1. Pretend you’ve seen the Kimberley because you’ve been to Broome.
Travel companies often use iconic shots of the Kimberley to advertise packages to Broome. But anyone who’s been to Kununurra, Derby or any of the other towns in the Kimberley will tell you that there’s a heck of a lot more to the region than Broome. There are plenty of waterfalls and gorges along the Gibb River Road and loads of secret spots scattered around the Kimberley. Do us a favour and resist the urge to name these spots on social media. If anyone asks, just say it’s in the Territory, since that’s where they think you went anyway.
2. Refuse to use a toilet because of a little face peering up at you.
Admittedly, we’ll never truly feel comfortable about a little green face staring up at us while we do our business. But there’s a point when you realise the low likelihood of him launching at your bottom mid business, and you accept that your dunny is his favourite waterhole. That little amphibian worked hard to get into that spot.
3. Disrespect indigenous culture.
Aboriginals account for almost 40 percent of the Kimberley’s population. Whilst some communities welcome tourists, other areas require special permission for access. You can show your respect by avoiding walking on sacred sites, touching ancient rock art or photographing people without permission. And you can support the local communities by purchasing their handicrafts, hiring local guides and staying in locally-owned accommodations. If you do all that, you’ll probably be fine.
4. Confuse The Kimberley with The Territory.
Darwin, Kakadu, Litchfield … these places are wonderful, but they’re not in The Kimberley. Whilst the Northern Territory has some similar scenery to The Kimberley, we are in fact located the next state across, in Western Australia.
5. Make headlines by doing something foolish involving crocodiles.
Some of the Kimberley’s waterways are inhabited by saltwater crocodiles. Certain spots are safe for swimming, others are not. No one was impressed by the Kiwi who attempted to kayak the Northern Kimberley but instead spent two weeks on an island being stalked by a croc. Or the Aussie supermodel who swam across Willie Creek when her car got bogged (thankfully the resident croc left her alone). Ask a local before jumping in, seriously.
6. Cramp our style.
With only 40,000 residents occupying an area of 423,000-square kilometres, there’s plenty of space to spread out here. So it’s always baffling when someone sets up right next to us on the beach or at a waterhole. Seriously, there’s 22km of sand on Cable Beach and you have to spread your towel 10m away? Don’t do that.
7. Graffiti a boab.
The boab is a true icon of the Kimberley. These magnificent trees are unique in appearance and are a popular subject for photographers. Unfortunately, their robust trunks are the ultimate canvas for vandals who get a kick out of carving their initials into these ancient beings. Respect our natural environment and leave your pocket knife in your lunchbox.
8. Judge folks by the way they dress.
Our remote location means that facilities are limited and, even if we did have big department stores, most locals prefer to play outdoors than shop for the latest fashions. Rich or poor, ‘Kimberley casual’ is the preferred attire for the majority of residents. Get used to it.
9. Try and predict the weather.
You can’t. There’s actually an old saying for it and it’s pretty self-explanatory: “Only fools and newcomers try to predict the weather.”
10. Not sample the local drop.
Mango Beer, Pearler’s Pale Ale, Ord River Rum — our local brews are as unique and delectable as the region they’re made in. You can try all the flavours of the Kimberley at the award-winning Matsos Broome or Kununurra’s Hoochery and give yourself a pat on the back for supporting local businesses whilst helping cut transport emissions.
11. Create outback traffic jams.
When your body clock’s on Kimberley time everything seems to slow down, including the speed of your driving. But holding up traffic on narrow, dusty roads can cause accidents. The best way to avoid an outback road-rage incident is to pull to the side and let folks pass.