Australia s North West

Australia’s North West The Kimberley and Pilbara, Western Australia Your 2012 guide to extraordinary holiday experiences
Author: Shanna Griffin
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Australia’s North West The Kimberley and Pilbara, Western Australia

Your 2012 guide to extraordinary holiday experiences

Kimberley • Pilbara Your adventure starts here ... Kununurra Accommodation Hot Deals




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120 120 122 129 143 165 175 176 249



















per person, flying from* Perth Syd Melb Bris

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Self-Drive Packages Bungle Bungles, Gibb River Road, Gorges Packages Include: vehicle hire (unlim kms & comprehensive insurance), accommodation, DISCOVER WEST Explorer Kit & Bonus per Voucher Book. Tailor as you like, add extra days. Choice of cars. person “Faraway Downs” Discovery 3 Day 4WD Self-Drive Package Hit the fabled Gibb River Road and stay at the actual working 512 station used to film “Australia’” the movie and the fictional *


“Faraway Downs”. Live the true romance of the Kimberley. Kimberley Gorges 4 Day 4WD Self-Drive Package Engage the 4WD for the Gibb River Road; Lennard River Gorge, Bell Gorge, Isdell Gorge and Imintji, Adcock Gorge, Galvan’s Gorge, Manning River, Windjana Gorge, Tunnel Creek and Geikie Gorge. Includes 4 meals.




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Tours 4WD Safari Tour




Geikie Gorge & Cruise 4WD Safari Day Tour $ 249* Luxury 4WD adventure into the heart of the Kimberley. Bungle Bungles Scenic Air Tour $ Magical 2 hour scenic flight to take in the awe of the Bungle 275* Bungles, Ord River, Lake Argyle, Argyle Diamond Mine + more. Kimberley Gorges Escape 2 Day Safari Adventure Experience Kimberley gorge country, Geikie Gorge, Fitzroy Crossing, $495* Tunnel Creek, Windjana Gorge, Boab prison tree & Derby.

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Derby, Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek, Geike Gorge, Kununurra, Lake Argyle, Katherine and Darwin. Includes some meals. Bungles, Gorges & “Faraway Downs” 9 Day 4WD * Live the romance of “Australia” the movie by visiting the actual film locations and stay at a real working station like “Faraway Downs” - the grand Kimberley self-drive adventure. Includes some meals, large luxury 4WD & amazing accommodation. Bungles & Gorges Perth to Broome (via Coast & Karijini) 9 Day 4WD 9 Day Large 4WD Kalbarri, Shark Bay/Monkey Mia, Coral Bay, North West Cape, Karratha, Tom Price, Karijini National Park, Port Hedland, Broome. Perth to Broome (via Coast) 8 Day Self-Drive Package West Coast & Pilbara Explorer 10 Day 4WD Self-Drive Discover the awesome beauty of Australia’s Indian Ocean west $ Kalbarri, Shark Bay/ Monkey Mia, Ningaloo Reef, Cape Range, * 1387 coast, the Pilbara & Kimberley. Kalbarri, Shark Bay/Monkey Mia, Exmouth, Tom Price, Pilbara, Karijini National Park, Tom Price, Coral Bay, North West Cape, Karratha, Port Headland, Broome. Newman, Cue + seasonal wildflowers.



per person, flying from Perth*

*Starting cost, 2 share, low season, seasonal surcharges may apply. Airfare conditions apply, checked baggage extra cost. Accomm min nights may apply. #Some bonuses have specific validity & conditions. See for details, inclusions & exclusions. Subject to change without notice. Conditions apply. Tour & Package costs per person, 2 share. 9TA905.


Kimberley Gorges 4 Day Large 4WD

Broome - Darwin (via Gibb River Road) 7 Day 4WD 967 Explore the spectacular beauty of the Kimberley, including




Cape Leveque Experience 3 Day 4WD Safari Tour $ Dampier Peninsula, Buccaneer Archipelago, Cygnet Bay Pearl 695* Farm, One Arm Point, Beagle Bay & Lombadina Community. Broome, Gorges & Bungle Bungles 5 Day Safari Tour $ Purnululu National Park, Fitzroy Crossing, Bungles, Windjana 1295* Gorge, Geikie Gorge, Gibb River Road + more Kimberley icons. Perth-Broome Discovery 10 Day Luxury Coach Tour * $ Discover the spectacular west coast, Pilbara & Broome in luxury. 3125 Luxury Coach Broome to Darwin 10 Day Luxury Coach Indulgent touring through the heart of the Kimberley and top $ * end, comfortable modern coach and superior hotels. Includes 9 3495 nights accommodation, 17 meals, luxury coach touring. Kimberley Explorer Safari 14 Day Safari Adventure Complete Kimberley experience, discover Gibb River Road, $ 3495* Windjana Gorge, Tunnel Creek, Kimberley Gorges, Bungle Bungles, Bells Falls, Manning Falls, Drysdale Station + more. Kimberley Coast Cruise 11 Day Luxury Wilderness Cruise 5 star cruise including 10 nights luxury live aboard, 1 night luxury * $ hotel, flight to Bungle Bungles, all meals, transfers, Zodiac excursions, 9100 entertainment, educational programmes & 24 hour room service.

Get an extra package discount. Add extra nights, choose travel dates.


Kununurra Flights + 2 Nights





Ask for your FREE 130 page West Australia Holiday Book 2081







Incorporating Incorporating



Accommodation Day Tours Coach Tours Safari Tours Self-Drive Packages

Call 1300 790 270

[email protected]

In the north west of Western Australia lies... a place like no other on earth.

Cover Main Image: Cable Beach - Broome Left to Right: Purnululu National Park - Bungle Bungle Range, Gibb River Road - Kimberley, Python Pool Millstream-Chichester National Park - Pilbara


The Pilbara

Welcome to Australia’s North West! 2 Getting There 3 Travel Tips 6 Festivals & Events 2012 10 Climate 12 Indigenous Cultural Experiences 13 Drive Adventures 14 Aquatic Adventures 16 Scenic Flights 18

Welcome to The Pilbara Pilbara National Parks Pilbara Itinerary Ideas Onslow & the Mackerel Islands Point Samson Peninsula Central Pilbara Coast Inland Pilbara Port Hedland

Broome sunset

The Kimberley 25 26 28 30 32 34 38 40

Pilbara night sky

Welcome to The Kimberley 43 Kimberley National Parks 44 Kimberley Itinerary Ideas 46 Broome 48 Gibb River & Kalumburu Roads 65 Gibb River Road 15 Day Self Drive Itinerary 66 ‘Ardi’ – Dampier Peninsula 68 Derby & the Buccaneer Archipelago 70 Fitzroy Crossing 72 Halls Creek 74 Kununurra 76 Wyndham 84

The iconic Boab tree

PAGE 2 |

Welcome to Australia’s North West!

With almost one million square kilometres of stunning landscapes, incredible coastlines and bustling outback towns, the Pilbara and Kimberley will provide you with an extraordinary Australian experience. With such an expansive area comes an extensive variety of natural attractions; rugged ranges, thundering waterfalls, pristine beaches and unique wildlife. While the North West has a reputation for its remote beauty and adventure tourism, there are many cultural highlights. These include a variety of local festivals, art galleries, museums and heritage trails which reveal insights into indigenous stories and celebrate the enduring spirit of early pioneering families. This Holiday Planner is a comprehensive guide to the region, combining travel essentials, suggested itineraries and highlights of the Pilbara and Kimberley. In addition you will find a range of accommodation options, attractions and professional tour operators to assist you in preparation for your holiday of a lifetime. Whether you are seeking a luxury adventure cruise, an outback four wheel drive safari, a romantic getaway or a family holiday, the North West promises you a memorable and extraordinary experience.

Hon Chris Ellison

Chairman, Australia’s North West Tourism

Australia’s North West |

Pilbara & Kimberley | PAGE 3

Roebuck Bay from the air

Manning Gorge

Millstream crossing

Getting There By Air

Flig hts from Perth

The North West is well serviced by a number of carriers, with Parabadoo, Newman, Karratha, Port Hedland, Broome, Derby and Kununurra all receiving jet flights from a number of carriers out of Perth – including Qantas, Virgin, Skywest, Airnorth and Air Australia. Full flight schedules, and the destinations to which they fly, can be found on the websites of each of the individual carriers.

Interstate Flig hts

Qantas operates seasonal direct flights to Broome from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, with daily connections through Perth all year. Virgin operates seasonal direct flights to Broome from Adelaide and connecting flights from all other capital cities. Skywest and Airnorth provide connections between Broome, Port Hedland, Karratha and Kununurra to Darwin in the Northern Territory. Qantas provides direct flights to Karratha from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Air Australia provides direct services between Port Hedland and Brisbane, and Qantas flies direct between Port Hedland and Melbourne.

Flig hts from Overseas There are daily flights to Perth Airport from major international hubs. These flights connect with all intrastate flights to major towns within Australia’s North West. Skywest flies to Denpasar, Bali from Port Hedland twice a week.

By Road From Perth

If you’re visiting the Pilbara, access from Perth is via two major sealed road arteries - the North West Coastal Highway and the inland Great Northern Highway. Travel further north along the Great Northern Highway to Broome, the southern gateway into the heart of the Kimberley. From Broome you can take the Great Northern Highway or the unsealed Gibb River Road to head east to Kununurra.

From the East Coast

Kununurra is the major eastern gateway to the North West, accessed via the Victoria Highway which links with the Stuart Highway in the Northern Territory. The unsealed Tanami and Duncan Roads link Alice Springs in Central Australia with Halls Creek in the Kimberley.

Vehicle Hire

If you’d rather discover the region at a more leisurely pace, why not hire a vehicle and embark on a driving holiday of your own? You’ll find a variety of rental vehicles ranging from motor homes to four-wheel drives available at most major centres.

By Coach

Whether you’re visiting the Pilbara or the Kimberley, Greyhound Australia operate daily coach services that connect most major towns.

Guided Tours

There are a huge range of friendly, professional tour operators to and within the region- travelling by land, air and sea. Guided tours are one of the easiest and safest ways to travel; you can meet other likeminded visitors and explore sights you may not be able to access, or potentially miss altogether if ‘doing your own thing’. So, kick back and let the locals show you the sights!

PAGE 4 |


Perth WCH











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18:00 Karratha

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25:45 10:00

27:15 11:45

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37:00 20:45


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Tom Price 475


6:15 Dampier

5:15 3:30

12:15 10:00

14:00 11:45

23:00 20:45

23:00 20:45


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431 456

Karratha 242

10:00 7:30

11:45 9:00

20:45 18:15

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475 1022


10:00 Broome

11:45 3:00

20:45 12:15

20:45 11:45


431 1176

242 987

262 1006

7:30 222

9:00 Derby

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852 1841 1006 1831 1841

611 1601 766 1591 1601






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2391 2237 3229 2391 3214 3229





3:00 Port Hedland

Dampier 852

3:30 611 Port Hedland 766


























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This map is intended as a guide only. If you are planning 1601 by road 1057 919a detailed Wyndham 1:30 to travel please purchase map This map intended as visitor a guidecentres. only. If you are planning available fromis the RAC or 1591 1045 907 105 Kununurra to travel by road please purchase a detailed map Australia’s North West available from the RAC or Tourism visitor centres. PO Box 554, Broome WA 6725 Ph: (+61) 08 9193 6660 Fax: (+61) 08 9193 6662



Code of Conduct and Ethics

Australia’s North West Tourism has a Code of Conduct & Ethics for all tourism members to abide by, ensuring that you, the visitor, enjoy your stay in the region.


All material contained within this publication is copyright. Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without written per­mission of the publishers, being Australia’s North West Tourism.

Cape Keraudren

Australia’s North West Tourism gratefully acknowledges the contribution of the following photographers and organisations who have provided images for this publication: • Nigel Gaunt • Tourism WA • James Morgan • Sam Tinson • Stephen Scourfield • Yane Sotiroski • Christian Fletcher • James Fisher • Tourism Australia • Rod Hartvigsen • Ho-jong Yu Ben Knapinski • Peter Devenish • Janek Gazecki • Jeff Atkinson

Montebello Islands


The information contained in this publication has been provided as a guide only. Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in the publication, Australia’s North West Tourism expressly disclaim any liability or responsibility for the accuracy of the information contained herein.

Onslow North West Cape

Cape Range Nat. Pk.


Exmouth Gulf Learmonth

Millstream Chichester Nat. Pk. CHIC



Private Road Permit required HAMER SLE Y

Nanutarra Roadhouse

Tom Price Paraburdoo

Minilya Roadhouse





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Coral Bay

Marble Ba GREAT

This map is intended as a guide only. If you are planning to travel by road please purchase a detailed map.

Private Road Permit required

Fortescue Roadhouse

Tourism Accreditation

This symbol indicates a tourism business that has received recognition through the National Tourism Accreditation program. Tourism businesses who display the accreditation tick have met nationally endorsed industry standards and is committed to professionalism in operational practices and to provide quality products and services.

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Karijini National Park






Australia’s North West |

Pilbara & Kimberley | PAGE 5

Cape Londonderry Cape Bougainville

Sealed Road







Prince Regent Nature Reserve

Scale in Kilometres

Kununurra V IC



Lake Argyle Village Lake

Kooljaman Resort


Cape Leveque


Argyle Argyle Diamond Mine

King Sound

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Purnululu National Park



Willare Bridge Roadhouse


Roebuck Bay



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Geikie Gorge National Park







Wolf Creek Crater Nat. Park

Pardoo Roadhouse






Sandfire Roadhouse

Lake Gregory





Lake Dora

(Formerly Rudall River National Park)



Lake MacDonald










Windy Corner

Lake Disappointment


DESERT Hopkins Lake




Lake Mackay

Gary Junction


Capricorn Roadhouse

Jigalong Community




Lake Blanche




Lake Hazlett



Lake Auld



Lake White Lake Wills

Tobin Lake

Telfer Mine

Karlamilyi National Park

Lake Dennis


Copyright Australia's North West


Percival Lakes

Lake Waukarlycarly


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Halls Creek

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Timber Creek Katherine

Highway, Major Road

Wave Hill Katherine


PAGE 6 |

Travel Tips Very few places in the world offer the isolation and ruggedness found in Australia’s North West, where hundreds of kilometres can separate towns and attractions. Whilst this is a major attraction in itself, it does mean that careful planning prior to embarking will lead to a more enjoyable holiday experience.

Accredited Visitor Centres

Road Safety


Driver fatigue is responsible for many accidents, so take regular breaks, enjoy the experience and don’t try to cover too much distance at a time. Make certain you advise a reliable contact of your intended route and your estimated time of arrival, and be sure to let them know when you get there!

To get the most out of your holiday in the North West, speak to the experts at a local Visitor Centre. Visitor Centres offer expert advice on the best things to see and do. They can help with maps, accommodation and tour bookings, or provide local knowledge on an area’s hidden gems. Look for the blue and yellow italic ‘i’ sign to find the next accredited Visitor Centre on your holiday route.

There is a wide range of accommodation options to suit all tastes and budgets. However, many townships support strong tourist numbers as well as a large resource industry workforce, so accommodation can be tight. It is strongly advisable to book your accommodation well ahead of your holiday to avoid disappointment. Be aware that some caravan parks do not take advance bookings during the peak season. Those travelling with pets are also recommended to check the location of pet-friendly caravan parks.

It’s essential to carefully plan your trip before hitting the road. Get a recent detailed road map and it’s a good idea to keep track of your mileage so you know where you are. Many towns are remote; if you find yourself in trouble assistance could be hours away, so be aware of your vehicle’s limits and take your time. If you plan to travel on dirt roads, familiarise yourself with safe four-wheel driving techniques and potential risks.


It is essential that your vehicle is thoroughly checked before you depart. Not only is it dangerous to break down in the outback, its expensive! Some remote areas are accessible only by four wheel drive vehicles and the towing of caravans, trailers or boats is not recommended. A comprehensive first aid kit, food, water, tool kit, at least two spare tyres and spare parts should be kept as standard - along with the knowledge of how to use them.

Australia’s North West |

Road Closures

During the summer period (November to April), sealed and unsealed roads can be open for travel one day and completely flooded the next. Authorities provide road updates and weather warnings. Regardless of your vehicle do not attempt to traverse roads that have been closed by the authorities under any condition. Not only do you put your own safety at risk, you also put at risk those who come to assist you. For up to the minute info or telephone 138 138.

Road Trains

Road trains are a unique part of travelling in the North West. Extra caution is needed when overtaking road trains, which can be over 50 metres in length. Dust kicked up on unsealed roads can totally obscure vision, so the only time to overtake is when you can clearly see ahead. Be aware it can take up to 2.5 kilometres to overtake a road train at 100km/h.

Pilbara & Kimberley | PAGE 7

Bush Fires

Marine Stingers

Wandering Stock



While they may seem harmless, fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, plants, flowers, honey, animals and introduced birds pose a real threat to the environment. The best rule to follow is: if in doubt, declare it. Be warned, heavy penalties apply to those people not declaring items identified as a risk. For full details

In a country as dry as Australia, it’s little wonder that bush fires can be a big problem. Due to the sheer isolation of the North West, it is possible a fire can rage for several days before it is noticed and brought under control. The lighting of fires can be extremely dangerous. Care should be taken at all times and a campfire should never be left unattended. Please help us protect our natural environment and abide by fire warnings.

Many stations are unfenced and it is not uncommon to encounter wandering stock and wildlife. Serious accidents occur due to collisions with kangaroos, cattle and other animals. Particular care should be taken at dawn and dusk as these are the most dangerous times. Please slow down, keep a lookout and if possible avoid driving at night.

Australia’s North West experiences huge tidal movements. Tidal water can move very quickly, catching you and your boat or vehicle unaware so if you are undertaking any activity by the water it pays to be aware of local tidal movements. Local tide charts are available from Visitor Centres and service stations.

Box Jellyfish and Irukandji Jellyfish are potentially lethal stingers which can be found along the Kimberley and Pilbara coast. Although they can be present all year round, they are most prevalent from November until April. Take the right precautions, wear a full length stinger suit and if local authorities close the beach please abide by their instructions. If you are stung, douse liberally with vinegar and seek urgent medical advice.

Western Australia’s remoteness helps to provide a natural barrier against many pests and diseases. To help keep Western Australia disease-free there are strict quarantine laws regarding the importing or transporting of plants and food stuffs. The Ord Valley irrigation area has more stringent quarantine restrictions.

PAGE 8 |


There are two species of crocodile found throughout the Kimberley; the estuarine or saltwater crocodile and the Johnston, or freshwater crocodile. They are also found along the Pilbara coast and have been spotted infrequently as far south as Coral Bay. Estuarine crocodiles are considered extremely dangerous, they inhabit billabongs, rivers, creeks and the open ocean and have been known to attack humans. Freshwater crocodiles are smaller and generally inhabit freshwater creeks and occasionally tidal areas. Don’t be fooled by their names, as both can be found in either fresh or salt water. All crocodiles should be considered dangerous and treated with extreme caution. Observe warning signs and if in doubt seek local information. Do not wade, swim or use small boats in estuaries, tidal rivers and deep pools. Never clean fish or leave food scraps near the water and always camp well back from the water’s edge. Be crocodile aware.

Caravan, Camping and Bush Survival Tips The wide open spaces and warm climate of the North West make it the ideal destination for caravan and camping holidays. However, some roads are not suitable for towing a caravan and there are camping restrictions in certain areas. Follow these simple health and safety tips to ensure you have a great holiday: • Let someone know your destination and schedule, if your plans change let them know. • Be prepared – make sure your vehicle is in top condition before you set out, plan your route and take up-to-date maps. • Make sure you know how to use four-wheel drive. • Carry sufficient food and water, a first aid kit, some type of communication or signal device, a comprehensive tool kit and at least two spare tyres. • Drive and reduce your speed to suit road conditions. • Seek permission and obtain permits (if required) before entering private property and leave gates as you find them. Respect the wishes and regulations of all hosts. • Watch out for stray animals on roads, especially at dawn and dusk. • Watch out for road trains – they can reach over 50 metres long. • Slow down at all creek crossings and waterways. To avoid creating new impacts, cross creeks at existing fords and use caution on depth and current. • Never drive tired – fatigue kills.

• Slow down in dusty conditions where visibility is poor, stay left and never overtake. • Camp in designated areas only. • Travel and camp on durable surfaces including established tracks and campsites, rock, gravel and dry grasses. • In popular areas, concentrate use on existing tracks and campsites. Drive and walk on designated tracks and do not create new tracks. • Limit the use of fire and be aware of fire bans. • Only build fires in the pits provided and take care to completely extinguish the flame with water when finished. Keep campfires small - don’t forget wood is a habitat for fauna and birds. • Protect water sources by camping and park your vehicle at least 100 metres from rivers and billabongs. • Bury human waste if there are no toilet facilities and take all rubbish with you. • The Royal Flying Doctor can be contacted in an emergency on 1800 625 800, HF 5300, satellite phone (08) 9417 6389 or check VKS737 Document 40. • If you become stuck or break down: - Always stay with your vehicle - Park so you can be seen - Conserve your food and water. As you journey into the Pilbara and Kimberley you can help ensure that this special place, and the wildlife it sustains, will be enjoyed by future generations.

Australia’s North West |

Caring for National Parks

Pets and firearms are not permitted in national parks. Avoid the use of excessive sunscreen when planning to swim in gorge and river pools as it can be harmful to wildlife. Spinifex is fragile so please use the paths and roads provided and do not make new tracks. Many areas in national parks have significance to Aboriginal people. Please do not interfere with cultural sites.

Healthy Travelling

Unfortunately, some visitors have their holiday cut short due to illness or accident. If you take prescribed medication, take ample supplies and ensure you have a script renewal from your doctor. When travelling to remote areas always carry adequate supplies of water and a comprehensive first aid kit. Mosquitoes can carry diseases such as Encephalitis and Ross River virus, use insect repellents and cover your arms and legs with loose clothing particularly at dawn and dusk.

Help Protect the Kimberley from Cane Toads

Cane toads will cause mass devastation to wildlife and ecosystems, but with your help we can reduce the chances of them becoming established in Western Australia. Check your load as toads love to hitch a ride on your car, caravan or even in camping gear. Report sightings to the DEC hotline on 1800 084 881 (freecall) and if you are unsure whether you have found a toad or native frog MMS to 0400 693 807. There are live disposal points in Kununurra at the Shire, the local vet and DEC. Cane toads are large heavily built amphibians with dry warty skin with a bony head and bony ridges over their eyes. Adults have large glands on each shoulder behind the eardrum. Average sized adults are 10-15cm long and they may be grey, yellowish or olive brown and their bellies are pale with dark mottling. For further information go to or

Pilbara & Kimberley | PAGE 9

PAGE 10 |

Broome Opera Under the Stars celebrates 25 years in 2012

Barramundi Concert Ord Valley Muster

Shinju Matsuri Festival

Outdoor Concert

Beach Polo, Broome

Port Hedland Races

Festivals & Events 2012

The North West region hosts a wide range of exciting events throughout the year. With consistent fine weather comes a line-up of fantastic outdoor events showcasing world class entertainment set against some of the most stunning natural backdrops you will ever see. Community events are definitely worth a look, from dusty outback rodeos, to colourful community festivals. Odds are you will meet a friendly local that will be more than happy to give you a genuine insight into their town’s activities. Time your visit to coincide with natural events such as turtle nesting, whale watching or the incredible Staircase to the Moon. Check visitor centre information for local events. January West End Outdoor Movies -Port Hedland 14 Australia Day 26 February West End Outdoor Movies - Port Hedland 11 March Clean Up Australia Day TBC Apex Family Fun Day - Kununurra TBC West End Outdoor Movies - Port Hedland 10 April ANZAC Day Service 25 Portbound Pilbara Youth and Health Festival - South Hedland TBC West End Outdoor Movies - Port Hedland 14 May Welcome to Hedland Community Expo South Hedland TBC North West Expo - Broome 4&5 Nguyuru Waaringarrem Halls Creek Music Festival 4-6 1st National Kimberley Lake Argyle Swim 5 Paspaley Beach Polo - Broome 6-13 West End Outdoor Movies - Port Hedland 12 North West Touch Championships - Broome 18-20

A Night Under the Stars at Karijini 19 Mud Crab Races - Derby 19 Five Rivers Medicine Show - Kununurra 19 Ord Valley Muster- Kununurra 25 May -3 Jun Gibb River Mountain Bike Challenge 27 -31 June Kimberley Moon Experience - Kununurra 2 Passion of the Pilbara Festival 9 & 10 North West Netball Championships - Broome 15 & 16 Mud Crab Races - Derby 23 West End Outdoor Movies - Port Hedland 9 July NAIDOC Week 1-8 Mowanjum Festival - Derby 12 Kununurra Agricultural Show 13 & 14 Wine and Cheese, Arts & Crafts - Onslow 13 & 14 West End Outdoor Movies - Port Hedland 14 AFL Masters WA Broome Carnival 14-21 Spinifex Spree Carnival - Port Hedland 27-28 Kimberley Writers Festival - Kununurra 27-30


FeNaCING Festival - Karratha Fortescue Festival - Newman

4&5 TBC

West End Outdoor Movies - Port Hedland 11 Opera Under the Stars - Broome 25 Shinju Matsuri Festival - Broome 30 Aug-9 Sep Wyndham Stars on the Bastion TBC September Shinju Matsuri Festival continues 1-9 West End Outdoor Movies - Port Hedland 13 Dam to Dam Dinghy Dash, Lake Argyle TBC October Lake Argyle Adventure Race TBC West End Outdoor Movies - Port Hedland 13 Onslow Basketball Carnival 13 & 14 November West End Outdoor Movies - Port Hedland 10 Remembrance Day 11 Mango Festival Broome 22-25 Rotary Pioneers’ Dinner - Kununurra TBC December Carols by Candelight TBC West End Outdoor Movies - Port Hedland 8 Breakfast on the Bastion - Wyndham 25

Australia’s North West |

Kimberley Kitchen

Staircase Markets

Rodeo Action

Staircase to the Moon

March through to October. See back cover for details.


Buccaneer Fishing Classic - Buccaneer Archipelago Apr Thready Shootout - Broome 29 Apr May Day Classic - Broome 12 & 13 May Billfish Classic - Broome 13-21 Jul Fatty’s Day - Broome 15 Jul Ike Stol Memorial Fishing Competition - Derby Aug Kids Comp - Broome 12 Aug Bluewater Blast - Broome 8 & 9 Sept Apex Barra bash - Kununurra 28 Sep - 1 Oct Barra & BS - Broome 13 & 14 Oct Interclub Competition 10 & 11 Nov Xmas Tinny Comp - Broome 8 & 9 Dec


Whale Watching Season Turtle Nesting Season

Jul to Oct Oct to Feb

Wildflower Season

From July to September the Pilbara’s vibrant floral shades contrast with the red earth and golden spinifex grass. Rivers, creeks and lakes are lined with river red gums, coolabah, silver cadjeput and desert bloodwood trees. Gorges spring to life with flowering rock fig and rock kurrajongs. In season, carpets of wildflowers of all colours, sizes and shapes like mulla mulla, the majestiv Asburton pea or any number of the 65 species of Acacia (wattle) can be seen throughout the region.

Pilbara & Kimberley | PAGE 11

Wildflower Season

Fishing Competition

Rodeo Action

Robe River Rodeo - Pannawonica Halls Creek Rodeo Fitzroy Crossing Rodeo/Campdraft Onslow Rodeo Derby Rodeo 

Sep Jul Jul Aug 10 - 12 Aug

Ord Valley Muster Diamond Dig

Shinju Matsuri Festival

Local Markets Broome Markets

Saturdays Sundays 

Derby Markets Saturdays

All year round

Kununurra Markets

Country Racing Highlights

Saturday Mornings  Christmas Markets 

Full listing on

Port Hedland

The Country race season in the North West runs from May through to August. Competitive thoroughbred horseracing and an eclectic mix of entertainment ensures a fun and exciting day enjoyed by all.

Yacht Club Markets 

Members and the public can enjoy a number of themed race days throughout the season with fashion, food, live music, events and race day festivities. Tourism & Hositality Day - Roebourne Family Day - Roebourne Derby Cup Marble Bar Cup Ladies Day - Roebourne Roebourne Cup Kimberley Cup - Broome Port Hedland Cup Day Wyndham Races- Halls Creek Cup Ladies Day - Broome Broome Cup Wyndham Cup and Race Ball Ladies Day - Kununurra Cup Day Kununurra

All year round April - October

9 Jun 23 Jun 30 Jun 9 Jul 14 Jul 28 Jul 4 Aug 6 Aug 12 Aug 14 Aug 18 Aug 18 Aug 25 Aug 1 Sep

May to September 25 November & 3 December First Saturday of every month

WA Public Holidays 2012 New Year’s Day  New Year’s Day Public Holiday Australia Day Labour Day Good Friday Easter Monday ANZAC Day Foundation Day  Queen’s Birthday Christmas Day Boxing Day

Sunday 1 Jan Monday 2 Jan Thursday 26 Jan Monday 5 Mar Friday 6 Apr Monday 9 Apr Wednesday 25 Apr Monday 4 Jun Monday 1 Oct Tuesday 25 Dec Wednesday 26 Dec

WA School Holidays 2012 Autumn (Term 1)  Winter (Term 2)  Spring (Term 3)  Summer (Term 4) 

6 to 25 April 7 to 23 July 29 Sep to 15 Oct 19 Dec 2012 to 3 Feb 2013

Events correct at time of printing but subject to change. Check with the relevant visitor centre for up-to-date event information

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Sunset in the Kimberley

Pandanus palms

Climate The North West is a region of great contrast. Ranging in temperature from under 5º C to over 40º C in the course of a year, you will find that the two seasons offer vastly different holiday experiences.

Summer Season November to April

In summer there are fewer crowds and the days can be hot and the nights balmy. Contrary to popular belief, the rain does not fall constantly, but when it does it is generally in short heavy downpours late in the afternoon and evenings. The build-up creates spectacular lightning shows and sunsets, the water run-off causes thundering waterfalls, filling lakes, rivers and waterholes. Bird and wildlife abound. This is a great time to sit back as Mother Nature refreshes the land. Although many tours operate all year round, during the summer months some attractions and tours cannot be accessed. As with any holiday, it’s a matter of planning and getting expert advice from any one of the region’s Visitor Centres.

Winter Season May to October


Winter is traditionally the most popular time to visit and people flock from all over the globe. The daytime temperatures average between mid 20’s to low 30‘s (Celcius). The nights range from cool on the coast while inland the wind off the desert can see temperatures plummet even further. The fine warm days and clear nights are perfect for all outdoor activities.


Your holiday is not complete without viewing a spectacular North West sunset. Dramatic colours light up the sky as the sun sets providing you with breathtaking photo opportunities. For information on sunset times

In the North West, the cyclone season extends from November to April. Should a cyclone be imminent, you should be aware of the following cyclone procedure: Blue Alert A cyclone has formed and may affect the area within 48 hours, precautions should be taken. Yellow Alert The cyclone is moving closer to the area and appears inevitable within 12 hours, residents should take action. Red Alert A cyclone is imminent - destructive winds are likely to occur soon, go immediately to adequate shelter. Cyclone warnings are broadcast on local radio stations or contact 1300 659 210.

Average Temperatures in Degrees Celsius Location





Karratha Broome Kununurra

22 - 33 22 - 33 21 - 34

14 - 27 15 - 29 16 - 32

20 - 33 22 - 33 23 - 38

26 - 36 26 - 33 25 - 37

Min to Max Min to Max Min to Max

Australia’s North West |

Mowanjum Art Centre, Derby

Indigenous Cultural Experiences The Aboriginal people of Australia are recognised as descendants of the world’s oldest unbroken surviving culture. It is generally accepted that the North West was the point where Aborigines first entered Australia, and they have lived in this part of the continent for an estimated 40,000 years. Their ancient records can be found in many protected sites where examples of stone structures, ceremonial sites, rock paintings and engravings remain today. The Kimberley is rich in ancient rock paintings in the unique Wandjina and Gwion Gwion styles, whilst the Pilbara has hundreds of sites that showcase rock engravings known as petroglyphs which date back thousands of years.

Many of these sites hold strong significance for Aboriginal people, and it is recommended to visit them with an experienced guide. Explore Indigenous history and culture, as well as discover today’s contemporary lifestyles. Learn about bush tucker, bush medicine, Indigenous history and spiritual beliefs. Go mud crabbing or fishing, and learn about traditional hunting techniques. Aboriginal artists from the Kimberley and Pilbara regions have been lauded the world over as among the most proficient in their genre. There are many fine galleries throughout the region which showcase the work of many of the acclaimed artists. Why not visit a working art centre and meet the artists at work? The Aboriginal cultural experience is unique to Australia and cannot be witnessed anywhere else in the world. The North West provides some of the best opportunities for the visitor to learn more about this ancient culture. If travelling to Aboriginal communities check with your local visitor centre if a permit is required, or telephone the Department of Indigenous Affairs on (08) 9235 8000 or go to

Pilbara & Kimberley | PAGE 13

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Pentecost River crossing and Cockburn Ranges

Drive Adventures Got the itch to load up the car, hitch the caravan and head north? The North West’s perfect weather, unique natural attractions and laid back lifestyle make it one of Australia’s favourite drive-holiday destinations. Whether you are after a rugged four-wheel drive expedition or a more sedate journey, there are adventures aplenty. Take your time, stop and absorb the ambience of the townships and meet a friendly local or two. If you are not sure you’re up to the drive then join an organised extended tour and let the knowledgeable locals guide you. Whether you want to stay at luxury accommodation along the way or prefer to explore beyond the bitumen and sleep under the stars, the North West has just the right tour for you.

The Warlu Way

The way of the Warlu, or sea serpent, traverses an ancient and sacred land rich in natural beauty and enchanting Aboriginal stories. It sends you back in time to a mystical era when a mighty Warlu emerged from the sea and travelled through the pulsing red heart of Western Australia, forming waterways as he moved. The Warlu Way extends from Exmouth to Broome revealing the mysteries of the Warlu and other Aboriginal legends by taking you on a 2480 kilometre self-drive journey through Western Australia’s Gascoyne, Pilbara and Kimberley regions. The Warlu Way incorporates iconic sites such as Ningaloo Marine Park, Karijini and Millstream-Chichester National Parks, the Burrup Peninsula and Cable Beach. Interpretive signage along the drive opens your eyes to the secrets of the historical, cultural and natural wonders. Some roads may need a permit before commencing your drive – check with the relevant Visitor Centre before embarking on your journey.

The Savannah Way

The Savannah Way links Cairns in tropical north Queensland and the historical pearling town of Broome. The drive crosses the Northern Territory and passes through five World Heritage listed areas, offering some of most spectacular sights in northern Australia. You’ll pass through amazingly diverse and spectacular landscapes of wide horizons, ancient gorges, rock pools and hot springs, including the magnificent Lake Argyle near Kununurra and the white sandy beaches of Broome. While some of the route is 4WD only, there are large sections that can be driven in a family sedan. It’s an easy to follow route that includes clear signage, interpretative displays, maps and brochures.

Australia’s North West |

Gibb River & Kalumburu Roads

A journey along the Gibb River Road is one of the last true outback adventures. Originally constructed to transport cattle from surrounding stations, this old stock route still spans over 660 kilometres of unsealed road, travelling through floodplains and rugged gorge country, linking Derby in the west to Kununurra in the East Kimberley. Four wheel drive and no towing of caravans is strongly recommended. The Kalumburu Road leads 267 kilometres north from the Gibb River Road past the Mitchell River National Park, travelling through a spectacular but very remote part of the Kimberley. A fully equipped, high clearance four wheel drive vehicle is essential and ensure you have fuel, water, food, mechanical and medical supplies. The Gibb River Road Guide, which details distances, attractions, services and accommodation can be purchased at any visitor centre in the region or contact the Derby Visitor Centre on (08) 9191 1426 or email [email protected]

See page 66 for a suggested itinerary.

The Canning Stock Route

The longest stock route in the world, the Canning Stock Route (CSR) stretches over 1700 kilometres between Halls Creek in the north and Wiluna in the south. It passes through the Gibson, Great Sandy and Tanami Deserts, and its construction is one of the greatest pioneering feats of the last century. Created in 1910 as a cattle route, the road connects the 51 wells that were constructed and placed a day’s walk apart for watering stock. Today it offers one of the world’s most remote, isolated and challenging four wheel drive adventures. The CSR travels through extremely harsh arid terrain and sand dunes, and should only be undertaken during cooler months in a well organised convoy. Do not attempt this track unless you have extensive outback travel experience and a very reliable and capable vehicle, specifically prepared for remote long distance desert travel. A permit is required and available from the Australian National Four Wheel Drive Council.

Pilbara & Kimberley | PAGE 15

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Buccaneer Archipelago

Aquatic Adventures Sparkling white sandy beaches, warm, tropical oceans and wild rivers make the North West a haven for travellers seeking adventures either on or in the water. Coupled with months on end of sunshine, the region truly is a water playground that offers visitors a wealth of memorable experiences. The remoteness of the Kimberley and Pilbara means that vast stretches of the coast, and many of the river systems, don’t see many people at all. Much of the area remains in a pristine state, meaning the ocean and rivers are teeming with wildlife.


World famous Cable Beach is regarded as one of Australia’s best, and many a perfect day has been spent doing nothing more than simply lazing on the pristine sand. The Kimberley and Pilbara offer a number of superb spots for swimming and whiling away the hours in freshwater pools and gorges.


It’s no secret; the North West has long been renowned for some of the best reef, game and creek fishing in the world. Join a fishing charter or cast a line from a beach, jetty or boat. Explore the tidal creeks and rivers systems. Pursue the elusive barramundi or experience the thrill of game fishing. A number of fishing competitions are held throughout the North West and visitors are always welcome. Whatever way you choose to chase them, please be aware of protected species, size and bag limits, skipper tickets requirements and always fish for the future. For the most up-to-date requirements, visit the Department of Fisheries’ site


Paddle peacefully along the coast and rivers in your own kayak or enjoy an organised tour with a local kayak operator. Local tides are fast moving so check tide times before starting off. Lake Kununurra, Dimond Gorge and Sir John Gorge are some of the best known spots and provide spectacular scenery. Always check with authorities before entering unknown water courses in the north, as crocodiles are known to inhabit certain water courses.

Whale Watching

From July to October pods of Humpback Whales can be seen migrating north along the coast. The area is transformed into a huge whale nursery as mothers and calves take shelter in the protected bays and inlets, beginning their return journey south around September and October. The North West’s fine winter weather creates the perfect conditions to catch a glimpse of these majestic creatures on an exciting boat cruise or from one of the local beaches. Viewed from a coastal cruise the proposed Marine Park at Camden Sound is gaining recognition as one of the prime calving grounds for the Humpback Whale. When observing marine turtles and whales, the Department of Environment and Conservation’s (DEC) code of conduct guidelines should always be followed. Contact DEC for further details.

Turtle Nesting

From October to February many islands and mainland beaches are home to a special event every year - turtle nesting. Females come ashore to lay their eggs and hundreds of tiny turtles hatch and take their first steps toward the ocean, providing you with the spectacle of a lifetime. Port Hedland’s Cemetery Beach, Eighty Mile Beach and Eco Beach are some of the renowned and accessible locations to view this event.

Australia’s North West |


Extended luxury cruising, pearl lugger sunset cruises, hovercraft flights, river and lake cruises, charters to offshore islands of the Pilbara and Kimberley coast – there are a huge number of experiences to be had on the water whilst holidaying in the North West. In many cases being on the water gives you a better understanding of the geography, flora and fauna and rock art of the region – as well as being a great way to travel! The region boasts a number of award winning charter operators, and nobody knows the waters as well as a local! If going it on your own is more your style, there is the opportunity to hire boats in the major centres off the Kimberley and Pilbara. Make sure you have reasonable boating skills and local knowledge before heading out. A WA Skipper’s Ticket or equivalent is also a requirement.

Snorkelling and Diving

The North West’s aquatic playgrounds are alive with masses of corals, teaming with fish and home to an astonishing array of marine mammals. Visit some of the 42 islands of the Dampier Archipelago or take an extended charter to the Rowley Shoals Marine Park which offers exceptional diving experiences.

Cruising the Kimberley Coast

Broome, Derby and Wyndham serve as the main entry and exit points for visiting the Kimberley coast, with a number of adventure cruise vessels operating the pristine waters and providing a range of options that vary from beach camping in the Dampier Archipelago, to 5 star cabins on luxury vessels. Its remote location means the Kimberley Coast is only accessible by air or sea, but for those who make the trip, the experience is truly extraordinary. Remote pristine beaches, plunging waterfalls, wild rivers teeming with marine life and incredible Aboriginal rock art sites are just some of the attractions to be witnessed. The Horizontal Waterfalls, where the massive tides of the Kimberley squeeze through two small openings in the coast, is one of the more spectacular points of interest, and can be accessed by aircraft from Broome or Derby, as well as by sea.

Pilbara & Kimberley | PAGE 17

Experiences • Enjoy a freshly-caught dinner of fish, mud crabs, or oysters on board your Kimberley cruise vessel • Land at the Horizontal Waterfalls in a float plane and experience this incredible natural phenomenon • Dive or snorkel amongst the rich marine life and coral reefs of the Rowley Shoals, Dampier Archipelago and Mackerel Islands • Visit the ‘Mermaid Tree” a boab tree in Careening Bay emblazoned by Captain Philip Parker King in 1820 • Learn from an Aboriginal guide as they provide an insight into the amazing rock art of the region • Take a helicopter ride over the towering King George Falls • Catch the elusive barramundi, or one of the many other trophy species that inhabit these waters • Hike inland and discover freshwater pools and waterfalls • View the massive Montgomery Reef as it is exposed at low tide, creating a series of waterfalls as the ocean cascades off the expanse

PAGE 18 |

Buccaneer Archipelago

Bungle Bungle Range

Scenic Flights The vast area of the North West means that natural attractions can be hundreds of kilometres apart. A scenic flight not only saves travelling time but gives you a different perspective of the landscape.

Local operators have unique knowledge of the area, which means you can access places on which few people have ever laid foot. Imagine exploring the plunging gorges and thundering waterfalls of the Mitchell Plateau, the thousand islands of the Buccaneer Archipelago, the vast inland sea of Lake Argyle or the beehive domes of the World Heritage Listed Bungle Bungle Range, and being home in time for sunset drinks!

Tidal sands

Catch a float plane to experience the thrill of landing on the water after viewing the magnificent thousand islands of the Buccaneer Archipelago or the absolutely unique Horizontal Falls. Try helifishing and be whisked away to remote locations to fish your own private river system.

Horizontal Falls

Australia’s North West |

Cockatoo Island

Pilbara & Kimberley | PAGE 19

Bullanyin Island, Lake Argyle

Mitchell Falls


Discover the majestic outback of the Kimberley and Pilbara with scheduled Jet services to Kununurra, Broome, Karratha and Port Hedland and also to Perth (operates seasonally) Book your next North West holiday flights, accommodation, tours and activities online at

Airnorth Reservations freecall 1800 627 474

Golden Eagle Airlines Scenic Specialists of Australia’s North West No visit to Australia’s Northwest is complete without a trip to the wonders like the Buccaneer Archipelago, Horizontal Waterfalls and Cape Leveque. This corner of the world is one of the most scenic locations you will ever come across. Let yourself be captivated by the breathtaking and awe inspiring views that can only be experienced from the air. We are one of the region’s most experienced site seeing operators, flying visitors to the wonders this area has to offer for over 20 years. Ph: (08) 9193 7926 Email: [email protected]

Slingair Heliwork WA The flight of a lifetime We offer award winning air tours across the remote and rugged Kimberley. Our bases are in; Broome, Purnululu, Mitchell Falls, Kununurra, El Questro, Warmun and Drysdale. To comprehend the size and nature of the Kimberley, you have to see it from the air. Our air tours are planned to show the best features of this huge landscape, either by aeroplane or helicopter or both. Choose from; fly/drive day tours, plane/heli/walk combos, flights over Cable Beach, Mitchell Falls or the ancient Bungle Bungle. Visit our website. Kununurra, Broome, Purnululu, Mitchell Falls, Warmun, Drysdale Ph: (08) 9169 1300 Web:

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Holiday Planner Ad-Northwest.indd 1

22/11/11 2:42 PM

What better way to explore the astounding beauty of our great state than by caravan, campertrailer, motorhome or tent. Enjoy the freedom to travel at your own pace and to explore off the beaten track.

For more information visit

We even check Broome’s camels for ticks. We make sure that when you travel, your choice of activities offer the highest standards of service and professionalism. We check tourism businesses’ licences, practices, insurances and systems, and if they meet the standard, they earn the tick. So whether you’re choosing tours, activities or accommodation, look for the tick and you’ll know that we’ve checked them out before you check in!

To find Accredited Tourism Businesses in WA visit

Connecting The North West

Kununurra Broome Port Hedland

Phone bookings


1300 66 00 88 Web bookings Your State. Your Airline.

PAGE 22 |


BUDGET Cars, Trucks, Utes, 4WDs & Minibuses

GPS, Child seats, 24hr Roadside Assistance


13 27 27

Australia’s North West |

Pilbara & Kimberley | PAGE 23


the kimberley


Arafura Sea


Join Orion Expedition Cruises to explore the Kimberley in comfortable luxury. With 100 guests cared for by an experienced crew of 75, life on board is relaxed and casually elegant. You will rediscover your capacity for relaxation, indulgence and your thirst for knowledge and exploration. Experience our Kimberley highlights which includes Gwion Gwion and Wandjina rock art, Zodiac landings on remote islands, exploring gorges, searching for saltwater crocodiles, plus enjoy a complimentary scenic flight over the famous Bungle Bungle Ranges.


DARWIN Vansittart Bay

King George Falls N o r t h e r n Te r r i t o r y

Mitchell Falls Montgomery Reef Crocodile Creek & Nares Point

For more information or to make a booking call 1300 361 012, visit or see your travel agent.

Hunter River Raft Point

Wyndham Kununurra Bungle Bungles

Horizontal Waterfalls & Talbot Bay


B O R N E O | V I E T N A M | R U S S I A N FA R E A S T | I N L A N D S E A O F J A PA N | K I M B E R L E Y | PA P U A N E W G U I N E A

| A N TA R C T I C A

Please note these voyages are made up of two international sailings and will be ticketed as such. One way pricing to/from Com is also available.

One call books it all...


oomey Br e KimBerle Th

& NorTherN


Planning your Kimberley adventure is easy with a little local know-how. Our team can help. With over 15 years of experience planning itineraries in our region and beyond, our exclusive holiday packages are guaranteed to inspire. Visit our website Or call our Reservations team on

Broome & The Kimberley Holidays BE INSPIRED



1300 639 559 ABN 37 053 109 185 Licence No. 9TA00613

Casey Australia Tours Touring Australia’s North West Since 1973 With a range of fantastic holiday experiences Casey Australia Tours lead the way in fully inclusive coach travel specialising in Remote Outback Australia. 15 Day Gibb River Road, Lake Argyle and Bungles – Including a Scenic Flight over Mitchell Falls. 20 Day Western Half Tour – Cruise Geikie Gorge, Lake Argyle & Kakadu. 11 Day Broome, Pilbara & Karijini – Taking in all the beauty of the North West. 5 Day Kununurra in ‘The Wet’ – An perspective of the North West not to be missed. Casey Tours operate tours all over Australia from 1 to 20 day itineraries in 48 seat coaches and 26 seat 4WD coaches, motel or camping. Family run company with 39 years’ experience. Free call: 1800 999 677 Email: [email protected]