Australia

Drop Everything, Here’s Where To Eat, Stay And Play In The Soul-Awakening Kimberley Region

By Rebecca Keating
24th Jul 2020

Boasting some of the world’s most awe-inspiring landscapes, and fewer people per-square-kilometre than almost any other place on Earth, the Kimberley will stir your soul and awaken your senses. 

Thundering waterfalls, spectacular gorges, pockets of lush rainforest and freshwater swimming holes—we promise this will be a trip you'll never forget. 

Visit in the dry season from March to October, and fly into Broome or Kununurra as your gateway to exploring this irresistible part of the world. With wilderness adventures around every corner, here’s everywhere you need to eat, stay and play in the magical Kimberley region.

Devour All The Best Places To Eat In The Kimberley 

The Zookeepers Store

Broome 

Kick start your Kimberley quest with a hit of caffeine at The Zookeepers Store. Whether you want to stop in for a cup of their small-batch roasted coffee or buy some house-made pastries, you’d be crazy not to visit this local favourite. 

Matso’s Broome Brewery 

Broome

Home to legendary and quirky beers, a visit to the Kimberley must include a stop at our favourite Broome-based brewery. Relax and sit back on the verandah for avocado on toast or work your way through the beer list as you take in the view over Roebuck Bay. If you’re there on a Wednesday or Friday, join Brewer Prav for a tour—tasting paddle included. When you’re done, grab a table for lunch and get stuck into Matso’s award-winning steak sanga.  

Hoochery Distillery

Kununurra

You’ll find Hoochery at the end of a scenic drive that winds its way through the Ord River Valley. Head to the cellar door to taste this family-run distillery’s spirits or book a tour to discover the secrets behind how they make their famous rum. The Ord River Rum Cake with lashings of cream and a good cuppa tea also deserves a spot on your must-try list. 

Editor's note: modifications to the kitchen are in place due to COVID-19 so we recommend calling in advance if you want to dine here.  

Kimbercrust Bakery 

Kununurra

No outback trip is complete without a good old county bakery and Kimbercrust is dishing out the goods. A local bakery with a twist, Kimbercrust specialises in house-baked sourdough and even has a range of mouth-watering pies wrapped in a flaky sourdough pastry case—drool. We also can’t go past the sourdough based banana bread or carrot cake. 

PumpHouse

Kununurra

Once the main pump station for Lake Kununurra, this historic landmark has been converted into a restaurant and bar showcasing fresh local flavours the Kimberley is renowned for. Ahead of a big day of adventures, fuel up with the blueberry waffles complete with house-made strawberry gelato. Heading there to catch the sunset? Tuck into crumbed scallops with pea hummus and a hearty chicken kiev to kick-start your evening.  

Jalangurru Mayi Cafe

Fitzroy Crossing 

If you’re setting up shop in Fitzroy Crossing, Jalangurru Mayi Cafe, meaning ‘Good Mood Food’, is a quirky little spot serving up all sorts of goodness. Those after something fresh should devour the nourish greens bowl, loaded with local produce, a poached egg and your choice of protein. Expect tasty salads, cold-pressed juices and more-ish desserts. 

Editor's note: the cafe has modifications in place due to COVID-19, so we suggest checking for updates before eyeing off the menu.

Parry Creek Farm

Wyndham 

Parry Creek Farm is a dreamy resort on the northern end of the Gibb River Road. While you can also shack up here for the night, it would be rude not to mention the delicious fuss-free fare you can also devour here. Homemade tapas, woodfired pizza nights, traditional fish and chips and decadent dessert boards make this a worthy stop on your road trip. 

Shack Up At The Best Places To Stay In The Kimberley 

Eco Beach Resort

Broome 

An hour south of Broome, Eco Beach Resort showcases the untouched beauty of the Kimberley with villas and eco-glamping tents overlooking the Indian Ocean. With a plethora of activities on your doorstep, you can jump on a kayak, scout out super cute turtles or try your hand at beach fishing. There’s an on-site spa (yes please!) and yoga studio, as well as a delicious restaurant serving up fresh home-grown fruit and veg and lip-smacking seafood.

Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm

Dampier Peninsula 

200 kilometres north of Broome on the tip of the Dampier Peninsula, you’ll find Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm. Stay in an authentic pearling shack, glamp in a safari-style tent or go low-key with a swag—your stay at this working pearl farm will be an enviable Kimberley Coast experience. From here, you can head out to iconic destinations like Cape Leveque and the Buccaneer Archipelago. If you’re lucky enough to be in Broome for Staircase to the Moon, there’s no better place to marvel at this natural wonder. 

Kooljaman

Cape Leveque

Owned by local Aboriginal communities, Kooljaman at Cape Leveque on the Dampier Peninsula is an off-the-grid wilderness camp located on Native Title land. The camp has been designed to capture the rugged character and natural beauty of the Bardi Jawi country, reflecting the Aboriginal values of caring for land and country. The camp’s accommodation options range from deluxe safari tents to private beach shelters, and its surrounding wildlife, natural wonders and unbelievable coastline make this a truly unique experience. 

Editor's note: Kooljaman is operating at reduced capacity due to COVID-19. Booking enquiries can be made through the website. 

Lombadina

Thomas Bay

This hidden gem gives visitors a seriously unique opportunity to experience the Bardi people’s local and traditional way of life. Lombadina has accommodation options to suit all budgets from deluxe apartments to camping. You can relax on white sandy beaches, get involved in an Aboriginal Ancient Footprints tour or head out on a fishing charter. If fresh, local food is your thing, try your luck at catching a mud crab before heading to the community’s local bakery. You’ll thank us later.  

Editor's note: Lombadina won’t be open in 2020 due to the impacts of COVID-19, but if you're planning ahead to next year keep this one on the radar. 

El Questro

Durack 

Sprawled across 700,000 acres and set in the heart of the Kimberley, El Questro is the crème de la crème of Kimberley accommodation. Take a short walk and jump into the natural oasis of Zebedee Springs or immerse yourself in the rugged landscape of Emma Gorge. You can sleep under the stars in a swag or opt for the more luxurious homestead—just make sure this place is at the top of your list. 

Editor’s note: while El Questro won’t be open in 2020 due to the impacts of COVID-19, if you plan to head here next year, you’ll need to make a booking, stat. 

Horizontal Falls Houseboat

Talbot Bay

Staying the night in a houseboat in Talbot Bay’s Horizontal Falls should take up a prime position on your Kimberley bucket list. Described by Sir David Attenborough as “one of the greatest natural wonders of the world,” the Horizontal Falls are an otherworldly phenomenon not to be missed. To get there, hop on a sea-plane from Broome or Derby where you’ll get a bird’s eye view of the thousands of islands that speckle the turquoise waters of the Buccaneer Archipelago. After settling into your floating home for the night, a freshly caught barbecue dinner and star-gazing the Milky Way will be the perfect end to your dream day.  

Bungle Bungle Savannah Lodge

Purnululu National Park 

Bungle Bungle Savannah Lodge is where you’ll want to kick off your boots after an epic day of exploring the ancient Purnululu National Park. After visiting the beehive-shaped domes of the Bungle Bungle Range and the natural amphitheatre Cathedral Gorge, relax by the pool or bush walk along the river bed to reminisce the day that’s been. 

Lake Argyle Resort & Caravan Park 

Lake Argyle

You’d be forgiven for thinking infinity pools are only found in inner-city hotels and Balinese resorts, but trust us, this is one you don’t want to miss. Whether you camp, pull up a caravan or treat yourself to a little luxury, the Lake Argyle Resort & Caravan Park’s 35-metre pool is worth the trip alone. As if this place wasn’t breathtaking enough, lounging in the pool or spa whilst taking in the next-level view over Lake Argyle will have you feeling like you’ve left the real world behind. 

Kimberley Coastal Camp 

Admiralty Gulf 

Kimberley Coastal Camp, 300 kilometres away from Kununurra, boasts true wilderness sure to rival any campsite. So remote, you have to get there by plane or chopper; this is the place to truly connect with nature. Lie back on a sun lounger and soak in the wilderness, go fishing for world-famous barramundi, discover ancient Aboriginal rock art or picnic on a secluded beach. Host Jules has a reputation for cooking Kimberley's best food and we bet you won’t be disappointed. 

Tick Off The Best Things To Do In The Kimberley 

Kick Back At Cable Beach

Broome 

It would be rude not to enjoy Cable Beach’s 22-kilometre stretch of white sand by laying back and soaking up the sun with a good book in hand. When you’re done, take in the picturesque backdrop of the sun setting over the Indian Ocean from atop your very own camel

Soak up Shinju Matsuri

Broome 

Shinju Matsuri, the Festival of the Pearl, celebrates Broome’s unique history and culture. The festival is back to celebrate its 50th anniversary from Saturday 29 August to Sunday 6 September and has a jam-packed program headlined by Masterchef Australia favourites Derek Lau and Brendan Pang, along with West Aussie local Anna Gare. There’s a sunset dinner, floating lantern matsuri, art awards and a drool-worthy Chinatown feast.

Take A Road Trip Along ‘The Gibb’

Gibb River Road 

The legendary Gibb River Road, or ‘the Gibb’ as locals call it, is an epic four-wheel drive track stretching 660 kilometres through the Kimberley. Adventure along the Gibb and explore the smaller roads on either side leading to natural treasures like freshwater swimming holes and ancient gorges. You’ll want a decent stretch of time to drive the Gibb so shack up at a campsite along the way or an outback cattle station for a true-blue Aussie experience. 

Marvel at Wolfe Creek Crater 

Wolfe Creek National Park 

While the name may make you shudder, a visit to the world’s second-biggest meteorite can’t be missed. Traditional Owners believe Wolfe Creek Crater was formed when a giant mythological snake raised its head from the ground at the time of creation, and when you see the crater, you’ll realise why. The best time to visit is from May to October and you can either drive from Halls Creek or splurge on an aerial flight to really appreciate the outback landscape. 

Explore The Bungle Bungle Range From Up-High 

Purnululu National Park 

With so much to see and such little time, a scenic flight over the Kimberley will let you take in the glorious landscapes and capture the photos of your dreams. A helicopter tour over World Heritage-listed Purnululu National Park is around $400 but we promise the birds-eye-view of the fascinating ancient Bungle Bungle Range is worth it.

Wind Your Way Through Windjana Gorge National Park

Wunaamin Miliwundi Ranges

Windjana Gorge National Park is one of the Kimberley’s most striking and culturally important national parks. Surrounded by the Lennard River, Windjana Gorge is over three-kilometres long with 300-metre-high walls giving you the perfect Insta backdrop. You can also sneak in a visit to Tunnel Creek, Western Australia’s oldest cave system. Stay overnight at the national park’s campground or head there from Derby or Fitzroy Crossing. 

Take A Dip At Bell Gorge

Wunaamin Miliwundi Ranges

Bell Gorge is one of the most famous gorges along the Gibb River Road and after a trek to the swimming hole—about one hour scaling a few large rocks—you’ll see why. A cascading waterfall, deep pool for swimming and perfectly flat rocks provide the idyllic place for a well-deserved picnic.  When you’re done, pitch a tent at Imintji and buy a piece of local art to take home.

Cruise An Inland Sea

Lake Argyle 

More than 18 times the size of Sydney Harbour, Lake Argyle is one of the largest man-made lakes in the southern hemisphere—making it a haven for water sports and wildlife enthusiasts. The best way to see the lake is by boat, and we recommend hopping on the Lake Argyle Cruise to witness this beauty transform from day to dusk. If you're feeling more energetic, try the bushwalking trails and discover the lake at your own pace. 

Absorb Ancient Culture

Mimbi Caves, Mueller Ranges 

Immersing yourself in Aboriginal culture will be one of the most exceptional experiences you’ll enjoy in the Kimberley. Home to the Gooniyandi people, Mimbi Caves is one of Australia’s most spectacular natural geographic sites. Your inspiring local guide will share knowledge of traditional bush tucker, bush medicine and native flora and fauna. After seeing the magnificent caves, sample traditional Billie Tea and damper around the campfire.

Try Your Hand At Fishing Or Horse Riding 

Digger’s Rest Station 

The Kimberley’s waterways are home to Australia’s most iconic and possibly tastiest fish, the mighty barramundi. Look no further than Digger’s Rest Station, famous for its fishing spots on the banks of the King River. Locals will tell you barra’s best served fresh off the barbecue and enjoyed under the stars so set up your swag and a fishing line and get ready to tuck into a well-earned meal. If off-river exploration is more you're thing, Digger's Rest Station is also known for the most incredible horse riding tours around the region. 

Editors note: Digger’s Rest Station will remain closed during 2020 and will reopen in 2021 due to the impacts of COVID-19. 

Stargaze The Milky Way

Various Locations 

The Kimberley’s unpolluted night skies are some of the best you’ll ever see. Wherever you stay, be sure to soak up the tranquillity of where you are when you look up to see the speckled Milky Way. If you’re curious to know more about these celestial wonders, check out Astro Tours run by Broome local Greg Quicke. 

Image credit: Australia's North West, Tourism Western Australia 

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