The Gibb River Road, Kimberley, and beyond - 2022 Recap
Throughout May & June 2022, I travelled to the Kimberley Region of Western Australia for a four week long photography trip where I would finally experience the rugged and remote Gibb River Road and many of it's scenic attractions. I've been visiting the Kimberley for 3 years now, including one 3 month stint in Kununurra where I really got to know this dramatic Northwest landscape, but this visit was the first time I've been here in the dry season.
The other 3 times I'd been to the Kimberley where in the Summer months, which for Northern Australia is the wet season. The Kimberley experiences monsoon weather with frequent thunderstorms, high humidity, and heavy (sometimes consistent) rainfall between November - April. This is when I usually like to visit for a few reasons, the main one being that the consistent rainfall transforms the rugged ranges into lush green hillsides and cascading freshwater streams. There are literally hundreds of waterfalls to see after a good downpour, and this is one of my favourite scenes to photograph. Another thing I see as a benefit of visiting in the wet season is the lack of tourists and in general how quiet the towns and local destinations are at that time of year, personally I enjoy the peace and quiet, so it makes sense to visit in the off season sometimes.
However, with the rainfall of the wet season comes road closures, access to many of the well known Kimberley experiences & destinations is impossible, so I had not seen many of the main attractions until now!
Four days of tropical paradise on the colourful Kimberley coast.
This was my third time in Broome, but the first time experiencing the 10 metre spring tides that the West Kimberley is known for. It was incredible to witness the tidal fluctuations, as the coastline I had been photographing on sunrise became completely submerged in the ocean by midday. I visited some new areas, and returned to some previously photographed locations too.
Here are just a few of the images from my time in Broome May 2022:
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Following the short stay in Broome, my good friend Benny from Kimberley Dreaming & Kimberley 4x4 Tours arrived and we travelled to Derby for the night before starting the big trip. Benny was running a 4x4 tag-along tour in collaboration with Explore WA 4wd Adventures and I was invited along to photograph the tour.
We stayed the night in Derby, and the next morning met our tour guests that we would be travelling with for the next 12 days. After a short briefing from Benny, it was time to hit the road. Our destination for the day: Windjana Gorge. The first 150km or so from Derby is sealed road until the Windjana turn off, and after this it was time to drop the tire pressures because it's all corrugated gravel from here on.
We arrived at camp early in the afternoon and set up the swags, shortly after I ventured into the gorge to start scouting for some photography on sunset & for sunrise the following morning. Windjana was incredible, and I would've loved an extra day or so to explore this location more thoroughly. The Lennard river flows through the gorge, and is home to many freshwater crocodiles (I counted 12 on my hike to the end of the gorge).
In the end I decided on a simple composition of the gorge opening for golden hour - and then walked around to the front of the range to photograph the boab trees along the savannah walk. The next morning I was up early and walking in the dark to the back of the gorge so shoot my sunrise composition that I had scouted out the day before. Using my Sigma 150-600mm telephoto lens, I photographed a group of boab trees growing on the side of the steep gorge in the morning light.
From here the group packed up and we travelled to Tunnel Creek for our main activity of the day. Hiking through the freshwater stream, past underground waterfalls, and to the opening on the other side was a highlight of the day.
Here are some images from the first day on the Gibb River Rd:
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After a great morning at Tunnel Creek, we departed for our next camp: Silent Grove. Close by to this camp site is Bell Gorge, one of the most popular attractions along the Gibb, and one locations that I had been dreaming of photographing for years! It had been a pretty big day, so most of the tour group decided to set up camp and chill out for the afternoon, but myself and Eddie (@Who_is_that_advantures) decided to venture down and check out the waterfall, and we had it all to ourselves for an incredible sunset! Many photographs where taken, and early the next morning Benny dropped me back off at the start of the Bell Gorge Hike in the dark so I could make my way in for sunrise. I decided to venture further downstream from the main swimming area and found two more stunning waterfalls in the gorge, a great way to start the day!
By the time I was finished with my photography, the rest of the group was just heading in to have a look. I met them along the hiking trail and we ventured down together for a swim. Next up: Galvans Gorge.
After a fair drive and a quick stop over at the Imintji Roadhouse we arrived for an afternoon dip at Galvans Gorge. It was a beautiful waterfall complete with an iconic Kimberley boab on top, lush vegetation, ancient rock art, and a crystal clear swimming hole. Unfortunately our visit wasn't at the best time of day for photography, so I will be returning some day on my own to photograph this one in better light, but I did manage to get some images with the lower half of the waterfall out of the harsh sun as you can see below.