Flora and Fauna
The Kimberley sports more amazing flora and fauna than we can dream to mention here. The region’s geographic positioning and the barrier provided by desert conditions to the south has resulted in the Kimberley having completely unique flora and fauna not found anywhere else. The spectacular wildflower season occurs between July and September offering a unique treat for visitors.
The coast brims with marine life from migrating humpback whales, marine turtles, tropical fish and of course the coast and estuarine rivers are home to the formidable saltwater crocodile. Freshwater crocodiles can be easily seen in many of the creeks and a plethora of bird life is ever present throughout the region. We can arrange for you to see the very best of the Kimberley’s truly stunning array of flora and fauna with a host of tour options to choose from.
The north west Kimberley is notable as the only region of Western Australia, and one of very few in Australia, that appears to have retained its complete fauna without extinction in the period since European settlement.
Mammals and marsupials: Australia and the Kimberley is home to unique and endemic mammals and marsupials, including wallabies, possums, dingoes, euros, flying foxes and quolls, sugar gliders, bilbys, bandicoots, dunnarts and the pebble mound mouse, to mention afew.
Snakes: Are protected species and even though it may seem tempting, never try to kill them! In the Kimberley the most common snakes are the tiapan, king brown, western brown and death adders.
Crocodiles: There are two types of crocodile to be found here; the large saltwater estuarine crocodile, and the freshwater Johnstone’s crocodile. Saltwater crocodiles are DANGEROUS and have no fear of humans. They can be found in both salt and fresh water and swim long distances in the ocean. They have been know to grow over 8 metres long!
Freshwater crocodiles are not usually considered to be dangerous. They inhabit freshwater rivers, creeks and artificial lakes, feeding on small aquatic animals. All crocodiles in the Kimberley are protected an it is an offence to harm or kill them. Please see your local travel authority when visiting the area for advice.
Marine life: Many reef systems and islands decorate the north west coast, creating a precious ecosystem for hundreds of tropical fish species and supporting a rich variety of corals, molluscs and other invertebrates. They’re also home to big game fish and larger animals such as dolphins, dugongs, sea turtles, manta rays and sharks. Snorkeling, diving and fishing is very popular in the North West coast
A very popular sportfish is the Barramundi, found both in salt and freshwater They have large silver scales, which may become darker or lighter, depending on their environment, and their bodies have been known to reach up to 1.8 meters long. Barramundi are mainly a summertime fish, but can be caught all year round, and may be found frolicking in mud.
Five of the six species of marine turtle found in Australian waters, are found along the North West coast, including the green, loggerhead and hawksbill turtles. The Dampier Archipelago and surrounding areas are home to some of the largest nesting areas in the world which begins. Turtle nesting begins in September and ends in November.
Beginning in early June, every winter the Australian humpback whale migration begins along the Kimberley coast.
Birdlife: With over 300 species of birds, the Kimberley is a hotspot of diversity for birdlife. Common species to be seen are the corella, budgerigar, lorikeet, jabiru, pelican, emu and cuckoos, though you could be lucky to catch a glimpse of the rare Gouldian finch or purple crowned fairy wren.
Birds range in size from huge kites, sea eagles, ospreys and Australian bustards, to smaller species such as barred finches, rock pigeons and bower birds. There is an abundance of water birds in the area, including the comb crested jacana (Jesus birds) herons, ibis, waterfowl, magpie geese, brolgas, waders, oyster catchers and boobies, aswell as many migratory species that flock here in their thousands in the summer. Broome’s tidal mudflats are a great place for spotting native and migratory water birds. There are several bird observatories throughout the area.
Over 2000 species of plants exist in the spectacular landscapes of the Kimberley. Such a harsh and dramatic climate has led to the evolution of extremely unique species found only in the north west. Whilst heavy summer rains bring new growth and flowers to the region, during the dry winter months the rocky surfaces retain water to sustain plant life.
Flora: From July to September wildflowers of all colours, sizes and shapes can be seen throughout the Kimberley. Species commonly found include the ancient livistonia palm and cycads, wollybutts, kimberley bauinia, eucalypts and of course the unusual boab tree. Along waterways, are found mangroves, water lilies, pandanus, melaleucas and cadjebuts. Also look out for many flowering wattles, bachelors buttons, grevilleas, mulla mulla, kapoks, sticky karrajongs and Cunningham’s bush tomato.
The Boab Tree: The spectacular Boab Adansonia gregorii trees adorn the landscape in the Kimberley with their sheer size and shape, spreading up to 15m high with branches that radiate from the top of the swollen barrel like trunk that can be up to 20 metres in circumference. Although this is a deciduous tree, at the beginning of every wet season the boab produces new leaves and large white flowers that start to bloom through the wet season, with fruits following. The boab has been a very important part of Aboriginal life, being used as food, shelter, medicine, water, tools and carvings. The early settlers would often hollow out the centres of the trees and use them to lock up Aboriginies, the most famous of which is the Boab Prison Tree near Derby.