Kimberley.... a star is born
Kimberley is breath-taking, adventurous,
exotic.... A star quality, twenty million
years in the making”.
The Kimberley region of Western Australia
has a starring role in Baz Luhrmann’s movie
Australia. Her magnificent colour palette
and epic landscapes receives rave reviews
from those who have encountered this natural
Australia is a sweeping romantic adventure
by acclaimed writer/producer/director Baz
Luhrmann and starring Nicole Kidman and
Hugh Jackman. Set in Australia’s northern
outback prior to WWII, filming of Australia
has taken place in WA, NSW, QLD, and NT and
the movie is slated for a late 2008 release.
The challenge for Western Australia will
be to ensure that the Kimberley is recognised
as one of the key locations within the film,
given we are competing with the Northern
Territory and Queensland.
Australia is an epic romantic action adventure,
set in that country on the explosive brink
of World War II. In it, an English aristocrat
(Nicole Kidman) travels to the faraway continent
where she meets a rough-hewn cattle drover
(Hugh Jackman) and reluctantly agrees to
join forces with him to save the land she
inherited. Together, they embark upon a
transforming journey across hundreds of
miles of the world’s most beautiful yet
unforgiving terrain, only to face the bombing
of the city of Darwin by the Japanese forces
that attacked Pearl Harbour. With his new
film, Luhrmann is painting on a vast canvas,
creating a cinematic experience that brings
together romance, drama, adventure and spectacle.
Kununurra, meaning ‘big water’ in the local
Indigenous language, is the eastern gateway
to the ancient landscape that is the Kimberley.
The town itself is relatively young, built
in the early 1960s to serve the Ord River
Irrigation Project, however the landscape
has been traversed for centuries by Aboriginal
During the filming of Australia a cast and
crew of more than 400 based themselves in
the town travelling by 4WD through red earth
country and boab tree forests to reach the
set at Carlton Hill Station, about a 50
minute drive out of town.
Showcased in Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Australia’,
the Cockburn Range in the east Kimberley
region of Western Australia is spectacular.
Shaped like a vast round fortress and rising
more than 600 metres above the plains, the
range is best viewed at dawn and dusk when
the light reflects on the rock to create
a beautiful pink-orange glow.
Circumnavigate the majestic sandstone cliffs
of the Cockburn Range on a four wheel driving
trip, traversing the famous Gibb River Road.
The imposing and spectacular views can also
be seen from the Great Northern Highway
From a distance, there’s no hint of the
deep gorges and permanent pools which lie
The Cockburn Range sits entirely on land
owned by El Questro Wilderness Park. El
Questro offers trips to the range, or there
are other private bushwalking tours available.
A scenic helicopter flight over the Cockburn
Range is an adrenalin rush.
Other nearby stations such as Home Valley
Station also offers fantastic views of the
Downs Homestead - Carlton Hill Station
The mythical Faraway Downs Homestead - the
cattle station that Lady Ashley inherits
in ‘Australia’ after the death of her husband
shortly after she arrives in Australia -
is an actual structure which was built on
Carlton Hill Station in front of the majestic
House Roof Hill.
Although not currently available for public
access, visitors wishing to see the stunning
scenery which surrounds the homestead and
is featured in the movie, can visit the
nearby Macka’s Barra Camp.
Macka runs a popular Barramundi fishing
company - notorious for catching the big
one metre plus sized fish. Extended tours
with Macka’s Barra Camp use Carlton Hill
Station as their overnight camp.
Macka also played host to some of the cast
and crew during filming of Australia.
The camp itself is located on the banks
of the lower Ord River and has been purpose
built for fishing holidays. Stay in Bungalow
style accommodation set throughout lush
tropical vegetation. The dining area is
large enough to accommodate groups of any
Questro Wilderness Park
The massive expanse of El Questro Wilderness
Park is considered one of the world’s truly
unique holiday destinations. The pastoral
lands of El Questro reach over one million
acres and encompass some of the Kimberley
region’s most breathtaking and untouched
The land is also a working cattle station
and so provides a truly Australian holiday
destination. The environment of the park
differs at every turn. At first glance wide
tidal flats reach out to the horizon at
the base of rugged ranges. But at closer
examination towering gorges, rivers that
descend into cascading waterfalls and pockets
of lush rainforest can be discovered.
Indulge in the ultimate outback experience
at Home Valley Station. Experience the cultural
difference of a station which is still largely
run by the traditional owners of the land,
the Balanggarra people.
Home Valley is a working cattle station,
Indigenous TAFE academy and an adventure
lover’s playground. The station’s indigenous
trainees and mentors are central to the
sustainable development of both the pastoral
and tourism aspects of the station and you
can experience this during your stay.
Just 40 kilometres off the Gibb River Road
lies the Homestead of Digger’s Rest Station.
Accessible only by four wheel drive, Digger’s
Rest offers warm hospitality amidst the
gorgeous scenery of the Kimberley.
Cast and Crew of Baz Lurhman’s epic movie
‘Australia’ spent 21 days at Digger’s Rest
Station filming, in particular the magnificent
Boab trees that grow on the property. The
property is well known for its extended
horse treks, which take visitors back in
time to when the original settlers of the
land moved cattle throughout the Kimberley.
National Park (Bungle Bungle Range)
The World Heritage listed Purnululu National
Park offers a remote wilderness experience
and is a unique example of geological evolution.
Famous for the unique Bungle Bungle Range,
which rises up to 578 metres above sea level
and stands 200 to 300 metres above a woodland,
constant erosion and river movements have
formed the huge black and orange striped
domes over the last 20 million years. The
orange and black stripes across the beehive-like
mounds, encased in a skin of silica and
algae, are clearly visible when you visit
As you venture further into the Range, a
hidden world of gorges and pools is revealed
with fan palms clinging precariously to
walls and crevices in the rocks.
Although the Bungle Bungle Range was extensively
used by Aboriginal people during the wet
season, when plant and animal life was abundant,
few Europeans knew of its existence until
the mid-1980s. The area is rich in Aboriginal
art and there are also many burial sites
to be explored.
Accessible only by air and sea, exotic Faraway
Bay is a breath-taking 70 minute flight
Faraway Bay provides unrivalled luxury for
a bush camp, with eight spacious cabins
scattered amongst the natural bush setting,
offering privacy and 180-degree views of
the spectacular cliff-lined bay. Crew from
Australia visited Faraway Bay on two occasions
to shoot footage of the majestic twin falls
on the King George River which is accessible
from the property.
Here you can experience the romance, intriguing
outback, Aboriginal culture and adventure
Two and a half hour flight from Perth, Broome
is an oasis of colour, culture and eclectic
Thanks to Broome’s unpolluted waters, South
Sea pearls grow perfectly in the tropical
waters and are an icon of the town. The
town's multicultural mix was shaped by a
romantic pearling history when Japanese,
Filipino and Malay pearl divers arrived
in droves seeking their fortune. Broome's
colourful lifestyle, chilled out vibe and
vibrant landscape has made it a mecca for
artists, writers and musicians.
From fiery red ochre cliffs contrasting
with bright turquoise waters to pearl diving
sagas and dinosaur footprints - the history
of Broome is as captivating as the scenery.
Throughout the movie Australia Baz Luhrmann explores
four major themes; Australian history, outback
adventure, aboriginal experiences and romance
To see how these themes can be experienced
throughout Australia's North West join us
on our in-depth expedition of the Kimberley.
Baz Luhrmann’s Australia is set in the Australian
outback in the 1930s and 1940s. Significant
historic events, such as the bombing of
Darwin in 1942, are included in the film.
In Western Australia, there are several
locations in the Kimberley region to explore
for those interested in Australian history.
Nicole Kidman’s character in Australia,
Lady Sarah Ashley, finds herself in a completely
foreign environment when she leaves England
for outback Australia in search of her husband.
Along the way, she experiences an outback
adventure which ultimately changes her beliefs
and her life, due to the transforming nature
of this ancient landscape.
The Aboriginal culture is central to the
storyline of Baz Luhrmann’s Australia. As
the world’s oldest continual culture, there
is a certain sense of mystery and magic
which is presented on screen. In addition,
Nicole Kidman’s character, Lady Sarah Ashley,
finds herself caring for ten-year old Nullah
– an Aboriginal orphan, who along with The
Drover (Hugh Jackman’s character) are pivotal
in transforming her life. There are many
Indigenous tourism products in the Kimberley
region on Western Australia which allow
people to experience this amazing culture
Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman’s character)
and The Drover (Hugh Jackman), find themselves
in an unlikely love story in Australia.
The epic landscape of Western Australia’s
Kimberley region is famous for its transforming
qualities – allowing visitors to connect
with the landscape and reconnect with themselves
and their loved ones.
The unique colour palette and landscape
of the Kimberley inspired Director
Baz Luhrmann to film Australia in
Western Australia’s Kimberley region
is one of the world’s last true wilderness
Kimberley film locations included: El
Questro Wilderness Park, Digger’s Rest
Station, Home Valley Station, the Cockburn
Ranges, the Bungle Bungle Ranges, Carlton
Hill Station (Faraway Downs scenes)
and King George Falls near Faraway Bay.
Locals have named several iconic locations
in the Kimberley after the filming that
took place in the region – this includes
“Kidman’s Krossing” (crossing of the
Pentecost River), Luhrmann’s Lookout
and Jackman’s Jump-up (on Home Valley
To celebrate the start of filming
in the Kimberley, Baz Luhrmann planted
a tree at Kununurra’s Celebrity Tree
Park where several other Australian
and international celebrities have
also planted trees, such as singer
Kate Cebrano and Eric Clapton.
The Kimberley’s iconic Gibb River Road,
660km from Kununurra to Derby, is one
of Australia’s classic four wheel drive
Nicole Kidman and other cast and crew
members visited Kimberley Fine Diamonds
in Kununurra whilst filming in the Kimberley
and purchased presents for friends and
The Kimberley is the place for an authentic
outback adventure – Go four wheel driving,
take a scenic flight over extraordinary
rock formations and waterfalls or cruise
the inland waterways.