#752. The Kimberley Coast – North Western Australia

By Dallas Thomas | Travel Photography

Jul 23

View from Mount Casuarina @210mts – 10 Shot Single Row Pano @200mm

The destination is the Berkeley River Lodge, Kimberley, Western Australia. Access to the Lodge is only by air, luggage is limited to 10kg plus a small personal bag, so choice of camera gear was critical. Prior to booking I’d negotiated an extra 5 kgs which helped for camera gear. Berkeley is about 100 minutes from Darwin by light plane. so you can gather its a rather remote location. The flight from Darwin to Berkeley River is scenic as you cruise at an altitude of 8,000’ in a Cessna Caravan. I was lucky enough to sit right up front in the copilot seat, what a great experience!

The Kimberley (423,517 km2) is Western Australia’s sparsely settled northern region. It’s known for large swaths of wilderness defined by rugged ranges, dramatic gorges, semi-arid savanna and a largely isolated coastline. The mostly unsealed (unpaved) Gibb Road runs 660km through the region’s heart, passing by Windjana Gorge National Park, which has towering limestone cliffs and pools where freshwater crocodiles gather. 

The beaches are very inviting along the Timor Sea, however you swim at your own peril due to crocodiles being very prevalent in these parts. The weather in the dry season May to October is warm during the day about 32ºC and cool over night with no humidity. The resort’s plunge pool came in very handy to cool off.

This croc was only relatively small about 3.5 metres in length according to our guide Dempsey. Just look at that eye, not flinching or blinking.


Down Low @21mm

The sunsets in Northern Australia are spectacular, the red glow seems to last forever.

Sunset Trilogy


Sunset Trilogy


Sunset Trilogy

Light pollution is very minimal from the resort,  the nearest other settlement is about100 km away. The Milky Way has to be seen to be believed in this dark environment. Astro Photography is something I’m not proficient at, as can be seen from this shot (Not the Milky Way), the exposure time was too long on this occassion hence the start of star trails, next time…..

A leisurely cruise along the picturesque Berkeley River with its towering high cliffs. In many places there is extraordinary amounts of red sedimentary rock to see and experience. Crocodiles can be spotted sunning themselves in among the mangroves along the river.



King Georges River

King George River

Many places in the area are only accessible by helicopter or boat as roads are non existent. This particular area had aboriginal rock art which dated back some 40,000+ years. Some of the art we saw had only recently been discovered by the resort team and is thought to be seen now for the first time by not traditional peoples. This is after a burn-off conducted by the traditional owners of the land (aboriginal) The burn off is done via helicopter.





The fresh water pools on the upper King George River are so refreshing to go for a dip, the temperature was a constant 33 during the day. The pools are thankfully crocodile free so you can enjoy the serene surrounds without a care in the world.


The Kimberley Coast experience has wet our appetite for further exploration of other places in the region like the iconic Bungle Bungle Range, Lake Argyle and the Ord River. The location is very remote and well worth a visit.

These images were taken using Zeiss Milvus 2.8/21, 1.4/35 & 1.4/50, Nikkor 2.8/24 – 70 & Nikkor 4/70 – 200 using a Nikon D850. I can pick the Nikkor/Zeiss images, can you??

King George Falls


King George River below the falls


Email: subscribed: 4
  • Dennis Manning says:

    For some reason the images only half load on my Mac Air running current OS…Sierra 10.12.6, Safari 11.1.2, 4GB ram. Happens repeatedly for Southern hemisphere posts. ??? New (2017) I-Mac 5K with High Sierra works fine…???

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    I spent a while in Darwin, half a century ago and before the cyclone struck the place, Dallas. Only ever flown over (not into) the Kimberleys.

    I agree about the sunsets – the two best sunsets I’ve ever seen were (1) across Fannie Bay, in Darwin and (2) looking down onto Perth from the Darling scarp, the afternoon in May 1969 when I arrived in Perth from Darwin. i both, the entire world was bathed in a vivid red – unbelievable display of nature at its finest! – and both, when I was only shooting B&W. I wonder what digital would have made of them! 🙂

    Zeiss vs Nikkor? Easier with originals – I am guessing the night shot and the paintings by indigenous Australians were all Zeiss – the night shot is stunning (even more so if you bring up the scenery in the foreground, at the bottom of the frame – perhaps you do at your end, and it’s not showing as well here because of the scaling down of the image, for inclusion in DS), and anyone privileged to see 40,000-plus painting ain’t gonna waste the opportunity on anything less than Zeiss glass!

    Latest reports I’ve seen suggest that the indigenous people arrived here over 60,000 years ago – throughout my life, there seems to have been a marked reluctance among archeologists in this country to push the frontier back – when I was a kid, they used a figure of something like 15,000 or 20,000 till some bright spark carbon dated some of the rock paintings on the Nullarbor at 25,000 (older than the ones on the Iberian Peninsular, so it caused havoc in archeological circles!) – then Mungo woman at 40,000 – Mungo man at 42,000 (still, apparently, the earliest example in the world of a ritual burial), ad most recently at this latest “over 60,000” figure. Who knows? I think they might be better off “guessing” when the first arrivals might have made the trip, by looking for dates when it could have been done – bearing in mind the variations in sea levels at different times, and the problems of making the crossing from Asia, unless the sea was relatively low – and moving forward from there, once they worked out what was feasible! I could understand a professional reluctance to avoid making claims that they might not be able to substantiate – but at times it seemed more like a European aversion to giving the indigenous people any credit for what they had achieved, in the style of the claims by British settlers that the entire continent was “terra nullius”, and was therefore “theirs for the taking”, and the aborigines who owned the place had no rights whatsoever for most of the following two centuries and precious little ever since. Commonly described overseas as “Australia’s shame”!

    • Pete, agree 100% about the originals when comparing lens, all aerial shots were taken with the 2.8/24 – 70 Nikkor not my favourite lens by far but handy. Time for shooting the Rock Art was very limited as there were 4 others trying to do the same so the Nikon was the go to unfortunately. The age as you stay “who knows”! Dallas

      • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

        I may be wrong, but I think that the cave paintings in Europe that usurped the title from the Iberian peninsular (AKA Spain!) are 32,000 years old. So no doubt the game is on again, with the Kimberleys claiming the title for the moment, at over 40,000. As you say – who knows/ And frankly, who cares? – this is like all those dreadful people trying to build the tallest building in their city, which I’ve always thought of as a form of “penis envy”. Anyone who wasn’t lacking in self confidence would build something far more sensible.

      • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

        Whoa! Dallas you took 3 Zeiss lenses and 2 Nikors, and never even used the Zeiss class? How COULD you?

        It just goes to show – it ain’t the camera that takes the photos, it’s the person holding it! 🙂

        My crocodile story FWIW** was something that happened in the middle of a party that I was blamed for starting – in the Koala Hotel at the wrong end of Smith St in Darwin (it was regarded as a “working men’s pub” – and people with a fake sense of their own importance used to look down their noses at it). That was around 5pm one Friday afternoon. The party ebbed and flowed, and moved around, over the following 3 or 4 days (I left before it finished – arriving at work on Tuesday morning, a day late for work! – so I really don’t know when it ended). It ranged over a radius of around 100 Km from Darwin. And at one stage, at around 1 am on Saturday night/Sunday morning, about a dozen of us were in an aluminium hulled “punt” or “skiff”, in the middle of the Adelaide River, with only about 2 or 3 cm of freeboard – all hopelessly drunk – laughing our heads off as we peered into the darkness at all the pairs of red eyes, glowing in the dark, staring back at us. Just as well none of them felt hungry that night, or I wouldn’t be sitting here telling you this bilge.
        **[for what it’s worth]

        [Footnote – before he married & settled down, Pete was a very naughty boy!]

  • Erik says:

    Hey, hey, hey! Wow, wow, wow! I’m totally gobsmacked by these images. You’ve made me want to jump on a plane and visit the Down Under right now. Thanks so much for this post! Your images really grabbed me, and that isn’t all that common for me. I’ll say it again, WOW.

    • Erik, thank you for you kind comments, my images I must admit do not do Kimberley Coast justice it has to be seen to be really appreciated.


  • Mel says:

    On my iMac, it took me THREE web page refreshes before I was able to see all the images, including my favorites: the rock art. The images came up the first time I clicked on the link and loaded the page on my iPhone. Not sure how this works, but others might. I understand the circumstances, but I would have loved to have see the rock art images shot with Zeiss glass. Next time. Thanks for the terrific photos.

    • Mel, as I mentioned to Pete in a previous comment time was of the essence when shooting so I choose the Nikkor for ease, thanks for your kind comments on the images.

      As for the mac issues its above my pay grade!!


  • >