuri, with Japanese food and dragon boat races. Then rumble along the Gibb River Rd to Derby and Kununurra where the languid pace goes best with a sweet juicy mango, or a nice cold beer.
Best places to stay in Broome & the Kimberley
Western Australia's Dampier Peninsula
When you're up to your backside in a Kimberley creek, fumbling among mangrove roots with a makeshift metal hook, you hope that it's a mud crab that bites – and not a crocodile.
Need to know
Broome & the Kimberley destination guides
Like a paste jewel set in a tiara of natural splendours, Broome clings to a narrow strip of red pindan on the Kimberley's far-western edge, at the base of the pristine Dampier Peninsula.
Lonely Planet: Roads Less Travelled Australia itinerary
Experience the magnificent Kimberley in northwestern Western Australia with this trip from Broome to the Dampier Peninsula and Derby, and along the Gibb River Road to Kununurra and Wyndham. Get yourself a sturdy 4WD, fill it with food, fuel and water, arrange your free transit permit at www.dia.wa.gov.
Kimberley Safari Northbound
Discover the intoxicating beauty of the Australian Outback. This tour from Broome to Darwin reveals the region's natural wonders in all its glory, from the soaring walls of Windjana Gorge and the 4x4 Kimberleys terrain, to lush Kununurra and the striped domes of the Bungle Bungle Ranges.
Bungle Bungle and Lake Argyle Scenic Flight
Take a scenic flight above the vast Lake Argyle. With its 1,000 square kilometers, it is more like an inland sea than a lake. Fly over the Argyle Diamond Mine, which produces more than one-third of the world's total diamonds. See the beehive-like domes of the Bungle Bungles.