Like many guests recently we booked our holiday at Berkeley River Lodge on a LuxuryEscapes deal, and because the price was so good, we added on two more nights. We are glad we did, because this place is meant to be explored, and only a few days are like the canapes served up at dinner - just a tantalizing taste!
We flew in from Darwin - if you don't like small planes, you're going to have a problem, but the pilots from Kimberley Air were friendly, professional, and gave us a smooth ride up and back. The size of the plane will depend on how many guests are flying in/out.
Berkeley River Lodge is perched on a huge sand dune, the only ones of its kind in the area. You get a great view of the main lodge and your villa accommodation on the flight in. The water looks inviting, but don't be tempted. The risk from crocodiles is real. We saw a few!
You'll be transported around the lodge and for outbound activities on custom Land Cruisers - great fun!
I won't spoil the experience by giving a blow by blow on the activities we did, but my advice is to soak it all up. Every day there is something interesting to do and see. This really isn't a place to lay about, although having a nap on 1-2 afternoons might be in order! If you can, sign up for a helicopter flight. Talk to other guests and team up, as you can share the cost.
The villas are comfortable - air conditioned (great in the afternoon), nice bed, but I found the pillows a little uncomfortable. The outdoor shower is fun - especially at night. Don't forget to look up! Toilets are very clean - Ecotoilets, so not long drops, of which I'm not a fan, but be aware you can hear everything next door haha. You'll save on your luggage weight if you just use the toiletries provided.
If you're in an ocean view villa be prepared for the sunrise. It's beautiful, it's early and there are no blockout curtains. Bring an eye mask if you want to sleep in and miss out on the show.
Make sure you bring hats, sunglasses, bathers, good hiking boots, sunscreen and insect repellent. Don't bother with fancy clothes - it's all casual and comfortable, and it will get red dirt on it anyway.
We found the food tasty, and plentiful. I read a review about "small portions" not being enough - either things have changed, or that person needs to go on a diet. The chefs were very helpful for those guests with food intolerances. Wines and beers were plentiful. I'm not a coffee fiend, but I expect one complaint would be the lack of freshly ground coffee. I think most people who come to this level of accommodation would expect this (especially from down south), so my suggestion would be at a minimum to bring in beans and get a commercial automatic machine. I was very happy with my T2 tea.
Above all the staff are fabulous. Apart from Bruce, who has spent 5 years at Berkeley River Lodge, everyone else is new, with the changeover from the family owners to the new resort owners. However, I think they have assembled a good team with Jacqui at the helm - incredibly organized and good humoured. Special mentions to Grant (guide, fishing guide - thanks for taking us out, and laughing so hard at the ones that got away!), Bruce for our great creek walk (we LOVED your DVD of your trips in the wet), Matt and Matze for your great humour and informative commentary on the river cruise, and bush drive, and the rest of the staff for their lovely service - Emma, Bec, Rosie, Caleb, Epp. Also a big thanks to Newman, True North helicopter pilot for flying us so safely and to some amazing spots for fishing.
Thank you for making our honeymoon a special holiday to remember. It not only met, but exceeded our expectations.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- In one of the last true wilderness areas on earth, between Timor Sea sunrises and Berkeley River sunsets, the ultimate Kimberley adventure and refined indulgence awaits. Only accessible by air, getting to the Berkeley is half the adventure. Leave modern life far behind and relax into the rhythms of nature in your luxurious villa floating atop the coastal dunes. Be one of the privileged few to set eyes upon breathtaking wilderness landscapes by river cruise or helicopter flight. ... more less
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