Sorrel takes the DIY approach and gets a safaripass to discover the remote parts of the Northern Territory.
The Kimberley is Australia's last frontier. It is twice the size of Victoria, stretching from the Northern Territory's western border to Broome on the coast, yet only has a population of around 25,000. The area offers a wide variety of attractions. You can relax on a pristine beach or sample true outback adventures in very remote country where towns are far apart.
Arriving from the east the first town is Kununurra, gateway to some of the world's harshest and most spectacular landscapes. Thanks to two manmade dams, Kununurra has a thriving agriculture industry and a permanent supply of water.
Neil and Liz McGilp have been running Kimberley Wilderness Adventures for more than 10 years. They began with backpacker canoe trips through the Bungle Bungles and after running a hostel for a while, changed direction and now run tours around the place they know well and love.
The McGilps offer 4WD self-drive tours around the Kimberley without the hassles of arranging your own accommodation. They have two to 13 day tours from Broome and Kununurra for up to 13 people. You can choose between staying in one of six permanent safari camps which have a landline or satellite phone, or at a station.
There are two main roads through the Kimberley the Great Northern Highway, which is sealed, and the Gibb River Road, which is not. The old stock route is popular because of its access to Windjana Gorge. The gorge was carved through the Napier range by the Lennard River which only flows for short periods.
The campsites are run with the approval of the Aboriginal owners who are paid rent in return. Some members of the communities assist in setting up camp and they welcome the employment.
You can purchase a Safaripass for as many days as you wish, work out your itinerary with the operators or their agent and your camp will be booked ahead and ready for your arrival.
Tented accommodation, breakfast and dinner are provided. They are solar powered and environmentally friendly. Each one is staffed by a host who doubles as camp cook.
The six safari camps are well spread, allowing visitors to see much of the Kimberley and having the comfort of knowing they will have somewhere to eat and sleep at the end of a day.
Imintji is a small Aboriginal community located along the Gibb River Road. There is a small shop there for any necessary supplies as you can imagine, places to purchase things are few and far between in the Kimberley. The site overlooks Saddlers Creek and the tents have floors with matting and zip up. They have real beds with linen, bedside tables and solar-powered lighting. Facilities are shared.
Yuma Camp is part of the old Fairfield Station homestead in the Windjana Gorge. Seven tents are set up on a grassy area near the kitchen which is part of the old station. It also has an amenities block. Fairfield is a working property so at sunset there is plenty of action as the animals head for home.
Purnululu (also known as the Bungle Bungles) Safari Camp is 312 kilometres from Kununurra and is an ideal base for exploring the wonderful Bungle Bungles.
King Edward River Safari Camp has inviting cool water for swimming and an abundant supply of Aboriginal art.
Mitchell Plateu Camp is one of the country's most remote accommodation facilities. It is 550 kilometres from Kununurra on Camp Creek's permanent water and close to Mitchell Falls.
Brumby Station Camp Park is on the Pentecost River. It is beautifully shaded and perfect for exploring the famous El Questro Wilderness Park.
Side tours include a Bower Bird cruise on Lake Argyle, a Darnkgu Aboriginal Heritage cruise on Geike Gorge, a Chamberlain Gorge cruise at El Questro Station and a helicopter "taxi" flight over Mitchell Falls.