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Kimberley Region Essential Travel Tips

Explore one of Australia's last pristine frontiers with our top 10 travel tips for the Kimberley region! From the best times to visit to road safety and handling road trains, this guide ensures your adventure with Red Dirt Rentals’ 4WD is smooth and unforgettable. Dive into the rugged landscapes and untamed beauty that await you!

Table of Contents

Introduction

Thinking of exploring one of Australia’s last pristine frontiers? Welcome to the Kimberley region, where rugged landscapes and untamed beauty await. If you’re planning a trip with Red Dirt Rentals’ 4WD or a 4WD with a rooftop tent, you’re in for an adventure of a lifetime. This guide will provide you with essential tips to ensure your journey is as smooth and enjoyable as possible. From the best times to visit, to road safety, and even dealing with road trains—our expert advice will prepare you for every aspect of your Kimberley adventure.

Best Time of Year

Choosing the right time to visit the Kimberley region can make or break your adventure. The Kimberley has two major seasons: the Dry Season and the Wet Season.

 

The Dry Season, running from May to October, offers the most favourable conditions for exploration. During these months, you’ll enjoy sunny days, cooler temperatures, and easier access to the region’s stunning attractions. Most tour operators, including Red Dirt Rentals, operate from May to November in Broome. This period sees the majority of roads and gorges open and accessible, making it the ideal time for your 4WD adventure.

 

The Wet Season, from November to April, is marked by heavy rainfall and high humidity. Many attractions, roads, and facilities close due to flooding and hazardous conditions. While the landscape transforms into a verdant, lush paradise, travel can be challenging and restricted.

 

Peak Season falls between June and August. During these months, the Kimberley is at its most popular, and accommodation along with 4WD hires tend to book out quickly. If you’re planning a trip during Peak Season, it’s highly recommended to book your 4WD rental and accommodation at least a year in advance to secure your spot and ensure a seamless experience.

Seasonal Weather in Broome

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Maximum Temp °C
33.3
33.0
34.0
34.3
31.7
29.3
29.0
30.4
31.9
33.0
33.7
33.9
Minimum Temp °C
26.4
26.1
25.5
22.7
18.3
15.3
13.7
14.9
18.5
22.5
25.3
26.6
Avg Rainfall mm
198.7
177.8
98.8
25.6
27.0
18.3
6.3
2.1
1.4
1.4
9.6
63.0
Avg Rainy Days
9.3
9.0
6.2
1.9
1.6
1.1
0.5
0.3
0.2
0.2
0.8
3.9
Relative Humidity %
65
67
60
45
38
36
33
35
45
54
57
61

Campsites

Campsites are plentiful around popular attractions and along the Gibb River Road. During peak season, campsites operate on a first-come, first-serve basis unless pre-booked. It’s highly advisable to book in advance where possible to secure your spot. Some campsites offer amenities like showers and toilets, while others provide a more outback experience. Researching your options ahead of time will help you find the perfect campsite to suit your needs.

Food Supply

Planning your food supply is a critical aspect of tackling the Kimberley Region. Given the remote nature of the area, access to supermarkets and restaurants is limited, making it essential to be well-prepared.

Supermarkets

Stocking up on groceries before embarking on your journey is highly recommended. Broome, Derby, and Kununurra are your best options for substantial supermarket shopping. Prices can be higher than in urban centres due to the remote location, so budget accordingly. In Broome, Coles and Woolworths provide diverse options for fresh produce, meats, and pantry essentials. Similarly, in Derby, you can shop at Woolworths and IGA, while in Kununurra, both Coles and IGA cater to your grocery needs. Be prepared for seasonal variability in stock, particularly with fresh items.

Restaurants

While roadside eateries and roadhouses offer meals, their numbers are few and predominantly located at key tourist stops and larger stations. Mount Barnett Roadhouse and El Questro Station are among the notable spots where you can find meals. However, dining options are limited, and prices can be steep, reflecting the remote location and logistics of supply.

Scarcity and Quantites

Given the scarcity of food outlets, it’s wise to carry sufficient quantities of food to cover your entire trip. Plan meals ahead of time and bring ample non-perishable items such as canned goods, pasta, rice, and long-life snacks. Fresh produce should be consumed early in the journey as it may not last in the heat. Remember to pack multiple meal options to cater for unexpected delays or longer stays at campsites.

Water Supply

Water supply along in the Kimberley is generally well-facilitated, with drinking water available at several key points.

 

Here are some notable locations:

 

  • Derby and Wyndham: Both towns have public facilities for refilling water.
  • Imintji Campground: Offers drinking water facilities.
  • Mornington Wilderness Camp: Offers drinking water facilities.
  • Mt Barnett Roadhouse: Drinking water available from the service station.
  • Mt Elizabeth Station: Tap water is available, but it is not recommended for drinking without treatment.
  • Drysdale River Station: Offers drinking water facilities.
  • Home Valley Station: You can fill up on drinking water.
  • El Questro Station: Facilities include access to drinking water.

 

However, it’s wise to carry ample water, particularly if you plan to explore off the beaten track, as drinking water is something you can never have too much of. Additionally, bore water is accessible at various locations, including the Bungle Bungles, but it’s advised to boil it before use to ensure safety.

Fuel

Fuel availability can be limited in the Kimberley, and not all roadhouses operate 24/7. It’s crucial to carry enough fuel for your trip. The Derby Visitor Centre offers a guide detailing fuel stops along the Gibb River Road, which can be incredibly useful for planning your route. Always refuel when you have the opportunity to avoid unexpected shortages.

 

Here are some notable locations:

 

  • Mount Hart Wilderness Lodge: Diesel Fuel Available
  • Imintji Roadhouse: Diesel Fuel Available
  • Mt Barnett Roadhouse: Diesel and Petrol Fuel Available
  • Mt Elizabeth Station: Diesel Fuel Available
  • Drysdale River Station: Diesel and Petrol Fuel Available
  • El Questro Station: Diesel and Petrol Fuel Available

Communication and Emergency Services

Travelling in the Kimberley, especially along the Gibb River Road requires careful planning, especially when it comes to communication and emergency services. Coverage at specific points like Optus at Imintji and Telstra at Home Valley Station is plausible but not guaranteed. Mobile phone reception is sparse, and relying solely on your mobile phone can be risky. However, our vehicles are fully equipped to ensure your safety and connectivity. Each vehicle includes comprehensive recovery gear, a UHF Radio for both general communication and contacting emergency services, and a First Aid Kit. While some stations along the route provide paid phone services, for enhanced safety and peace of mind, you may also consider hiring a satellite phone from us to maintain communication in more isolated regions. This ensures that you stay connected even in the most remote parts of your journey, providing an extra layer of security and allowing you to enjoy your adventure with greater confidence.

Road Safety

Australia’s vast landscapes can be deceiving, and distances are often greater than expected. Make sure to travel with a reliable road map and GPS, as getting lost can be both inconvenient and dangerous. When driving on dirt roads, keep your speed under 60 km/h to avoid accidents, and on unsealed roads, do not exceed 80 km/h. Additionally, deflate your tires to the correct PSI for improved traction and a smoother ride. Be sure to check your tire pressure regularly, as changes in temperature can affect it.

 

When traveling with other cars, maintain a safe distance to reduce the risk of collisions and to avoid dust clouds that can impair visibility. Driver fatigue is a common cause of accidents, so take regular breaks to rest and stay alert. Plan your stops ahead of time, ensuring you have access to food, water, and restroom facilities. Enjoy the scenery and don’t rush your travels; the Kimberley is all about taking in the moment and appreciating the natural beauty around you.

Road Closures

Road conditions in the Kimberley can change rapidly, especially during the dry season. Sealed and unsealed roads may be open today and closed tomorrow due to weather conditions. Keep an eye on the Main Roads Western Australia Travel Map for updates. For those travelling in the Northern Territory, the Road Report website provides current road status information.

Road Trains

Road trains are a common sight in the Kimberley, often stretching over 50 metres in length. When overtaking a road train, ensure it’s safe to do so and allow plenty of distance—up to 2.5 kilometres—to complete the manoeuvre. Patience and caution are key when sharing the road with these long vehicles.

Wildlife

The Kimberley is home to diverse wildlife, and fences are rare. Exercise extreme caution on the roads as cattle and other animals can wander freely. It’s best to drive during daylight hours and avoid travelling at dawn, dusk, or night to reduce the risk of collisions with kangaroos or cattle. Additionally, be aware of the presence of saltwater and freshwater crocodiles in the region—observe warning signs and avoid swimming in known habitats.

Conclusion

The Kimberley region offers unparalleled adventure and natural beauty, but preparation is key to a successful trip. By following these ten travel tips, you’ll be well-equipped to make the most of your Kimberley experience. From choosing the right time to visit, to ensuring road safety and understanding local wildlife, each tip is designed to enhance your adventure. Ready to explore the Kimberley? Book your Red Dirt Rentals 4WD experience now and start your unforgettable journey!

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