Earlier this year we got married (woo) and loosely decided we would take our honeymoon over the winter months. But as the months rolled by, we found ourselves constantly looking at maps, blogs and travel sites but still unsure of where we wanted to go. Hawaii? The Maldives? Fiji? None of them were really us.
Then one weekend while were away in Vinnie, James said something that just made a whole lot of sense. “We are the happiest when we’re away in Vinnie”. And it got us thinking. Why couldn’t we roadtrip for our honeymoon? We love driving, camping and having the freedom to make our own itinerary. It made sense. So we started thinking about where could go and immediately thought of the Kimberley. We felt we missed the Kimberley on our 2016 roadtrip, as you really need a 4WD to experience it (it’s one of those places a Kombi just doesn’t cut it).
Within half an hour the two of us were sitting there with huge grins on our faces – excited at the prospect of getting a 4WD and roadtripping the Kimberley.
Our trip and top 12 experiences
We took a glorious two weeks off work and set off on our way, bumping along in our 4WD. On our trip, we experienced the Dampier Peninsula, Broome, the Gibb River Road and Purnululu National Park. After some very tricky deliberations, we have finally determined our top 12 Kimberley experiences.
1. Sunrise at Mitchell Falls
Waking up to see the rising sun hit the cliff walls of Mitchell Falls was nothing short of magic. We sat there for an hour or so, taking it all in. Live for the moments you can’t put into words – and this was definitely one for us.
2. Walking along Piccaninny creek at Purnululu National Park (the Bungle Bungles)
In our opinion, the most beautiful walk in the Kimberley. Every way we looked, we were spoiled with uninterrupted views of the incredible tiger striped domes.
3. Sunset at Bell Gorge
We loved Bell Gorge’s symmetry – the way the waterfall and mountain behind it lined up so perfectly. We actually visited the gorge at both sunrise and sunset but think our favourite would have to be sunset. As the sun was setting, it hit the mountain and gorge walls - making for an incredible glow.
4. The hike to MacMicking Pool in El Questro Gorge
We loved this hike because of the adventure it entailed. Getting to the start of the walk included a pretty deep creek crossing and as our 4WD didn’t have a snorkel, we opted to walk through the mud instead. After wading through the mud and doing an extra 2km to get to the start of the walk, we then scrambled over rocks, avoided a sneaky little snake and swam across a very chilly waterhole. But once we arrived at MacMicking pool we were speechless. It was a little slice of paradise. We spent the morning here, eating breakfast and admiring the falls.
5. Free camping along James Price Point
This was our first night in the Kimberley. And while it resulted in 89 mosquito bites for me (Charlotte), the striking Kimberley Colours made me forget all about the itching. We couldn’t believe a campsite perched on top of the red Pindan cliffs with uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean was free.
6. Sunset at Branco’s Lookout
We definitely had clammy hands en-route to this lookout! The drive here was a bit hairy to say the least – the creek crossing took us a full 10 minutes and we felt like the climb was almost vertical in some parts. But we arrived to see the most incredible landscape. The towering red gorge walls against the blue Pentecost River and the rolling Cockburn ranges in the background. We felt like we were staring at the heart of the Kimberley.
7. Milky way at Purnululu (Bungle Bungles)
While we were at Purnululu, we were lucky enough to watch the milky-way rise over the Bungles – both from inside and outside of Cathedral Gorge. We spent the night sharing a cuppasoup, batting off the mossies and sitting in awe.
8. Sunset at Cable Beach
We did a Cable Beach sunset last time we were in Broome and honestly, we didn’t really see what all the fuss was about. But after this visit, I have to say I’m a changed woman. And James is a changed man too. So really we’re a changed couple. We loved taking the 4WD onto the beach and picnicking on the tailgate while we watched the sun go down. Except the sunset was so mind blowing, we found ourselves jumping up and down and spinning around… all the while not realising some rude seagulls had stolen our cheese and crackers.
9. Sunrise swim in Manning Gorge
Waking up early, we rolled out of bed, pulled ourselves across the water in the wee tug boat and made our way to Manning Gorge for sunrise. We had been at Manning the day before for an afternoon swim and there was something so lovely about returning in the morning without another soul in sight.
10. Sunrise in Tunnel Creek
While this morning outing did result in us getting chased by a crocodile, it was still definitely one of our highlights. And don’t worry – it was a freshie (we didn’t realise our head torches had been directly shining in his eyes). We loved spending the morning here, watching the rising sun paint the cave walls a bright orange and reading about Jandamarra.
11. Sunset at Gantheaume Point
Overall I would have to say Gantheaume Point is most striking during the day (rather than at sunrise or sunset – so you can fully appreciate the contrasting colours of the cliffs and the sea). But we had a wonderful evening here – we lay in the sun reading our books, had a picnic on the cliffs (yep I just heard it too – I talk about picnics a lot), and then watched the most beautiful sunset.
12. Picnic at Windjana
Sitting on a rug, watching the freshies swim about while the orange gorge walls towered above us. This was our first night on the Gibb and we wouldn’t have changed a thing.
Have you ticked off any of these Kimberley experiences?