Places to Go with BROOME 4WD Hire
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Broome 4WD Hire and The Kimberley
The holiday gateway to the beautiful wilderness region of the Kimberley, the town of Broome is an excellent place to start your Western Australian adventure. With just 14,000 year-round inhabitants, Broome is a fascinating cultural and natural gem with the lively vibe of a throwback shantytown that’s equal parts Australia and Asia.
The town’s natural surrounds enjoy beautiful contrasts of red, white and blue highlighted by the red earth, the white sands of Cable Beach and the deep blues of Roebuck Bay. Beyond that, Broome also has a culturally diverse history. Japanese entrepreneurs looking to develop the pearling industry in the late 19th century were soon joined by local Aboriginal as well as Chinese, Filipino and Malay divers. At its peak, Broome was the source of 80% of the world’s mother-of-pearl, employing some 3,000 men.
Nowadays, the commercial heart of Australia’s pearling capital is known as Chinatown, and there are cemeteries for Japanese, Chinese and Muslims, attesting to the dangerous occupation of pearl diving. If you time your visit in August, be sure to attend the 10-day Shinju Matsuri Festival, showcasing many Japanese traditions.
For more on the town’s fascinating multicultural history, head to the Broome Museum or to Pearl Luggers for insight into the pearling industry. Nowadays, diving for pearls in open water has been replaced by more modern pearl farming, on display at the Willie Creek Pearl Farm north of Broome. The area produces some of the largest and finest South Sea pearls in the world.
The region’s stunning contrasts have drawn the creative types, with many Aboriginal artists contributing to Broome’s vibrant arts scene. Wander around town and browse through the many galleries featuring both traditional and contemporary Aboriginal art inspired by the beautiful landscapes around Broome and the Kimberley. If you need a break from all that culture, a night out at Sun Pictures, the world’s oldest operating outdoor cinema is in order.
Other activities around Broome include the not-to-be-missed monthly Staircase to the Moon in nearby Roebuck Bay, just east of town. For three nights a month between March and October, the light from the full moon reflects off the exposed, rippled mud flats of the bay at low tide, creating the illusion of a glittering staircase to the moon. Locals and tourists alike enjoy coming out to Town Beach, noshing on snacks from the evening food stalls, all washed down with a cold beer while waiting for the celestial spectacle. Check the Visitor’s Centre for exact dates and times.
Just a few kilometres from downtown Broome is the long stretch of Cable Beach with its wide, sandy beaches and gentle surf. Named after a late 19th-century project to lay down an underwater cable linking Broome to Java (Indonesia), 22 km-long Cable Beach is now known for its spectacular ocean sunsets, ample water sports, and iconic camel rides, a throwback to when camels were brought over from the Middle East to help explore this vast, arid land. Park your Broome 4WD Hire Bush Camper right on the sand and enjoy a picnic dinner while watching the dazzling sunset. Or get to know the area better by walking one of the trails through the coastal reserve of Minyirr Park, taking in views of sand dunes, bush and Cable Beach itself.
Travel back in time at Gantheaume Point just south of Broome, where you’ll find 10 dinosaur footprints made approximately 135 million years ago. Only visible at very low tide, walking in these footprints is truly spectacular. For a less impressive experience, see the plastic cast of the prints set higher up on the rocks. Another attraction is Anastasia’s Pool, carved out from the rock by a devoted lighthouse keeper for his wife to soak in and ease her arthritis.
Once you’ve had your fill of civilization, it’s now time to take your Broome 4WD Hire to explore the great outdoor adventures that Western Australia has to offer.
Broome National Parks
Surrounding Broome, there are at least five national parks to discover including the Prince Regent with highlights being the Kings Cascades waterfalls, Python Cliffs and Pitta Gorge; the Mitchell River National Park with its striking tiered waterfalls cascading down a series of pools; Drysdale River National Park, home to a network of bush trails taking in woodlands, creeks and gorges; remote Karlamilyi National Park, Western Australia’s largest at over 1.2 million hectares; and Karijini National Park where you can swim in spring-fed pools, bush walk through ancient, towering gorges, and paddle in crystalline waterways.
With Broome as your jumping-off point, test your off-roading skills along thrilling coast-to-outback drives, offering ever-changing landscapes ranging from arid wilderness to lush oases. Excellent 4WD Rental adventures can be had heading north to the remote Dampier Peninsular or east along the Gibb River Road to the Kimberley.
Home to various indigenous communities including those of the Ngumbarl, Jabirrjabirr, Nyulnyul, Nimanburru and Bardi peoples, follow the unsealed, 200 km-long Cape Leveque Road which starts just east of Broome. This rough, corrugated dirt road with some sandy sections is 4WD-only and requires complete self-sufficiency, including bringing your own food, water and fuel with only a few top-up spots along the way.
Highlights of the Dampier Peninsula include the Willie Creek Pearl Farm where visitors can learn all about the process of culturing pearls as well as take a boat trip to the protected tidal estuary of Willie Creek. The Beagle Bay Church is also worth a visit with its hundred-year-old pearl-shell altar built by missionaries.
Nature lovers will definitely want to stop at Middle Lagoon for water sports including swimming, snorkeling and fishing, as well as Cape Leveque at the very tip of the Dampier Peninsula, known for its clear water and white sand beaches backed by bright red sandstone cliffs. Another popular activity here is taking a guided walk led by a member of the Aboriginal community which includes a session on spear fishing while learning about the 40,000-year history of the area’s indigenous peoples. The drive from Broome in your 4WD Bush Camper should take about three hours with camping allowed in designated areas across the cape.
Gibb River Road
For an epic off-roading, back-country adventure, plan on traveling along the Gibb River Road. Originally built to move cattle through the dry wilderness, the 660 km-long unsealed road pierces the heart of the Kimberley, from Derby to Wyndham and Kununnurra.
At the western end of the Gibb River Road lies Derby, the first settled town in the Kimberley. Before heading onto “The Gibb” as it’s affectionately known, you’ll want to visit nearby Talbot Bay, home to the mesmerizing Horizontal Waterfalls. Called “one of the greatest natural wonders of the world” by none other than Sir David Attenborough, the pair of pinch rapids are the result of powerful tides roaring through narrow sandstone gorges creating white water as high as 4 metres and traveling as fast as 10 knots per hour.
From Derby, head east on the Gibb River Road and prepare yourself for some beautiful, primal scenery including green gorges and picturesque riverbeds that change dramatically between the Dry and Wet seasons. This classic Outback drive can be rough, rocky and corrugated and is only accessible from April to November. Also, because most of the area is made up of Aboriginal communities and private cattle stations with fuel stops far and few between, you’ll need to stock up on all necessities before making the trip.
However, for experienced drivers, the Kimberley offers a spectacular outdoor journey through one of the oldest geological regions on earth. Closer to Indonesia than to Sydney, the Kimberley is one of Australia’s last frontiers, 432,000 sq km of wilderness sparsely inhabited by cattle ranchers and Aboriginal communities said to have arrived on the continent some 200,000 years ago. It’s ochre-colored ranges, croc-filled waters and rugged coastline provide for a genuine Outback adventure. In this remote area with no man-made sources of light, the night sky allows for some truly impressive star-gazing.
Spend some time getting to know the West Kimberley’s three national parks, each with unique features for outdoor enthusiasts. The 350-million-year-old Windjana Gorge features 100 m-high cliffs overlooking the Lennard River best seen via a 3.5 km hike. Explore more by staying at the campground and getting good looks at the freshwater crocs sunning themselves on the riverbank.
Tunnel Creek National Park
Nearby Tunnel Creek National Park is home to a 750 m-long passage that meanders its way through a spur of the Napier Range and into Western Australia’s oldest cave system. Wade through cool waters and admire the huge stalactites hanging overhead with bats, fish and even freshwater crocodiles for company. As a bonus, be rewarded by ancient Aboriginal paintings at both ends.
Another national park worth mentioning is the superb, 3,000 hectare Geikie Gorge, an ancient flooded reef shaped by the mighty waters of the Fitzroy River. The park is best explored via two dedicated bush walking trails to see the 30 m-high, multi-coloured cliffs and forests of river red gum trees. There are also boat tours led by indigenous guides of the local Bunuba people. Keep your eyes open for ancient fossils and native wildlife, including dingos, wallabies and freshwater crocs along the way while listening to age-old stories about the Aboriginal Dreamtime.
More scenic stops await along The Gibb, including Bell and Manning Gorges, with their magical pools and waterfalls. Take the easy, gently sloping 4 km-long Bell Gorge Walk Trail for awesome views of the gorge, folded rock formations and cascading waterfall where swimming is permitted. At Manning Gorge, the adventurous 5.6 km trail includes wading or swimming across the Manning River and hiking through savannah woodlands to be rewarded with a swim a huge pool fed by the cool waters of a waterfall.
Continue east along the Gibb River Road, travelling 2-3 hours along 52 km of difficult, unsealed roads in your Broome 4WD Hire Bush Camper to reach the 3,000 sq km Purnululu National Park. Located in the southeast corner of the Kimberley, Western Australia’s most famous park features the Bungle Bungle Range as its star attraction. These magnificent, beehive-shaped sandstone towers were created over millions of years by the elements and are known for their fascinating layers alternating between darker and lighter shades of rock. Inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003, the Bungle Bungle are said to be “the most outstanding example of cone karst in sandstones anywhere in the world”.
While in the park, enjoy walking through the natural gorges of Echidna Chasm, Cathedral Gorge and Piccaninny Gorge. Wildlife here includes nail-tailed wallabies, rainbow bee-eaters and raucous flocks of budgerigars. Bush walking trails are popular through the gorges, each with its own unique features.
Cathedral Gorge is a natural, red rock amphitheatre with acoustics so good that music has been played here. Echidna Chasm features steep walls, some as high as 200 m in places. A highlight of the Bungle Bungles, the narrow chasm also has tall Livistonia palms and an ever-changing medley of colours as the sun penetrates into the gorge at various times of day. The impressive Piccaninny Gorge with its sandstone ledges and eroded riverbed can also be explored along a 3 km-long bush walk leading to a lookout point with superb views across the ranges.
While there is much to explore on foot, the park is also an off-road playground, putting your Broome 4WD Hire through its paces with deep creek crossings and rugged terrain. There are two camping areas in the park, equipped with bore water and toilets, providing a perfect spot for your Broome 4WD Bush Camper.
Head north for Australia’s second-largest reservoir, the scenic Lake Argyle. The largest man-made lake in the southern hemisphere, the lake utilizes the waters of the Ord River to irrigate the surrounding dry plains, leading to amazing results in nurturing local flora and fauna. Cruise the deep blue waters of the enormous reservoir and spot the superb range of wildlife, including 240 species of birds, with time for swimming and fishing. There is also a scenic picnic spot at the base of the dam, with several bushwalking trails available.
Broome 4WD Hire is part of Australian 4WD Hire, a nationwide network of premium rental agencies strategically positioned in close proximity to all famous 4WD destinations and hotspots as well as major regional and capital cities throughout Australia, ensuring you’re never far from a pick-up point.
Australian 4WD Hire is renowned for our meticulously maintained vehicles and top-tier customer service. Our fleet is constantly being updated to ensure you enjoy your self-drive adventure in comfort and safety. 4WD Tourism is one of the best ways to see the broad range of amazing sights Australia has to offer, with the flexibility and freedom to discover the outdoors at your own pace. For your Broome 4WD Hire adventure, please contact us at 1 300 360 339 or +617 5527 6191. Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at www.australian4wdhire.com.au