An Expert’s Guide to the Kimberley Coast

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Mar 01, 2018

Brought to you by The Great Escape Charter Company 

Kylie Bartle spends her days exploring one of the most remote and beautiful parts of Australia. As general manager of The Great Escape Charter Company, it’s her job to uncover hidden gems along Western Australia’s Kimberley coast that make her guests visits a real once-in-a-lifetime experience. That includes venturing into the wilderness to take a dip in secluded swimming holes, trying the best food in Broome and trekking to remote viewpoints – all in the name of research, of course. These are just a few of her favourite spots in this unique Australian landscape. 

 The best spot for swimming…
“A few of the larger swimming pools scattered through the Kimberley – Eagle Falls, Gumboot Bay and Melaleuca Pool are all vast bodies of fresh water, ranging from midnight blue to emerald green. They’re the centerpieces of the most stunning natural formations speckled across what could be considered a harsh, dry place if you didn’t know where to look.” 

The most awe-inspiring waterfalls…
“Each waterfall in the Kimberley is unique and captivating. There are powerful thundering, waterfalls that leave you covered in mist; tall, spindly falls that keep you mesmerised; the infamous and stunning Kings Cascades that does just what it says – cascades over sandstone ledges littered with grassy outcrops and moss; and secret waterfalls that suddenly appear in the most deserted locations that make you wonder where they came from.” 

The best places to see Indigenous rock art….
“I prefer the art that has been well preserved by geology and location.  The conversation each piece evokes is enriching and the mystery of some pieces is intriguing. It’s difficult to put into word. You have to experience it to understand how soulful the Kimberley is.” 

The walking track that’s worth the effort…
“Jackson Falls at the back of Porosus Creek. It’s not so much a walk as bounding between stones like a rock wallaby through a cool remnant rainforest. The reward at the end is a waterfall that dips into a pool that’s super-cold because it never gets to see direct rays of the sun. Not the best walk for people with knee issues though!” 

The most beautiful spot to watch the sunset…
Manning Peak is a superb Kimberley vista – the only way to get there is via helicopter. You really feel like you’re the king of the world with a view of a sprawling Indian ocean, nearby islands and the sparkling blue of ocean and sky contrasting with the ochre of the land.  At sunset, it literally glows.” 

The places to go for a feed…
“Zoo Café in Broome for breakfast – their pancakes are to die for, as well as their sloe gin sours – and The Aarli does amazing share plates for lunch. For dinner, you can’t go past Zensai at the Cable Beach Club for the best Japanese above the 26th parallel. It’s small, has incredible service and the ambience is lovely.” 

The spots for an evening tipple…
“For a cocktail, head to the Sunset Bar & Grill at the Cable Beach Club. The Mangrove Hotel also has a great wine list and an alternative view of Roebuck Bay. If you’re just after a cleansing ale, then Matso’s Broome Brewery is the place to go.” 

The No. 1 adventure that visitors should go on…
“I highly recommend a visit to the blue waters of Cockatoo Island. You can visit waterfalls, freshwater swimming pools, Silica Beach and do a Horizontal Falls tour as well.”  

The best fishing spot…
“Roebuck Bay. It has pristine waters, incredible colours, diverse fauna and, since the commercial licenses were bought out a few years back, reliability. It’s easily accessible and rewards you with the elusive barramundi as well as threadfin salmon, mangrove jack, finger mark, triple tail, blue bone, various snapper species and mud crabs.” 

The experience that best captures the Kimberly coast…
“A walk along a freshwater stream to a waterfall and swimming hole, surrounded by sandstone rock and native flora. After a cooling swim, you kick back on a rock in the shade of a melaleuca tree and soak in where you are. It’s impossible to describe it; it’s an all-encompassing, soulful experience that needs to be experienced to be believed.”

SEE ALSO: Are These the Most Beautiful Spots on the Kimberley Coast?