Boab tree, Ken Stepnell / Explore Australia Publishing

Population 3091

It is said that Derby, known as the 'Gateway to the Gorges', is where the real Kimberley region begins. The first town settled in the Kimberley, it features some spectacular natural attractions nearby: the Devonian Reef Gorges of Windjana and Tunnel Creek are only a few hours' drive along the Gibb River Road, and the magnificent islands of the Buccaneer Archipelago are just a short cruise away. Although King Sound was first explored in 1688, it wasn't until the early 1880s that the Port of Derby was established as a landing point for wool shipments and Derby was proclaimed a townsite. The first jetty was built in 1885, the same year that gold was discovered at Halls Creek. Miners and prospectors poured into the port on their way to the goldfields but by the 1890s, as gold fever died, the port was used almost exclusively for the export of live cattle and sheep. In 1951 iron-ore mining began at Cockatoo Island, which revitalised the town. Derby is now a service centre for the region's rich pastoral and mining industries. Rain closes some roads in the area from November to March, so check conditions before setting out on any excursion.

Visitor Information

30 Loch St; (08) 9191 1426

Nearby national parks

  • Windjana Gorge National Park

    Windjana Gorge National Park, in the Kimberley’s Napier Range, is renowned for its dramatic scenery and geological significance. The...more

  • Tunnel Creek National Park

    Tunnel Creek National Park, in the Kimberley’s Napier Range, is home to Western Australia’s oldest cave system. Like Windjana...more

  • Geikie Gorge National Park

    Set in the far north of the Kimberley, the focus of this national park is the spectacular 30-metre-deep Geikie Gorge, with its colourful...more

Nearby towns

  • Broome - Introduction

    Broome is distinguished by its pearling history, cosmopolitan character and startling natural assets including white sandy beaches,...more

  • Fitzroy Crossing

    Fitzroy Crossing is in the heart of the Kimberley region. As its name suggests, the original townsite was chosen as the best place to ford...more

In Town

Old Derby Gaol: built in 1906, this is the oldest building in town; Loch St.

Wharfinger House Museum: built in the 1920s for the local harbourmaster, the design is typical of the tropics. Now houses an extensive collection of historical memorabilia and Aboriginal artefacts. Key from visitor centre; Loch St.

Derby Jetty: some of the highest tides in Australia, up to 12m, can be seen from the jetty. Now used to export ore from various local mines.


Windjana Gorge National Park A 350-million-year-old Devonian reef rises majestically above the surrounding plains. An easy walking trail winds through the gorge, taking in primeval life forms fossilised within the gorge walls. 145 km E.

Tunnel Creek National Park Wear sandshoes, carry a torch and be prepared to get wet as you explore the 750 m long cave that runs through the Napier Range. Nearby Pigeon's Cave was the hideout of an 1890s Aboriginal outlaw, Jandamarra, also known as 'Pigeon'. Contact visitor centre for tour details. 184 km E.

Prison tree: 1000-year-old boab tree formerly used as a prison; 7 km S.

Myall's Bore: beside the bore stands a 120 m long cattle trough reputed to be the longest in the Southern Hemisphere; 7 km S.

Gorges: Lennard Gorge (190 km E), Bell Gorge (214 km E), Manning Gorge (306 km E), Barnett River Gorge (340 km NE) and Sir John Gorge (350 km E); 4WD access only.

Mitchell Plateau: highlights include the Wandjina rock art and spectacular Mitchell Falls, King Edward River and Surveyor's Pool. In this remote region, visitors must be entirely self-sufficient; via Gibb River Rd and Kalumburu Rd; 580 km NE. Scenic flights can also be arranged from Drysdale River Station and Kununurra.

Pigeon Heritage Trail: follow the story of the Aboriginal outlaw Jandamarra, nicknamed Pigeon, and his people, the Bunuba; contact visitor centre for map.

Gibb River Rd: 4WD road between Derby and Wyndham traverses some of the most spectacular gorge country of the Kimberley; contact visitor centre for guidebook and current road conditions.

Buccaneer Archipelago: in Derby you can arrange a scenic flight or cruise around this archipelago which begins north of King Sound; see Broome.

Cafes & restaurants around town

Lalgardi Restaurant

Derby’s premier restaurant is situated in the Derby Boab Inn. Steak and barramundi are a menu favourite and the airy dining room can seat up to 120 patrons. The Derby Boab Inn is an oasis in the harsh Kimberly... Find out more

Oasis Bistro

Derby is known as the home of the barramundi, so you can be sure this fishy favourite features on the menu at the Oasis Bistro. Situated in the King Sound Resort Hotel, it’s conveniently located close to the town... Find out more

Campsites around town

Birdwood Downs Station 15 km

Birdwood Downs Station is north of the Gibb River Rd and 17.6 km east of Derby. The camping area, which is frequented by numerous bird species and other wildlife, is situated in a nature park setting near the homestead.... Find out more

La Djardarr Bay Community camping area 70 km

With basic facilities for campers who enjoy solitude and fishing, La Djardarr Bay Community camping area is 42 km east of the Broome–Cape Leveque Rd. The small camping area is under the shade of some gum trees near... Find out more

Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town

Derby Boab Inn

The Derby Boab Inn has comfortable motel-style rooms, including family suites, all air-conditioned with ensuites and wireless internet access. The inn includes a bar, beer garden, cafe, pool tables, live bands and... Find out more

Jila Gallery Apartment

Conveniently located in the centre of town and close to amenities, the Jila Gallery Apartment is contemporary in style. The two-bedroom apartment is fully self-contained and includes barbecue facilities. Pets are... Find out more

Kimberley Cottages

Surrounded by peaceful bush, the Kimberley Cottages offer two- or three-bedroom accommodation. The air-conditioned cottages are fully self-contained and comfortably appointed. There are also conference facilities for 20... Find out more

Kimberley Entrance Caravan Park

Within easy walking distance of the town and jetty, the Kimberley Entrance Caravan Park offers shady bays. There are powered and unpowered sites available, three ablution blocks, an undercover barbecue area and a shop.... Find out more

King Sound Resort Hotel

In the town centre, the King Sound Resort offers hotel-style accommodation and all the rooms have ensuites. Within the resort is a bistro, cocktail bar, beer garden and a pool surrounded by tropical plants. The resort is... Find out more

Rest areas around town

Nillbubbica rest area 66 km

72km E of Roebuck (L) or 60km W of Willare Bridge (R)

Secluded area surrounded by scrub just off the highway.

Boab rest area 85 km

76km E of Willare Bridge (L) or 156km NW of Fitzroy Crossing (R)

Just off the highway around a very large boab tree. 

What's on around town

Market: Clarendon St; each Sat May–Sept.

King Tide Day: festival celebrating highest tide in Australia; Apr/May.

Moonrise Rock Festival: June.

Derby Races: June/July.

Mowanjum Festival: Indigenous art and culture; July.

Boab Festival: Mardi Gras, mud football, mud crab races and bush poets; July.

Derby Rodeo: Aug.

Boxing Day Sports: Dec.

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