Not only does the Kimberley have some of the most breathtaking scenery on the planet, it’s also home to an array of unique plant and animal life. One of the most iconic sights in the Kimberley has to be the mighty boab tree which dots the landscape and continues to fascinate visitors. Today, we’ll be looking more closely at this magnificent tree and its significance in the Kimberley region.
The Kimberley boab tree
The Kimberley is the only place in the world where you can find boab trees and if you’ve never seen one before, they’re easy to spot! Boab trees have a distinctive swollen trunk which then tapers off at the top of the tree before extending out in an explosion of spindly branches. In the dry season, their branches are bare but in the wet season the branches are suddenly festooned with green. It’s estimated that some of the boab trees in the area are at least 1,500 years old which explains the ancient, gnarled appearance of the many of the trees. Each boab tree is unique and their striking appearance has every visitor to the area reaching for their camera.
The boab tree has particular significance to the Aboriginal people of the Kimberley area and many of the boab trees in the area continue to hold cultural significance for the traditional landowners. The boab tree was traditionally used as a water and food source with the leaves, roots and seeds all being edible and very nutritious. Materials from the tree were also used to make day to day items such as baskets and nets and the tree was also used by the Aboriginal people for medicine. Thanks to the unusual shape, the hollowed trunks of older boab trees could also be used for shelter.
Boab prison tree
Due the massive size of the hollowed trunks of many older boab trees, it’s reported that some boabs were used as holding cells for Aboriginal prisoners in the late 1800s. Two famous ‘prison trees’ can be found in Derby and Wyndham. Although the prison tree in Derby remains a tourist attraction to this day, it’s interesting to note that there are many experts who believe there is no real evidence that the mighty boab in Derby was ever used as a holding cell. However, it continues to be a place of particular importance to the Aboriginal people of the area given ancestral remains are buried there.
If you’re keen to embark on some Kimberley cruising, look no further than Ocean Dream Charters. Set sail aboard our luxury 80 foot catamaran and explore the Kimberley in style. Everything is taken care of by our experienced crew – all you need to do is relax and enjoy the beauty of the region. We also offer private charters for a truly unforgettable experience.
For Kimberley adventure tours, contact the team at Ocean Dream Charters on 1300 944 727 for more information.