Roads & Travel Tips
or, go direct to [ Breakdowns & Accidents ], further down

Each year our rainy or (wet) season varies in length and intensity. The roads into this area are all dirt and the large rivers can remain uncrossable for a time after the rains cease. We open as soon as the Kalumburu Road is legally opened. Please check with SWEK on (08) 9168 4100. If the road is closed, you should not be here so regretfully you will not be served with fuel. The roads are all dirt and can be very good or very rough; it depends on when last graded, and your perception of 'rough'. Unfortunately, there is no way anyone can tell you in advance what the road will be like at any time, so there is little point in asking us. We have been open in early April, BUT it has also been June before we could open !

If you are planning to travel in April or May, it is important that you check with Main Roads or SWEK on the state of our region's roads, prior to your departure. Visitor Centres can also advise about the availability of vital fuel supplies in this region, because supply trucks may not have yet got through. Checking avoids disappointment and the same issues can apply in November !

It is simply not possible to estimate weather & road conditions in advance. All road travel times given are only a very rough guide and can vary a great deal depending upon road conditions, your  normal driving habits and experience, type of vehicle and if towing or not.   A  4WD vehicle is recommended for road clearance.
Old literature may say the Kalumburu road is just a track from the junction North; well, it's not a track anymore - it's a wide road ! This road can be just as good as the Gibb River Road at times, but please be aware that conditions do vary greatly. If you read all the info on our site you will have an understanding of why it changes so much. North past the Mitchell Plateau turn off heading for Kalumburu the road does deteriorate to varying degrees.


'Bash' drivers at Drysdale. Turning into the Miner's Pool camp,
from the Kalumburu Rd.
Note: Any travel times quoted here are a rough guide only ! None of the times given allow for the stops you will wish to make at other properties, gorges and places of interest, or for meals and  travel breaks.

Drysdale River Station to Mitchell Falls car park,  driving time 4  to 6 hours. Then a 4.5 km walk, or take a chopper ride to the falls (pic below right).
Kununurra to Drysdale River Station    5  to  8   hours.
Derby to Drysdale River Station         6.5 to  10 hours.
Broome to Drysdale River Station    9  to  12.5  hours.
The roads are all dirt and can be very good or very rough; it depends on when last graded and your perception of 'rough'

For flights out of Drysdale, see the [ Scenic Flights page
]. Options include coastal scenic flights or day treks to the Mitchell Falls. The day trips are a mixture of fixed wing plane, 4WD transfer, guided walking and a chopper ride with Helispirit.

Perfect day trips for those without the time or the vehicle to drive the Mitchell Plateau track (Port Warrender road).
A travel hint for those hiring vehicles; ensure that your hire company permits travel to the Mitchell Plateau; many don't.

Wet Season damage, Mitchell Plateau track. Fuelling up at Drysdale.

You can gain more information on travel and other accommodation
opportunities in our region, via our [ Links ] page.
Link back up to Roads and Travel Tips [ HERE ]

Vehicle Breakdowns & Accidents - North Kimberley

The above vehicles were all write-offs, as a result of road accidents in our area. The personal trauma, together with monetary costs and ruined travel plans are not hard to envisage !

The first point to always remember is in the North Kimberley you are always a long way and a long time from any help. SLOW down and drive carefully or you could be on the side of the road for hours or even overnight waiting for help ! Every season there are a many rollovers simply because people go too fast on a corner and lose control on the corrugations. It takes only a second to happen and your brakes won't work on the lose gravel.

So now you have had an accident and need help. If it's a medical emergency and you carry a satellite phone, call 000. You should follow this by a call to the nearest staffed property, if known. Most places, especially those catering to tourism, are more likely have staff available and will try to respond quickly with help, for any serious accident involving injuries. If you don't have a satphone, hopefully someone will soon come past who may be able to help. Many tourists carry long distance radios and/or satphones; all commercial tour operators now carry a satphone.

If you need help but it's not life threatening, consider borrowing a satphone from a passer-by to call your provider, or the nearest place that offers tourism facilities. Please note that satphone calls are quite expensive and offering to pay for the call is certainly the right thing to do ! The tourism provider that you call will advise your best options. If you can't get use of a satphone, then you will have to wait and flag down someone who can take a message for you. In the case of a vehicle breakdown, your best option by far is to contact your insurance company or roadside assistance provider yourself. If you have no cover, then try Neville at Over the Range Mechanical Repairs, on 91 917 887.
You can even hitch a lift to the nearest place offering tourism (leave someone with the vehicle if possible). You can then phone your insurer yourself which works far better as often they will only deal with their client direct.
If for any reason it's not practical to leave the vehicle or the other passengers , you can try sending a written message. If it's a tyre repair or replacement you require then contact us on ( 08) 91 614326 or send a written message. We may even be able come to you in an emergency ( depending on staff availability). Be aware this is a very costly exercise so we would far prefer to speak to you direct so we can advance quote the job. It would also be necessary for you to supply a bankcard number.

We make the following important points on MESSAGE SENDING !

We often get totally unreliable and frustrating verbal messages here at Drysdale; the content of such information is usually muddled in the passing. So please write out your details CLEARLY, as we have had some notes arrive that we couldn't even read ! Make sure you provide ALL details. Insurer or roadside assist contact numbers. Policy numbers and details of exactly what happened to the vehicle. Unverified information regarding the location and the nature of the problem virtually ensures that everyone will be wasting their time trying to get you help. Your insurer won't do a thing without FULL information and often in fact won't do a thing without speaking to you personally.

(1) Your full name and home contact details.
(2) Your exact location.
(3) The vehicle or trailer details: year, make, model, in fact the more info the better.
(4) Ask the person carrying the message to call your roadside assist and depending on your cover they may send a truck to pick you up. Be sure to say how many people are in the vehicle as pick up vehicles are normally limited to taking two passengers. Be sure to say if you are towing anything and what it is.
(5) If it's a hire vehicle you will need to provide the rego, the contract number, the company name and a 24 hour breakdown phone number.

We are happy to help by sending a note back with the next available traveller telling you the result of the contact with your provider. Be aware that if you request a pick up truck, they will not come unless:

(1) Your insurer issues the trucking company with a purchase order number.
(2) You personally provide a bankcard number.

Any pick up truck would have to come from either Kununurra or Derby and this WILL cost a lot of money and could take one to three days, depending on how busy they are. Regretfully for breakdowns, in many instances a pick up truck may be your only option..

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