Julia’s plans don’t always work out the way she thought they would but they always include fun, adventure and memory-worthy escapades. Here are eight lessons she learned from travelling solo in the Kimberley region.


We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Countries on which these adventures take place who have occupied and cared for these lands, waters, and their inhabitants for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

‘It’s not a body bag!’

I proclaimed as I checked in my swag at the airport flying from Perth to Broome. I mean, it did look suss, me pushing around this large, thick military green canvas log standing upright on an airport trolley. A tiny human could surely fit between its rolled-up layers. But rest assured, no body was going to end up in that thing. It turns out that included my own body.

Carrying excess baggage was my first rookie error of solo travelling in the Kimberley region of in Western Australia. I thought I’d be road tripping my way around one of the last great wilderness places on Earth with a comfortable swag to call home each night. But when it came to picking up my vehicle in Broome, that’s when my travel plans started to unravel.

Read more: How To 4WD For Beginners

It turns out that not all 4WDs are made equal. As I picked up my rental car fit for Adventure Barbie – a Suzuki Jimny – I soon realised the swag took up half the space in my cute new wheels. The ‘body bag’ obstructed the front passenger windows, and I couldn’t afford to drive dangerously in the outback – I’m not that badass.

So I had to abandon my five-star camp bedding luxury and make a frenzied shop for new camping supplies – a two-person tent, blow-up mattress, and pump. Phew, that shop was intense! Time and money went down the drain. If only I’d checked the size of the vehicle beforehand!

And yet I hate to admit, this epic stuff up wouldn’t be the only learning curve. Here’s what I learnt travelling solo around the Kimberley.

1. Expect Plans to Go Awry

It goes without saying, but you really need to give yourself some breathing space in your itinerary. Some ‘free time’ in your schedule could allow you to take up a local recommendation or allow you to linger around a little longer in a destination. Or maybe you’ll need spare time to enact ‘Plan B’ when things go belly up; tours get cancelled, the weather turns to rubbish, you get my drift.


8 Things I Learnt Solo Travelling Around the Kimberley,Julia d'orazio, tent, outback meets coast

Plan B accomodation.


Unfortunately, I had a few tours cancelled in the Dampier Peninsula due to low tourist numbers. It’s essential to book ahead when planning organised day tours around the Kimberley, especially if some are tide-dependent, to avoid that kind of disappointment.


8 Things I Learnt Solo Travelling Around the Kimberley,Julia d'orazio, kimberly, tour, sun

Sun on Sunday Island with Oollin Sunday Island Cultural Tours


Most importantly, when touring in the country, not everything is as rigid with time as it is in the big smoke. Lower those expectations and take things as they come. Plans coming undone is just part of the adventure.

2. Be Open to Meeting New People

If you’re travelling solo, you’re already an adventurous person. Extend this curiosity of understanding the world with the people inhabiting it too. You never know what new experiences may await just by being friendly with locals or people you meet along the way.


8 Things I Learnt Solo Travelling Around the Kimberley,Julia d'orazio, sunset, kimberly

An epic sunset is better enjoyed with friends, even if they’re new ones

3. Pack Enough Water

Don’t let dehydration ruin your vacation! Although you may be travelling around the Kimberley in the dry season – that is, April to late September – the North West never receives the memo for cold temps. Things get hot from late autumn to spring – we’re talking over 40 degrees in ‘winter’. So it’s essential to stay hydrated on the road, especially if you’re enduring long distances with no roadhouse nearby to quench your thirst.

Read more: How To Hike in Hot Weather



Make sure to pack extra water storage carriers in the car as well. You don’t want to be living out an extreme episode of ‘Alone’ and become unwillingly stranded with limited water supply. As for exploring the Kimberley during wet season, it’s best to check the weather advice and road closures before heading out, a lot of places will be closed.

4. Be Connected to Telstra

Coverage can be sketchy out in the North West, and the one that provides the most service is Telstra. Even if you buy a pre-paid sim for the duration of your travels, it’s better to have a network connection than to attempt smoke signals when you need help. Let your loved ones know where you’re going so they can have peace of mind with your rough whereabouts just to be on the safe side.

Note: You can also use a  PLB in case of emergencies

5. Pack a Paper Road Map

Yes, this tip may sound old-school – pulling up the car and unfolding a map almost as big as the car’s windscreen to map your journey. But when mobile reception fails you (yes, even Telstra doesn’t cover ALL places) and you can no longer get directions via GPS, being old school in the outback with a trusty road map is the only way to go. Having a map saved my life when I lost reception and was unsure of what off-road track to venture along. If it weren’t for the map, I’d still be clueless in the North West!

Read more: Navigating With a Map & Compass

6. Watch Your Fuel Light

When your fuel light comes on, don’t play Russian Roulette and risk seeing how far you can go on a near-empty tank. Petrol stations are few and far between in the outback. When coming across the next roadhouse, fill up your car, even if you’ve got half a tank. Of course, I live to tell the tale of seeing the fuel light flashing right before my very eyes. I sat nervously at the edge of the driver’s seat for a good hour, realising I would soon run out of fuel on the home stretch to Broome and had to make a game plan, stat!

Where would I pull over? Who was I going to ask for help?

Luckily, I spotted a roadtrain in a rest lane off the highway, so I decided to pull up, knowing it was a risky move with my last few drops of petrol. I kindly asked the driver for a lift to the nearest petrol station to purchase a jerry can.

Thankfully, the petrol station was a 20-minute drive away, and I was able to hitchhike back safely to my fuel-deprived vehicle and continue my Kimberley adventure. I thank the kindness of strangers, yet this stressful scenario was easily avoidable if I’d only taken extra precautions in the first place. D’oh!

Read more: Remember to leave no trace!

7. Don’t Drive After Sundown

Driving at night is a big no-no for me. Still, I found myself in a few precarious situations where I needed to keep moving despite dark times. I never felt so uneasy, leaning forward on my seat and driving at a snail’s pace with my high beams on, looking out for dangers that may lie ahead. Now wasn’t the time to be in awe of wildlife. I feared wild cattle and horses potentially crossing my path and the grisly aftermath. Never again.


8 Things I Learnt Solo Travelling Around the Kimberley,Julia d'orazio, el questro, sundown, bush

8. Go Offline and Enjoy Your Own Company

Now more than ever, we’re so connected to it all. Even in a far-flung place like El Questro Wilderness Park, it was possible to tap into what was going on in my friends’ lives and be in the loop with the current news cycle. But even when I did have reception (Thank you Telstra!), I chose to stay offline and enjoy the moment.


8 Things I Learnt Solo Travelling Around the Kimberley,Julia d'orazio, horse riding, kimberly, el questro

The author enjoying some time disconnected from technology


Know when to disconnect and appreciate where you are in the world. I found that a social media break was everything I needed. Oh, and a smaller tent too.