I haven't used this company. I am a bit puzzled regarding a company organising self drive tours of Kimberleys. I understand 'tag along tours' and the reasons why people do these. With a little bit of research and a good map you can plan this trip yourself. If you have made it onto Tripadvisor you have the skills to research this kind of trip!! Most of the camping in Kimberley you can't book for so there is no advantage going through a company.
We used Bluey Travel to do the Kimberley in July 2010 and would recommend them highly.
I started down the road of trying to book it all myself but soon found that most of the tented campsites belonged to AAT from memory, and so I couldn't book anything at all. AAT? were waiting to see what their numbers were and said they would release any vacant tents very late in the season, but I needed to have things locked in before we booked our from canberra in school hols.
after a web search I can upon Bluey who were able to book as much as I needed, or not as the case may be.
I booked our Broome apartment , plus a horizontal falls overnight cruise (which was fantastic) by myself over the web, but Pat at Bluey booked our tented cabins on the actual Gibb River Road, plus one of the only self catering apartment in Fitzroy Crossing. Pat had access to tents in the AAP? sites and was able to reserve them 3 months out.
We also stayed in a 2 bed apartment in Kunnanara which was great and her advice to stay outside El Questro at Emmas Gorge with our boys in an ensuite tent was very timely, as we had a lot of rain on our trip ( first wet July in 22 years) and therefore our 4WD couldn't get into most of El Questro.
Emmas Gorge was great, and after 10 days on the GRR we had already seen some great gorges and been on some fantastic walks.
Mornington was the best places we stayed, in great safari tents, and we wished we could have stayed there longer as the place is huge, and we spent the whole day at Diamond Gorge without seeing anyone else.
Remember though that the distances you travel are huge. We did 5,000 kms in 3 weeks, and by the end of week 1, when my 12 year old asked how we we were goning today, he dind't even blink at 6 hours of driving...easy peasy he would say!
It was a great trip and Pat was a wealth of knowledge, and able to change our bookings around as I discovered bits and pieces we wanted to do, closer to the date.
Make sure you have a good 4WD and have 2 spares and watch and wait if you have never driven in the top end/Kimberly before. Its best to watch others do river crossing first if you don't know much about the river and gage depths etc....we watched many cars cross the Pentacost river, and discovered a sink hole right in the middle of the crossing. thankfully we managed to avoid it, but many didn't.
so goodluck, enjoy the trip and be assured that Bluey Travel aka Pat was really great for us....her knowledge was VIP to us getting to see what we wnated and to stay where we wanted.
enjoy! and don't miss the streets icecream seller just before the big bridge after you start on the GRR after Derby turnoff....great stories, photos and views of the gorge below with crocs galore!
Keep a watch on the time though!! we didn't and then arrived in camp after dark.
I booked a trip with Bluey Travel recently, and would highly recommend their services. We were a group of four, and Pat at Bluey fixed us up with a car, itinerary ideas, hotels, and day tours. We visited Litchfield and Kakadu.
Sure, we could have fixed it all ourselves, but we worked out that the cost of putting together all the elements at their separate published prices would have been considerably more than the price we paid Bluey. That said, it wasn't cheap! but we enjoyed the whole thing very much. The other benefit of having an expert do the planning is that they knew what it made sense to try to include, and how to spread the activities over the available time. And it saved me from having to do detailed research and planning at a distance.
All in all, we thought that buying a package arranged this way helped us to make the most of our time, and get the most out of an expensive holiday. I'm not affiliated to Bluey :) just a satisfied customer.
We pretty much explained the sort of holiday we wanted with the timeframe and let Pat do the rest organising everything from accommodation to day trips/cruises and 4wd rental.
The package included a very comprehensive and detailed booklet including lots of info, maps and places to see/visit at our own leisure as well as a number of professional tours/cruises/activities.
We would have to highly recommend Bluey as everything went smoothly, we did not have one hiccup, times allocated between destinations and activities were all well thought out giving us plenty of time to explore at our own place.
Fair enough you may think why book a self drive tour when with a your own research you could organise yourself, but we thought given its such a huge area with so many attractions and only a limited timeframe it was best to have an itinerary to work to by someone who knows the area well we could just relax and enjoy the experience making the most of our time up North.Edited: 8:23 pm, September 17, 2012
1) they have arrangements with the rental car provider to eliminate one-way fees, as they try to arrange an equal number of tours in each direction
2) if there are many accomodation stops it certainly does save time to use an agent
But I agree that there's nothing "special" about this - it's something any travel agent could do, they just are local and familiar with the area so it's easy for them.
Why is this thread still running. The original post was March 2011.
Yes, recently (July 2013) used Bluey Travel for a self drive trip Darwin, Kakadu, Katherine, Lichfield - they were brilliant. They suggested an itinerary and then adapted it to accommodate our preferences at no extra cost - unusual for tour companies. Even one of our day trip guides said how good they were to deal with. I would recommend them without hesitancy.
Interesting that all the people reply all have made just one post or thereabouts.....
I have just returned from a trip that I planned and used Bluey Travel to book for me, When planning my trip Pat was great and helped me get the best from my short amount of time. Some of the hotels recommended by Pat I would have never booked but where just excellent. Pat has a lot of knowledge of these places and won't book you in to hotel that is rubbish.
I planned this trip from Europe and could well have done it all my self, But used Bluey travel just to make lfe easy.
I would for sure use them again, In fact next year I plan to go back so for sure will be in contact with Pat.
@hamriver, I have more than 1 post now! I will comment that while our trip with Bluey (July 2013) was overall quite nice, I didn't like the choice of the El Dorado Inn in Tennant Creek, which is now at the bottom of TripAdvisor rankings for T.C. I think the hotel might have recently gone significantly down hill due to questionable decisions by new management - for example in front they had recently cut down a whole row of very large trees that would have provided nice shade previously. Now the carpark was hot and dusty. I provided this feedback to Bluey which Pat was appreciative of, so maybe she'll change that one.