Your ultimate agent guide to the Kimberley

Lady hiking through the Bungle Bungle Range, Purnululu National Park.

 With domestic holidays firmly on the agenda for travel-starved Aussies, agents would be silly not to make the most of the current situation and become experts of their own backyard.

So, Travel Weekly has teamed up with Tourism Western Australia to provide a complete rundown of one of the state’s most popular tourist destinations: the Kimberley.

A great place to start your clients off is in Broome, the western gateway to the Kimberley wilderness, which is home to world-famous Cable Beach sunsets and the natural phenomenon of the Staircase to the Moon.

Just a two-and-a-half-hour flight from Perth will transport your clients to this tropical oasis of striking contrasts in colour and culture, where the vibe is very relaxed, but there’s so much to engage the senses.

Affectionately known as the ‘Pearl of the North West’, Broome is the home of South Sea pearls, which are among the largest and most coveted commercially harvested cultured pearls in the world.

Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm, Dampier Peninsula (image source: Tourism Western Australia)

Their discovery in the 1800s fuelled a mass-migration almost as epic as the gold rush. Japanese, Filipino and Malay pearl divers arrived in droves seeking their fortune, creating a melting pot of cultures that makes Broome the multicultural town it is today.

Cable Beach in Broome is world famous for its 22 kilometres of sun-kissed white sand, turquoise water and spectacular Indian Ocean sunsets.

Visitors will find uncrowded shores, camel trains and unforgettable ocean sunsets filling the skies with spectacular colours – it’s the best free evening show they’ll ever experience.

Cable Beach, Broome (image source: Tourism Western Australia)

The best of both worlds

Broome strikes the perfect balance between a relaxing holiday and an extraordinary adventure.

There are plenty of unique experiences for visitors seeking all kinds of adventure, such as:

  • Witnessing the natural phenomenon of the Staircase to the Moon at Roebuck Bay.
  • Riding a camel train into an ocean sunset along pristine Cable Beach.
  • Marvelling at ancient dinosaur footprints at Gantheaume Point.
  • Fishing with an Aboriginal guide or on a specialist fishing charter.
  • Spotting Australian wildlife such as humpback whales, snubfin dolphins, kangaroos and a variety of different birds.
  • Cruising to a pearl farm and learning how these deep-sea beauties are harvested.
  • Catching a movie at the oldest operating outdoor picture garden in the world, Sun Pictures.
  • Gazing at billion-star skies with Space Gandolf (aka Greg Quicke).
  • Taking a four-wheel drive, helicopter or seaplane adventure day trip into true wilderness.

Gantheaume Point, Broome (image source: Tourism Western Australia)

Broome is also the perfect base for your clients to experience a Kimberley adventure, home to the bucket list of natural wonders.

Visitors can discover Australia’s only Horizontal Falls at Talbot Bay, have an authentic Aboriginal experience on the Dampier Peninsula, take an epic four-wheel-drive journey along the Gibb River Road, or explore the Bungle Bungle Range in World Heritage-listed Purnululu National Park.

Fly straight to the heart of the Kimberley

Travellers can also fly direct from Perth to Kununurra, which is known as the gateway to the East Kimberley.

From there, adventure-seekers can head off the beaten track and experience one of the last true wilderness areas on Earth, with wide-open landscapes, epic outback drives, stunning river cruises, breathtaking gorges and waterfalls, crystal-clear pools, and iconic station stays.

Your clients can make the 95-kilometre drive, or get a transfer from Kununurra by flight or four-wheel drive to El Questro Wilderness Park.

Set on one million acres, some areas of the park still remain unexplored, but visitors can see some of its greatest treasures in a day by joining local guides on a hike through Emma Gorge, enjoying a relaxing soak in the thermal pools at Zebedee Springs, and finishing with a sunset cruise to Chamberlain Gorge.

Zebedee Springs, El Questro Wilderness Park (image source: Tourism Western Australia)

Events all year round

A range of events take place in and around Broome throughout the year, including the city’s annual Shinju Matsuri (September).

Japanese for ‘festival of the pearl’, Shinju Matsuri is a vibrant celebration of the town’s unique multicultural and pearling history. The 10-day event is a whirlwind of colour, sound, taste and smell that showcases the region’s natural beauty and unique history.

The rest of the North West region also hosts a number of annual events, including Kununurra’s annual Argyle Diamonds Ord Valley Muster (May).

The event celebrates the culture and extraordinary natural landscapes of the East Kimberley region in WA’s North West.

Trip planning tips

If your clients are preparing to stay in Australia’s North West for a minimum of three to five nights, it’s definitely worth checking out Tourism WA’s suggested itineraries from Broome and Kununurra to help them plan an unforgettable domestic holiday.

When it comes to deciding travel dates, it’s important to keep in mind that the Kimberley region has two distinct seasons.

The dry or ‘peak’ season runs from April to October, where temperatures are generally warm and comfortable. The wet season extends from November to March, and is characterised by heavy and short downpours in the evening or late afternoon.

Bundy’s Cultural Tours, Dampier Peninsula (image source: Tourism Western Australia)

There are multiple ways for your clients to fly into WA’s North West region once they touch down in Perth, and fare prices are very decent right now, thanks to Virgin Australia’s ‘Wander Out Yonder’ sale.

The airline is currently flying Perth to Broome from $199 one way through to October 2021, and will be flying Perth to Kununurra from $249 one way from March to September (terms and conditions apply, of course).

And, there is certainly no shortage of accommodation for those staying in the North West of WA.

Visitors can take their pick from Cable Beach Club and Resort, Oaks Cable Beach Resort, Eco Beach Resort, The Pearle of Cable Beach, East Kimberley Freshwater Apartments, Kununurra Country Club, and Lake Argyle Resort, just to name a few.

For bookings, agents have the option of working with their preferred travel wholesaler or going direct with an operator.

Keen to learn more about Australia’s North West? Click here.

Featured image: Bungle Bungle Range, Purnululu National Park (source: Tourism Western Australia)

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