Inala’s Reverse Kimberley Tour: Broome to Kununurra 28 July - 7th Aug 2022
Including excursion to Mitchell Plateau ( Black Grasswren ) and Gibb River Road
(NEW DATES DUE TO POPULAR DEMAND )
Day 1. Thu 28 July 2022. Arrive Broome.
Day 2. Fri 29 July 2022. Broome to Fitzroy Crossing via Derby.
Day 3. Sat 30 July 2022. Fitzroy Crossing, Danggu Geikie Gorge to Mt Hart.
Day 4. Sun 31 July 2022. Gibb River Road: Mt Hart Station to Drysdale River Station.
Day 5. Mon 1 Aug 2022. Drysdale River Station to Mitchell Plateau
Day 6. Tue 2 Aug 2022. Mitchell Plateau/ Mitchell Falls area
Day 7. Wed 3 Aug 2022. Mitchell Plateau to Drysdale River Station.
Day 8. Thu 4 Aug 2022. Drysdale River Station to Wyndham.
Day 9. Fri 5 Aug 2022. Wyndham area.
Day 10. Sat 6 Aug 2022. Wyndham to Kununurra.
Day 11. Sun 7 Aug 2022. Depart Kununurra.
The Gibb River Road is an iconic Australian Outback experience that has gained popularity particularly with Australians who wish to adventure into more ‘out of the way’ Australian areas. We have run this tour as a private tour option over many years, but due to popular demand, are now offering a small group tour option on scheduled dates to make it more available to our guests. This tour visits areas that are only accessible by 4WD and provides a unique chance to stay in roadhouses and on vast cattle stations en route and we have also included a rarely-offered chance to stay for two nights and a full day on the Mitchell Plateau. Here we will have the chance to explore the spinifex-clad rocky escarpments and Livistonia palm monsoon thickets of the Mitchell Falls area, where we’ll have our only chance of the rare and range-restricted Black Grasswren, as well as Kimberley Honeyeater, Partridge Pigeon, Rainbow Pitta and Green-backed Gerygone. Two overnight stays in this area also enable us to explore at night for a unique range of reptile and mammal species.
B-breakfast, L-lunch and D-dinner
Day 1. Thursday 28 July 2022. Arrive Broome.
Today has been set aside as an arrival day so you are free to arrive at any time that suits your travel plans. Please make your own way to the hotel. The group will meet for a welcome dinner this evening.
Accommodation: Broome (en suite rooms). Meals included: D.
Day 2. Friday 29 July 2022. Broome to Fitzroy Crossing via Derby.
This morning we’ll rise early to do some birding around town, before heading towards Fitzroy Crossing - with a side trip to Derby. In Derby we can look for shorebirds if the tide is in our favour, or more mangrove species like Torresian Kingfisher, Mangrove Robin, White-breasted Whistler and Dusky & Mangrove Gerygones. We will stay overnight tonight at the township of Fitzroy Crossing.
Accommodation: Fitzroy Crossing (en suite rooms). Meals included: BLD
Day 3. Saturday 30 July 2022. Fitzroy Crossing, Danggu Geikie Gorge to Mt Hart.
This morning we will take a one-hour cultural boat tour in Danggu Geikie Gorge with a Bunuba Indigenous guide whose connection to this land goes back to the Dreamtime. The gorge has been carved by the Fitzroy River through part of an ancient limestone barrier reef which snakes across the west Kimberley. It was laid down in an ancient sea that covered a large part of the Kimberley in Devonian times, some 350 million years ago. We will then leave the main sealed road and heading onto the Gibb River Road. We will visit the Tunnel Creek National Park and Winjana Gorge. Birds here include more chances of Gouldian Finch and Crested (Northern) Shrike Tit, as well as Diamond Dove, Pictorella Mannikin, Star Finch and Red-winged Parrot. Our accommodation for this evening is based on a former pastoral lease that once operated as a cattle station. The lands are now part of a large conservation area.
Accommodation: Mt Hart Wilderness Lodge (en Safari tented camps). Meals included: B (continental) LD (3 course)
Day 4. Sunday 31 July 2022. Gibb River Road: Mt Hart Station to Drysdale River.
Today we will travel from Mt Hart Station to Drysdale River, heading further East along the Gibb River Road. Along the way we will traverse the King Leopold Range, visit a nearby Gorge and have lunch at a Roadhouse. We’ll have further chances of Kimberley Honeyeater and White-quilled Rock-Pigeon, as well as woodland species like Black-tailed Treecreeper, Red-browed Pardalote, Northern Rosella and Purple-backed Fairywren. Reptiles include the possibility of the localised Storr’s Monitor, Kimberley Rock Monitor and Black-headed Python. Around Drysdale Station we will look for the star attractions of the area - Purple-crowned Fairywren and Crested (Northern) Shrike-tit (ssp whitei). The fairywrens live in the pandanus-lined waterways where we can also see Azure Kingfisher, Buff-sided Robin, Crimson Finch, White-gaped & Rufous-throated Honeyeaters and Black Bittern. The shrike-tit is a likely future taxonomic split and is found in the tropical eucalypt woodlands on the station. Our accommodation tonight is based on a 1,000,000 acre (404,686 ha) Pastoral lease that runs about 7,000 head of cattle.
Accommodation: Drysdale River Station (en suite rooms). Meals included: B (cooked) L, D.
Days 5 & 6. Monday 1 & Tuesday 2 August 2022. Drysdale River Station to Mitchell Plateau.
This morning we will leave straight after breakfast for the long drive up onto the spectacular Mitchell Plateau, where we will stay two nights. Here we will look for the highly range-restricted Black Grasswren, as well as Kimberley Honeyeater, Purple-backed Fairywren (Lavender-flanked ssp rogersi), the “Yellow eyed” Partridge Pigeon (Kimberley ssp blaauwi), White-quilled Rock Pigeon and Sandstone Shrike-thrush. Also here in the monsoon thickets, are Rainbow Pitta, Green-backed Gerygone, Little Woodswallow, Silver-backed Butcherbird (Kimberley ssp colletti) and Rufous Owl, as well as a chance of Red Goshawk overhead. Like the other grasswrens, the Black Grasswren can be elusive at times and may take a bit of searching for although we have also visited when they have been quite obliging. The additional time we have allowed in this area will certainly be a huge benefit.
After dark we will explore the area again in search of the unique range of mammals and reptiles that occur on the plateau. These include Scaly-tailed Possum, Rock Ringtail Possum, Monjon, Golden Bandicoot, Northern Quoll, Golden-backed Tree Rat, Black-footed Tree Rat, Brush-tailed Rabbit Rat, Ghost Bat, Gracile Velvet Gecko, Superb Dragon and Rough-scaled Python.
Accommodation: Lodge on Mitchell Plateau (tented cabins) for 2 nights. Meals included: B (continental) LD each day.
Day 7. Tuesday 3 August 2022. Mitchell Plateau to Drysdale River Station.
After a final look around the area, we will begin the journey back to Drysdale River, and despite the relatively short distance, today will be a bit of a travel day as the roads are slow going. However, we will stop en route as always for birds and rest stops, returning to Drysdale Station sometime in the afternoon.
Accommodation: Drysdale River Station as for night 4. Meals included: B (continental) LD
Day 8. Wednesday 4 August 2022. Drysdale River Station - Gibb River Road- Wyndham.
Travelling east along the Gibb River Road, crossing the Durack River and the Gibb Range; this route requires a 4WD. We’ll be on the lookout for various raptors including Black-breasted Buzzard, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Spotted Harrier and Australian Hobby, as well as iconic outback species like Budgerigar, Cockatiel and Australian Bustard. Mammal possibilities include Antilopine Wallaroo and Northern Nailtail Wallaby.
Accommodation: Wyndham (en suite rooms). Meals included: B (continental) LD
Day 9. Thursday 5 August 2022. Wyndham area.
Early today before breakfast we will have a look around for tropical woodland birds like Square-tailed Kite, Silver-crowned Friarbird, Varied Lorikeet, Buff-sided Robin, Paperbark Flycatcher and Bar-breasted Honeyeater, before we travel to a Nature Reserve, a vast wetland system with dry season billabongs and lagoons providing refuge to a wide variety of waterbirds and bush birds. Here we should see Black-necked Stork, Pied Heron, Glossy Ibis, Comb-crested Jacana, Magpie Goose, Radjah Shelduck and Brolga among others. Around the edges we’ll look for Star Finch, Pictorella & Yellow-rumped Mannikin, Yellow Chat and Varied Lorikeet.
Later in the afternoon we can stop at a rocky gorge just south of Wyndham, which may hold White-quilled Rock Pigeon (Kimberley ssp albipennis), Spinifex Pigeon (ssp plumifera), Sandstone Shrike-thrush, Black-chinned Honeyeater (Golden-backed ssp laetior), and Varied Sittella. If time permits later in the day, we can check out the mangroves on the edge of town; we may see Saltwater Crocodile here, and at dusk we can look for Short-eared Rock Wallabies at a nearby lookout.
Accommodation: Wyndham (en suite rooms). Meals included: BLD.
Day 10. Friday 6 August 2022. Wyndham to Kununurra.
Today we will have a look in the extensive mangroves along the Wyndham wharf area for birds like Broad-billed Flycatcher, Yellow White-eye, White-breasted & Mangrove Golden Whistlers, Red-headed Honeyeater, Lemon-bellied Flyrobin (endemic Kimberley ssp tormenti), Black Butcherbird (western edge of range here) and Mangrove Grey Fantail. Great-billed Heron and Chestnut Rail are sometimes recorded on the muddy banks at low tide. We will stop at Wyndham for lunch and check out any leaky taps or sprinklers around town for a good chance of Gouldian Finch, as well as Pictorella Mannikin and Masked Finch. We will then leave Wyndham and head south-east towards Kununurra, birding along the way. We will arrive in Kununurra in time for a quick town tour before our final dinner together tonight.
Accommodation: Kununurra (en suite rooms). Meals included: BLD.
Day 11. Saturday 7 August 2022. Depart Kununurra.
Today you will make your own arrangements to depart from Kununurra airport.
Group size: 4 people with one specialist Inala driver/guide in a 4WD.
Tour Price: AU$8,800 per person sharing. Single supplement: AU$1,630.
Price includes: 10 nights’ accommodation, specialist guide and transport, meals, entrance fees and activities as mentioned in the itinerary and GST.
Price does not include: Airfares, gratuities, alcoholic beverages, snacks, internet, laundry, or other items of a personal nature.
The itinerary: Whilst we aim to follow the itinerary as planned, please note that the itinerary provided should only be used as a guideline. Depending on individual trip circumstances, weather, and local information, the exact itinerary may not be strictly adhered to. The guides reserve the right to make changes to the itinerary as they see fit.
Remoteness: Please note that for much of this tour we will be birding in a wonderful yet remote part of Australia. Some of the roads are unsealed and rough and travel will be in 4WD vehicles. If you have medical conditions or health concerns, it is important you make us aware of these in advance of this tour. This doesn’t necessarily preclude you. We just need to be well-informed.
Luggage: We won’t have a huge amount of room for lots of luggage on the trip and will need to restrict the luggage to one soft sided duffle bag 2-3 ft long or similar per person plus a day pack/camera/binoculars etc that can be carried in the vehicle with you. We are trying to avoid hard sided suitcases which don’t pack well in the back of 4WDS. We’ll need to carry other stuff like water which I think is more important than too many clothes.