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Faraway Bay, WA

Idyllic resort on the Timor Sea and close to the King George Falls and the Bradshaw Aboriginal Art

Faraway Bay is one of those resorts which can only be reached by aeroplane. The drive from the airstrip to the camp is rugged and uncompromising. But the view – across the rather inappropriately named Gumboot Bay – is about as close to paradise as any place can be. There's a swimming pool on the edge of the cliffs overlooking the bay. There's even a set of golf clubs and unlimited golf balls and you can hit off towards a pin sitting far below on the edge of the bay. The highlight of any visit to Faraway Bay is a trip to King George Falls, two dramatic and beautiful falls which drop into a fiord-like narrow bay. But this is a place where there seems to be an endless diversity of activities including fishing for barramundi; inspecting the Bradshaw rock art; and then, because the location is so perfect, sitting idly and gazing at the sunset and the night skies ... and a lazy saltwater crocodile or two on the beach far below.


Faraway Bay is only accessible by air. It is 280 km north-west of Kununurra on the Kimberley Coast.


Origin of Name

The name was given to the bay by Bruce Ellison, the founder and owner of the resort. The actual bay is still known as Gumboot Bay.


Things to See and Do

King George Falls
Every stay at Faraway Bay includes a boat journey to the remarkable twin King George Falls. Not surprisingly, given the huge rainfall range, the falls can be little more than a trickle in the dry season and a raging torrent in the wet season. The falls, the result of water from the King George River, fall over 50 metres into two narrow gorges. The narrowness of the gorges and the beauty of the red cliffs make it a memorable experience. Often, amusingly, the boat from Faraway Bay will cut across the water to the falls producing a feeling of absolute isolation only to find that one of the many exclusive cruises along the Kimberley coast is already moored near the falls. The falls were named after King George V in 1911 by the little known explorer Charles Conigrave.

Bradshaw or Gwion Gwion Aboriginal Art
For those interested in Aboriginal art Faraway Bay has superb examples of what have become known as Bradshaws. These are very ancient examples of rock art. Carbon dating has established that they are at least 17,000 years old and therefore the oldest artistic expression of human beings on the planet. The paintings have been wracked with controversy. They were first discovered and recorded by Joseph Bradshaw in 1891. Hence their name.

In 1977 the amateur archaelogist, Grahame Walsh, began devoting his life to this unique form of rock art. By the time he died in 1977 he had identified 1,500 rock art sites and established a data base of 1.5 million images. Walsh's discoveries became extremely controversial when he argued that the images  predated the arrival of the current Kimberley indigenous community. There is considerable debate about the antiquity of the images with the academic community divided. The only agreements are that the images seem to have stopped being drawn around 5,000 years ago and that there is some evidence that the images may be as old as 45,000 BP.

More information is available at http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/ which has many examples of the Bradshaws.

At Faraway Bay it is possible to accompany a guide to a number of Bradshaw sites. Anyone interested in Aboriginal art will be amazed at the richness of the galleries.



* Prior to the arrival of Europeans the area had been inhabited by people from the Miwa Aboriginal language group.

* The area remained unsettled by Europeans for most of the 19th and 20th centuries because the soil was poor, the land was rugged and the area was inaccessible.

* In 1911 the explorer Charles Conigrave, leading a private expedition, reached and named the King George Falls.

* By the 1970s the entire area had been divided into million acre (404,686 ha) properties which the Western Australian government leased to anyone prepared to develop the land.

* In 1986 Bruce Ellison saw the potential of Faraway Bay and managed to secure a lease over 28 ha of the rugged coastline.

* Over the next decade Bruce and Robyn Ellison worked tirelessly to build the resort. They were helped by friends and much of the camp was built from local materials. It was nearly impossible to bring materials in from Kununurra. Two notable exceptions were pylons from Wyndham wharf and telegraph poles from Halls Creek.

* The camp was officially opened in 1996. It was named Faraway Bay - The Bush Camp.

* In March, 2005 the camp was totally destroyed when Cyclone Ingrid tore through it with 280km/hr winds. It was rebuilt in three months.

* In 2011 Bruce and Robyn Ellison retired and the camp was purchased by the current owners Kevin and Kathie Reilly.


Visitor Information

Faraway Bay's website has all the necessary information. Check out http://farawaybay.com.au for all details


Useful Websites

Faraway Bay has a particularly good website. Check out http://farawaybay.com.au for all details. I travelled with Air Adventure Australia - their website is http://www.airadventure.com.au/landing.asp?id=13&cid=3.

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