Tour Title: Untamed Kimberley
Tour Company: AAT Kings
Tour Leader: Dave
Bus Driver: Michael
Tour Members: 35 (can be maximum of 48)
Places Visited: Broome, Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek, El Questro Wilderness Park, Emma Gorge, Kununurra, Argyle Diamond Mine, Ord Dam, Nitmiluk National Park, Katherine Gorge, Darwin
Dates: 19 August 2022 to 29 August 2022 (11 days)
Daily Journal Entries
I took this tour as part of the Wonders of the Kimberley tour that covered AAT Kings Untamed Kimberley (this review) and The Ghan Expedition. While the major focus for me was The Ghan this tour allowed me to see a lot of remote Australia and was definitely worth doing as a stand alone tour.
- Geike Gorge boat cruise (Fitzroy Crossing day)
- Visit Indigenous Art Gallery (Halls Creek day)
- Visit Argyle Diamond Mine area and hear from Indigenous leader (El Questro Wilderness Park day 1)
- Chamberlain Gorge cruise (El Questro Wilderness Park day 2) –
cancelled due to poor weather
- Hike to Emmage Gorge (El Questro Wilderness Park day 2)
note: physical rating 4
- A visit award winning Hoochery Distillery (Kununurra day 1)
- A visit to the Durack Homestead Museum (Kununurra day 1)
- Ord River / Dam Cruise (Kununurra day 1)
- Tom Curtin Katherine Outback Experience (Katherine day)
- Katherine Gorge Cruise (Before leaving to Darwin)
- Broome City Sightseeing Tour with Sunset Nibbles ($99 per person)
- Flight over Lake Argyle and Bungle Bungle (2 hours early morning $450 per person)
Basically everyday had a highlight. The three cruises were amazing in different ways, the Geike Gorge had incredible landscapes, rock formations, the Ord River cruise had amazing wildlife and a stunning sunset, the Katherine Gorge Cruise had some ancient Aboriginal Art and perfect calming waters.
When of the best calls of the trip was paying for the flight over Lake Argyle and Bungle Bungle. Talking to other tours members upgrading to the flight plus 4WD would also be a great option.
Dave was a brilliant tour leader, nothing seemed to be too much trouble. He had exceptionally strong knowledge of all the areas visited. Dave went above and beyond many times especially helping people with luggage or any issues that they had.
Dave had a good selection of topical documentaries for longer bus rides and a good selection of music songs which occasionally had the bus singing along.
Broome – Cable Beach Club Resort
The best of the accommodation was the first. Right on across from Cable Beach, great rooms, two pools (one only for adults so quieter), tennis courts, mini golf, and a few restaurants. Included breakfast had huge selections. You will see wallabies on site.
Fitzroy Crossing – Fitzroy River Lodge
Nice hotel but be warned in the motel section you will feel you room move a little during the night as it is on silts. AC and roof fans. You will see wallabies, birds and even some cows on the grounds. Didn’t use the pool. Very close the Fitzroy River Bridge which is worth a visit.
Halls Creek – Kimberley Hotel
Reasonable hotel, stayed in standard twin room. AC and roof fan to keep you cool. Wifi didn’t work. Had included buffet dinner and breakfast which was reasonable.
El Questro Wilderness Park – Emma Gorge Resort
One of the highlights of the trip. We stayed in safari styled tented cabins which were amazing. You are surrounded by nature. The cabins has shower and toilet. No wifi available. On site dinning was excellent for a remote area. Pool was fairly cold but still much appreciated after a hike.
Kununurra – The Kimberley Grande
Excellent room, we stayed in a Terrace Twin Room (although sliding door to terrace didn’t open). Comfortable beds. AC and roof fan. Very nice bathroom. Excellent pool area and pool. Free laundry facilities (used had to buy detergent). On site meals were good although queuing at bar for drinks could take a long time.
Katherine – Paraway Motel
Very basic motel. Don’t have high expectation as it only does the basics. Included buffet dinner and breakfast was just okay. Didn’t try to use the wifi.
Darwin – Vibe Hotel Darwin Waterfront
Very good city hotel. Location is major positive. Good beds, fast wifi. Received a welcome gift on arrival celebrating a birthday. Breakfast was excellent. Didn’t use the pool or gym. Would stay again at the Vibe.
While this is an expensive tour you get a lot out of the tour. The extra cost ensures you get looked after in the best accommodation and with a good bus.
The passengers on the bus tended to be around retirement age with some over, others under. However the majority were young at heart and really want to be in this remote area and get the most from the unique experiences on offer.
In short this trip is very much worth it is you want to experience Outback and Remote Australia and see just how diverse and great nature can be. Do it if you can afford it.