Derby, WA

The Administrative centre of the southern Kimberley region. It has for many years served the beef cattle industry of the hinterland and is the mainland port for the Koolan Island and Cockatoo Island iron ore mines when they are operational.

Derby jetty at high tide

Derby is located on the tidal mud flats on the edge of the King Sound. Along with Broome and Kununurra, it is one of only three towns in the Kimberley region to have a population over 2,000. Located on King Sound, Derby has the highest tidal range of any port in Australia (12m) and one of the highest tides of any port in the world. The highest tide is at the Bay of Fundy in Novia Scotia, Canada (15m).

The Jetty is a popular place from which to view the stunning sunsets over King Sound or to fish for silver cobbler, shark, golden grunter, north west salmon and mud crabs on the incoming tides.

Around town

Located at the jetty, The Centenary Pavillion tells of the geography and history of King Sound and the Port of Derby. The Pavilion features a colourful 28sqm mosaic tile floor depicting facets of life in the district.

The Prison Tree: On the outskirts of town (7 km south on the Derby Highway) is the Boab or Baobab Prison Tree and the Myall's Bore. The huge baobab tree was used as a lockup for Aboriginal prisoners. It was the last stopover point for patrols returning to Derby. Capable of holding a number of prisoners it has an entrance which is about one metre wide and two metres high.

The Prison Tree is a registered Aboriginal Site. Visitors are requested to respect the cultural sensitivity of the site and not climb into or approach close to the tree. (See the Boab Prison Tree Interpretative Pavilion located on site for further information).

Frostys Pool , adjacent to Myall's Bore, was built in 1944 as a bathing area for troops stationed in the area during the Second World War, this is one of the few remaining reminders of those years in the town. The bath was constructed by the 3rd General Transport Co. and was nicknamed Frosty’s Pool after a platoon member, Charles L.V. Frost.

The Derby Pastoral Trail tells the story of the last day of travel for drovers with their herds from Myall’s Bore to the jetty. Stage 1 starts at the One Mile Dinner Camp at the corner of Mimosa Street and Rowan Street and ends at the Centenary Pavilion at the jetty.

Derby (Waste Water) Wetland: Bird watchers can view near the waste water ponds a great variety of ducks, waders and other water birds that use the area as a day time roost. The managed wetland adjacent with shallow water and reed beds attracts wetland birds and migratory waders. Access via Conway Street (ask at the Derby Visitor Centre for a bird list and directions)

Surrounding Area

Buccaneer Archipelago
The wealth of Yampi Peninsula on WA's Kimberley coast lies not in its pastures, but in its rocks; and not on the mainland but across Yampi Sound on some of the 800 or so offshore islands of Buccaneer Archipelago which commemorates that first sighting by British navigator William Dampier and his companions. The iron-ores of Koolan and Cockatoo Islands are some of the first iron ore deposits to be mined in Australia by BHP, were known for some years before development began. The pearling luggers used to pick up the ironstone for ballast.

Horizontal Waterfall
What is best described as a horizontal, reversible waterfall at Talbot Bay is one of the most unusual of the attractions of Western Australia's Kimberley region. The falls are formed by the massive tides in the Buccaneer Archipelago, north of Derby, which rise at such a speed, large volumes of water are trapped behind the rock walls. The water is released again when the tide turns, causing the 'waterfall' to operate in reverse.
  • Go There

  • Montgomery Reef
    One of Australia's natural wonders, Montgomery Reef is subject of one of the most significant and unusual tidal movements in the world. It is an extraordinary panorama of vast lagoons, tiny sandstone islets and a central mangrove island - but only when the tide is out. When the tides is in, all you see is the vast expanse of the ocean.

    Tunnel Creek
    Tunnel Creek (182 km east) takes its name from the 750 metre long tunnel carved by flowing water out of the limestone of the Napier Range, and is part of the 375 to 350 million-year-old Devonian Reef system. To pass through it to the other side of Napier Range, you have to wade through long waterholes up your waist and at times up to your chest. In sections, it is pitch black so you need to carry a torch in one hand and your camera in your other.

    Windjana Gorge
    The walls of Windjana Gorge (160 km east) rise abruptly from the wide alluvial floodplain of the Lennard River, reaching about 100 metres high in some places. The 3.5-kilometre long gorge cuts through the limestone of the Napier Range; part of an ancient barrier reef, which can also be seen at Geikie Gorge and Tunnel Creek National Parks. This gorge offers excellent long walks; it is also great location to observe freshwater crocodiles.


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