Like many Australians, we were keen to see all that the Kimberley region has to offer, from the pearling industry in Broome and the pristine beaches of the Dampier Peninsula, to the outback beauty of the Gibb River Road and the rugged domes of the Bungle Bungles.
Since river crossings, corrugated terrain and endless red dust are all part and parcel of travelling through the Kimberley, we decided to create an itinerary that involved a combination of towing, 4WDing and tent camping.
Broome – Dampier Peninsula – Broome
After staying in the Cable Beach Caravan Park in Broome, we stored the caravan to spend five nights free camping at Quondong Point, along the Dampier Peninsula, where the roads are unsealed and rough.
Derby – the Gibb River Road – Kununurra
Before embarking on the Gibb River Road, we stored the caravan for $7 a night at Kimberley Entrance Caravan Park in Derby. While packing our 4WD, a couple who had recently towed their caravan along the Gibb told us how it had copped internal and external damage from the constant corrugations, river crossings and thick red dust.
Their experience instilled confidence in our intended plans and helped justify the detour of more than 1000km to collect the van and continue our journey north.
Upon completion of the Gibb, we stocked up on supplies at Kununurra before heading back south to collect the caravan in Derby.
In hindsight, to save fuel and time we could have top and tailed the Gibb River Road, storing our van at each end to pop in and see the major attractions, such as Tunnel Creek and Windjana Gorge on the south end, and Emma Gorge and El Questro at the north end. However, we are glad to have had the experience driving the length of the Gibb from start to finish.
The Bungle Bungles – Derby – Lake Argyle
On our drive back to collect the caravan in Derby we spent two days hiking and camping in Purnululu National Park, also known as the Bungle Bungles.
In Derby we cleaned the 4WD, hitched up the caravan and backtracked for three days along the Great Northern Highway, then went across to Lake Argyle to enjoy our last night in Western Australia.
Upon completion of this epic trip we realise this route may not have been the most economical or efficient. While it seemed a little exhausting at the time, we are glad we spent the extra cash on fuel and made the extra effort driving as we certainly got to experience the best of the Kimberley region with a combination of towing and 4WDing.
Read the Young Nomads’s experience on camping on a budget
Drew and Court are a Melbourne couple who are travelling around Australia for 10 months. They’re writing about their experiences for Without a Hitch, giving us the real story of life on the road.