Derby in Western Australia’s Kimberley region is a small country town perched alongside the incredible tides of the King Sound, the largest tides in the Southern hemisphere.
Derby is known as the western gateway to outback adventure along the Gibb River Road. The natural attractions of Tunnel Creek and Windjana Gorge are within a day trip of Derby and the town is also a popular embarkation point for scenic flights to the Horizontal Waterfalls.
How to get to Derby
Derby is 220km east of Broome along the Great Northern and Derby Highways. Direct flights from Perth to Broome operate year round, with direct flights from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Broome during winter months (June-September).
Established in 1883, Derby was the first town to be settled in the Kimberley and the area was also home to several Aboriginal language groups. As a service town to the pastoral industry, Derby’s wide streets lined with boab trees were laid out to allow horse and bullock teams to turn easily, and some of Derby’s earliest buildings can still be seen today.
The best place to see the huge variation between high and low tide as well as the beautiful sunsets is at the Derby Jetty, where you can also try your hand at fishing with locals and visitors. The outlying mangroves attract over 210 bird species including migratory waders, and you can explore the surrounding natural bushland.
To discover Derby’s pioneering past, follow the Derby Pastoral Trail and visit the Wharfinger House Museum, Pioneer Cemetery and the Old Derby Gaol. Within a ten minute drive, the Mowanjum Art Centre, the ancient Boab Prison Tree, the Joonjoo Botanical Trail and Pigeon Heritage Trail all offer a glimpse into Derby’s past and present.
Derby is also the ideal place to begin or end your Gibb River Road adventure. Just a few hours in a four-wheel drive takes you to stunning gorges, waterways and national parks, with wilderness retreats, station stays and camping.
The Buccaneer Archipelago – a group of around 1,000 beautifully rugged islands is close to Derby, with fishing and cruising options for visitors to the area. The Horizontal Waterfalls, where the massive tides of the Kimberley squeeze through two narrowly aligned cliffs in Talbot Bay, is one of the more spectacular points of interest and part of many scenic flight itineraries.