For tourist from overseas, 4WD hire in Australia is common practice as these vehicles are the best way to explore the more remote and spectacular areas of this huge country. Especially the Kimberley region in the northern part of Western Australia is famous for offering one of the best 4wd trips.
If you plan to undertake a trip to the Kimberley by 4wd you should be prepared to endure a few hardships as road conditions are poor and most camping sites are located in remote wilderness areas. The Kimberley is predominated by bush camping with no facilities other than swags around the campfire. Swags are bed-rolls which contain a mattress within a canvas bag. Swags are a very comfortable and warm, and our preferred method. As your head is uncovered it will give you the opportunity to gaze at the stars under the clear Kimberley night!
The Kimberley Gorge country has three great local icons to explore – the Windjana Gorge, Tunnel Creek and Boab Prison Tree. They are all located within a 6 hour-drive from Broome, but it is advised to take a few days of your time to explore the region as there is a lot to see.
Before making your way to the Kimberley, go to see some of the Galvins or Adcock Gorges on your first day. Stop here to set up for your camp for the night. Try to settle in before sunset and prepared a delicious campfire meal that you can enjoy while watching the sunset over the Kimberley savannah.
In the morning after breakfast, drive along the Gibb River Road to Windjana Gorge National Park entrance. The gorge itself is a 3.5 km long gorge carved out of the Napier Range by the Lennard River. The walls are up to 100 metres high and loom over beautiful caves which will be sure to amaze any visitor to this part of the outback. It is also the best place in the Kimberley to see the fresh water crocodiles or to enjoy tropical birdlife that you probably have never seen before.
From Windjana it is a 4WD route all the way to Tunnel Creek, a 750 metre long flooded cave system which will be the highlight of your trip. Here you can explore well preserved caves by wading knee-deep high (so shorts are necessary) through the tunnel or have a refreshing swim in one of its relaxing waterholes. Strap-on sandals or sand shoes have to be worn to protect your feet from the rocky creek bed. To be able to find your way safely through the tunnel you must bring flashlights and be able to walk by yourself.
Boab Tree Prison
On your way back to Broome drive through the cattle country of the Kimberley and stop near Derby to see the thousand year old Boab Tree Prison, which once used to house convicts. Boab trees are species only to be found in Western Australia and the Northern Territory. From here, drive to the historic township of Fitzroy Crossing where you will find the ancient Napier Range and magnificent Geike Gorge.
Rick Elenbaas is a freelance writer who lives in Australia. He currently writes on behalf of Britz Australia