Derby is located about three hours’ drive south of Broome in Western Australia’s north west. With its friendly, easygoing outback character, it has become a popular stopover for visitors heading in to the gorge country of the vast north.
Derby was the first town to be settled in the Kimberley and is the main access point to Gibb River Road, Windjana Gorge National Park, Tunnel Creek and the small islands of the Buccaneer Archipelago. The warm winters and hot humid summers provide perfect conditions for watching the highest tides in Australia, peaking at over 11 metres.
The streets have a distinctive character as Derby is the home to the boab tree. In the early days, Derby serviced the fledgling pastoral industry of the interior and the pearl shell industry of the Buccaneer Archipelago. Its prosperity depended on the economic fluctuations of the mining and pastoral industries of its hinterland.
Today it is a regional administrative and supply centre with approximately 5,000 permanent residents. A variety of accommodation, shops and restaurants make for a pleasant stay.
Derby offers a variety of air, land and sea experiences. Crabbing trips and sea safaris into the Buccaneer Archipelago depart from the unique Derby jetty. Saltwater crocodiles can often be seen from the vantage point of the jetty.
Derby’s history includes the story of the Aboriginal outlaw Jandamarra, also known as Pigeon. He led a resistance group against the European encroachment on tribal lands. He was eventually tracked down and killed near Tunnel Creek in 1897. The famous Prison Boab Tree still stands on the outskirts of town as a reflection of this time. Aboriginal prisoners were chained here enroute to the Derby Lockup.
Other town attractions include Wharfinger’s House Museum, the Botanical Gardens and the Royal Flying Doctor Base and School of the Air. Aboriginal art and design is on show at a gallery in the town.
Hotels, motels, self-catering accommodation and caravan parks are available for visitors in Derby.
The Buccaneer Archipelago is vast and remote.Â Situated approximately 2800 km north of the Western Australian capital of Perth, its distant location has meant it has remained an unspoilt and remarkably pristine location to explore and experience.Â
Tides of up to 11 metres are among some of the biggest in the world, and certainly the largest in Australia.Â In some places they are treacherously strong and unpredictable, surging up rivers and ripping through inland passages.
These tides create such phenomena as the horizontal waterfall in Talbot Bay. Here the tide rushes through the gaps in the cliff, which are only a few metres wide forming the effect of a horizontal waterfall.
The area is an incredible breeding ground for a huge array of wildlife including crocodiles, snakes, birds, bats and most importantly fish. Visitors to the Buccaneer Archipelago find the fishing here exceptional and many species habitat the region in abundance. Your catch could include Barramundi, Coral Trout, Red Emperor, Trevally, Snapper Tuna and Spanish Mackerel, as well as oysters and enormous mud crabs.
Aboriginal people have lived in the Archipelago for thousands of years and their rock art can be found on many islands and the adjacent mainland. Indigenous groups today still visit their traditional sites and communities are established in the area.
Exploring this area in sea safari style from the town of Derby is a unique holiday experience. Visitors use a vessel to travel between the islands and camp out in swags and mosquito domes on sandy beaches. Fishing, bird watching, bush walking, exploring gorges and mud crabbing can be a part of a very special holiday.Â Scenic flights, for a birds eye view of the islands below, also operate from Derby.
For a luxurious and exclusive experience there are several cruise operations from Broome, which conduct regular seasonal trips to the Buccaneer Archipelago.
Activites and Experiences at Derby
- Electronic Funds Transfer at Point Of Sale
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Relating to Aboriginal and Torress Strait Islander tourism product
- Beach A beach attraction is a beach area that is recognised for its scenic beauty, recreational opportunities, environmental state, and/or fauna population. Recreational vehicles can be driven on a number of beaches around Australia
- Farm/Station On a farm or station with the option to participate in the activities of the property.
- Fishing Related to any fishing activities
- Island A piece of land completely surrounded by water
Nearest Airport: Derby Airport – 10km’s from town centre
Accommodation In Derby
Discover some of the accommodation in and around Derby