The Kimberley

One of the most well-known and awe-inspiring landscapes in Australia is the Kimberley. It’s in the North West, and takes us into a new territory—Western Australia (the largest, and most remote). But before we cross the border, we stop at one last park in the Northern Territory.

Judbarra National Park (Gregory)

We hadn’t heard of this park until we spotted it on the map, right along our route, and thought it would be a nice stopover. Indeed it was! We did two short hikes, one up a steep escarpment for a fantastic view of the whole valley, and the other went up to some stunning cliffs with rock art.

Christina wiggling through the rocks and roots
Christina wiggling through the rocks and roots
Lookout over the Victoria River
Lookout over the Victoria River

One noticeable feature that popped up in this region, was the funny-looking, shapely boab tree. It’s a distant cousin of the African baobab, there’s one species in Africa, and thirteen in Madagascar—all much larger than the stubby boab. Their haphazard appearance in the bush was a wonderful treat along the long stretches of highway shrub.

Christina under the boabs
Christina under the boabs

 

Lake Argyle

After crossing the border into Western Australia and disposing of all fruits and vegetables (strict quarantine), we arrived in Kununurra. It’s a larger town thanks to the rich agricultural fields surrounding it, which were created when the Ord River was dammed up in 1971. The dam also created Lake Argyle, a thriving tourist haven.

Ord River, the dam is just to the left
Ord River, the dam is just to the left
Lake Argyle. The caravan park where we stayed at is in the top right corner.
Lake Argyle. The caravan park where we stayed at is in the top right corner.
Paul enjoying the clear waters
Paul enjoying the clear waters
Red-tailed Black Cockatoo eating eucalypt nuts
Red-tailed Black Cockatoo eating eucalypt nuts

After the lake, we visited Mirima National Park, made of ancient Devonian reef, layers of red silt and black reef.

Mirima National Park's beautiful layered rock formations
Mirima National Park’s beautiful layered rock formations

That night, while staying at a particularly remote rest stop/campsite, we got a great view of the sky.

Our little spaceship tent floating in the galaxy
Our little spaceship tent floating in the galaxy

 

Geikie Gorge

While we couldn’t do the real Kimberley (the Gibb River road passes through rugged terrain and many gorges, but it’s 4WD only), we did manage to see one of our favorite gorges of the trip, Geike Gorge. This gorge was also formed by ancient reef, but the weathering and sediment types produced vastly different outcomes—stunning sharp jagged rocks and black and white faces along the Fitzroy River. The whole place had a very other-worldly feeling…

Pointy rocks in Geikie Gorge
Pointy rocks in Geikie Gorge
The gorge itself
Gorgeous
Paul walking across this strange planet
Paul walking across this strange planet

Most importantly, we finally saw freshwater crocodiles! One on the hike, and two at the edge of the sandbar where we went swimming 🙂 No worries, folks. ‘Freshies’, as they’re called, are fish-eaters, and much smaller. Still a bit exhilarating to be in the water with!

Can you spot the freshwater crocodile?
Can you spot the freshwater crocodile?
Christina lounging by the water
Christina lounging by the water

Derby

The ocean! The Kimberley region ends at the coast near the town of Derby. On the outskirts of town is a site home to the Prison Boab, which was a sacred aboriginal site until it was carved out and used to hold aboriginals during their forced relocation.

Prison Boab Tree
Prison Boab Tree

Derby has Australia’s highest tidal range (8th highest in the world) a whopping 12 meters (38 feet)! We got a before/after shot to show the difference between high and low tide, but the low tide photo is only halfway to actually low tide… so use your imagination!

Derby at high tide
Derby at high tide
Derby at (half) low tide
Derby at (half) low tide

At the jetty where we took the tide photos was a great sign reminding fishermen to clean up their line and hooks. Best part is the pidgin-australian in red.

Clean up your fishing gear!
Clean up your fishing gear!
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