Tour Title: Wonders of Kimberly
Tour Company: AAT Kings (Tour 1) and Journey Beyond Rail (Tour 2)
Places Visited: Broome, Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek, El Questro Wilderness Park, Kununurra, Katherine, Darwin, Alice Springs, Manguri / Coober Pedy
Dates: 16 August 2022 to 03 September 2022 (16 days)
It has always been a desire of mine to do a long distance train journey and when I was in primary school I was enthralled by outback Australia and in particular west coast. This trip allowed me to do both at the same time and enjoy it with my sister Kara as a bonus.
Note: This trip was a combination of two tours:
- Kimberley Untamed (AAT Kings: Broome to Darwin)
- The Ghan Expedition (Journey Beyond Rail: Darwin to Adelaide)
On the first bus leg there were 35 tour members including myself and Kara. On the rail leg there were 184 tour members.
- Broome City Tour
- Geikie Gorge cruise
- Visit Indigenous Artists Studio
- History of Argyle Diamond Mine from Indigenous leader
- Hike to Emma Gorge and swim in waterhole
- Ord River cruise
- Optional Activity: Light airplane flight over Ord River and Bungle Bungle
- Nitmiluk Gorge cruise (AKA Katherine Gorge)
- Chamberlain Gorge cruise (cancelled due to weather)
- Visit Adelaide River War Cemetery
- Tom Curtin Katherine Outback Experience
- Darwin City Tour (brief)
- Darwin Harbour Dinner Sunset cruise
- Train Excursion Katherine: Nitmiluk Gorge Helicopter Flight
- Train Excursion Alice Springs: Alice Explorer & Outback BBQ Dinner (Royal Flying Doctors Service, Reptile Centre, Alice Springs School of the Air)
- Train Excursion Coober Pedy: Explore Coober Pedy (Umoona Opal Mine Musuem, Quest Mine, Serbian Underground Church, The Breakways)
This was a stunning trip that reminded me that Australia is more a continent than a country, it is vast with extremely diverse landscapes and climates.
Looking back now I think almost every day had something unique to experience and trying to cut activities from this highlight write up was very difficult.
The wildlife ranged from fresh and saltwater crocodiles, emus, kangaroos, wallabies, exotic birds, wild horses, camels, cows and sheep.
The landscape ranged from beach, semi rural, rural, dessert, and lash green (near Adelaide). Hiking to Emma Gorge was a particular highlight for getting closer to the spectacular landscape.
The three gorge cruises were all different. The Geikie Gorge cruise was everything I had imagine a gorge cruise would be but even better. A gentle cruise that highlighted the formations of the rocks and trees that somehow survive being underwater in the wet season.
The Ord River cruise showcased the marvel that is the Ord Dam. It was both a slow cruise and at times a speeding cruise, we definitely saw a lot of wildlife on this cruise and seeing the sunset while on the water was amazing.
And finally the Nitmiluk Gorge cruise allowed us the again see great rock formatio but also this time some indigenous rock art.
A massive highlight was the two aerial options, the light plane flight over Ord Dam and Bungle Bungle and the helicopter flight over Nitmiluk cruise. The plane flight started at sunrise and seeing the amazing Ord Dam from a different perspective was great and the Bungle Bungle region is just stunning.
The helicopter flight also offered another perspective of the Nitmiluk Gorge and was a heart rising being in a helicopter in flight feeling the air on your face as the craft is open to the environment!
The Ghan was an experience in itself. The train and staff were excellent, the cabin was a good place to watch the changing landscape and sleep during the night. The food was exquisite, and the drinks were free flowing.