Kimberley and Pilbara explored by air
Small group air charter tour of the Kimberley and Pilbara for senior and mature couples and single travellers. Learn about Purnululu, Bradshaw art, visit Derby, Broome and Alice Springs.
- 1. Learn about Purunulu and the Bungle Bungle Ranges in Western Australia.
- 2. The Bradshaws and Waringarri Aboriginal Arts at Kununurra.
- 3. Explore by air the Kimberley plateau and the Pilbara.
- 4. Go to Wiluna, for the story of the last nomads of the Gibson desert.
|29 April 2024 |
Ends 12 May 2024 • 14 days
|15 July 2024 |
Ends 28 July 2024 • 14 days
|02 September 2024 |
Ends 15 September 2024 • 14 days
Kimberley and Pilbara explored by air
The Kimberley and Pilbara air charter tour for seniors explores in a fixed wing aircraft central Australia first on its way to the Bungle bungle range in World heritage listed Purnululu National park in the east Kimberley region of Western Australia. Our Kimberley air tours continue throughout the duration of the air safari of learning from the Aboriginal communities of Western Australia from the first day to the last day of this air charter tour. The sharing of stories and knowledge of country and the spectacular rock art in the wilderness of the desert region to the Kimberley coastline on the edge of the Mitchell plateau of North Western Australia of the Gwion Gwion or Bradshaw's rock art leaves the senior traveller in awe on this Kimberley tour.
There are places where it is just difficult to reach and a 12 seater plane is the perfect solution. I recently finished reading Peasley's "The last of the Nomads" which was made into a film, "Footprints in the sand" A touching story of a couple who lived in the Gibson desert. They are buried together in Wiluna WA. On the Kimberley and Pilbara tour we have included a day with people from country to share stories of the desert and to visit the place Warri and Yatungka now rest. The small group tour by plane gives these remote area tours the opportunity to bring distances and experiences closer and to explore more unique experiences and stories of the outback whilst supporting regional areas that rarely share in the benefits of tourism or their stories and craft. Bringing these places to a few people a year is part of what we like to do.
The aircraft selected Odyssey Traveller has sought to charter with either be and use a Beechcraft Super King or the Cessna Caravan. The configuration enables up to 10 passengers plus crew to be seated in air-conditioned comfort.
Travelling at speeds in excess of 500km per hour and certified for all weather flight your private plane is all about performance, versatility and passenger comfort for the senior traveller.
This escorted small group air charter tour of the Pilbara and Kimberley region is limited to 10 travellers. The group spend time after the Bungle Bungle ranges crossing the Ord River, the Argyle diamond mine, now closed and the magnificent Lake Argyle on their trip to Kununurra. The overnight stay in Kununurra includes a visit to the Aboriginal communities art centre before starting the next section of this spectacular air safari. Flying out over Wyndham and the Gulf to see the iconic destinations associated with the Mitchell plateau, crossing spectacular gorges and seeing at least one majestic waterfall such as King George falls or the iconic Mitchell falls in the Kimberley Wilderness from the air as we travel to Mitchell Plateau landing strip. At the Mitchell plateau the group transfers by private helicopter to the Kimberley coastline, a place where explorers have foundered and been rescued and the Indian ocean for two nights exploring and learning about the history of the Aboriginal people in this part of Western Australia before this section of our Kimberley air tours program takes us to Derby and a day in tropical Broome.
After Derby the flight takes over the pristine beaches on the Pilbara tour section of this small group tour. As we follow the coast there maybe opportunity to spot a whale shark, manta ray or wild dolphins or other marine life as we follow the west coast. Close to the export port of Port Headland the flight path heads south east towards the rugged Pilbara landscape with its breathtaking gorges that define the Pilbara region. Your flight path may take you the town of Marble bar. Marble bar is considered to be the hottest town in the East Pilbara region, if not Australia.
This small group tour spends two nights immersed in the rugged Pilbara Landscape in the Karijini National park with an organised guided tour. The local Aboriginal people are our guides for our private Karijini tour to learn and understand country including the breathtaking gorges that are often a very deep gorge cut into the Pilbara landscape that define the Pilbara region. From here this section of the Pilbara tour ends and we head to Wiluna in the Gibson desert, via Newman, the worlds largest open pit gold mine. Wiluna in the Gibson desert is the resting place for the last nomads. A love story of two people who followed their hearts than Kinship, leaving for the desert. Dr William Peasley, who wrote a book about the couple and two others headed out to find this ageing couple after their family had left to go into civilisation. Their story is unique. From Wiluna, we fly to Alice Springs and then onto Melbourne where this private air tour finishes.
Note: The order of the itinerary is subject to change and will depend on local accommodation availability. Final itinerary details will be advised in advance to those travelling.
Day 1: Melbourne
Accommodation: Melbourne city -TBA
This afternoon we meet as a group.
There is a welcome dinner and tour briefing this evening.
Day 2: Alice Springs
We head north today to Alice Springs. Itinerary TBC.
Day 3: Derby
Accommodation: Derby Lodge or similar
Today we fly to the historic town of Derby. We start the day with a Helicopter flight back to Mitchell plateau and then depart for a scenic flight along the Kimberley coastline for Derby.
Our guides from Country share with us the history of the region at the Mowanjum Aboriginal Art & Culture Centre. We spend time learning about the colonial settlement of Derby with a local historian including a visit to one of the Boab prison trees.
Day 4: Derby
Accommodation: Derby Lodge or similar
Today the group travels to Broome and back as an excursion. There are no scheduled activities, essentially a early departure and returning late afternoon from Broome back to Derby.
Day 5: Kimberley Coast
Accommodation: Kimberley Coastal Camp or similar
The group leaves Derby in the early afternoon for the Kimberley plateau. The flight heads north-west to the Kimberley Coast, touch down at Mitchell Plateau, known for its Livistona fan palms. Here you’ll join a helicopter flight for the final leg into the Kimberley Coastal Camp – accessible only by helicopter or boat.
Nestled on the pristine shores of the Admiralty Gulf and the Indian ocean, in the heart of the Kimberley wilderness you feel like you are one of very few people for hundreds of kilometres. Fabulous scenery, gourmet food, unique beachfront accommodation, amazing fishing and ancient rock art of the indigenous people – all combined with unparalleled hospitality in a remote wilderness location in North Western Australia.
There are Saltwater crocodile active in the Indian ocean along the Kimberley coast. You should remain vigilant and swim or enter the water where it is advised that it is safe.The Saltwater crocodile does kill.
Day 6: Kimberley coast
Accommodation: Kimberley Coastal Camp or similar
Today the group enjoys a day on land and a cruise on the waters of the beautiful Kimberley coastline. Throw in the crab pots, fish several different areas, stop at the islands for a picnic lunch of your fresh-caught fish, see some of the biggest rock oysters in Australia, then return looking for the local wildlife that can include; the Saltwater crocodile Wild dingoes, sea eagles, olive pythons, endangered quolls, and many other native animals share this country known to traditional owners as Yalrundair.
We also on land have time to take a short walking tour with your tour guide to see the intriguing Wandjina and Gwion Gwion (Bradshaw) rock art which has been part of this landscape and the lives of its traditional owners for thousands of years, with Tub, the camp’s owner. Tub has spent many years with the local people and has a great depth of knowledge and respect for the art and stories he has been privileged to been told first hand. The rock art of the Aboriginal people is overlain with the stories of Europeans particularly the Dutch becoming shipwrecked on coral reefs in the Kimberley region.
Day 7: Halls Creek
Accommodation: Kimberley Hotel or similar
Today we travel out early to see the rock art with a local guide from country.
After lunch we head north crossing the famous Ord River as we reach the UNESCO World heritage listed Purunululu National park, home of the Bungle bungle range.
This national park is one of the best stargazing spots in Australia with some of the most sparkling night skies in the world.
We stay at the bungle bungle wilderness Lodge, (or equivalent) everything at the lodge has been carefully designed to cause little impact on the environment and blend in with the surroundings, while still offering premium accommodation and excellent service. These are permanent campsites, each stand-alone cabin features an ensuite, luxury bedding and your own deck to enjoy the tranquillity of the surrounds. Chef-prepared meals are served in the dining room or under the stars on the outdoor deck area.
Day 8: Halls Creek
Accommodation: Kimberley Hotel or similar
Day 9: Karijini National Park in the Pilbara.
Karijini National Park in the Pilbara.
Known for red dirt, indigenous history and mining, the Pilbara is twice the size of the UK, with breathtaking natural landscapes dating back four billion years. The Karijini National Park has deep rocky gorges, crystal clear pools and stunning waterfalls. Landing inside the park, you’ll be met with a cool drink and transferred about an hour to the resort.
Karijini Eco Retreat is nestled in the pristine bushland at Joffre Gorge in the heart of the National Park. The semi-permanent, secluded, deluxe eco tents feature comfy beds with quality bedding, ensuite with a shower under the stars, front and rear decks for lazing around and space to spread out. The restaurant offers outback-style hearty meals and a bar where you can mingle with other guests to share tales of your day’s adventures.
Karijini Eco Retreat is owned by Gumala Enterprises Pty Ltd represents the collective interests of the Niapiali, Bunjima and Innawonga Aboriginal people of the Pilbara region.
Day 10: Karijini National Park in the Pilbara.
Spend the day exploring the natural wonders of the Karijini National Park with local tour guides.
Located at the junction of four mighty gorges, Oxer Lookout offers one of the most stunning panoramas in Western Australia, displaying the sheer enormity and grandeur of Joffre, Weano, Hancock and Red Gorges. At Junction Pool Lookout, Weano, Hancock and Red Gorges meet at a viewing platform that is most spectacular in the mornings and evenings when the sunlight deepens the red colour of the rock faces.
Circular Pool, on the Frankland River, has rapids in the winter and a large, tranquil pool in summer.
Fortescue Falls, the park’s only permanent waterfall, cascades down the gently sloped rocks into a pool. If you’re feeling quite fit, you can walk down through the changing vegetation of the iron-rich gorge walls to the nearby Fern Pool. With its small twin waterfalls, it is one of the most beautiful spots in the park, where you can take quick dip.
After a day of extraordinarily impressive scenery, return to the resort
Day 11: Wiluna, Gibson desert
Before departing this morning we have a short reminder about the loss suffered in Wittenoom from Absestos in the 1960’s.
We travel onto Wiluna to meet and spend with people from country. The people of the Gibson desert, who share their stories of their home. We also visit the resting place of the last nomads.
Day 12: Warburton
Day 13: Melbourne
Accommodation: Melbourne city hotel -TBA
Departing around lunchtime this small group tour continues to Melbourne.
There is a farewell dinner this evening.
Day 14: Melbourne
Tour concludes after breakfast this morning
- Itinerary order is subject to change depending on local accommodation availability.
Includes / Excludes
What’s included in our Tour
- 13 nights accommodation.
- 13 breakfasts, 9 lunches often light picnic style lunch, 9 dinners.
- Transport by modern and comfortable aircraft and vehicle suitable for the highway conditions.
- Entrances and sightseeing as specified.
- Services of Tour Leader for the duration of tour.
- Detailed Preparatory Information.
What’s not included in our Tour
- Return Domestic airfares to the starting point of the tour.
- Comprehensive travel insurance.
- Items of a personal nature, such as telephone calls and laundry.
Participants must be able to carry their own luggage, climb and descend stairs, be in good health, mobile and able to participate in 3-5 hours of physical activity per day, the equivalent of walking / hiking up to 8 kilometers per day on uneven ground.
Make it a private tour
Easing your journey
Crossing international borders with restrictions
The list of requirements to travel internationally has changed and will continue to change for several years. Odyssey is here to assist you in managing your way through these requirements:
For more information see our Crossing international borders with restrictions page.
Book With Confidence
If less than 30 days before your tour starts you are unable to travel as a result of Government travel restrictions, Odyssey Traveller will assist you with a date change, provide you with a credit or process a refund for your booking less any non-recoverable costs.
See Terms and conditions for details.
Peace of Mind Travel
The safety of our travellers, tour leader, local guide and support staff has always been our top priority and with the new guidelines for public health and safety for keeping safe for destinations around the world, we’ve developed our plan to give you peace of mind when travelling with us.
See Peace of Mind Travel for details.
Kimberley and Pilbara explored by air
Senior and mature couples and solo travellers remain curious but often informed about the role Aboriginal art plays in the indigenous community and the various styles. This article seeks to provide a platform for this collection of small group tours of upto 15 people into the Australian outback where often Aboriginal art styles are encountered.
Aboriginal Rock Art in the Kimberley, Australia
The Kimberley is explored on a small group tour for mature and senior travelers, couples or singles. Both Aboriginal community is studied and an appreciation of the wet and dry seasons. This guide on the Kimberley assists the traveler as you start from Broome and travel round via Halls creek and Purnunulu national park over some 17 days in a group of up to 12 people.
Aboriginal Stone Arrangements
Aboriginal stone arrangements are a form of rock art deliberately placed in position by Indigenous Australians and associated with spiritual ceremonies or utilitarian purposes. This article for mature and senior travellers provides and couples and solo travellers with and understanding and appreciation of the Ancient historic landscapes they are travelling though on a small group tour.
Alexander Forrest & Early Development of the Kimberley Cattle Industry
Article about Alexander Forrest, a cattleman who made a difference in the Kimberley. Forms part of a small group tour for mature and senior travellers into Outback Australia for couples and solo travellers.
Australian Outback Cattle King
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Birding in Broome, Western Australia
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Derby, Western Australia
Article about Derby, Western Australia. Important settlement for mature and senior travellers to explore on a small group tour for couples and solo travellers in outback Australia.
George Grey's Kimberley Expedition
Article on Western Australia about the Colonial explorer George Grey. Supports small group tours for mature couples and solo travellers of the Kimberley and places of interest such as Wyndham and its pastoral history. The Kimberley is where the first Australian arrived.
Kimberley Boab Tree
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Kununurra, Western Australia
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Lake Argyle, Australia
Understand why Lake Argyle exists before joining a small group package tour for mature and senior travellers of Western Australia's Kimberley region in the preferred dry season. Limited to 12 travellers for your peace of mind we learn about the landscapes and the aboriginal stories often via the rock art in far North.
Pastoral Pioneers of the Kimberley, Western Australia
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Purnululu National Park, Australia
Read about one of the most remote World heritage sites on Earth. Odyssey takes you to visit as part of a small group package tour for mature and senior travellers in the Kimberley for couple and single travelers We travel in the dry season from Broome via Lake Argyle to this National park.
The Kimberley: A Definitive Guide
This article supports the small group package tours for mature and senior travellers, couples and solo travellers to Western Australia's Kimberley region. Learn about the wet and dry seasons and the fascinating Aboriginal history as well as the Bungle Bungles, Lake Argyle, Halls creek and resort of Broome.
Wet and dry seasons in the Kimberley, Australia
Learn about the wet and dry season in the Kimberley to support your understanding of the Aboriginal communities lifestyle as you explore on a small group package tour for mature and senior travelers exploring as a couple or solo traveller. Read our peace of mind statement for post covid-19 travel.
Wyndham, Western Australia
Article on the historic Kimberley town of Wyndham. Learn about how this was the entry to this part of the Kimberley to Halls creek, and for the pastoralists in the Victorian era. Supports small group tours for mature and senior travellers couples and solo travellers.
How do you get to the Kimberleys?
Most people get to the Kimberleys by flight to Broome or Darwin, or by driving from Perth. Our tour begins and ends in Broome, giving you the opportunity to independently explore the quirky capital of the Kimberley.
Are there crocodiles in the Kimberley?
Yes! When you enter the Kimberley, you are well and truly entering ‘Crocodile Country’. But don’t worry: if you act sensibly, you have no need to worry about a crocodile attack.
The Kimberley is home two types of crocodiles: freshwater and saltwater. Lake Argyle (Western Australia’s largest manmade reservoir) is home to a population of over 35, 000 freshwater crocodiles. Freshwater crocodiles are mostly harmless (though we don’t recommend that you approach them), and locals consider the lake to be safe for swimming.
Saltwater crocodiles – or as the locals call them, ‘salties’ – are more dangerous. Make sure to be crocodile safe – obey any signs warning you of their presence; and in the absence of signs, don’t just assume it’s safe to dive in. Ask a friendly local or inquire at the Kimberley Tourist Station.
Bear in mind that all the major gorges on the Gibb River Road are safe. Our guides will choose safe locations for opportunities to swim on the tour.
What is the best time to visit the Kimberley?
Our tours are scheduled for the start of the dry season for the north, which is also the cooler time of the year with maximum temperatures in the high 20s to low 30s – cool, mild nights with warm to hot days. There will be opportunities to swim at a few locations such as Mitchell Falls and Mt Elizabeth Station.
At this time of the year the probability of rainfall is down to a few days per month or less. Given that the nights can be quite cold, a “three seasons” sleeping bag should ensure comfort. Biting insects, mainly mosquitoes, are variable in their occurrence, so participants should come prepared with a good repellent and possibly clothing to cover exposed legs and arms.
Why is it called the Kimberley?
The Kimberley region was given the name ‘The District of Kimberley‘ by the government surveyor, Andrew Forrest, after the 1st Secretary of State for the colonies, John Wodehouse, First Earl of Kimberley. The Earl of Kimberley also gave his name to the Kimberley region in South Africa, which is similarly famous for producing diamonds.
Are there still diamonds in the Kimberley?
The Argyle and Ellendale diamond mines, in the Kimberley, mine over a third of the world’s diamonds today. Thanks to higher presence of nitrogen and nickel in the soils of Western Australia, the Kimberley Region is particularly famed for producing distinctive ‘yellow’, ‘pink’, ‘champagne’, and ‘cognac’ diamonds.
What should you see in the Kimberley?
Combining small country towns with gorgeous natural phenomena and UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Kimberley region offers a truly remote wilderness experience in Australia.
Here are a few things you don’t want to miss:
- Broome is one of Western Australia’s top tourist destinations with several must-visit attractions, including Cable Beach.
- Fly over the Bungle Bungle Range in Purnululu National Park. Amazingly, the Bungle Bungle Range’s unique set of beehive-shaped karst sandstone domes were only discovered in 1983.
- Swim in Lake Argyle – Western Australia’s largest freshwater man-made reservoir.
- Horizontal Falls – Sir David Attenborough called Horizontal Falls“one of the greatest natural wonders of the world”.
- Cape Leveque is the northernmost tip of the Dampier Peninsula and home to rugged red cliffs, which look striking against the white sand and turquoise waters.
What makes the Kimberley special?
Kimberley, also called The Kimberleys, plateau region of northern Western Australia, extending from the rugged northwest Indian Ocean coast south to the Fitzroy River and east to the Ord River. The plateau has an area of about 420,000 square km).
What is Kimberley famous for?
Famous attractions include World Heritage listed Purnululu National Park and Mitchell Falls, and stunning El Questro Wilderness Park and Broome’s Cable Beach.
When is the best time to visit the Kimberley?
During the dry season (April to October) you are able to enjoy the landscape and get active in fine warm (but not too warm) conditions. If you would like to see the Kimberley’s waterfalls at their best, aim for the start of the dry season (March to May depending on the specific area.
Who can take the tour?
Odyssey Traveller’s tour to the Kimberley in Western Australia is designed for mature and senior travellers. Typically, our clients begin travelling with us in their mid-50s, but we’ve had clients in their 80s travel with us!
If you’re concerned about your health or mobility, you may want to look at our tour activity levels before you book with us. Our tour of World Heritage Sites in Southern Australia is graded activity level 2 (moderate):
Participants must be able to carry their own luggage, climb and descend stairs, be in good health, mobile and able to participate in 3-5 hours of physical activity per day, the equivalent of walking/hiking up to 8 kilometres on uneven ground.
What other Australian outback tours are offered?
Odyssey has a collection of Australian Outback tours that will take the senior traveller on a guided tour into the Northern territory with a tour of Australia’s red centre and the Canning stock route or up into Kakadu national park. The Dubbo to Dubbo outback Australia tour is an Australian adventure that takes the senior traveller up through outback Queensland via Winton to Hughenden and then back to Cathedral gorge to see some incredible Aboriginal rock art as you pass through to Lightning ridge and to Dubbo.
As well, there is the Outback Australia tour offered as an outback experience as a guided tour of South Australia Flinders range for 14 days including the Oodnadatta track. The Flinders range outback tour includes the option of a scenic flight over Wilpena pound. Then in Western Australia, our Outback tours include a tour of the Kimberley that starts on the west coast before turning inland across Western Australia to the border with the Northern Territory and then returns across the Kimberley to Broome over several days. From Broome there are regular connecting flights to Perth and across to Sydney.
Travel tips for mature solo and couples
Advice for Mature-Aged Solo Travellers
Advice for solo travellers seeking advice on holidays for solo travellers over 50. Odyssey has been offering small group tours for mature and senior travellers all around the world since 1983.
How to choose your next small group tour
Deciding on which tour company to choose maybe difficult, personal recommendation is a good start. At Odyssey Traveller we have been providing small group tours to mature and senior travellers couples and solo travellers since 1983 to places all around the world.
Face masks for travel
For the mature solo traveller and couples joining one of our small group tours whether in Australia, New Zealand, or Europe, face masks will be part of your wardrobe as you travel. This article help you understand the differences in face masks available and how to choose one suitable for you.