We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Traveling the Kimberly and Northern Territory

Which Broome hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
SOUTH FLORIDA
Level Contributor
102 posts
20 reviews
Save Topic
Traveling the Kimberly and Northern Territory

Trying to coordinate our trip for next year to Broome, the Kimberley, and up to Darwin. It's been difficult to say the least, trying to find one way rentals for 4WD vehicles and trying to figure out the logistics. We would like to start in Broome and after spending a few days, travel the Gibb River Rd across to Kununurra. Thought we could do our first lodging at the Bell Gorge Wildnerness Camps. From there, we could do day trips to Bell Gorge, Windjana Gorge, and maybe, Tunnel Creek. That's where I get stuck as far as the next accommodations. Would it be too far to travel in one day from the Camp to El Questro? Has anyone driven the full length of the Gibb River Rd?? If so, suggestions for accommodations would be welcome. I like a "little" comfort, ie: ensuite bathroom like what's advertised at Bell Gorge Wildnerness Camp. Our camping under the moon days have passed. Also, if anyone has rented a vehicle (4WD SUV) from Broome to Darwin or even Broome to Kununurra (we could fly onto Darwin from here) please advise which company you booked with. I know this area is the "road less traveled" compared to other parts of Australia, but hoping someone will have some personal knowledge to share.

Thanks

Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
3,213 posts
239 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Traveling the Kimberly and Northern Territory

Hi Bev

I hope the DE forum people kick in to answer your questions in more detail soon. Please bear in mind that there are issues of sheer distance here in sparsely populated areas given distance., which might help explain the issues in getting firm information.

Broome has a population of about 15,000 people (thats right, only 15,000!) and accordingly even tho it accommodates about triple that number over the peak tourism season, its still a small regional township with all the associated issues of a town with a large seasonal population.. We travel there almost every year from the State capital city Perth which is 2,500 kilometres or 3 days drive away (2.5 hrs by jet.)this website might help for distances and other aspects of the Gibb River Rd:

gibbriverroad.net/gibb-river-road-distances.…

So now that you perhaps have the difficulties you are experiencing in perspective, how can we help you?

Eaton, Australia
Destination Expert
for Broome, Bunbury
Level Contributor
21,028 posts
71 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Traveling the Kimberly and Northern Territory

Hello Bev. Unfortnately, despite living in the area for almost 11 years, we have not done the trip you are planning. We have done bits and pieces and only ever driven part of the Gibb. I do know of a DE on the Darwin forum, who has done a lot of travelling in the area, and I will make contact with him and see if he can be of help to you. Regards.

Broome, Austra
Level Contributor
48 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: Traveling the Kimberly and Northern Territory

Hi Bev

Congratulations on choosing the beautiful Kimberley region as your holiday destination.

There is a lot to consider when undertaking a trip in this area as the distances between places is usually a lot bigger than most people are used to, and as it is off road, some 4WDing experience goes a long way.

In regards to hire vehicles, Thrifty does one way hires from Broome to Darwin. You would need to let them know that you are planning to travel the Gibb River Road so they can rent you a suitable 4WD.

How long are you planning to spend travelling the GRR? It is a very long distance between Bell Gorge and El Questro, with a lot of beautiful places to visit in between so my suggestion would be to break it up. The roads are quite rough and corrugated too so this adds travel time. The suggested minimum time to spend to travel the GRR is 1 week. If you wanted to travel up to Mitchell Plateau, you would need to add a few extra days

APT has Wilderness Lodges at Bell Gorge, Mitchell Falls, Drysdale River Station and Emma Gorge. There are also a lot of station stays along the Gibb River Road who provide many levels of accommodation as well. So you would have no problems finding suitable places to stay with a comfortable bed and ensuite!

Also what time of year were you considering coming? If it is in the busy periods (June, July & Aug) we recommend to book in advance.

Anyway please let me know if you have any other questions, we are more than happy to help.

Broome VC

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Business Travel, New South Wales
Level Contributor
30,038 posts
1,381 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Traveling the Kimberly and Northern Territory

Hi,

For info on Kununurra have a read through the link below.

tripadvisor.com/GoListDetail-i18526-Kununurr…

I have only done parts of the Gibb River Road - not all - we always hire a 4WD & use Thrifty in NT & Nth WA.

Darwin, Australia
Destination Expert
for Darwin, Kakadu National Park
Level Contributor
2,762 posts
188 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Traveling the Kimberly and Northern Territory

Hi Bev

Firstly if you are wanting to hire a 4WD camper then Britz is a good company and also Kea. They both have offices in Darwin and Broome and offer a wide range of vehicles set up for camping. There are cheaper companies but their support may be limited. There are also other suitable companies around.

Check their web sites as they give a lot of details about their offerings, specials, and ideas. Also see them as to what restrictions they may have on where their vehicles are allowed, it used to be only on gazetted roads so the Gibb River Road is ok.

The vehicles are self contained so you can bush camp for a night. The sleeping arrangements can be close and cuddly but you are in the vehicle and off the ground so not all creepy crawlies can attack you..

Check this web site before you go as it gives the current road report for the region. …wa.gov.au/NR/…

This website gives you a lot of information about the road, accommodation, what to see etc. http://www.gibbriverroad.net/index.html

The road conditions vary depending on when the grader last went through and how many vehicles are using it. While 4WD is recommended 2WD cars sensibly driven have also done the trip hassle free (but no rental company will let you take their 2wd over it). Four wheel drives often come to grief because they are driving too fast for the conditions, are not aware of how to read the road surface and miss all the loose gravel at a corner or do not check a rocky creek crossing before driving through it.

To have your first night stop at the Bells Gorge is too far to travel from Broome and still enjoy the trip. Why not camp overnight at Tunnel Creek and it will save you a lot of doubling over your tracks. Spend a few days then at Bell Gorge visiting the nearby sites then camp at Ellenbrae's or Durack River with your next major camp at El Questro. You may want to change your plans when you arrive at a site and to spend longer in a place than originally planned so be flexible.

Depending on how you find the weather, the scenery will influence how long you will spend here but a week would allow you to have a good holiday, 3 days means it is very rushed and you are too tired to enjoy it.

Also as mentioned above th time of year is important, the road can be closed any time from November to May depending on the weather and once the monsoon comes it remains closed. Then the weather is very hot and humid

Edited: 3:24 am, August 12, 2011
Eaton, Australia
Destination Expert
for Broome, Bunbury
Level Contributor
21,028 posts
71 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Traveling the Kimberly and Northern Territory

Thanks Bob, that's one more black rice pudding for you......

Darwin, Australia
Level Contributor
131 posts
1 review
Save Reply
7. Re: Traveling the Kimberly and Northern Territory

I'm a Kimberley tour guide and happy to help you with your itinerary but need a bit more info first- how many days do you have to travel the Gibb River Road and do you plan to go to the Bungle Bungles and Mitchell Falls also ? What time of year do you plan to travel ? What is your 4WD driving experience ?

In regards to a vehicle- do not even consider a 2WD. If a 4WD driven by an experienced 4WD'er who drives the road regularly, can be damaged due to the corrugations and road damage, then you would be asking for trouble if you take a 2WD. Sometimes it's down to bad driving and speed, sometimes it's down to the terrible condition of the road.

I would recommend, as the Broome Visitor Centre have said, a week travelling the Gibb. Accommodation en-route ranges from station stays at Mt Hart and Mt Elizabeth to the permanent camps offered by APT. All these places also offers meals so all you have to provide is your lunch and snacks.

You also don't want to be driving in the dark as the road condition can be very rough in places and at night, there is a risk of cattle on the road. So please allow plenty of time to get to places, without rushing.

Am happy to help with an itinerary if you can give me the info requested above.

sydney
Level Contributor
6 posts
51 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Traveling the Kimberly and Northern Territory

Hi we have just returned from a 5 week trip Broome to Darwin in a hired 4WD from Thrifty Hire - Allow yourselves 5 weeks to do it comfortablely and to enable you to see heaps.....it is a once in a lifetime trip so make the most of it.....We planned it ourselves and we went with our friends from USA.

5 nights in Broome, then 2 nights in Derby (as one day for the Horizontal Falls trip) 1 night in Fitzroy Crossing Inn (and visited the Geikie Gorge on the way) The next day is a big one (unless you can camp) we didn't and travelled to Bell Gorge - via Tunnel Creek and Windjana Gorge - 2 nights at Bell Gorge Wilderness Tents (quite expensive and not at Bell Gorge but 9kl past the Bell Gorge Turnoff at Imintji Community area....) very good.

Along the Gibb River Road to Mt. Elizabeth Homestead -2 nights excellent - Pat is a wonderful Hostess and the family has a great history.....

Then onto Drysdale Homestead for 2 nights (which is not a real homestead anymore) and is run by APT my second option here would be Ellenbrae unless you wanted to go up to Mitchell Falls (the road is awfull and hired cars are not allowed) another option is a flight over the falls or asking for Drysdale if they can take you up ?? they were talking about organised 4wd trips in future... then onto El Questro via Cockburn ranges where we stayed at Emma Gorge - 2 nghts (great) and then did day trip into El Questro for hot springs etc.....Then to Kununurra via 5 Rivers view at Wyndham - staying at Mirima National Park (Hidden Valley Cabins) for 1 night but could be 2 if time) which are next to the mini bungle bungle. Then we drove down to the Bungle Bungle (but you may choose to go on a tour for 1 day flying or 2 days bus etc. ) Staying at the apt Safari tents (great) and seeing the wonderful Bungle beehive features - we also took a helicopter trip over them for 20 min......Then back to Kununurra for an extra 2 nights.

NORTHERN TERR> Another long drive is from Kununurra to Katherine

but leave early and do a few stops. We stayed in Nitmiluk National Park Cabins right at Katherine Gorge. 2 nights and then onto KAKADU 3 nights is best (maybe at 2 different places) as it is the largest National Park in Aus.

So many great things to see and do. Then onto Litchfield Nat. Park. 1 or 2 nights and then DARWIN for 4 or 5 nights. Where we stayed in the Cullen Bay Apartments (beautiful place to end the trip. ) Hope this helps you and I am only to willing to help more if you wish a&ptumbi

SOUTH FLORIDA
Level Contributor
102 posts
20 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Traveling the Kimberly and Northern Territory

Hi Dragonsback:

What a great trip. Just the one I've been trying to coordinate but a little shorter than yours. We've been to Darwin and Kakadu so we can reduce the days and probably a few less in Broome than yours. Glad to see that Thrifty allowed the one way rental on their SUV's. Can I ask about how many additional km you put on the vehicle above what was inclusive of the rental cost? Also, I haven't decided when to do this trip and we've been considering August, 2012. How was the weather? Also, I know that accommodations aren't plentiful so how far in advance did you do your bookings?? Any and all information would be much appreciated.

Eaton, Australia
Destination Expert
for Broome, Bunbury
Level Contributor
21,028 posts
71 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Traveling the Kimberly and Northern Territory

I can answer the weather question....August is a lovely time to be in Broome and the Kimberley.

http://www.broome.wa.gov.au/weather.htm