Luxury Escapes

Luxury Escapes Guide to the Kimberley

Striking red earth, orange sunsets, white-sand beaches and turquoise waters: the colours of the Kimberley will stay with you long after you leave.

This beautiful and truly unique corner of Australia covers more than 400,000sqm, with fewer people per square kilometre than almost any other place on earth.

Broome, the western gateway to the Kimberley and pearling capital of Australia, can be accessed via a direct flight from Perth year-round, and Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne seasonally. With a jaw-dropping coastline, including Cable Beach’s pristine white 22 kilometres of sand, this is the perfect place for a relaxing escape — and boasts the most incredible sunsets in the country. In the east, Kununurra sits on ancient lands and takes its name from the local Aboriginal word meaning 'big water'. Today, the waters and wetlands of Lake Kununurra and neighbouring Lake Argyle – one of the largest man-made lakes in the southern hemisphere – make it a mecca for water sports and wildlife enthusiasts.

When you're ready to explore, this region can be discovered by road, air or boat. Traverse sweeping landscapes to discover some of the country’s most extraordinary natural attractions including UNESCO World Heritage-listed Purnululu National Park with the remarkable beehive-shaped Bungle Bungle Range, the 700,000 acres of El Questro, and the unusual, intriguing tidal movements of Australia’s only Horizontal Falls.

We recommend you visit during the dry or peak season, which runs from April to October. During these months, temperatures are generally warm and comfortable. If you time it right you can catch the annual Shinju Matsuri festival in Broome, which pays homage to the culture and history of the region, while Kununurra hosts the area’s biggest music event of the year, the Ord Valley Muster.

The Kimberley is bursting with opportunities to explore Aboriginal history and culture. Visit spiritual sites and discover ancient rock art throughout the region — there are several Aboriginal-led tourism businesses providing authentic tours and experiences.

Please note that due to current restrictions some operators may be temporarily closed. Check their websites for the most up-to-date information

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Things to see and do

Wander through the beehive-shaped domes of the Bungle Bungle Range

You’ll spot the beehive-shaped domes of the Bungle Bungle Range long before you arrive — the orange and black sandstone formations rise 300 metres above the grass-covered plains of Purnululu National Park. From the Piccaninny Creek car park, you can take a 1km return trail through the red-and-black striped domes. Continue along this track and you’ll eventually reach the incredible Cathedral Gorge, a natural amphitheatre of red rock. As you wander, keep your eyes peeled for lizards, wallabies, native birds and Aboriginal rock art. Another highlight is the moderately challenging walk to the spectacularly long Echidna Chasm. Explore the national park by guided tour, 4WD or once-in-a-lifetime scenic flight.

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Road trip along the unforgettable Gibb River Road

There’s no better way to unearth the treasures of Australia’s outback than a self-drive tour of the iconic Gibb River Road. This unforgettable 4WD-only track stretches 660 kilometres from east to west through the middle of the Kimberley, leading to gorges, outback stations, freshwater holes and waterfalls. If you’re travelling from the west, we recommend stopping at Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek before continuing to Galvans Gorge, Adcock Gorge and then Lake Argyle, El Questro and the Bungle Bungle Range.

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Explore the striking coastline and gain insight into Aboriginal culture at Cape Leveque

Travel 200km north of Broome along the red-dirt road and you’ll eventually reach the remote Dampier Peninsula. The area is renowned for its Aboriginal culture and the Kooljaman wilderness camp, which is owned and run by the Aboriginal Bardi Jawi communities. The rugged and pristine coastline of this peninsula is striking — dramatic red-rock cliffs meet pure white sand and turquoise waters. Brian Lee’s Tagalong Tour at Kooljaman should be at the top of your Cape Leveque bucket list. Brian, one of the Kimberley’s most colourful characters and an Aboriginal elder, will take you on an adventure to remember through Hunters Creek. He’ll share stories about his country and people and teach you some of his traditional fishing methods, the results of which you’ll enjoy together over an open fire. Note: Your own 4WD is essential.

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Take a sunset camel ride along Broome’s Cable Beach

You’ve probably seen images of a sunset camel ride along Cable Beach’s 22km of white sand and we can confirm it’s a truly memorable experience. Reminiscent of a desert safari, this is one of the most iconic experiences in Broome and utterly unmissable. Countless providers offer rides throughout the day, but there’s something extra special about watching the sun go down. Sway your way alongside the ocean as the sky turns from bluey-purple to gold and fiery red, before finally settling beyond the sea. Breathtaking!

Hike within the incredible El Questro, exploring Emma Gorge

Spanning more than 700,000 acres, with everything from rugged sandstone ranges to thermal springs, gorges and waterfalls, El Questro is the perfect place for a true outdoor Australian adventure. If you want a reprieve from the heat, grab your hiking boots and head on a two-hour round trip to Emma Gorge. Relax by the waterhole, surrounded by cliffs and greenery and switch off to the rushing sounds of the a 65-metre waterfall.

Uncover the region’s cultural history at A Taste of Broome

This not-to-be-missed multi-arts cultural performance celebrates the unique Aboriginal multiculturalism within the community of Broome. The night brings together the performing arts mediums of contemporary dance, live music and film to create a dynamic and rich production that celebrates Broome's history and identity. Peruse arts and crafts, and a selection of food stalls before settling in to enjoy the show. This unique performance showcasing the incredible local talent runs a few times a year over the dry season.

Learn how pearls are made at Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm

Around 200 km north of Broome, on the tip of the Dampier Peninsula, is one of Australia’s leading working pearl farms — one that has been in the Brown family for four generations. Harvesting their first pearls from the clear waters of the Kimberley in 1960, the Browns helped pave the way for the pearling industry. In 2009 they opened their doors to the public and today you can join a land-based discovery tour of the working farm and learn more about how these precious gems are cultivated. If you’re looking for something special, purchase one directly from the waters in which they were discovered.

See the natural phenomenon ‘Staircase to the Moon’

On certain dates from March through to October, you can witness the awe-inspiring illusion known as the Staircase to the Moon in Broome. This natural phenomenon occurs when the full moon rises at extremely low tide over the exposed mudflats of Roebuck Bay, creating reflections that conjure the optical illusion of a staircase reaching up to the moon. The best place to view this is at The Mangrove Hotel with a cocktail or wine in hand. Get there early to ensure you have an unobstructed view. You can also view the staircase from Town Beach, where they host markets to celebrate the occasion.

Celebrate Miriwoong culture at Waringarri Aboriginal Arts

Located in the heart of Miriwoong country, this unique art centre is a celebration of Aboriginal culture and the first wholly Indigenous owned art centre in the Kimberley region. More than 100 artists are supported by the centre, which showcases paintings, prints, wood carvings, boab engravings, sculptures, textiles and more. Take a guided art and culture tour for an authentic insight into the incredible talent here, learning about the history of the centre, viewing artists at work and even tasting delicious homemade damper, also known as bush bread or seedcake.

Witness 350 million years of history at Mimbi Caves

An unforgettable adventure awaits in the Gooniyandi Country at Mimbi Caves, part of the 350 million-year-old Devonian Reef system. This unique network of caves was carved out of the ancient fossilised reef system over millions of years and was formerly inhabited by the local Aboriginal people – and tours here are still 100% Indigenous owned and operated today. Let a guide show you the brilliantly vivid colours and icy cold freshwater pools of Mimbi, home to some of the best-preserved fossilised reefs in the world. Your knowledgeable guide will share a wealth of information about how the caves were formed and can point out fascinating rock formations including stalagmites, flowstones and sparkling calcite crystals.

Top places to eat and drink

Matso’s Brewery, Broome

Australia's most remote brewery, Matso’s has made its mark on the country’s vibrant craft-beer scene since opening way back in 1997. Broome’s family owned brewery is best known for its Ginger Beer, Mango Beer and Chilli Beer, with the whole range found in stores across the country. There’s nothing better than a cold beer on a hot day (tap beers change with the season), and if you stop by the brewery on Friday, Saturday or Sunday afternoons you’ll catch live music in the courtyard. Cheers!

The Aarli, Broome

Ask the locals for a restaurant recommendation and chances are they’ll nominate The Aarli. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this bustling Asian-inspired restaurant promises irresistible food at all hours of the day. If you only have time for one meal, grab an outdoor table and make the most of a warm summer night. Start with grilled roti bread served with peanut sambal and cucumber before moving onto the Aarli fried chicken and duck spring rolls. For something a little larger, order the crispy pork hock jungle curry or twice-cooked beef short ribs. There's an extensive range of wine, beer and cocktails to complement whatever you choose to devour.

Whale Song Café, Dampier Peninsula

You’ll be pleasantly surprised when you discover this hidden gem. Whale Song Café is found on a small turn-off on the way to Cape Leveque (just 10 minutes from Middle Lagoon). It might not look like much, but this clifftop eco-friendly cafe is the perfect place to stop and refuel with a range of homemade cakes and drinks on offer, as well as a small lunch menu including gourmet pizza. Grab a bite to eat and sit under the shady trees for sweeping views of Pender Bay.

Sunset Bar and Grill, Broome

This popular beachside restaurant-and-bar, part of the stunning Cable Beach Club, offers a quintessential Broome experience — sunset drinks overlooking one of the most picturesque stretches of sand in the country. Choose a local Matso’s beer or opt for a cocktail and some nibbles; either way, you’ll enjoy your drink as you watch a parade of camels make their way along the expansive, white-sand beach for a spectacular sunset.

The Zookeepers Store, Broome

This is our pick when it comes to finding the best coffee in town. The Zookeepers Store, on the way to Cable Beach, promises small-batch Micrology Coffee with a side of gourmet produce and deli treats. Start your day with house-made pastry and latte to go (it’s only a short walk to the beach) or choose to dine inside the homey venue to enjoy a sumptuous breakfast. On select Thursday and Friday nights they offer set-menu, three-course dinner with a glass of wine. What more could you want?

Hoochery Distillery, Kununurra

This true Aussie distillery, built on the Dessert family farm just outside of Kununurra, was created entirely by hand. Founder and self-taught distiller, Spike, fell in love with the Kimberley and turned to Australian sugarcane, yeast and rainwater to create his award-winning small-batch rum. Stop by for a three-shot tasting to sample the Premium Ord River Rum and Spiced Mango Liqueur; from May to September, you can stay for lunch in their beer garden. If you’re heading to Kununurra, follow the Ord River Road, it’s the perfect pitstop on the way to Lake Argyle.

The PumpHouse Restaurant, Kununurra

Just outside of Kununurra town, on the edge of the Ord River, is The PumpHouse Restaurant. The building, constructed in 1961 as a pump station, has been converted into a modern Australian restaurant — with much of the original machinery still dotted throughout the space. Watch the sunset over the water with a bucket of tiger prawns and a glass of wine or stay for free-range Kimberley eye fillet with grilled asparagus, red wine shallots and beef jus. Champagne breakfast is available on weekends and Sunday afternoons come with a side of live music.

Lux moments

See dinosaur footprints

Pre-history buffs prepare yourselves: Broome is the only place in the world where you can see 120-million-year-old dinosaur footprints. The rare tidal movements of Roebuck Bay expose them at certain times in the day. While there are a few ways to reach the tidal flats, the best way to view them is via a sunset hovercraft tour. Glide along the tidal edge (with the dramatic red Pindan Cliff as your backdrop) before stopping on a secluded beach that was once an ancient forest floor. The experience comes complete with a glass of bubbles and nibbles to enjoy as the sun sets over the magical waters. Alternatively, view them on one of Bart Pigram’s Narjilia Cultural Tours, ticking off other Broome wonders along the way.

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View the Horizontal Falls by boat or by air

The Horizontal Falls, described by David Attenborough as “one of the greatest natural wonders of the world,” is only accessible via boat or air. Opt for a helicopter ride and you’ll experience an unforgettable aerial view of the fast-moving tides squeezing through the narrow gorges of the McLarty Range – creating what looks like a waterfall turned on its side. Adrenaline junkies should choose an exhilarating ride through the falls in the Kimberley's fastest boat, piloted by highly experienced skippers who skilfully navigate through the powerful tides and rapids. There are several operators to choose from, but Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures offers a variety of tours to suit all levels of adventure.

Marvel at the sunset on a Magic Cruise along Lake Argyle

Make the most of the Kimberley’s incredible sunsets with a Magic Cruise along Lake Argyle. Recognised as one of the largest freshwater lakes in the Southern Hemisphere, this stretch of water can hold up to 10.7 billion cubic litres of water at its peak (that's more than 18 times the size of Sydney Harbour!). Hop aboard a small boat and navigate through some of the islands and inlets — learning about the history of the Ord River Irrigation System and Lake Argyle with a drink in hand. Keep your eyes peeled for rock wallabies and freshwater crocodiles, as well as more than 240 different species of bird that call Lake Argyle home.

Tailor your escape to the Kimberley

Immerse yourself in the Kimberley with Luxury Escapes’ hand-picked Experiences. We’ve curated a selection of cultural activities, adrenaline thrills, food adventures and luxury add-ons to help you discover your destination. These Experiences are bookable when you purchase your next escape. Simply select your travel dates and number of travellers for any package, and opt to tailor your escape by selecting the available Experiences.