Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world. I am a photographer, writer and multi-media artist.
Focussing mainly on Western Australia and Australia, I am seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.



Wednesday 2 November 2011

On the Road in the Kimberley

I am very excited to tell you that I have just had three articles published in the Australian travel magazine - On The Road  -  November 2011 edition - Kimberley Essentials.
You can read these in full in the magazine, but below is the beginning paragraphs. 

"Naturally Outstanding" - my article about Purnululu National Park.

Below is my original image - with the opening spread of my article below it - read on below the image -

Cathedral Gorge is well named. Entering its immense towering cavern is like entering a magnificent natural cathedral, a place steeped in time and history. The red and orange sandstone walls tower above you, and the white sand crunches softly underfoot.  Tiny animal tracks can be seen going across the sand to the central pool which sits still and undisturbed like a mirror. It is a place for hushed voices and to sit quietly with your own thoughts. If you come early in the morning, as we did, you can enjoy the peace undisturbed.  It has the atmosphere of a holy place, a sanctuary.

the cavern of Cathedral Gorge - arriving early morning you can fully experience the atmosphere of this sacred place

Cathedral Gorge is just one of the magnificent gorges within the Purnululu National Park (also known as the Bungle Bungles) in the Kimberley region of Western Australia’s far north west.  Given World Heritage listing in 2003, Purnululu is one of Western Australia’s newest and most spectacular National Parks.  

In the Kija Aboriginal language purnululu means sandstone. The Aboriginal people inhabited the region for thousands of years, however Purnululu was known only to a few Europeans until the mid 1980s.  How it received the name Bungle Bungles remains an intriguing mystery with several explanations including the name of a common Kimberley grass, bundle bundle grass, or the ranges proximity to the old Bungle Bungle cattle station.

Purnululu is located off the Great Northern Highway, 250km south of Kununurra, west of the WA/Northern Territory border. The 53 kilometre unsealed road from the Highway is only accessible by 4WD and offroad campers. It travels through Mabel Downs Station to the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) Rangers / Visitor Centre within the park. You should allow approximately 2-3 hours for the 53 km drive in (approximately 5 hours total travel time from Kununurra).

sunset at Purnulu
At the end of the day visitors congregate at the Kungkalahayi Lookout, three kilometres from the Visitor Centre, to enjoy the 360 panoramic views and to watch the last rays of sun spread over the Spinifex ridges to light up the ranges changing them to brilliant orange and reds.  
The image below of of Echidna Chasm made it onto the Environmental Graffitti website in an article by Michele Collet about slot canyons - amazing-slot-canyons

"Kimberley Touring" -  my article about touring around the Kimberley......
In this image you can see my original image, and the opening spread of my article "Kimberley Touring".
I thought I did pretty well with this photo considering it was taken through the front windscreen of our vehicle while driving (my husband driving) along the dusty gravel Gibb River Road. The rock you can see in the middle of the image is called Queen Victoria's Head. 

When a choir of Australian children sang “I Still Call Australia Home” in an ancient creek bed in Purnululu National Park for Qantas, and Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman drove a herd of cattle across the outback in the movie “Australia”, they brought the Kimberley into the consciousness of thousands of people around the world.

The Kimberley is raw, hot, dusty, remote and sometimes dangerous. It is also incredibly beautiful and steeped in history and ancient dreamtime stories.  Despite, and perhaps because of its remoteness and rugged untouched corners, it is a magnet to visitors wanting to experience one of the world’s last wilderness areas.

 With good research and planning, many parts of the Kimberley and its magnificent National Parks are easily accessible and there is a wealth of resources both on-line and in book stores to help you.

This magnificent boab tree marks the entrance to the Kimberley
 When we planned our five week Kimberley trip from our home in WA’s south west, we had to include travel to reach the Kimberley – a distance of nearly 2700 kilometres – a three day drive. However visitors can choose to fly to either of the major jumping off points – Broome on the Kimberley’s west coast, or Kununurra near the Northern Territory border – and then hire a vehicle. 

On our way north we bush camped for two nights before arriving in Broome where we stayed for three nights before continuing on a circular route, first along the bitumen Great Northern Highway through Fitzroy Crossing and Purnululu to Kununurra. We rented a caravan park cabin in Kununurra for one week, before returning to Broome via the gravel Gibb River Road.  For a first time Kimberley traveller, I recommend this route as the relatively easy drive along the bitumen first gives you a good introduction to the Kimberley. 

Pentacost River crossing

The image above is classic Kimberley - crossing the Pentacost River on the Gibb River Road. Don't get out half way across - the river is tidal and salt water crocodiles live here!

 And my campsite report - "An Inland Beach - Manning Gorge camp ground, Mt Barnett Station, GIbb River Road"

You wouldn’t expect to find a beach along the Gibb River Road. It’s hot and dusty and crisscrossed with corrugations and creek crossings. But find a beach we did; with white sand, beach chairs, umbrellas and tyre tubes to go floating up the river in. 

310 kilometers from Derby on the Gibb River Road is Mt Barnett Roadhouse, one of only two roadhouses on The Gibb, and the only one selling unleaded fuel. It is also the access point to Manning Gorge, so we stopped and bought fuel and paid our camping fees before enjoying an ice-cream beneath the shady trees at the front of the Roadhouse.

The large campground which is seven kilometers in from the Roadhouse has plenty of shaded sites and facilities include untreated water, toilets and solar showers. You can pitch your tent wherever you like, so we picked a site and soon had our tent up as we were ready to cool off and wash off the dust.  

What we had seen next to the campground on the way in was a beach. At the Lower Manning Gorge at any time of day you will see campers sun-baking, floating down the gorge in rubber tyre tubes, or making their way across the narrow stretch of water so they can walk to Manning Gorge.

beautiful Manning Gorge - worth the walk!

walking in the Kimberley - remember your hat, sunscreen and water!

You can read these articles in full in the November 2011 edition of On The Road Magazine.  
Or you can check out a preview by clicking on the link here - On The Road November 2011
Then click on where it says "more" under "Naturally Outstanding"

The Kimberley is a magnificent part of raw Australia - I hope you will visit one day. 


  1. Fantastic, what a great travel blog. These photos are spectacular. Congratulations on the published articles. Oh yes, and great photos as well.

  2. It's a wonderful piece with lots of good information!

  3. Your photos are incredible! They make me look forward for my kimberley trip this coming August. I hope my adventure will be as excellent as yours.


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