Trip Prep: Doing The Kimberley

If you’re planning to visit the Kimberley and don’t know where to start, our guide has you covered…


We may be biased, but we think the Kimberley is the ultimate Australian RV travel destination. Not only does it have some of the most spectacular coastline and picture-perfect landscapes in the country, but a list of attractions to explore as long as your arm. What was originally planned as a once-off trip for us in the early 1990s turned into a Kimberley love affair long ago.

You could say we became smitten after that initial visit and have had umpteen visits since then… for holidays, our engagement, birthdays, and even to get married. But when it’s a destination that’s a long way from pretty well everywhere, you’ll find some trip planning will go a long way.


Unlike southern states, the Kimberley experiences two main seasons known as the Dry and the Wet. Most visitors plan their trips to coincide with the dry season months between May and October, where warm, sunny days average around 32∞.

Outside these times, the weather is more unpredictable. It’s not uncommon for wet season rains to dump more than 1m each year in some areas, so some roads can be closed for days or weeks at a time. We’re not just talking the Gibb River Road here, either – the Great Northern Highway has been on the receiving end of some big rainfalls during the past couple of years as well.


The Great Northern Highway, which runs through the Kimberley, is all sealed, as is the Great Victoria Highway leading from Kununurra to Wyndham. 

Roads get very dusty during the dry season and bushfire smoke just adds to the complexity.

Other roads, like the infamous Gibb River Road, is a combo of dirt and bitumen, and generally opens in early May at the start of the dry season. But that doesn’t mean you’ll find all the stations and attractions along the Gibb are opened at the same time.

The Mitchell Falls and Kalumburu region generally cops a hammering with rain yearly as well, so that generally will be one of the last roads to open each year. So it’s advisable to have a bit of flexibility in your itinerary if you travel early in the season. And while that time is fabulous for experiencing the water the area receives, it comes with a risk that some attractions could be closed because it’s just too wet.

Other things to consider is the region’s size and the times/distances between attractions. Many of these attractions are also located along dirt roads. There’ll be no shortage of dust, so be mindful when driving and avoid driving in the middle or the wrong side of the road (yes, we’ve seen it plenty of times).

You’ll potentially be sharing these roads with all sorts of trucks and vehicles as well, and the dust can just hang for ages. So travel with your headlights on, stick to your own side of the road, and pull over if necessary to let the dust settle. 


WA is very strict on quarantine requirements; make sure you comply.

It’s very important to know if you’re travelling to the Kimberley from other states that Western Australia has strict quarantine laws. There’s a checkpoint located by the NT border near Kununurra and disposal bins can be found near Halls Creek. Check out the website listed at the end of this article to learn what you can or can’t bring into WA. 


Like other areas in Australia’s north, the entire Kimberley region is croc country and we’re talking about both freshies and salties. Freshwater crocodiles are found in many of the area’s fresh waterways although they don’t have the same reputation of their saltwater counterparts.

Be croc-wise throughout the entire Kimberley.

It’s also not uncommon for saltwater crocodiles to be found 100km inland from the sea in fresh water. It therefore doesn’t matter if the area you visit has croc signposts or not; it still pays to be vigilant and aware of your surroundings.


The main towns in the Kimberley provide most of the services you would come to expect of towns their size, and other items can generally be ordered in if they’re unavailable. As with many things in the Kimberley, time is a slow-moving clock, and you need to be prepared that anything ordered can take time.


Be aware of where fuel is available and calculate your requirements carefully.

The prices can vary within the Kimberley towns themselves, so it always pays to ask around for the best location and price. If you’re travelling the Gibb River Road or other dirt roads and looking to refuel, check fuel availability before embarking on that part of your itinerary.

While it’s not a common thing, there have been occasions when fuel tankers have been delayed, leaving stations and roadhouses without supplies for a few days at a time. And like any remote travel, carry a spare fuel filter and a funnel if you’re decanting from a jerry can.


This is one area where there’s plenty of choice for visitors. From caravan parks and station stays, through to free camps, bush camps and luxury offerings, you’ll find the Kimberley delivers the lot. The peak period is normally between May and July, which sees an increase in both demand and price.

Unless you have some flexibility in your itinerary, you may want to get in early and book in advance with any of the places you really wanting to stay. Check out the visitor centre links at the end of this article for more info, plus apps like Wikicamps for bush-camp locations.


You can’t rely on getting drinking water everywhere you go.

While the Kimberley receives huge amounts of rainfall yearly, we’ve found water quality does vary. This also includes some town supplies where water has high levels of calcium. Other places, like national parks and some station stays, may also have water on tap, but it’s not always filtered and may need boiling before drinking.


As with many things found in remote areas, transport and other costs can push prices up of some of the basics. The Kimberley is no different, and whether you’re paying for food, fuel, accommodation, spare parts, or simply a tour attraction, that’s part and parcel of visiting the region.


The Kimberley bursts with spectacular attractions and it’s possible to experience these at ground level, from the water, or by taking to the skies. You’ll find there’s tours of all sorts available throughout the entire region, or include a visit to one of the region’s many natural attractions as part of your own itinerary.

Expect to pay big fines if you’re caught travelling on closed roads.

With many of the region’s activities being water-based, there’s fun to be had for kids and big kids alike. Two of the major Kimberley highlights are fishing and swimming, so you won’t regret packing some fishing gear, swimmers, and some sort of water toy/noodle or tube to float with.

Bushwalking and hiking are other highlights, so packing things like walking shoes, hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, insect spray, a first aid kit and backpack, are a must. Other than these, a good torch and some amphibious shoes for places like Tunnel Creek won’t go astray. This is such a unique Kimberley attraction – you’ll be walking over rocks, in water, and in complete darkness for a few hundred metres. Being kitted out right will make this adventure more comfortable and enjoyable.

Other attractions, like the Kimberley’s national parks, provide exceptional camping options that don’t cost an arm and leg. You can even save a few dollars when you purchase a WA National Park Holiday Pass. These passes are good value for money as they get you into an unlimited number of national parks over a four-week period.

Kitted out with water shoes and a headlamp for walking through Tunnel Creek.

Besides the national parks, almost every pocket of the Kimberley has breathtaking attractions in every direction and many of these come cheaply. 

While we could write an entire article on the free Kimberley attractions alone, the best place to get comprehensive and up-to-date information is by visiting one of the region’s tourism visitor centres. Contact them in advance or pay them a visit once you arrive in town.


With everything the Kimberley has going for it, there’s so many reasons to travel to this beautiful part of Australia. But don’t take our word for it: you just need to get out there and experience it for yourself!


Selecting only 10 is far from easy, but each of these is exceptional…

1. Taking in sunset at Cable Beach;

2. Experiencing a million-star night around a station-stay campfire; 

3. Swimming in one of the many gorges;

4. Participating in one of the many Kimberley cultural tours;

5. Exploring the bee-hive domes and gorges at Purnululu;

6. Walking through Tunnel Creek;

7. Exploring the Dampier Peninsula and learning about the region’s pearl history;

8. Experiencing the spectacular Horizontal Falls; 

9. Cruising Lake Argyle; and

10. Taking a helicopter ride over Mitchell Falls.


Road conditions: 

Broome tourism: 

Derby tourism: 

Fitzroy Crossing tourism: 

Gibb River Road: 

Halls Creek tourism: 

Kununurra tourism: