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Kimberley Region - Western Australia

By Sue Webber (1998)


Purpose

This fact sheet is intended as an introductory guide to bicycle touring in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, specifically a tour from Kununurra to Broome via the Great Northern Highway. The Kimberley is an established motor vehicle destination, and general tourist and promotional information is readily available from mainstream sources elsewhere. This fact sheet assumes the reader has, or will have, access to those sources. 

Resources

There is no bicycle-specific map of the Kimberley

The Kimberleys in North West Australia, Hema road map 1:1 250 000. Available from bookshops and newsagents or Hema Maps, PO Box 724 Springwood Qld 4127 (tel 07 290 0322). Useful single page map of east and west Kimberley. Make sure that you get an up to date edition as there have been road changes since early editions.

StreetSmart Touring Maps, East and West Kimberley, 1991. 1: 800 000 Two maps produced by the Cartographic Services branch, Department of Land Administration, Perth WA. Gives topographic indications and good town street maps.

Australian Geographic map of The Kimberley, available from Australian Geographic, PO Box 321, Terry Hills, NSW 2084 (tel 02 9450 2300) and free with the Australian Geographic Book of the Kimberley from bookshops and some newsagents.

North-West Bound - from Shark Bay to Wyndham, 124 page colour book published by the Department of Conservation and Land Management, 50 Hayman Road, Como, Western Australia, 6152 (tel 09 334 0333). Excellent introduction to the Kimberley National Parks. CALM also has leaflets on the parks and publishes a series of Bush Books - pocket field guides to common birds, plants, mammals, whales and dolphins, and hazardous animals of the region.

Kimberley at the Crossroads, eight page supplement published by Australian Conservation Foundation, 340 Gore Street, Fitzroy, VIC 3065 (tel 03 9416 1166).

Kimberley Tourism Association, PO Box 554, Broome, WA 6725 (tel 08 91 936 660) for brochures on places to stay and tours.

Kimberley Road Conditions "freecall" : 1800 013 314

 

 Environment

The Wet and Dry are the two white seasons. Aboriginal people have twelve seasons according to what bush food is available. Many roads are impassable in the wet summer so the best time to go is winter. July and August are the preferred cycle touring months although temperatures may reach the 30s during the day.

 During the dry (winter) many rivers and creeks dry up. You must be able to carry enough water to be self-sufficient for two days (at least nine litres per person) and be able to purify any bush water you use - boiling, filtering or puritabs. You must also be self sufficient in food and able to carry about seven days food with you for more remote sections.

 Getting there

by bike                  Along the Victoria Highway from Darwin or Great Northern Highway                   from Perth, you'll need to check other information for these rides.

by bus          From Darwin or Perth if the bus driver is willing to take your bike.

by plane       Ansett flies from Darwin to Kununurra daily, Qantas and Ansett to                       Broome. You may be charged $10 for a bike box (unless you bring                your own) plus a $10 fee for the flight, check with the airline first. 

Roads

The Great Northern Highway is sealed all the way from Kununurra to Broome with a good shoulder from Kununurra to Fitzroy Crossing. Road trains will give you plenty of room if they can but watch out for cars pulling caravans as some drivers seem to forget that their caravan is wider than their car.

The 60km dirt track into Purnululu (Bungle Bungle) National Park is good mountain bike riding but some tracks within the park are very sandy - especially the one into Cathedral and Piccaninny Gorge.

The dirt road up to Tunnel Creek and Windjana National Parks is well used and corrugated in places. The eastern end of the Gibb River road leading to Derby is very corrugated and sandy in places and has fast 4WDs travelling along it. 

Camping

Away from the towns discrete bush camping is allowed. However, if you want to camp on a pastoral property or Aboriginal land you should ask permission first. Camps with water are nearly always crowded with caravans so be prepared for tvs, radios and generators and dirty water due to the habits of the cattle and caravaners.

Good camping at Kingston Rest, about 71km south of Kununurra on the Great Northern Highway. This camping area is away from the highway by a cool lagoon and has bush showers and toilets, fee payable.

Good camping in Purnululu National Park with drinking water and toilets, fee.

Good camping, Windjana National Park with drinking water, toilets and showers, fee.

All towns have campsites. Old Halls Creek has a peaceful camping area with a cafe.

Darlgunaya Backpackers at Fitzroy Crossing provides a welcome break from camping and bush cooking. (tel 08 9191 5140 or 08 9191 5323).

 Services

Kununurra

Bike shop, camping grounds, bars, shops including supermarket, post office, service station. http://www.anypoint.net/attract/apa010/010695.htm

Warmun (Turkey Creek)

Roadhouse, camping ground, showers, petrol general store but mainly tinned and frozen food, will accept parcels if you ask them in advance (tel 08 9168 7882). Turkey Creek Roadhouse, PO Box 1096 Kununurra.

Purnululu NP

Visitors Centre has cold drinks, if you can catch them open.

Halls Creek 

Camping ground, bar, shops including supermarket and great bakery, post office, service station.

Fitzroy Crossing   

Camping ground, backpackers, bar, shops including a good supermarket, post office, service station.

Windjana NP         

Camping ground.

Derby

Camping ground, motels, bars, wide range of shops, post office, service station. http://www.walkabout.fairfax.com.au/locations/WADerby.shtml

Broome

Camping grounds. motels, hotels, bars, cafes, restaurants, many shops, supermarkets, post office, service stations.


Miscellaneous

Kimberely Development Commission               http://www.kdc.wa.gov.au/index.html

Rod Lawlor's bike trip http://www.users.bigpond.com/RandyMiller/kimberly.htm

The Tanami Track for 4 X 4's                                     http://www.travelaustralia.com.au/nt/centre/centre_7.html

Tanami Track ( German bikers ) http://www.tilmann.com/8/index.htm

Travelogues

http://dove.net.au/~radkeo/broome/broome.html 

http://www.walkabout.fairfax.com.au/regions/KimberleysandBroome.shtml

http://www.walkabout.fairfax.com.au/locations/WAKununurra.shtml

 


 This fact sheet was produced by grassroots cyclists. No responsibility for errors or omissions can be accepted. It is intended for free or low cost distribution on paper or on the www, and you are free to copy it on that basis. Suggestions for improvement are most welcome!

Other Bicycle Camping Fact Sheets in this series include

Central Australia | SA Kangaroo Island | SA Flinders Ranges | North Queensland

| WA Kimberley | Stuart Highway | NSW Central West | NSW Sydney to Canberra

26 December 1997