From the magnificent gorges of Karijini National Park to beautiful beaches and the incredible vistas at Purnululu National Park, an extended road trip through the Kimberley and Pilbara regions offers visitors an adventure through some of Australia's most memorable landscapes.
Exploring these vast and ancient regions by road can allow for a relaxed pace, allowing you to enjoy serene moments by waterfalls and swimming holes, hike through incredible gorges and and soak up the surrounding beauty each day.
Discover the incredible scenery along the Gibb River Road, staying at iconic and historic outback stations such as El Questro, Home Valley Station and Drysdale River Station, and travel vast landscapes along the Great Northern Highway, travelling through the small outback towns of Halls Creek and Fitzroy Crossing to explore places such as Wolfe Creek Crater, Geikie Gorge, Tunnel Creek and Windjana Gorge.
Many travellers opt for guided 4WD tours, choosing to head off the beaten track with an experienced guide and like-minded fellow travellers. Another popular option is to join a micro-group (6 travellers or fewer) or to take a private charter/tour. There's plenty of choice, so we've put together a short guide to starting to choose your 4WD tour, with a selection of experienced and accredited North West tour operators below!
How to choose your Kimberley or Pilbara outback 4WD tour
When choosing a 4WD tour, there are quite a few considerations to bear in mind, including:
Would you prefer a group or private tour?
Extended 4WD tours of the North West are generally considered to be 'small group tours', as the group size will be between 15 and 28 people. A lot of these tours run with 2 guides, adding to that small group feel.
There's also the option to choose a private tour or charter, with just 2-6 guests on each tour. These tours can also offer the option to tailor an itinerary to your desires and interests. See our section on private charters below for micro group and private tour options.
What style of accommodation would you prefer?
Extended 4WD tours through the North West offer different styles of touring, meaning that there'll be an option to suit your preferred style of travel and accommodation. On accommodated tours, you may stay in resort hotels, motels, private wilderness camps with en suite cabins or at outback stations along the route.
On camping style trips, you'll also have some different options to choose from. Some tours offer permanent campsites on some or all nights with no need to set up camp; on others, pitch your tent or roll out a swag to enjoy the incredible Kimberley night skies. On some tours, you may also have the option to upgrade to your accommodation at various points along the way.
How much time would you like to spend on tour?
The classic Kimberley 4WD itineraries can vary from 10 to 15 days, travelling through the Gibb River Road and onwards to take in all of the region's major attractions, such as the Purnululu National Park (the Bungles), and on some longer itineraries, the Mitchell Falls.
If you're short on time, would like a taster of the region's attractions or are interested in seeing particular parts of the region, many tour operators also offer shorter tour itineraries, ranging from 2-9 days, depending on the areas visited. To find out more, see our section on shorter itineraries below.
If you wish to return to your point of departure, you'll have a choice of operators and itineraries offering Broome-to-Broome or Kununurra-to-Kununurra tours, or you may also wish to continue your tour onwards to Darwin or Perth.
Accommodated 4WD Group Tours
Accommodated tours allow you to enjoy the adventure of a 4WD tour with the added comfort of en suite accommodation and chef-prepared meals. Depending on the tour you choose, stay in dedicated luxury wilderness camps, safari tents and cabins, stations, or hotels and motels.
Camping 4WD Group Tours
Choose from participatory camping tours, where you pitch in to set up camp and prepare the evening meal, tours offering permanent campsites for some or all of your overnight stays, or tours allowing you to choose to upgrade your accommodation along the way.
Small Groups & Private Charters
Offering guided tours with groups of just 2-6 people, small group tours allow you to choose a pre-existing itinerary to take in all of the sights, or tailor your own trip along with your guide.