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4WD or not to 4WD? That is the Question.

4WD or not to 4WD? That is the Question.
June 25, 2016 Ed Bennett
Convoy of 4WD Vehicles

You’ve decided that an outback Western Australia Kimberley adventure is a priority on your holiday bucket list! Rest assured, you will fall in love with her vibrant colours, vitality, history and endless space. Get set to explore stunning landscapes of rustic-red mountain ranges, rugged gorges, sparkling pristine waterholes, beaches, rivers and magnificent waterfalls in a four-wheel drive adventure of a lifetime! The Kimberley region boasts the whole hullabaloo— as she truly is one of the spectacular last frontiers!

Locations in the Kimberley region that are only reachable by 4WD?

One of our favourites and most special locations are the remote aboriginal art sites at Munurru near the King Edward River, these are off the Gibb River Road but worth the detour. The art sites are on the spiritual land of the Wunambal people and comprise both Wandjina and Gwion Gwion (Bradshaw) with some paintings dated at over 17 000 years old, and likely to be a lot older. We also highly recommend venturing to see some of the gorges and waterholes off the Gibb River Road, including Windjana Gorge, Tunnel Creek, Bell Gorge, Galvin’s Gorge, Barnett River & Manning Falls – all of these are accessible with a well prepared 4WD and then after a bit of a walk you’ll be rewarded with a refreshing swim.

Locations where you don’t need a 4 wheel drive – which are still spectacular

It’s definitely preferable to have a 4WD when travelling in the Kimberley region (see below) but if you do not have access to one but still want to taste adventure then these places will be just the ticket: Giekie Gorge (Darngku) Cruise just out of Fitzroy Crossing – either with DPaW or Darngku Heritage Cruise for a more cultural experience and Mowanjum Aboriginal Art & Cultural Centre (just out of Derby on the Gibb River Road sealed section) – the best Indigenous art and cultural centre in the West Kimberley.

How much of the region can only be reached by 4WD?

We do see coach groups and the Commodores towing caravans around Highway 1 but really that’s a bit like going to Rome and not bothering with the Colosseum – you’ve just missed out all the best bits! The Kimberley is all about getting off the beaten track, testing the 4WD and exploring; from Cape Leveque and the amazing coastline, along the Gibb River Road, to the remote Mitchell Plateau, and the stunning East Kimberley including El Questro and the World Heritage listed Bungle Bungles.

So in conclusion, it’s pretty simple really. If you want to experience the ‘real Kimberley’ then you really need to travel in a 4WD.  A self drive trip or a fully guided 4WD tour experience – well that is another question….