This little town with a heart of gold is situated on the Great Northern Highway, 683km from Broome and 359km from Kununurra, and there’s more than a few reasons to make sure you leave enough time to get to know Halls Creek and surrounds…
1. Visitor Centre
Your first port of call will likely be to have a chat with the helpful, friendly and knowledgeable staff at the Halls Creek Visitor Centre, located just beside the Shire offices. Not only can you find out more about the area and book tours and accommodation, but you’ll also be able to pick up some fantastic local souvenirs, enjoy the free WiFi and get a water refill – everything you need!
While you’re there, pick up a copy of “Wild Kimberley”, produced by the Shire of Halls Creek. This is your full colour guide to the area, with maps, directions and driving distances, and costs just $2. Fancy a coffee or a bite to eat? There’s a fantastic little café located right next door, and also a bakery and a restaurant in town!
2. Art is all around
You’ll definitely notice Halls Creek’s newest additions – colourful car-bonnet signs and hand-painted bins! And really, why limit yourself to standard signs when you can brighten the streets, point the way and share local culture all at the same time? Follow the car bonnet signs to the town’s natural and historical attractions, and lookout, and you can also see Halls Creek’s outdoor museum, featuring artworks by local artists as you drive around town.
Another place to see local art is the Yarliyil Arts Gallery, located in the centre of town. Here you’ll find a range of works from local artists, with an emphasis on the ethical production and sale of Aboriginal art. You’ll also find souvenirs featuring art by local artists at the Visitor Centre.
At Warmun, about 160km from Halls Creek, the Warmun Art Centre showcases Gija contemporary art, drawing on traditional Ngarranggarni (Dreaming) stories and contemporary life. The Art Centre is open to public – check with the centre for opening hours.
3. Take a flight over Wolfe Creek Crater or to the Bungles
The ancient and incredible Wolfe Creek Crater, or Kandimalal is 154km from Halls Creek along the Tanami Road. The going can be a little tough along this road, so if you’d like to see Wolfe Creek and would love an aerial view of the second largest meteorite crater in the world, jump on board a scenic flight straight from Halls Creek! (Just in case you are wondering, no, there’s no sign of Mick Taylor out there!)
Purnululu National Park (the Bungles) is just over 100km from Halls Creek, and there are some great options to save your vehicle from the park’s access road. If you’ve only got a couple of hours to spare, you can fly over the Bungles with daily departures from Halls Creek. To explore the Bungles in a bit more depth you could choose the day tour, landing in the park with a guided trek to Cathedral Gorge and the lookout, or stay overnight at Bungle Bungle Savannah Lodge and enjoy some more on-the-ground exploration. Return to Halls Creek by air to pick up your vehicle and continue your adventure!
4. Get ready for adventure on some of the Outback’s best driving routes
The secret scenic route between Halls Creek and Kununurra, the Duncan Road leads you through some of the most scenic landscapes in the Kimberley, linking the Great Northern Highway at Halls Creek to the Victoria Highway just to the east of Lake Argyle.
The shortest route from Halls Creek to Alice Springs is via the Tanami Road 4WD track, a two-day adventure over unsealed road through the Tanami Desert, but still less challenging than the Canning Stock Route.
Known as one of the world’s most remote four-wheel drive adventures, the CSR stretches over 1,700 kilometres through the vast open spaces of the Gibson, Great Sandy and Tanami deserts between Halls Creek in the north and Wiluna in the south.
5. Dig into Halls Creek’s history!
The town of Halls Creek started with a dig – one which produced Western Australia’s first payable gold find in 1885 and sparked a rush that attracted prospectors from far and wide. Despite early prosperity, by 1945 the township had moved 15km away to its current location, closer to a good water source and the new highway. Old Halls Creek is now a picturesque ghost town, attracting visitors keen to find out more about the golden early days of the town.
In the graveyard at Old Halls Creek stands the headstone of Jimmy Darcy, a young stockman who died in 1917 and whose story inspired the Reverend John Flynn, founder of the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Injured while working, Darcy was transported over 80km to Halls Creek where the only available help was the postmaster, operating with a penknife based on instructions received via morse code. A doctor rushed from Perth, a journey of almost two weeks but sadly arrived too late to save Darcy who had died just hours earlier.
A new RFDS Memorial at the Pioneer Cemetery commemorates this event and a display at the Visitor Centre offers visitors the chance to find out more about Jimmy Darcy’s story and about the early days of the town.
Halls Creek is well-appointed for visitors, with accommodation, fuel, ATM’s and Post Office services all available.