5 Kimberley National Parks for Adventurers in a Hurry
Flanked by the Indian Ocean on the west, the Northern Territory on the east, the Timor Sea on the north, and the Tanami and Great Sandy deserts on the south, the Kimberley region in Western Australia is regarded as one of the last remaining wilderness in the face of the planet. It is one of the earliest settled parts of the country yet also one of the least densely populated places. The area’s relative isolation, as well as its myriad of spectacular landscapes, teeming flora and fauna, and rich cultural history make it an extremely attractive destination for many adventurers.
Experiencing a Kimberley tour will take you to many storied places and obscure yet equally captivating locations. The region, in fact, is home to many destinations, including a number of national parks that are all worth visiting. However, seeing all of them can be quite a challenge for visitors who can only spare a day or two away from home or work. One way to get the most out of a short holiday in the Kimberley is to schedule a day tour of a national park. Here are some of the most popular options for such an endeavour:
- Purnululu National Park
Purnululu is the most well-known national park in the Kimberley for a good reason. The park was created a World Heritage Site in 2003 and is known as the home of the Bungle Bungle Range—famous sandstone domes with grey and orange bands. The range is considered to be one of the most impressive sandstone tower karst terrains in the world, and it attracts viewers especially late in the day because of its changing golden colour. Aside from seeing the range, day visitors can also walk along Piccaninny Creek, Echidna Chasm, or to various scenic destinations. The last 53 kilometres of the park is only accessible via 4-wheel drives, and many people opt to see Bungle Bungle while on a helicopter.
- Windjana Gorge National Park
Carved by the Lennard River through the Napier Range, the Windjana Gorge is 3.5 kilometres long and 100 meters wide, with some places reaching around 30 metres in height. The park is home to freshwater crocodiles, corellas, and fruit bats. A walk through the park allows visitors to look at fossilised marine forms as well as various plants and animals. The park’s name is derived from the powerful spirits sacred to the Bunuba people.
- Tunnel Creek National Park
The Tunnel Creek National Park offers destinations that will delight history geeks. The centre of attraction in the park is a natural cave—the oldest cave system in Western Australia—that bears Aboriginal rock paintings and cave formations. The same cave also served as a hideout of the Aboriginal warrior Jandamarra, who was killed outside the cave entrance in 1897.
- Danggu Geikie Gorge National Park
The Danggu Geikie Gorge National Park is an accessible and must-see destination for those who aren’t afraid to get wet. The 8-kilometre gorge is carved by the Fitzroy River and offers plenty of opportunities for boating activities and wildlife viewing. Among the wildlife seen in the area are purple-crowned fairy-wrens, sea eagles, and flying foxes. The Bunuba people has a deep connection to the land and offers guided cultural boat tours.
- Wolfe Creek Crater National Park
It took a meteorite to create the Wolfe Creek Crater National Park. In fact, it’s the second largest crater in the world where meteorite fragments have been collected. Park visitors have to visit the top of the crater rim, but there’s more to see here than the aftermath of a spectacular meteorite impact. The park is also home to cockatoos, brown ringtail dragons, and other critters.
There are plenty of other worthy destinations in the Kimberley, but these 5 parks offer plenty of activities and sights that will keep adventurers preoccupied and highly satisfied over a weekend tour.