The friendly, historic town of Derby is known as the western gateway to Outback adventure. Situated 220 kilometres east of Broome at the edge of King Sound near the mouth of the magnificent Fitzroy River, Derby is surrounded by some of Western Australia’s natural wonders. It’s the perfect departure point for tours to the incredible Horizontal Falls and the ancient canyons and caves of Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek.
Derby is an intriguing town where heritage lives alongside Aboriginal culture and arts. Home to the boab tree, these bulbous beauties line the streets of Derby, and a festival is held each year in their honour. Derby boasts the highest tides in Australia, with the difference between low and high tides reaching almost 12 metres. The town is also renowned for its excellent fishing with barramundi and mud crabs aplenty!
Australia's Top End and the Kimberley await with adventures to be had, dreamtime culture to enlighten and glorious nature to explore. Marvel at the termite mounds of Litchfield National Park, see Rock Art and cruise the Yellow Water wetlands in Kakadu, discover Katherine Gorge and the Ord River, soar above the Bungle Bungles, see the Derby Boab Tree for yourself, then finish with a camel ride on stunning Cable Beach.
The Boab Prison Tree, also known as Kunumudj stands just outside Derby and is a culturally significant site for the local first nations people. Estimated to be over 1500 years old, this remarkable tree has a circumference of over 14 metres and serves as a grim monument to the Aboriginal prisoners who were held there or chained to the tree on their way to the gaol in Derby.
The town once served the pastoral industry, its wide streets offering space for horse and bullock teams to turn their long heavy loads. The impressive boab trees now line the streets and have become one of Derby’s main attractions. The boab tree is a protected species and over the years, many have been transplanted to many more spots around town.
In the 1920s, the terminus for the first scheduled aviation service in Australia – West Australian Airways Ltd – was built in Derby. It later laid claim to having one of the longest passenger airline routes in the world – from Perth to Derby. The town has also played a major role in the Australian Royal Flying Doctor Service in the Kimberley region.
As one of the larger towns in the area, the Kimberley School of the Air is based in Derby, providing education to primary school-aged children in remote Aboriginal communities, on cattle stations and outstations throughout this vast region.
Join one of our upcoming Kimberley tours taking in Derby.
Derby was the first town in the Kimberley to be founded – in 1883 - and was named after Edward Stanley, the 15th Earl of Derby and British Secretary of State for the colonies.
Local legend, Jandamarra was an Aboriginal outlaw also known as Pigeon. From hiding places in nearby caves, Pigeon led a resistance group against the European invasion of tribal lands, before being killed in 1897.
The most convenient way to get to Derby is by flying. Derby Airport (DRB) receives regular flights from Perth, with several airlines operating flights that take around two hours. You can also reach Derby by road from Broome, which is approximately 220 kilometres away and takes about 3 hours.
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