Getting to the Kimberley
The Kimberley is a remote wilderness area located in the far north region of Western Australia. Owing to its spectacular natural beauty, this phenomenal corner of Australia is constantly teeming with tourists. There are several ways to get into the Kimberley. Of course, flying is the fastest mode of transport, with several airport gateways operating within. However, to truly appreciate the beauty and brilliance that dominates this region, getting to the Kimberley by 4WD is the way to go.
Regardless of where tourists decide to start their road journey to the Kimberley, distances are always great. Broome is the southwestern gateway into the region, and is commonly used as the starting point for a holiday here. From Perth and Port Headland, tourists can take a four-wheel drive vehicle along the Great Northern Highway to reach Broome. This route is a well-maintained national highway, but will still demand two or three days of driving to reach the Kimberley.
Another major port of entry into this region is Kununurra. It’s located just 30kms from the Western Australia-Northern Territory border, and remains busy for most of the year. Most four-wheel drive motorists arrive into Kununurra from Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory. From Darwin, Kimberley-bound drivers will have to take the Stuart Highway, which is a sealed road from the NT capital, to Katherine, and then turn right onto the Victoria Highway. Travel along this route for just over 500kms to reach Kununurra.
For the more adventurous, the Tanami Track connects Alice Springs with Halls Creek, at the southeastern corner of the Kimberley. This road is only recommended for drivers with previous experience on remote roads. Much of it is gravel and rather corrugated, so four-wheel drives are essential. It lacks frequent roadhouses, so motorists must prepare adequate food, fuel and water before departing. Nevertheless, getting to the Kimberley by 4WD is becoming easier each year.
Getting to the Kimberley by Air
Not surprisingly, getting to the Kimberley by air is the quickest, easiest, and most popular way for tourists to reach this remote yet unforgettable corner of Australia. Even though driving to the region offers tourists a greater chance to absorb the unique and fascinating sandstone landscape, distances are always great. Many tourists simply don’t have the time to spend several extra days travelling by road. Therefore, arriving by air is the best available option.
The busiest airport serving the Kimberley region is Broome International Airport, which sits less than a kilometre from the heart of the town. Flights from Darwin, Perth and Port Headland are scheduled year-round, but connections to other Australian cities such as Brisbane and Sydney are only offered during the dry season. Nevertheless, this still makes Broome Airport the most easily accessible gateway in the Kimberley. Virgin, Qantas and Airnorth are the primary airlines serving the airport.
The second busiest air facility in the region is at Kununurra, and is commonly referred to as East Kimberley Regional Airport. Arriving via this gateway is more difficult, as only Darwin and Perth provide flights to Kununurra Airport. All other connections are made from within the Kimberley. The terminal has, however, recently undergone a major renovation. The improved facilities have led to plans for an increase in flights in the near future.
There is also an airport in the town of Derby, although very rarely do flights use this facility. It is more commonly used as a base for scenic flight tours into the Kimberley region. Before getting to the Kimberley by air, tourists need to check the rates for flights, as some months, in particular the dry season months of June, July and August, are more expensive than others.