It is easy to forget how much city light, clouds and haze dull down our view of the night sky.
National Geographic estimate that “80 percent of the planet’s land areas—and 99 percent of the population of the United States and Europe—live under skies so blotted with man-made light that the Milky Way has become virtually invisible.”
Most Australians have never seen stars from a remote wilderness area like the Kimberley. It is one of Australia’s significant natural experiences. It is so spectacular that for many travellers the stars are a highlight of their Kimberley adventure.
The Kimberley night skies are clear, pristine and beautiful. You get some of the brightest, most uninterrupted skies that you can imagine. If you get up late at night, they’re just glowing and you realise that you’re actually in the Milky Way. You’re not just looking at it, you’re standing on a planet that is part the Milky Way. It looks incredible.
There are billions of stars and different planets and these feature in the stories for the local Indigenous people. We sit around the camp fire at night and take in the stars in the night sky. We switch off as much light as we can so there is just the glowing fire. We point out the different clusters of stars and tell the stories that are attached to them. It is a moving experience to sit in the flicker of the fire and gaze up to a light show to top all light shows.
Sometimes people tell us they got up in the night to go to the bathroom and they couldn’t believe how beautiful the sky is late at night. Everything is quiet and still, all lights are totally off. We all find ourselves transported back to a time before streetlights and towns and cities.
This is the sky that guided and inspired the traditional owners of the Kimberley. It is easy to understand how the night sky plays such an important part in many of their traditional stories.
During visits to the Aboriginal art centres you’ll often see contemporary Aboriginal art featuring the Dreamtime stories about the stars. The Seven Sisters stories are about the Pleiades star constellation is a very popular Dreamtime story. Artists are usually happy to tell you about the story that inspired their work.
The Adventure Wild tour of the Kimberley will take you to many remote places where you can see the glorious Kimberley night sky. It is an unforgettable part of touring the Kimberley.