The Kimberley Trek + Paddle

The Kimberley region is one of the most remarkable yet least explored parts of Australia. Occupying an immense area of the North West part of Australia, the Kimberley is remote, sparsely populated and contains unparalleled biodiversity. It is a hidden world of deep gorges, rugged escarpments and plateaus, interspersed with cascading waterfalls and breathtaking scenery.

Home to an extraordinary array of vegetation and wildlife, the area has sustained Aboriginal people for thousands of years. From its scorched Desert fringes and vast Eucalypt forests, remnant rainforest, wild rivers and coastal mangrove communities, the Kimberley is one of the world’s last wild treks.

Your experience will take you into the heart of this most magnificent of remote areas. Our vast trekking experience coupled with our ability to take you into those “special” treks, will ensure your journey is one that provides you with long lasting memories.

After an awe inspiring helicopter ride to our start point, we walk through ancient river beds and swim in the crystal clear waterholes; you will marvel at the ruggedness of the surrounding landscape. Our 4 day trek takes us through areas seldom seen. We are picked up on the shores of Lake Argyle and taken to a special place for an overnight camp. The sunset is breathtaking as we sit around our camp and take in the panoramic view of the surrounding Kimberley.

An early boat pick up the next morning and an exhilarating ride to our canoeing start point below the Argyle Dam wall on the Ord river. A slow easy paddle along the waters of the Ord with overnight camps on sandy beaches, will take us back to Kununurra.

We will provide you with a safe, eco-friendly and culturally sensitive experience in one of the world’s best kept secrets.

Price: from AUD3295 per person

Duration: 10 Days

Trek Ratings: Activity 3 / Conditions 4 (no altitude) / Accommodation 5 / Training/Preparation 4

Best Season: May, June, July, August, September, October & November.

Country Visited: Australia

Trip Start: Kununurra

Trip Ends: Kununurra

Destination: Lake Argyle

Trip Route: Kununurra-Carr Boyd Ranges-Lake Argyle-Ord River-Kununurra

Trip Style: Guided Trekking

Activity: Remote Trekking

Activity Per Day: Approximately 4-6 hr walking

Day 01 Arrive at Kununnura. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 02 Helicopter ride to flight into into Carr Boyd Range. Overnight at Campsite.
Day 03 Swim through waterhole to begin the first full day’s trek. Overnight at Campsite.
Day 04 Full day trekking through the Kimberley Ranges. Overnight at Campsite.
Day 05 Climb to the magnificent ‘Getaway Arch’ and take in the beauty of Lake Argyle. Overnight at Campsite.
Day 06 Complete trekking component at Lake Argyle and transfer via boat to campsite for BBQ dinner. Overnight at Campsite.
Day 07 First day canoeing on Ord River following morning briefing and skills session. Overnight at Campsite.
Day 08 Second (and last) full day canoeing on Ord River. Finish day with visit to the only Bradshaw artwork in a secluded and secret rock overhang. Overnight at Campsite.
Day 09 Short canoe to transfer point (via boat) to Kununnura. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 10 Transfer back to airport for onward journey.

Day 01 Arrival in Kununurra.
Arrive in Kununurra; pick up and transfer to accommodation. Join your fellow adventurers tonight for an evening meet and greet and a program brief. Early arrivals can try their luck at catching a Barramundi at Ivanhoe crossing on the Ord River.

Overnight at Hotel
No meals included

Day 02 Fly into Carr Boyd Ranges following Helicopter Ride.
Today will be your first taste of the magnificence of the Kimberley. After breakfast we will transfer to our helicopter for our flight into the Carr Boyd Ranges. As we fly across the plains and escarpments enroute to our starting point you will be in awe of the scenery and ruggedness of the environment we are about to enter. We set up camp on a majestic waterhole surrounded by towering red cliffs and the iconic Boab Trees. As the evening approaches we climb to a nearby ridgeline to view the panorama of a Kimberley sunset and to acclimatize to the difficult terrain we will be encountering.

Overnight at Campsite
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included

Day 03 Begin day’s trek following waterhole swim/traverse to starting point.
An early morning start to experience the changing colours of the rugged gorges as the sun’s rays creep over the high cliffs and enter the valley in which we walk. Our journey begins with waterproofing our packs in preparation for the swim through our campsite waterhole (250m) to our starting point at the other end of the gorge. We then follow a dry river bed that will eventually lead us to its headwaters. We will set up our overnight camp alongside a small waterhole that will provide fishing opportunities for those so 
inclined. We take a side trip up one of the many gorges in this area and explore an 
environment that few people have ever seen.

Overnight at Campsite
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included

Day 04 Full day’s trekking across the range.
Abundant birdlife will greet us as we wake to start our day. Our trek continues along the river bed until we climb over the range. This is a tough day and a daybreak start is required. The initial climb to the top of the escarpment is rewarded with views of the surrounding ranges and are a photographers dream. Spectacular gorges and ragged mountain ranges appear around every corner. The long winding descent will test nerve and fitness. Tonight we camp by a small freshwater creek surrounded by towering Paperbark trees and Pandanus plants.

Overnight at Campsite
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included

Day 05 Climb to the magnificent ‘Getaway Arch’ and take in the beauty of Lake Argyle.
Today’s trek encompasses ancient Cycads and a climb to a spectacular geological feature that we have named “Getaway Arch”. Those who have the energy will climb to the top this feature and be rewarded with breathtaking views of Lake Argyle. We then complete todays trek with a steep traverse to a creek line which leads to a hidden gorge featuring unique ecosystems shaded from the Kimberley sun. On return to our campsite we spend another night under a million star canopy.

Overnight at Campsite
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included

Day 06 Reach Lake Argyle for boat transfer to shore campsite and night-time BBQ.
Today we complete the trekking component of our trip, and make our way to the shores of Lake Argyle to await our boat pick up. We will be greeted with lunch and a welcome cold drink. Our staff are avid birdwatchers and fisherman and will highlight many points of interest as they transport us to our overnight destination. Tonight’s camp is on on the shores of Lake Argyle; sit back enjoy our BBQ and watch the magnificent sunset from our own private beach.

Overnight at Campsite
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included

Day 07 Canoe on Ord River through various gorges and overnight on the sandy shores.
This morning we will be collected from our island and taken to our canoe start at the dam wall at Argyle Tourist Village. We will spend some time participating in a skills 
demonstration and getting some practice for our canoeing leg. Some time is provided for a safety brief and to ensure our gear is securely water proofed and tied in to our canoes. The Ord River is slow moving and as we paddle along we pass Pandanus and Melaleuca stands which often house thousands of fruit bats. After paddling through the many Ord River gorges, we will appreciate the beauty of our overnight camp on a beautiful white sandy beach.

Overnight at Guesthouse
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included

Day 08 Full day canoeing down the Ord River before visiting Bradshaw artwork .
Once again we will be woken by the sounds of the abundant water birds surrounding our camp. After a full day of paddling down the Ord; we will be awed by the spectacular Carlton Gorge with its towering cliffs and splendid ever changing colours. We will enjoy looking up at majestic cliff faces and beautiful cascading waterfalls before moving to our last campsite. A short walk into a secret waterfall for an icy cold swim helps make this a day to remember. We have the opportunity to see the only Bradshaw artwork in a secluded and secret rock overhang.

Overnight at Campsite
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included

Day 09 Complete canoe experience and transfer back to Kununurra by boat.
We finish with a short easy paddle to our end point, where we are picked up by boat and taken back to Kununurra. We are transferred back to our hotel to enjoy a hot shower and cold drink! Tonight we can relax around the pool and recount our recent adventures before enjoying a well deserved meal in the hotel’s restaurant.

Overnight at Hotel
Breakfast Included

Day 10 End of arrangements.
Our journey concludes and you are transferred to the airport for your onward journey.

NOTE: During the trip; weather, local politics, transport or a multitude of other factors, that are beyond our control can result in a change of itinerary. It is, however, very unlikely that the itinerary would be substantially altered; if alterations are necessary the leader will decide what is the best alternative, taking into consideration the best interests of the whole group. Where a change does occur, we do everything we can to minimise its effect, but we cannot be responsible for the results of changes or delays.

There is no fixed departure date for this trek. This trip can only be organised upon your request. We have price discounts according to the group size and number of pax. The bigger your group, the bigger your group discounts.

Please contact us for further information.

Cost Includes

10 Day fully escorted tour
Airport pick up and overnight accommodation in Kununurra
Helicopter charter to trek start point, including scenic tour over ranges
Kimberley experienced leader
All food whilst on trek (supplemented with freshly caught fish)
Boat pick up and transfer to island and Canoe start point
Canoe (Canadian canoe) hire and associated equipment
Qualified and experienced canoeing instructor(s)
Mosquito dome

Cost Does not Include

International and Australian domestic flights
Passport & Visa costs
Travel insurance
All items of a personal nature, including trekking equipment
Meals other than those specified on itinerary
Any others expenses which are not mentioned on ‘Price Includes’ section.

Getaway Trekking will provide the following items of equipment:

Lightweight mosqutio dome with fly
Group first aid kit
Dry bags for pack waterproofing
Satellite phone
Canoes and safety equipment

*Please bring a set of neat clothes for hotel use and for air travel before and after trek. You will also need a spare bag for leaving your surplus gear in Kununurra.

Recommended Equipment

A medium weight hollow‐fill sleeping bag that is rated to +5 degrees ( or cotton liner)
A thermal sleeping mat, suggest self inflating type and a small pillow.
Lightweight bowl, knife, fork spoon set and cup
Headtorch with spare globe and batteries
Sunglasses
Small sharp knife or lightweight multi tool
Water bottles and Hydration pack (in good order) We recommend total water capacity to be around 5
litres. Bottles are required to mix up supplements & purification tabs.
Walking stick or poles.
10 meters 2‐3mm cord for tying packs into canoes
Lightweight collapsible (telescopic) fishing rod with assorted lures. (likely fish are black bream, sooty grunters, silver cobblers) Lures should work at 1‐2 meters below surface.

Clothing

A pair of strong, comfortable, worn in walking boots (with spare laces)
A pair of sandals or “Crocs” (to protect feet when washing in rivers etc)
Socks – minimum 3 pairs
Knee Length gaiters (to protect from Spinifex)
Wide brimmed hat
Adequate underwear that is comfortable when wet and does not chafe
Bathers
Sarong
Walking shorts and/or “Skins”. Skins are not essential, but these are highly recommended to reduce chafe.
Also suggest “Zip off” pants – these are excellent as they provide early morning and evening “longs” (for warmth and protection from mosquitoes) and “shorts” for when you are walking.
It is important that a long sleeved loose fitting shirt is included for sun and mosquito protection.
Cotton based fabric is often more comfortable in the heat however can be difficult to dry in the humidity. Modern high tech fibres are more expensive, but excellent in this climate.
One lightweight set of non walking clothes. These are the clothes you will change into after the days walk. We recommend a long sleeve shirt and long pants.

Personal Effects

Camera/memory cards (check battery)
High energy nibbles (optional – our food packs are very comprehensive)
Strongest Insect repellent e.g Bushmans with Deet
Sunblock
Water purification tablets eg Micropur or Puratab
Toilet paper (1 roll) Place in a plastic ziplock bag.
Toiletries ‐ as this is often where lots of weight and bulk occurs, portion everything and place in plastic bags to prevent spillage. Please bring a germicidal soap such as saperderm.
Towel – microfibre or chamois style
Diary/journal & pen

First Aid

Small personal first‐aid kit comprising of items from the list below.

Blister prevention – there are some excellent products available
Personal medication – you are most informed about personal health and need to take responsibility for your own medications. Please discuss with us is you have any questions
Antibacterial hand gel – eg Aquim
Pain relievers – headache tablets, strong pain relief
Tea tree oil or antiseptic
Bandaids ( various sizes, ensure you have plenty)
Stingose
Prickly heat powder
Roller bandage x 2
Safety pins (various sizes)
Needle and thread
Gastrolyte or other electrolyte
Anti inflammatory medication such as Ibrufen, Voltaren or Nurofen
Antihistamines, such as Telfast, Phenergan 10mg
Strapping tape
Antiseptic powder

*Note: if you have personal issues – eg knee problems, you should ensure you have the appropriate braces,preventative bandages, etc

What level of fitness do I require?

Your experience is directly related to your level of fitness!!  It is very important to prepare yourself for the challenge ahead.  We have a recommended training schedule on our website, this is a guide only.

Many of our trekkers have used a similar training guide for Kokoda and Tasmania and have found it very helpful in their preparation. You cannot train on too many hills. The more training you do now, the more successful and enjoyable your trek. You should also be training with a pack as you will need to carry your own pack approximately 15kg.

Please contact us for information on training walks in Melbourne, Adelaide and Cairns.

Fatigue, overheating and dehydration are conditions that you need to avoid and be aware of on the trek. Lots of fluid with re‐hydration formulas such as Gastrolyte will help. It is important to wear light clothes, as it is very hot and humid in the Kimberley. You must train in the clothes that you intend to wear whilst trekking! It is also very important to make sure that you have good walking boots.

Good footwear is important for a successful trek. Prior preparation is the key to a successful trek. The Kimberley can be an arduous trek and should be treated with the highest respect.

Getaway Trekking reserves the right to refuse participation or retire any trekker/s if they are deemed to be unfit or unprepared to complete the journey.

What should I wear on the plane?

You will be arriving in a hot humid environment. Wear appropriate clothing; if you are travelling from a cold environment carry a lightweight set in your hand luggage that you can change into when you arrive.

Can I stay a little longer?

Getaway Trekking includes in your trek price pre and post accommodation in Kununurra, which means the night before your trek starts and the night the trek finishes.  If you require extra nights’ accommodation please let us know and we can book this for you.  

Do I need travel insurance for this trek?

Yes. It is a mandatory requirement to travel with Getaway Trekking on this trek.

We suggest you take out insurance as soon as you make any form of payment; in unforeseen training accidents or family emergencies, you may have some protection.

Travel insurance can be arranged through our Travel Manager.

You MUST ensure your insurance covers Helicopter evacuation in medical emergencies.

If you purchase travel insurance through our Travel Manager, we will receive a copy of your policy. If you arrange your own insurance, please supply us with a copy of your Travel Insurance Policy and ensure we have the following information:

  • Travel Insurance Company’s 24 hour emergency contact phone number
  • Your Name
  • Policy No.
  • Travel Dates and Destination
  • Date of Birth etc…

Please note:
If you retire from the trek for reasons other than medical, you will need to pay for the evacuation “up front” (normally with credit card or a cash transfer to the relevant company) Other extra costs are of course accommodation, meals.

Who meets me in Kununurra?

A Getaway Trekking representative OR a hotel staff representative will meet you after you pass through the gate to collect your luggage. Look for our staff member or a Hotel rep holding up a sign with your name on it.  

What is the accommodation like?

Our accommodation is million star whilst on the trek and paddle phase. We sleep out in the open in Mosquito domes supplied by Getaway Trekking beneath the Southern Cross. In Kununurra, we stay in one of several hotels depending on availability.

Storage rooms are available where you can leave your spare bags whilst on the trek. Please remember you are responsible for purchases of food and alcohol whilst in the hotel.

When is the trek briefing?

Your Trek Leader will run a briefing at your hotel the night before your trek. This informative session is designed to let you know of departure times, changes, ask questions etc. It also allows you to get acquainted with the rest of the group if you’re not already.

Do I need money on the trek?

You are in a remote area where there is no opportunity to purchase any goods.

Are there Communications on the trek?

We carry a satellite phone on our treks.  The purpose of the satellite phone is for emergency use only. It is used to ring in to the office with updates, GPS position or used in an emergency (where a helicopter may be needed).

As there is no electricity along the trek we cannot charge the battery.  The Trek Leader may only switch the phone on a couple of times a day (to save the battery).  The battery is fully charged before the trek starts.

The satellite phone is not to be used by our trekkers for personal use.

If a trekker wants to keep in touch with family or work whilst they are trekking they need to bring their own satellite phone.

How can I be contacted if there is an emergency at home?

If an emergency requires your attention the following procedures should be followed. It must be understood that communications in these areas is not guaranteed due to weather and other environmental conditions.

  1. Your family member contacts our office (who will assess if it is a genuine emergency; a sick cat would not fit this criteria!) The sat phone is required for “on track” emergencies and battery life is limited.
  2. Our office will text a message to the satellite phone; when the trek leader initialises the phone at 6.00pm each night, he / she will receive the message and immediately contact the office for instructions.

What happens with food?

You are responsible for all food and beverage costs whilst in Kununurra.

Getaway Trekking needs to be advised when booking if there are any particular dietary requirements.  We do our best to manage your requirements but please be aware we are operating in a remote area where everything needs to be carried in (and out). We are able to supply Gluten Free and Vegetarian menus on request.

Should I take electrolytes and how much water is enough?

You will need to carry a minimum of 3 litres of water on you. It is essential you hydrate in this environment. Your Trek Leader will advise the best places to fill up your water. It is essential that you take electrolytes/Gastrolyte/Hydrolyte etc with you.  Put electrolyte in your water, every time you fill up, it prevents dehydration from high perspiration due to exertion and high humidity.

Dehydration can become a major issue in all hot environments.  It is very important to keep drinking fluids on the trek. Because of the higher level of activity, temperature and humidity you will tend to sweat more. With the increased fluid intake and sweating you also tend to flush out of your system essential minerals, salts etc. This is why it is important to use electrolytes, salt replacements and Glucose type products. Water purifying tablets can be taken as a precaution. The water is generally very good in the Kimberley but always check with the Trek Leader about the quality of the water.

With the different environments, conditions, food and water, upset stomachs, vomiting and diarrhea can occur. Please ensure you bring adequate medication as per our personnel first aid kit.

Are there opportunities for me to shower?

There are no facilities within the area we operate. When toileting, paper needs to be burnt and faecal material covered over. The hardness of the ground prevents digging holes. This is the standard procedure for this type of environment.

You do need to take your own toilet paper (1 roll). We also suggest a pack of “wet ones” Please bring biodegradable products in line with Getaway Trekking’s environmental policy of being eco friendly.

Rivers and waterholes are used for the shower and washing facilities. We ask that you “soap up” on the bank and pour water over you so that soap does not enter the river or do not use soap. Washing of clothes should be done in the same manner and not in the river.

Will my mobile phone/cell work?

Your mobile phone will only work in a 10‐14 km range of Kununurra. You will not have any reception on the trek.

Who cooks and what do we eat?

All meals except the following are provided:

  • Hotel meal night prior to trek
  • Lunch on Trek day 1, prior to chopper departure
  • Hotel Meal on completion of canoe leg

You have time to visit one of the many small cafes in Kununurra to buy Lunch prior to departing by Helicopter on our outward flight to the trek start.

All breakfasts are included at the hotel accommodation and on tour

For part of the trek, you will carry a Ration pack, the contents of which are listed below. These are quite substantial and provide 13000KJ/day energy. The main meal is “hydrated”, and is added to noodles. The remainder of meals consist of a bbq, and a pasta mix cooked by the group.

We can supplement these meals with Fish caught from the many small waterholes we pass during the days trekking. Or you can sport fish: catch and release for a bit of fun.

Ration Pack Contents

Breakfast

  • 1 x 100g Muesli cereal with skim milk powder (just add water)

Lunch

  • 1 x 85g Instant Noodles
  • 1 x 15g Yeast spread (vegemite)
  • 1 x 35g Crackers
  • 1 x 26g fruit spread or 2 x 13g Jam

Dinner

  • 1 x 85g Instant Noodles
  • 1 x 300g MEAL Pouch (one variant per combopack) BBQ Beef
  • Bean salad, Beef & Vegetable stew
  • Chicken with Pasta & Vegetables

Snacks

  • 1 x 45g Choc Bar
  • 1 x 45g Candy Bar
  • 2 x 50g Muesli bars
  • 2 x 15g Fruit Grains

Other Components

  • 1 x 85g Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 x 16g Sports Drink
  • 1 x 10g Chocolate Drink
  • 1 x Tea Bag
  • 1 x Coffee
  • 2 x Sugar
  • 1x Salt
    Sugar, 1 x Salt

What other food should I take?

You can supplement the ration pack with a small amount of nibbles if you wish. Remember though, you are carrying your pack and every bit counts! Peanuts, jellybeans, snakes etc are light and easy to carry.

Each ration pack contains 1 tea bag, 1 coffee sachet and I hot chocolate sachet. You may wish to bring along additional sachets. Avoid jars of coffee.

Although there is a sports drink sachet in each pack, we suggest you supplement this with an electrolyte replacement of your choice, eg Gastrolyte, Hydrolyte.

What does a typical do look like?

  • Wake up call between 4.30& 5.00am, gear pack up
  • 6.00‐6.30 am Breakfast
  • 6.45 am group “stretch” and brief
  • 7.00 am walk
  • 7.00 – 12.00 breaks and rests as required; normally 10 minutes every 1 hour. A 30 min mid morning break at a suitable place
  • 12.00 – 1300 lunch
  • 1300 – 1530 / 1600 walk
  • 1600 Establish Camp
  • 1730 dinner
  • 1930 debrief

What are track conditions like?

The conditions on the track vary due to the changes in the season. The seasons are broken up into the dry season and the wet season. These seasons also have sub seasons which fringe the wet and dry season. The dry season is normally from late May to late October. Good conditions can still be expected in April and November. It is possible to get rain during any season or month. Late November, December, January, February and March are wet with flooded river systems. The temperature will range from 24‐28 degrees under the canopy and up to 40 degrees out in the open
areas. The night time temperature can fall below 8 degrees at night.

What happens in an emergency?

Minor injuries are treated on site by our leaders. More serious injuries if they occur would be treated at the Kununurra Hospital after a helicopter evacuation. We carry a satellite phone and have a representative on standby in Kununurra at all times.

All trekkers are required to have travel insurance which covers medical emergencies.

What are the dangers?

The Kimberley is a remote area consisting of rugged mountain ranges, Spinifex grass and the normal dangers associated with travel in Australia. We limit the dangers by having a substantial risk management and risk reduction policy. The most likely injuries are minor joint sprains and strains with the most severe ( but uncommon) being snake bite. Dehydration is always a concern and emphasis will be on reminding trekkers to regularly drink water.