Beyond Broome: A Journey to the Kimberley Region

With excitement and nerves for the adventure ahead, my friend Emma and I boarded the plane from Brisbane to Broome via Perth. We would soon be on the open road exploring The Kimberleys, one of the last great wilderness areas of Australia.

That's me on the left and Emma on the right
That's me on the left and Emma on the right 

Our first two nights were spent in Broome, where we watched the 'Staircase to the Moon', an astrological phenomenon seen when a full moon rises over mud flats. We also visited Chinatown, Matso's Brewery, Gantheaume Point, Sun Gardens Picture Theatre, the Staircase to the Moon markets and Cable Beach where we swam in the Indian Ocean.

 Staircase to the Moon
Staircase to the Moon

We made our way north to Cape Leveque where we stayed for two nights at the Kooljamin eco-resort. One of the highlights of our time there was the bushtucker walking tour led by our guide, Bundy, who gave us a brief insight into the huge world of ancient Aboriginal knowledge. We met some Bardi Jawi Rangers, who gave a talk about protecting the Kimberley Region's beautiful environment and drawing on local cultural knowledge and practices to sustainably manage the land.

Bundy from Bundy's Cultural tours, sharing his knowledge about local bushtucker
Bundy from Bundy's Cultural tours, sharing his knowledge about local bushtucker
 One of the incredible sunrises we saw, taken at Kooljamin, with the sun shining over the Indian Ocean
One of the incredible sunrises we saw, taken at Kooljamin, with the sun shining over the Indian Ocean

We headed along the Gibb River Road, and our first stop was Windjana Gorge, a striking landscape formed by the ancient Denovian reef system that looms a hundred meters tall alongside the camp grounds. Windjana is one of the best places in the world to see freshwater crocodiles, and we saw a number of them as we walked on the track through the gorge. It felt like a scene from Jurassic Park.

 A freshwater crocodile, seen at Windjana Gorge
A freshwater crocodile, seen at Windjana Gorge
The red rock walls of Windjana Gorge tower over a boab tree
‍The red rock walls of Windjana Gorge tower over a boab tree

We managed to escape the hottest part of the day at Tunnel Creek, a cave-like tunnel once carved by an underground river. We waded through pools of clear, shallow water with soft sand underfoot. Some parts of the walk were pitch black so we had to take torches. We emerged to find an idyllic waterhole, lined with Melaleuca trees.

 Exploring Tunnel Creek
Exploring Tunnel Creek

Our next stop on the Gibb River Road was the stunning Bell Gorge. The water cascaded down the forty metre drop into the deep pool below. A quick dip in the refreshing water was the best reward after the hot walk.

 Bells Gorge, from below
Bells Gorge, from below

Sitting under the clear sky that night was a real highlight of the trip. The stars were breath-taking; a clear night sky offered views into the heavens.

Sitting under the clear sky

The next day we pressed further along the Gibb River Road, stopping in at Galvans George, a smaller waterfall surrounded by green ferns and gum trees that seemed to grow straight out of vertical rock faces.

 Galvans Gorge
Galvans Gorge
Gibb River Road
Gibb River Road

We stayed at Mt Barnett Station and hiked into Manning Gorge. Before walking, we had to cross a river in a boat that was rigged on a pulley system for walkers to pull their group to the start of the trail. The trail eventually led us to the impressive and powerful Manning Falls. 

Manning Falls

We spent an entire day exploring all the gorge had to offer - swimming, picnicking and lazing. The area was full of life with spiders and insects of all types, tiny frogs, wallabies and even the occasional freshwater crocodile.

Swimming, picnicking and lazing

We made the journey back to Broome with memories, photos, lots of sand in our shoes and red dirt on our wheels. What a magnificent, remote place the Kimberley Region is. The Australian environment is harsh and beautiful. We must all protect it so that others can also fall in love with the land as we did.

Thank you Future Super for this incredible experience. Emma and I had the time of our lives in the Kimberley. We will treasure these memories forever.

Claire Ogden

Disclaimers
*This account was written by Claire Ogden, winner of Future Super's 2015 Pledge to Divest competition. Claire won a trip for two to the Kimberley Region in Western Australia. Claire has her super invested with Future Super and also banks with an ethical bank that does not invest in fossil fuels. **All images are the property of Emma Louise Francis, and she retains all ownership rights. Emma's stunning images have been used with permission.