The magnificent Boab Tree

If you want to see a Boab Tree, head to the Kimberley region of Western Australia.  This unusual looking tree is found everywhere across the region, from around Kununurra all the way down to Broome you will see these incredible trees.  They are quite the sight to see and we really love these beautiful ancient trees.

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Boabs are a very slow-growing tree and it takes many hundreds of years for these to grow.  They love well-drained sandy soil and the Kimberley region is the perfect growing environment for Boab’s as they receive plenty of warmth and water during their growing season (which happens to be the wet season) and then during their dormant period (the winter months / dry season) they prefer the drier conditions.

The boab tree is deciduous and loses all its leaves during dormancy in winter.   As these winter months are the ‘dry season’ this is the time most travellers are in the area.  Therefore, it’s generally a bare brown skeleton of a tree that is seen.   The new flowers usually start to open around November.

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Every boab tree is unique and some of them are said to be over 1500 years old.  As for the history of the trees, the Aborigines used them for shelter, food and medicine.  Once the white settlers arrived they were more commonly used as meeting points, or as described later, prison cells.

We’ve heard a few stories of why the boab tree looks the way it does, but one such story is that, initially the boab was one of the most beautiful majestic trees ever created.  After a while it began to boast of its beauty to the other trees.  It was after this that a higher being decided to punish it and turned it upside down to expose its roots and hide its beauty forever.

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Food

Boab trees have a ‘nut’ which grows and inside the nut are seeds.  As mentioned previously, the indigenous people used this tree as a food source as most parts of the tree are edible.  Apparently parts of the tree are very high in Vitamin C content.

Nowadays boabs are grown commercially and the boab roots are sold and make their way into many gourmet foods.  We actually purchased the most amazing mango and boab chutney while we were in WA.


Art & Craft

The nuts themselves are covered in a fine hair which, once scraped off, reveals the dark brown boab nut.  In many of the art galleries and craft stores around the Kimberly you will see the most amazing carvings that have been carved out on these nuts.


Boab Prison Tree

While on our Western Australian trip a few years ago we visited to Boab Prison Tree in Derby (pictured below).  This tree is said to be around 1,500 years old and has a girth of 14.7 metres.  It was used as staging point for prisoners being walked into Derby in the early days.  This tree is now a registered Aboriginal Site.

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As the trees age, their trunks become hollow.  It was said that this tree was used as a “prison cell” in the 1890s by the local police to lock up Aboriginal prisoners over night, on their way to Derby for sentencing.  It’s recently been reported that there is no evidence that this particular tree was ever used as a prison, but there was also another similar one at Wyndham.

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We really do love these trees, there is just something about them.  At the end of the day it is just a tree, but they are all so different and there is something slightly magical about these ancient creatures.  We even brought our own boab home with us which sits proudly on our front entrance.

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Kununurra

Yesterday it was only a short drive to Kununurra, about 2 1/2 hours. We arrived in town and went straight to the caravan park to set up and then went for a drive around the town and grabbed some lunch before heading off sightseeing.

First was the Hoochery Rum Distillery and The Sandalwood Factory.

We then took a drive out to look at the Ivanhoe Crossing.

The Ivanhoe Crossing causeway was built over the Ord River. It was once part of the main road to Wyndham, but was flooded after the start of the Ord Irrigation Scheme in the 1960s. You can still drive over the causeway and continue on the dirt track to Wyndham. We drove the track for a while but turned back because it was later in the afternoon.

Apparently a lot of locals go fishing here (there were a few on there when we drove over) ….. not sure I’d be fishing up there as apparently it’s full of salt water crocodiles!

The video above is of us driving across it.

In the wet season each year, water flows over Ivanhoe Crossing and it is closed as its too high for vehicles to pass.  Apparently in one of the more recent big floods it was 9 meters underwater!


One thing in this town that was a little bit different and very pretty, was the Celebrity Tree Park. This happened to be right opposite our caravan park and features plaques in front of trees that celebrities to the town have planted.  We were lucky enough to find these two amongst all of the trees – yes, Shelly was excited about these ones!

Our campsite is really nice, right on the water, the pic below is of the view from our camp. Just to the left of the boat in the pic is where the resident crocodile lives and comes in to visit each afternoon!