Kimberley Australia

Contents

Kimberley Coast Facts

Located in the northernmost part of Western Australia, the Kimberley coast is one of the most remote coastal areas in the continent. Splashed by the Indian Ocean on the West and by the Timor Sea on the North, the coast houses a unique blend of flora and fauna that is considered exotic even among Australian varieties. The Kimberley is bordered by two deserts to the south (Tanami and Great Sandy) and with the Northern Territory to the east.

The Kimberley coast was perhaps the earliest settled part of Australia, colonised first by populations who came via Indonesia as far back as 39.000 B.C.

The Kimberley is sparsely populated, with a total population of just over 41,000 people distributed across the rugged land, with 41% in Broome, which is the largest town in the Kimberley and has a thriving pearling industry that operates across the Kimberley coast alongside an equally thriving fishing industry. Broome is also home to an ultra-modern aquaculture park, where pearls and rare fishes are cultivated.

One third of the world’s annual diamond production takes place in the Kimberley and the land is fabled for its richness in other minerals, as well as oil and natural gas.

Kimberley Coast Wildlife

The Kimberley’s rugged and unspoiled landscape is home to numerous animal species, including endangered and exotic creatures found nowhere else in Australia – let alone the world. The coast is famous for the huge saltwater crocodile, the largest living reptile on Earth, weighing up to 2000kgs. All around the Kimberley, visitors can encounter a rich variety of unusual birds including the Pacific Koel (also known as the Storm bird or Rainbird, for its call becomes more prevalent before or during stormy weather, the Purple-crowned Fairy wren (endemic only to Northern Australia) and the Channel-billed Cuckoo, the largest cuckoo species in the world. The tiny rocky islands off the coast are home to elusive turtle species and also shelter several bird species as well.

The sandstone gorges of Northern Kimberley house protected areas where rare endemic species live. There, you may glimpse the rare and majestic Rainbow Finch (more commonly known as the Gouldian Finch), and an astounding number of rare and endangered frog species. The Kimberley is also home to numerous marsupial omnivores including Bilbies (currently found on the extreme southern edge of the Kimberley only) and Bandicoots, as well as several rat species that can only be found there.

Central Kimberley is home to one of the most diverse and sizable bat populations in the world. Kimberley’s wetlands and estuaries are considered vitally important habitats for endemic shorebirds, with Roebuck Bay considered one of the most important stop-over areas for shorebirds in the world.

Kimberley Coast Flora

The majority of the Kimberley’s flora is part of open savannah woodland that encircles Kimberley’s sandstone gorges and beautifully surrounds the coast.

The most abundant trees in Kimberley include the iconic Boabs and low Corymbia (also known as Bloodwood) trees. Eucalyptus trees can be found in abundance around the Kimberley’s wetlands and estuaries also.

Ord Valley, the Kimberley’s most fertile area, is home to grassland with numerous grass species and a spectacular variety of vegetation that grows alongside the banks of Ord River.

Numerous plant species found in the Kimberley’s sandstone gorges and in remote pockets along the coast were unknown to botanists until very recently, and scientists believe that the land has still quite a few more botanical secrets to uncover.

Several sheltered sandstone gorges in the north of the Kimberley house rare patches of monsoon forests thanks to their high rainfall. These rare and unique spots of tropical forest are among the most floristically rich and diverse parts of Australia.

Kimberley Coast Weather and Climate

The Kimberley has a tropical monsoon climate, with the vast majority of rainfall occurring from November to April, in what is known as The Wet season. During those months, most of the Kimberley’s rivers flood and cyclones are not uncommon, especially around the town of Broome, the Kimberley coast’s largest settlement.

The annual rainfall is lowest to the southeast of the Kimberley, with 520 mm of rain, while it is highest in the northwest, with Mitchell River National Park experiencing up to 1,500 mm of rain on an average year. The dry season lasts from May until October and has comparatively little rain, with sunny days and cosy nights. In the last few decades, the dry season has seen increasingly stronger rainfalls, a climate phenomenon not yet fully understood by meteorologists.

As far as temperatures go, the Kimberley is one of Australia’s hottest regions with mean temperatures floating around 27 degrees Celsius, even during the winter months of June and July. The hottest month of the year is November, with temperatures peaking just before the start of the wet season.

Local Aboriginal people have six distinct seasons for Kimberley’s weather, based on temperature and rainfall fluctuations throughout the year.

Kimberley Cruises

As Australia’s wildest frontier, the Kimberley lends itself beautifully to some exotic and thrilling cruises. One of the most popular such options is the cruise from Darwin, Northern Territory, to Broome. This 11 day voyage takes place on board the Coral Princess. The cruise gets the passengers across 2500 offshore islands, home to numerous unique species of birds and turtles, whales, sharks, dolphins, dugongs and passengers may also catch a glimpse of the iconic saltwater crocodiles roam the coast.

Aurora Expeditions also organises cruises from, Broome to Darwin, Northern Territory. Similar to the above cruise, this is an 11 day voyage across Kimberley’s thousands of islands, giving passengers the chance to sit back and enjoy Australia’s most pristine strip of nature, where savannah meets sea and exotic animals thrive.

Finally, the most fascinating voyage one can find across Northern Australia is without a doubt Aurora Expeditions’ Kimberley Coastline, Arnhem Land and Cape York cruise. This incredible journey showcases the most impressive regions of northern Australia, covering a distance of about 4000 kilometres. This 23 day journey starts at Broome and ends at Cairns, Queensland.

King George FallsAboriginal ArtBigge Island

Kimberley Coast tourism

The Kimberley Coast is one of Australia’s most pristine areas, where tourism respects the land and there is no overwhelming tourist track to trample the Kimberley’s natural beauty. As a consequence, there aren’t many tourist-focused amenities and those hotels that do exist in the Kimberley, focus more on quality than quantity. To put things into perspective, there are less than a dozen registered hotels in the area of Kununurra, which is considered the Kimberley’s most tourist-focused spot after Broome.

One of the most popular and famous resorts in Kimberley coast is the Kimberley Coastal Camp. Located on the Admiralty Gulf, approximately 340 km northwest of Kununurra, the camp combines unique seafront accommodation and gourmet food with amazing scenery and lots of nature-focused activities that can only be enjoyed in the Kimberley coast. Located close to some of the most ancient rock paintings in the world, the camp is considered Australia’s top wilderness retreat.

Visitors seeking a more casual and homely experience can find accommodation in several apartments that are available for renting throughout the year, or in a handful of select hotels that welcome tourists during the high season.

Kimberley Coast Tours

The Kimberley coast’s tourism focuses on quality and invites tourists to explore the rugged landscapes. Aurora Expeditions boasts a fantastic ‘Broome Experience’ Package valued at over $500 that is offered for FREE to all tourists who enjoy one of the 2014 cruises to or from the Kimberley coast if booked before 30 March 2014.

The experience package incorporates a sunset camel ride tour on Cable Beach, accommodation at the impressive Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa (one of the few 4-star resorts in the area) and numerous other exclusive thrills.

The Kimberley coast itself lends itself beautifully for hiking, canoeing and bird watching expeditions. Locals from Broome often organise such tours across the coast, where tourists are welcome to join and explore one of Australia’s remotest areas by sea, land and even air. Other fantastic tours include a visit to the famous Horizontal Falls, a tour to Broome’s saltwater crocodile park or a laid back evening at Roebuck Bay, which rivals Cable Beach in terms of natural beauty and sheer charm. With its rust coloured sands, Roebuck Bay stands in stark contrast to the pure white sands of Cable Beach and many locals believe that no tour to the Kimberley coast is complete unless you have visited and enjoyed both areas.

Kimberley Coast Travel

The Kimberley coast is largely unspoiled by tourism and is considered one of Australia’s most untamed areas. In fact, Kimberley is amongst the 3.7% least impacted marine environments worldwide, alongside remote regions of the Arctic and Antarctica.

Thanks to the sheer remoteness of the Kimberley, travelling to, from and around the land is a unique experience in itself. The most popular tourist destinations are usually reachable only by means of boat or seaplane. Kimberley Coastal Camp, one of Australia’s most prominent wilderness retreat is only reachable via helicopter or float plane.

The Kimberley’s largest settlement, Broome, has an airport that serves as the central point from which tourists come through. Others, who prefers a more laid back experience, opt to travel to the Kimberley coast by means of cruises, and there are a number of small cruise ships that travel from Darwin to Broome, and t back again. Perhaps the most popular such cruise ships is Aurora Expeditions’ own Coral Princess, which travels between Darwin and Broome as part of a spectacular 11 day cruise to the Kimberley coast.