The Kimberley ... a remote and ruggedly spectacular adventureland, is one of Australia's great wilderness areas and an increasingly popular destination for outback adventure seekers. The region was named in 1880 after the Earl of Kimberley, the then British Secretary of State.
At 300,000 square kilometres, over three times the size of England, its ancient and complex geology presents a landscape of spectacular gorges, waterfalls and the intriguing beehive domes of the famous Bungle Bungles. The region's fascinating geology includes the Napier and Oscar Ranges both ancient marine reefs from the Devonian Period of 350,000,000 years ago and China Wall, a stark quartz intrusion along the Halls Creek Fault, one of the world's largest geological faults.
The region's flora, including eucalyptus, acacia, grevillea and pandanus species is typical of Australia's Tropical Savannahs but its outstanding flora are the Mitchell Plateau's vast stands of fan palms (Livistona eastonii) and the magnificent boab trees (Adansonia gregorii) which are unique to the region.
Fauna of the region is again typical of the north's Tropical Savannahs. Wildlife is not conspicuous in this landscape mainly due to its rugged form and the fact that most rest in the shade during the hot days. Nevertheless, the region is home to Freshwater and Saltwater (Estuarine) crocodiles, while mammals are most frequently represented by Agile Wallabies and Antilopine Wallaroos. Birds are abundant with the rare and endangered Purple-crowned Fairy-wren one of its prizes.
Indigenous culture and history is recorded in ancient and distinctive "Wanjina" rock art and mysterious Bradshaw art while conflicts during the region's early settlement are etched in stories about Jundamurra, the famous Aboriginal blacktracker, outlaw and liberator and Derby's 1000 years old Prison Boab Tree.
Early exploration included Dirk Hartog and the buccaneer William Dampier, French navigators St Allouarn and Baudin and the famous Phillip Parker King. On land the journals of Grey, Forrest and Augustus Charles Gregory record tales of unbelievable feats of endurance while Nat Buchanan (The King), MacDonald and Durack families earned the famous Australian titles of "The Overlanders".
The Kimberley's post contact history is centred on gold and cattle with agriculture, other mining (zinc and diamonds) and tourism adding to its contemporary economy. Along with an increasing tourism industry, the region boasts Argyle Diamond Mine, the world's largest diamond mine and the enormous man-made Lake Argyle which feeds the impressive Ord Irrigation Area near Kununurra.
The Kimberley ... spectacular and rich!
Our Kimberley Safaris: