Lost in Space: Australia's Kimberley

Outback and Forth: Navigating the Most Remote Region Down Under

Aug 9, 2001
Outside Magazine

Getting There
Qantas and Air New Zealand both fly to Sydney from Los Angeles (15 hours) for prices ranging from $1,100 to $3,700. The domestic carrier Ansett Australia (800-262-1234) will fly you to either Kununurra in the Kimberley's interior or the coastal pearling outpost of Broome. Round-trip cost for either destination is about $400; tickets must be purchased in the U.S.
Getting Around
"It's 'arsh out there," a woman in a roadhouse store told me while squinting out at the shimmering horizon and cracking another beer. "Farkin' 'arsh." She was right. Distances between attractions in the Kimberley are huge, water is scarce, and anyone who thinks he can just hike or mountain bike off into the wilderness should make out a will before leaving. Instead, rent a four-wheel drive in Kununurra or Broome; Down Under Answers offers Land Cruisers for about $109 a day, unlimited mileage (800-788-6685). If you'd prefer not to lead your own expedition into the Outback, Down Under also offers organized Darwin-to-Broome camping tours in a breakneck seven days for $636.

When To Go
Everything in the Kimberley depends upon the climate. From February until April, the wet season turns the desert into a glorious garden—but it also makes many roads into muddy sinkholes. Transportation during "the Wet" is best accomplished in light planes. Charter flights are easily arranged between almost all of the Kimberley's towns and attractions. For information, call the Broome Tourist Bureau (011-61-8-91-922-222).
The finest time to visit, however, may be in early May, when the land is still lush but the rains have tapered off. Days are warm and nights cool, making for perfect campfire weather. Beware of October and November, the height of "the Dry." Humid and scorching, that's when Outback characters go "troppo," or dotty, a 'arsh thing to see.

Filed To: Australia

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