What is it that draws me back to this place? It’s a question I wrestle with time and again, as I am now, camped next to the Pentecost River in the East Kimberley at the end of my 6-week trip.
The Kimberley, of course, is different things to different people. For some it’s a holiday and a place to escape cooler climates down south. For others it’s a pilgrimage of sorts – a tradition – like the father and son on their way to Kalumburu for their bi-annual fishing trip. For others, like Ken Duncan’s photography tour group, it’s a great photography workshop of sorts. And of course, for a lot of people, it is home.
For me, it is all of these things at different times. For me it is a great wilderness that screams to be explored. Even after 5 years and 30 weeks camping, hiking and kayaking out here I am constantly reminded how much of the Kimberley I have not seen. Every trip reveals new things, like my first sighting of the black grass wren on the Mitchell Plateau or kayaking the Fitzroy River for the first time. Dirt tracks that I haven’t noticed previously now scream to be explored.
Sure, it’s a great wilderness that has been tamed just enough that you can find a comfortable bed and a swimming pool if you need to. But the beauty of the Kimberley is that you don’t have to venture very far at all to be removed from those same comforts and to experience the Kimberley for what it truly is.
After 6 weeks, more than 7000km, 3 flat tyres, one broken CV shaft and a busted shock absorber, I’m already looking forward to my next trip – already dreaming of the next Kimberley adventure.