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Kimberley Adventure with Outback Spirit Part 2

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by Gary Brown (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer and photographer from Sydney who has now had five books published on fishing. I also write for the NSW Fishing Monthly, Visit the Shire, Fisho App & Tackle Tactics. I also like to travel and experience new things to do.
Published July 19th 2015
This is an unbelievable part of Australia
In an earlier article that was published called Kimberley Adventure with Outback Spirit I took you through our adventures at places like Derby, Bell Gorge, Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary, Galvans Gorge, the Drysdale Cattle Station, Kalumburu Road, the Mitchell Plateau and the El Questro Wilderness Park.

The Colours of the Kimberley's. The Ord River sunset.

In part two we came up and close with freshwater crocodiles, flew in helicopters with no doors and small seaplanes. We also visited world heritage places, cruised up through some magnificent gorges, had a beer or two with the locals, found out more about how Broome got started and took in the sights of the Horizontal Falls.


I knew crocodile where big in the Kimberley's. Lucky this one was stuffed.

Today was one of those rare days where we didn't have to leave too early as it was a short 101 km drive in the bus from El Questro Wilderness Park to Wyndham. Our first stop was to have morning tea at the Five River Lookout and then proceed to the Durack Homestead Museum where we met up with Charlie the cheeky bower bird.


Lake Argyle can be filled to over 70 more than Sydney Harbour if it floods.

If you have heard of the Ord River System and Lake Argyle, you should have heard of Kununurra. While here, we took in the views of Lake Argyle from a couple of lookouts and marvelled at the sheer size of it. We learnt how the dam wall was constructed and how the water level is regulated with the coming and going of the wet season.

Did you know that at normal full supply level the area of the lake formed by the Ord Dam is 980 square kilometres and impounds 10.7 million mega litres (8.6 million acre feet) of water - over 18 times the volume of water contained in Sydney Harbour! If the lake ever does flood to its maximum capacity, then the volume will more than triple Sydney Harbour could be filled more than 70 times.

My first thought was what type of fish would be in Lake Argyle and the most common the Silver Cobbler and these giant catfish are one of the best eating freshwater fish in Australia. These fish are caught commercially in Lake Argyle and the fillets sell in the southern markets for well over $20per kg! They can reach a length of almost 1.5 metres and can weigh up to 40kg!

We took a three hour cruise down the Ord River to arrive just on sunset at Kununurra. While travelling down the Ord we had close encounters with freshwater crocodiles, birds, turtles and bats. We also managed to stop and have scones, jam and cream on the side of the bank of the river in the middle of nowhere.

An Ord River croc sunny itself.

While dining at the Kununurra Country Club Resort we had a few beers, wines and 12 year old scotch on the rocks to wash away some of the red dirt, while going over what a great day it had been. One thing that I did notice at dinner was that I was not the only one going back for more of the prawns from the buffet.


The Bungle Bungles from the air. You have to take the time to do it.

The Bungle Bungles are much bigger than I had imagined. The longest helicopter ride is forty two minutes and this doesn't allow you to directly fly all over it. The eighteen minute flight that we took allowed us to fly over the Cathedral Gorge, "Y" Gorge, Piccaninny Gorge and Echidna Chasm.

John and Anne were just amazed at the sheer size of Cathderal Gorge.

Once again, the helicopter had no doors on it allowing you to see the Bungle Bungles in all its glory. I couldn't stop taking pictures the whole time while up there and the great thing about taking the flight before we actually walked into the Cathedral Gorge and Echidna Chasm, was that it gave you an idea of the enormity of the Bungle Bungles. This place would have to be an artist heaven as there were some many different colours.

Echidina Casm in all its glory. Check out the size of it!

Especially as the sun was going down. This place was put on the world heritage listing in 2003, and believe me I can see why.

The colours of the Bungle Bungles are truely Exquisite.


I can't remember how far this guy wheeled his injured mate in a wheel barrow, but it was a hell of a long way from Halls Creek.

Situated in the heart of the Kimberley, Halls Creek is the gateway to a range of world renowned natural attractions, including the World Heritage listed Bungle Bungle ranges of Purnululu National Park. It is one of Australia's iconic outback regions with a unique cultural and heritage environment.

Some of the local kids were amazed at Susie's painted finger nails.

While stopping off here for fuel, we had a chance to walk around the town to take in a bit of the history of the place and while at the visitor's centre, it gave us a bit of time to get a few souvenirs for the family back home.

I think John was trying to do a Paul Hogan impression with the beast?


The night that we stayed at the Fitzroy River Lodge the bar was going off with the locals and us having a few drinks to once again wash down that red dirt. It was also Friday Night football on the big TV.

Noy only were the sunsets brilliant in the Kimberley's, so were the sunsets. This one was taken at Fitzroy Crossing.

Earlier that afternoon we took a one hour cruise on the Fitzroy River in a place called the Geikie Gorge National Park. Our guide was letting us know about aboriginal customs and families and a one stage I had aged to a point where I was now of no use and I was then put up against a tree, but I did have three young girls looking after me.

Geikie Gorge in all its glory. Check out that reflection.

While travelling along this waterway we managed to see a few freshwater crocodiles sunning themselves, so many native birds and the odd tortoise or two. The colours of the high cliffs were some amazing that I couldn't stop taking photos.

Not to be outdone the other side of Geikie Gorge was jst as brilliant in the afternoons sun.


Before we walked into the Windjana Gorge to sit and have lunch with a few freshwater crocodiles, we ventured into the Tunnel Creek National Park for a walk through the underground river. Due to the fact that the wet season previously had not been very wet, there was not too much water in the underground river. It was lucky to be about shin deep. Ian stated that two years ago it was up to his waist.

How many crocodiles can you count?

Now up until we had reached Windjana Gorge I had seen about twenty freshwater crocodiles. I was totally blown away at just how many there were at Windjana Gorge. At a rough count I would say that I counted close to ninety-five crocs. There was one mud island in the middle, where I counted over fifty of them. If you have never seen a freshwater crocodile before I would suggest that you go to Windjana Gorge. They must really love the place and I would hate to be a fish there.


There is so much history to see while in Broome. The Japanese Cemetery.

Now this was the second time we had stayed in Broome. The first was after we had flown directly from Sydney to Broome and we stayed for a couple of nights at the Moonlight Bay Suites. During this time we found that the township was pretty quiet as the shops didn't open until 10am and closed at 2pm. We made a few trips into town to go to the weekend markets, Tackle World and Matso's Boutique Brewery where I had a couple of Mango Beers.

When we arrived back in Broome after our epic trip around the Kimberleys we bunked down at the Cable Beach Resort to get ourselves ready for our sea plane flight out to the Horizontal Falls. Over the years I had heard and seen so much about this place I was on the edge of my seat the whole time as we flew up to the falls.

Once again I didn't know where to point my camera as there was so much to take photos of as we flew up via the coast across the Buccaneer Archipelago, Cape Leveque, Beagle Bay and the Willie Creek Pearl Farm.

The remote township of Cape Leveque from the air.

Described by Sir David Attenborough as 'one of the greatest natural wonders of the world', the Horizontal Falls lays deep within Talbot Bay in the Buccaneer Archipelago. You have to see it to believe it. When we were there, there was a one and a half metre plus difference in the water level between one side to the other and as we were racing through the twenty two gap in the rock formation I made sure that I kept my finger on the button of the video. I didn't want to miss a second of the ride.

The Horizontal Falls lays deep within Talbot Bay.

It was a shame that we couldn't go through the second opening, but it was way too dangerous to attempt it. Especially when the opening was only seven metres wide. This height difference is caused by the rising and falling of the huge tides in the Kimberleys. They can be up to eleven metres in a six hour period.

There was no way we could go through the second openning. The water leverl was a 2 metre difference, with a 7 metre gap.


Having never being to the Kimberleys before I didn't know what to expect. What would the weather be like? Would it be too hot? What would the fishing be like? Would the scenery be as good as they stated in the book we got from Outback Spirit? What would the meals be like? How would I go travelling so far on dirt roads? What would the rest of the group be like? Where they younger or older than us? How would it be travelling over all those corrugations?

Those lunches in the outback were something special.

I have always said to Leanne, "That I wouldn't go on a holiday in the desert" and when Leanne gave me this surprise I thought that this was going to be different. It was surely that.

The tour included a combination of both the desert and water, to make it one of the most enjoyable trips that we have been on. So much so that we would both like to go back again and see what we missed.

What else made the trip one that is going to stay with me forever is the rest of the group on the bus who came from up and down the east coast of Australia.

I managed to get a photo of the whole group and Ian while having lunch just outside Halls Creek.

So thanks to Anne and Graham Watts, Mark and Sheila Haegele, Tony and Pam Patterson, John and Kerry McDonald, Doug and Susie Barnett, Jan Rigby and Lothar, Sue Harmsworth, Sally Church, Paula Toe, Christine Mackay, Renuka Patel, my gorgeous wife Leanne who surprised me with this trip and who could forget our tour director and our bus driver extraordinaire, Ian.

What I did find out was that this is a special part of Australia, and with so many wonderful things to see that you should go and see for yourself. You may decide to go for a week and cruise the coast, go on the trip we did or even go on a longer one. That would be up to you. It would take years to be able to visit and see everything that this part of the world has to offer.

Paula and Leanne enjoying a fresh fruit cocktail at the Cable Beach Resort before we got our plane back to Sydney.

I would also say that type of trip may not be for everyone. But, what I would say is that anyone who has a bit of an adventurous side to them, doesn't mind travelling, likes to walk a lot, loves taking photos, likes to meet people, doesn't mind getting up early in the morning and is reasonably fit - this would be the place you should put on your bucket list.

As Ian used to say quite regularly throughout the trip, "This is a lovely, lovely and wonderful part of Australia."

Our Kimberley Adventure took us through over 4,200 kilometres. Photo courtesy of Outback Spirit.

As stated in Part 1 of our Exquisite Kimberley Adventure with Outback Spirit I took over 3,000 photos in 2 weeks. What I found was that no matter how good most of the photos turned out it is extremely hard to do justice to the unbelievable scenery and the sheer size of the Kimberleys and all its wonders.

Morning and afternoon the camels make their way onto the beach.

So if you ever get the chance to visit the Kimberleys you should grab hold of it with both hands and go. This is a trip that you should put on your bucket list of things to do.

We went on the 15day/14 night Exquisite Kimberley Adventure.

While you are at it, you should have a look at what other trips Outback Spirit have on offer.
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Why? As they saying goes; You never never know until you go.
When: May through to until the end of September.
Phone: 1800 688 222
Where: The Kimberleys in Northern West Australia
Cost: For Prices contact Outback Spirit.
Your Comment
Great article and story Gary. The photos look magnificent.
by Steve Hudson (score: 3|1251) 2694 days ago
Nice work on this article, very well written with so much to share. The part about the crocodile image caption made me laugh lol good work
by Former Writer (score: 3|1221) 2104 days ago
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