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Lifestyle : Adventures in the Kimberley
1HERSA1 0006 FREECALL 1800 623 068 www.nht.com.au firstname.lastname@example.org 3 Woodford Place Thornton NSW 2322 Best of Southern WA Northern Territory Red Heart Kimberley Magic Kimberley Experience Broome to Perth WA Southern Wonders Departs 23 Feb - 18 Days 92 ppts 1 3 3 s s Escape the heat and relax in WA with an ave e of Explore Perth, Mar aret H den, Esperence, Kal oorlie, Mad ra Pass, ed na, P M E!!!! Departs 24 April - 18 Days $5,389ppts, $1,645 s/s is to r ta es yo ri ht p the centre of A stralia fro oober Pedy to arwin iscover l r , Kin s anyon, Alice prin s, Katherine, the world herita e Ka ad ational Par and arwin! Depart 19 June - 10 Days $3,575 ppts, $1,124 s/s iscover A stralia s real o tbac fro Alice prin s, Mac onnell an es, tandley has , Ellery ree i Hole, len Helen or e, Pal alley, l r , Kin s anyon PLUS MORE!!! Departs 30 June & 28 July & 11 August 14 Days - $6,351 ppts, $1,303 s/s Experience the best the Ki berley s have to o er! Incl des arwin, erry prin s, Katherine, K n n rra, Wyndha , El Q estro, P rn l l ational Par , Fitzroy rossin , roo e Departs 10 July - 10 Days $4,680 ppts, $939 s/s Explore so e of A stralia s best ept sec Ki berley Travel thro h roo e, Fitzroy ll ree , E a or e, n le n les, n rra and arwin! Departs 8 & 23 August - 16 Days $5,138 ppts, $1,603 s/s iscover this last reat frontier of A stralia! Jo rney fro roo e to Port Hedland, Karijini ational Par , To Price, Ex o th, arnarvon, Mon ey Mia, Kalbarri, eraldton and Perth! Departs 23, August & 6, 25 Sept - 14 Days $3,999 ppts, $1,134 s/s Enjoy all the niq e wonders o thern WA has to o er! Explore Perth, Mar aret iver, Albany, Hyden, Esperance and Kal oorlie! Quality Northern Highland Travel INCLUSIONS Fli hts & ost eals 100% A stralian and fa ily owned! entrally located and best available hotel x ry Mercedes enz coaches with state of the art safety F lly ided by professional and accredited rivers & To r irectors Free Airport transfers fro the H nter alley and entral oast to ydney obert s fa o s ho e ade ornin teas Experience the Magic of the Kimberley! BEST VALUE COACH TOURS! All of our tours include ights, quality accommodation and most meals! NEW BROCHURE OUT NOW CALL KATIE LAST SEATS ap th era e e er ref r ive,Albay Hy M d a LAST SEAT S pl re crets i the K ber y Fi zr ro sin , Halls le K n 6 February 6, 2011 THE SUN-HERALD the kimberley special report Rough and red Lee Atkinson packs her swag and takes a dusty trail straight through the heart.. Each has its own fireplace and a frog- filled flushing toilet. Force of nature . . . (from left) the stunning Mitchell Falls; a couple relax at the Pentecost River. FORGET your fancy-pants cruises, five-star station resorts and half- hour helicopter flyovers. As far as I'm concerned, you can't claim to have seen the Kimberley until you've driven through the middle of it, slept in a swag in the centre of it, got red bulldust into every crease and crevice of your body, gone without a shower for days on end and then soaked it all away while floating in a crystal-clear waterhole beneath a pounding waterfall. And the best way to do all that is to drive the Gibb River Road. Driving the Gibb is a road trip for those who want a true outback adventure. It starts just west of Kununurra and spears through the heart of the Kimberley to meet the sea at Derby 1130 dusty kilometres later. It's remote, rugged and four- wheel-drive only. You need to be pretty much self-sufficient, carry spares and tools and be willing to camp most nights but it is one of the most beautiful outback drives in the country, with jagged mountain ranges, spectacular gorges, beautiful waterfalls, serene billabongs, ancient rock-art galleries and wild, uninhabited wilderness. In Kununurra, we stock up on supplies and spend an evening watching the sun go down with a glass of wine on a sunset cruise of Lake Argyle (counting crocodiles, of which there are said to be 25,000 of the freshwater variety living in the body of water created by the Ord River Scheme, the world's largest man-made body of water). Then we head west, leaving the bitumen behind just kilometres out of town. The Gibb crosses the Pentecost River, rolls through undulating savannah land and past stands of boab trees. Oddly enough, the landscape looks kind of familiar; Baz Luhrmann filmed much of Australia in and around El Questro and Home Valley Station, both million-acre cattle stations that have a range of accommodation for travellers, from five-star luxury to camping sites. Both stations can be hard to leave. El Questro, on the eastern side of the Pentecost, has some of the best swimming holes to be found, including Emma Gorge, an achingly beautiful pool surrounded by towering 120-metre- high red rock walls, over which Emma Falls spills from above; and Zebedee Thermal Springs, naturally warm pools hidden among sheer cliffs and ancient palms. Home Valley, on the other side of the river, has glorious views of the Cockburn Range and fantastic horse riding. Both stations have hot showers, soft beds, cold beer and fine food. But we're keen to rough it, so after a night or two of spoiling ourselves at the stations, we take the tough, 240-kilometre track to the Mitchell Plateau, through thick, red dust with creek crossings and corrugations so rugged that half our camping gear disintegrates. Yet the trip through the changing landscape and dense thickets of fan palms is one of the highlights of the trip. We set up camp near a beautiful crocodile-free waterhole. The Mitchell River, flowing northwards, drains into the Admiralty Gulf, carving gorges and waterfalls though the plateau and we spend our mornings walking to special places such as the dramatic, three-tiered Mitchell Falls and crystal-clear Surveyors Pool, to spend our afternoons floating on our backs in waterholes. Eventually, we get back on the road. The track cuts through gorges, each more impossibly magnificent than the last. One of the most spectacular, Bell Gorge, is a series of cascading waterfalls where the Isdell River slashes its way through the mountains, forming several excellent swimming holes. We camp under the shade of boab trees, where campsites are strung along the riverside. Each has its own fireplace and a frog-filled flushing toilet, Top tips Roads are impassable November to April. The dry ''winter'' season, May to October, is the best time to travel. The Savannah Way is fully sealed; the Gibb River Road and track into Purnululu is four- wheel-drive only. Car hire is available in Kununurra and Broome. Many of the Kimberley's highlights are inaccessible by vehicle, so make sure you budget for a couple of scenic flights --- they are worth it.