The Kimberley’s – The Ultimate Road Trip Itinerary

See the magical Kimberly in a camper van – this itinerary covers all the iconic places like Windjana Gorge, El Questro, Lake Argyle, and more must see places that you can actually get too in a two wheel drive camper van.

After the few days touring the Dampier Peninsula, we swapped out our 4×4 for a camper van, ready to head off on the most epic Aussie road trip! As we set off for the famous Kimberley Region, we only travelled with a camper van, which meant we could not take the iconic “Gibb River Road” which you can only visit with a 4×4 that’s NOT a rental (this is because all vehicles get damaged on the crazy road). So off we went on a less famous road, the ‘Great Northern Highway’ which in fact took us past some amazing locations (a lot are the same as the above route with only a few minor differences – winning!)

Emma Gorge Hike – El Questro

The ultimate Kimberly Itinerary with a camper van took us from Broome across to Kununara, a total of 2 weeks. Now if you have time, I highly recommend adding an extra couple days in Broome before or after – you can read my Broome itinerary here. Also if you have time to do a trip up the Dampier Peninsula (we hired a separate 4×4 for this from Broome, but it was well worth it) and who knows? If you are reading this a few years later, they may have sealed the road up there and you can travel by van – check the local website here for updates. This itinerary covers all the iconic places you must go to (and can get too) in a two wheel drive camper van.

The Long Road To Somewhere Beautiful

ITINERARY OVERVIEW

Day 1: BROOME
Day 2: BROOME – DERBY
Day 3: DERBY – WINJANA GORGE
Day 4: WINJANA GORGE – FITZROY CROSSING
Day 5: FITZROY CROSSING – EL QUESTRO
Day 6: EL QUESTRO
Day 7: EL QUESTRO – KUNUNARA
Day 8: KUNUNARA (TOUR)
Day 9: KUNUNARA – LAKE ARGYLE
Day 10: LAKE ARGYLE – WYNDHAM
Day 11: WYNDHAM – MIMBI CAVES
Day 12: MIMBI CAVES – FITZROY CROSSING
Day 13: FITZROY CROSSING – BROOME


Day 1: BROOME

Depending on what time you arrive, you can spend as many days as you like here in Broome. The town’s exotic pearling history has left a rich, vibrant, and a unique multi-cultural mix of people. A few of my must see things are; For the history lovers (Pearl Luggars tour), for the food and drink enthusiasts (Matso’s Brewery), for the market lover (Courthouse Markets on weekend mornings, and Town Beach Markets in the evenings). And, of course, you can not miss the incredible beaches – Cable Beach at sunset is a must! I highly recommend if you have time to spend at least 2 days in Broome at the start of end of your trip. Check out my 48 hours in Broome guide here. Alternatively, opt for one of these incredible day trips from Broome – Top Day Trips From Broome, I highly recommend Cape Leveque.

Iconic Cable Beach Sunset

Day 2: BROOME – DERBY

You can leave Broome, any time you wish – for this itinerary, leaving in the afternoon is great, as there isn’t much planned for Derby. So take this day to keep exploring Broome with the recommendations above.
NEXT STOP: 203km – 2hours driving.
We actually pulled over and camped on the side of the road just past Derby Airport. Which wasn’t bad at all, but if you can, driving to derby to camp is recommended. On your drive to Derby (only 10mins out of town) stop and view the giant Boab Prison Tree with it’s bitter history – it’s an interesting and humbling read.

Boab Prison Tree

Day 3: DERBY – WINDJANA GORGE

This morning we woke up and headed straight to our next stop (and explored Derby on the way back).
NEXT STOP: 155km – 2.5hours driving.
The last 20km of this drive is very corrugated so might take longer as you drive slower in your precious van! We arrived around 10.30am at Windjana Gorge, which is also where you will be camping (current cost is $13AUD per person). The highlight of the area is the walk around the gorge – the full trail is 7km, and with stopping to view all the fresh water crocodiles, give yourself around 2hours or more. To see crocodiles here, the best time of day is the afternoon as they bask in the sun! This was such a highlight, seeing so many freshwater crocodiles in the wild, from a safe distance made for a really magical experience.

Beautiful Afternoon Light at Windjana Gorge
So many freshwater crocodiles

Day 4: WINDJANA GORGE – FITZROY CROSSING

We woke up early, for a another quick walk around the gorge (note: there are no crocs out at 6.30am), but the sound of nature waking up was a beautiful way to start the day.
NEXT STOP: 36km – 35mins driving.
Tunnel Creek, only a short drive from Windjana Gorge on a partly unsealed road, so add a bit of extra time for this. Tunnel Creek’s name really gives it away – it’s a large cave like tunnel, with a creek running partly through it. Free to enter, a 2km return track which we spent around 1 hour exploring and walking through the tunnel. Prepare to get wet, to fully explore and see all the stalactites, stalagmites, carvings, and art work you will be walking through knee deep water at some points (we wore water shoes and don’t worry – there are no crocodiles in here). It gets quite dark in some parts so you will also need a torch. Oh what an exciting and rewarding adventure this was!

Tunnel Creek

NEXT STOP: 112km – 1.5hours driving.
Fitzroy Crossing, the drive here from Tunnel Creek was the worst corrugated dirt road we had experience so it took us almost over 2 hours. We stopped in Fitzroy Crossing to checkout the visitor center, and have some lunch. We then drove 15min down the road to Geike Gorge, another beautiful area for a wander in nature. We chose the reef walk (4km return), and also walked along the river (2km), spending a total of 2 hours exploring here. You can also pre book boat rides in the area. No you can either camp at Fitzroy Crossing, or i suggest driving a little further to Mary’s Pool camp stop point (there are signs).

Exploring Geike Gorge

NEXT STOP: 185km – 2hours driving.
What Mary’s Pool lacked in facilities, it made up for with this phenomenal sunset. This is also a free campsite.

May’s Pool Camp Site/Road Stop

Day 5: FITZROY CROSSING – EL QUESTRO

If you stayed at Fitzroy Crossing (add an extra 2 hours to this day).
NEXT STOP: 480km – 5.5hours driving.
This was a long day of driving, we stopped a few hours in at Halls Creek so some delicious bakery snacks, but then headed straight on through to El Questro. We camped at El Questro Wilderness Park (varying levels of camp sites), and to explore the area you need a park permit; $12AUD per person, per day, or $22AUD per person for up to 7 days. We stayed here for 2 nights, and spent this afternoon relaxing and swimming by our camp.

El Questro Gorge Station

Day 6: EL QUESTRO

Travelling by van, there are only a few hikes you can get too – Click here for everything you need to know for the next two days of exploring El Questro in a camper van. Our first stop, nice and early at 7am was Zebedee Thermal Hot Springs. The number one spot visited in the Kimberly, and rightly so – thermal hot springs in the middle of the Aussie Outback? Yes please! A short walk through pre-historic forests, entering layer upon layer of gorgeous thermal (temps of 24°-28°C) pools and waterfalls – an absolute paradise.

Zebedee Springs
Zebedee Springs

Now, for your second adventure of the day, El Questro Gorge. This stunning half day hike is broken into two sections, the first is relatively easy and you are rewarded with stunning turquoise swimming holes along the way. The second part starts by the swimming hole, when you scramble over the boulder. Be prepared for climbing and swimming to get to the end (when we went the water was so high, we hid our bags and camera at the halfway point as we didn’t have a waterproof bag)! Every step of this walk is beautiful and well worth it, no matter what point you stop at! Make sure you read this before going.

El Questro Gorge
El Questro Gorge

Evening was spent relaxing at the camp – there are some lovely sunset points, but not accessible by van – maybe if you make some friends, this might be a great way to grab a ride up and enjoy a beautiful outback sunset.

Day 7: EL QUESTRO – KUNUNARA

Pack up to leave, and your first stop will be your last here in El Questro. A 30min drive out of the campsite, Emma Gorge is one of the best known spots in this area, and rightly so! A spectacular gorge to spend a few hours hiking and swimming, you will enjoy a medium difficultly hike (there are a few rocky areas) and be rewarded at the end with a beautiful swimming hole and waterfall! A little freshwater crocodile lives up at the end pool, but he won’t bother you (unless you bother him), he always stays around the rocky edges of the falls so won’t be in your way! Click here for everything you need to know.

Emma Gorge
Half way up to Emma Gorge

NEXT STOP: 100km – 1.5hours driving.
Kununara, is a great town which is the heart of all these wonderful places and experiences. Spend your afternoon checking out Ivanhoe Crossing and Kelly’s Knob Lookout. We stayed at Town Park Campsite, which had lots of facilities, and great location.

Day 8: KUNUNARA (TOUR)

Now this day is completely optional, if you don’t want to do this tour, just skip straight to Day 9. But this was such a perfect tour for a budget friendly trip, and we felt we were able to get so much more out of it. We did a two in one tour with Aviair called “Bungle Bungle Adventurer + Ord River Cruise“. A 2 hour flight over the Bungle Bungle Range & 6 hour Ord River cruise. You can click above to read more about this tour, but for now I will leave you with some incredible photos of this experience.

Views From Our Scenic Flight over the Bungle Bungle Ranges.

Incredible Animals we saw on our Ord River Cruise.

Day 9: KUNUNARA – LAKE ARGYLE

We packed up and were ready to head off to our next stop around 8.30am.
NEXT STOP: 90km – 1hour driving.
Lake Argyle Campsite and resort is home to the famous outback infinity pool. We checked in at 10am, and headed straight to the pool (the morning is the least busy time to snap a photo and enjoy a swim).

Infinity Pool at Lake Argyle Resort and Camp

Now there are a range of activities to do here at Lake Argyle; if you didn’t do the boat cruise on the Or River, I highly recommend doing one on Lake Argyle. We opted for the budget friendly version which was kayaking on the lake – and wow, it was so much fun! We saw so many rock wallabies too – it was a great way to spend a few hours on the lake. We went for 3 hours after lunch, at $25AUD per person.

Kayaking on Lake Argyle

Back at camp in the late afternoon we got ready for sunset. I highly recommend this beautiful view point for your sunset views, just outside the camp site – see my Instagram post below as a cautious tale, so you don’t get stuck on your way there!

View this post on Instagram

📌Lake Argyle Getting to this sunset point was easy… From Lake Argyle Camp, head towards town a few km's and take the first right you see on the dirt road, follow that dirt road up and you are here!! 🤩 ⛔BUT… It actually wasn't that easy in our van 😂 All was well and good, up until the very last point of the track (we could see the sunset point very close), but the sand was soft, and well, we were in a Van….. 😅 "Just go hard on the accelerater" I exclaimed, as my partner was struggling to get the van to keep momentum. "I think we are stuck" he said slowly back to me, we looked at each other, then out at the sunset and mutually decided that we were very much here now so may as well get out and go enjoy it… and just look at that view 😍 After sunset, we went back to our van, snug in the sand… grateful it wasn't in anyone's way… since no one else was there. Walking around investigating the mess we got ourselves in. "We need to just dig the tyres out, it'll be easy" I said… it in fact, was not easy 😂. We did try though, and after we were both covered in dirt and dust – I wish I had watched my dogs dig more often, I really lacked skills in the digging department I thought. We got up, and decided to try plan B: walk back to the camp site and ask for help 👌. It wasn't a long walk, but in the pitch black night with only head touches and these glowing jumping spiders by our feet… it was a long walk. Once at the camp we wandered up to reception and proclaimed our misfortune – they did not seem surprised "Yep – no worries, I'll just get someone to help ya" and off they went. A lovely man who i believe lived at the camp got us in his truck, we drove to our car – did some car related things – and low and behold were free in a matter of minutes! Morale of the story: If in doubt, ask for help (first!) But always after you have enjoyed the sunset 😉👌 #danielleinwanderlandWA

A post shared by Danielle In Wanderland 🌍TRAVEL (@itsmywanderland) on

Day 10: LAKE ARGYLE – WYNDHAM

Before leaving, we went on an early morning hike (marked trails from the camp site), to a beautiful view point of the Lake. Bluff Lookout took us around 1.5hours (with a few detours along the way). I also recommend taking 30mins before fully leaving the area to drive to the dam wall and check it out, some beautiful views and very interesting to see.

Bluff Lookout over Lake Argyle

NEXT STOP: 155km – 1hour 45min driving.
A nice and easy drive to Wyndham, a few key things you must see in this little town are; the big croc (one of Australia’s many ‘Big Things’), 5 river’s lookout, and go to the local bakery (don’t worry, there is only one), and try (sorry vegans) a Crocodile Meat Pie! We also walked around the jetty which was lovely. With some time to spare, we actually decided to drive back and camp at Dunham (back past Kununara) – this camp site was also free which was great.
NEXT STOP: 100km – 1hour driving.
To the free, Dunham camp site.

The Big Croc

Day 11: WYNDHAM – MIMBI CAVES

Wake up in Wyndham (or Dunham), and then a long drive to Mimbi Caves camp site. Stop in Halls Creek for lunch.
NEXT STOP: 470km – 5hours driving.
Mimbi Caves camp site had good amenities, and cost $13AUD per person a night.

The most beautiful sunsets in the outback.

Day 12: MIMBI CAVES – FITZROY CROSSING

Mimbi Caves in located in Gooniyandi Country – where we did an indigenous tour of the actual caves and area (you can find out more and book here). We walked past massive cliffs to the entrance of the Mimbi Caves… wearing helmets with torches, we entered the caves and explored the spectacular limestone creations and crystal clear freshwater pools, over 350 million years old. The caving experience wasn’t too physically demanding, but it was very enjoyable, as this cave had so many interesting features, from the windows of light, to pure darkness, and vivid blue pools of water. After the caving, we had a traditional Billie Tea and Damper around the campfire while listening to old Gooniyandi Dream Time stories.
NEXT STOP: 100km – 1hour driving.
We camped at Fitzroy River Camp, $21AUD per person.* If you wanted, you could most likely make it back to Broome this day (but after 3 weeks of travelling, we loved the lazy afternoons reading and relaxing).

Mimbi Caves

Day 13: FITZROY CROSSING – BROOME

Woke up and first drove to Derby, to explore the area.
NEXT STOP: 240km – 2.5hour driving.
Our highlights in Derby were visiting at the few museums in the area (Wharfinger’s House Museum was very interesting, as well as the Old Derby Gaol), and you must take a walk along the beautiful jetty. We spend 2 -3 hours exploring Derby.
NEXT STOP: 200km – 2hour driving.
The last push until you are back in Broome.* Now if you want to cut this day out, you can finish the Mimbi Cave tour at 10am, and having 1 hour worth of stops, you’ll make it back to Broome by 6:30pm.

Derby Jetty

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8 thoughts on “The Kimberley’s – The Ultimate Road Trip Itinerary

  1. Katherine says:

    I lived in Perth for a little bit and was amazed at just how beautiful Western Australia is. I only got up to the Kimberleys briefly and didn’t get to see all the amazing things that you guys did. I’ll definitely have to plan a return trip one day when the boarders reopen.

    Like

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