At the end of Gibb River Road, Derby is a friendly outback town in Western Australia. This town has a rich history, the largest tides in Australia, and an array of natural attractions. Viewing the attractions in Derby is best done via a day tour, providing historical context as you explore the area.
Derby Tours: Exploring Australia’s Kimberley Region
Derby, the first settlement in Western Australia, provides the perfect getaway for nature lovers. Its stunning boab trees, mudflats, and sand dunes make it a top choice for anyone visiting the Kimberley Region. Situated nearby Broome and 40 km from the Great Northern Highway, you’ll find yourself delighted by Derby and its offerings.
Derby Tours: History of the Area
The town of Derby has been inhabited for thousands of years, beginning with the Warrwa First Nation people, who solely inhabited the area around the town for about 40,000 years before European settlers. In the late 1600s, the town became known for its mention in A New Voyage Round the World after William Dampier sailed along Kimberley’s Coastline.
Multiple people explored the area and inspired the names of the natural attractions, such as Stokes River. It was not until the late 1800s that Derby was proclaimed a town in Western Australia. From there, the population began to grow as cattle and livestock numbers grew. Now, Derby has over 3,000 residents, making it one of the most populated towns in the region.
Derby Tours: Attractions and Activities
Ultimate Horizontal Falls Luxury Stay
This is one of the best tours in Derby, offering a 24-hour experience, including an overnight stay aboard the Jetwave Pearl. This tour is jam-packed with activities, including helicopter flights, fishing, relaxing cruises, a shark show, and plenty of time to swim in the cooling waters.
All meals are included in this tour, each of which is curated by an onboard chef. You can also enjoy tasty cocktails while on the Jetwave Pearl. The Ultimate Horizontal Falls Luxury Stay is ideal for those 12 and older.
Mowanjum Aboriginal Art and Culture Centre
The Mowanjum Aboriginal Art and Culture Centre offers insight into the Worrorra, Ngarinyin, and Wunumbal tribes who live in the area. This center includes a gallery space filled with art from these tribes, from artists who are newer to the scene to more established artists.
The museum on site includes an array of items to explore, such as dance totems put together by the tribes’ women in the 1970s. This spot also includes a cultural center, which hosts workshops, events, and festivals annually, so visitors can learn more about the culture of the three tribes.
Those traveling in July can attend the Mowanjum Festival to learn more about the culture and art of the local Aboriginal tribes. A highlight of the festival are the performances of traditional dances and songs. It’s held at the Mowanjum Aboriginal Art and Culture Centre and is one of the longest-running Aboriginal cultural celebrations.
Derby to Horizontal Falls Half-Day Adventure
This is another option for Derby, Australia tours that is more immersive than an hour-long excursion. The Derby to Horizontal Falls Half-Day Adventure includes many of the top natural attractions in Derby. You’ll spend the excursion viewing King Sound, the tidal flats, Talbot Bay, and more. An initial ride on a seaplane offers an exquisite panoramic view of the area, making this an excellent option for adventurous tours. Lunch is also included on this tour.
Soar Cruise and Overnight Stay
The Soar Cruise and Overnight Stay tour immerses you in Derby’s stunning nature offerings, making it one of the best wildlife tours. As you travel on the seaplane, you’ll see cascading waterfalls and red rocky cliffs. Then, you can swim and snorkel the day away before finding your overnight accommodation on a floating houseboat pontoon. This tour also includes a relaxing boat cruise, meals, and air-conditioned cabins to sleep in.
Sculptures on the Marsh
Visiting the Sculptures on the Marsh will provide a unique experience as you explore the marsh area. The sculptures are spread throughout the marsh and include various designs that showcase the people and wildlife of Kimberley, looking especially enticing at sunset. This year, two more sculptures will be added, rounding off the sculpture count to four.
Derby Tours: Planning a Visit
The first step in planning a visit to Derby is scheduling your accommodation and transportation. If you plan on riding the bus to Derby, be aware that the bus from Broome to Derby only runs three times a week, and the bus from Derby to Broome runs with the same frequency. Timing is key when scheduling your trip to Kimberley’s first town.
Ensure your itinerary includes transportation that lines up with the local bus schedule to avoid any snafus. Otherwise, ensure you plan a trip to the Derby Visitor Centre to learn about the tide times and to pick up a visitor’s guide. This will allow you to learn about the town more and find the ideal times for heading to the water.
Derby Tours: FAQ
What is Derby, WA, known for?
Derby is well-known for being the entryway to the legendary Gibb River Road. This road provides an exciting 4-wheel vehicle experience for adventurous travelers. It’s also beloved for its proximity to Tunnel Creek and Windjana Gorge.
Is Derby, WA, worth visiting?
Yes, this friendly town is well worth visiting. The historic areas in the town are more than enough to entice most visitors to spend a day or two. Beyond Derby’s history, it’s also an ideal location for experiencing the large tides in Derby.
Where in Australia is Derby?
Derby sits east of Broome, right off the Derby and Great Northern Highways. The best way to get to Derby is via a flight to Broome. Then, you can drive or ride a bus from Broome to Derby; however, if you opt to drive yourself, you’ll need an off-roading vehicle to make the trip.
How many days do you need in Derby, Australia?
Even though Derby is a smaller area, there’s much to do in the town, from museums to cruises and other nature outings. Spending at least two days in Derby to see as many local attractions as possible is necessary. For a more relaxing visit, with the opportunity to see additional attractions, a 3-day visit to Derby is ideal.