The eastern gateway to the Kimberley is a perfect outback adventure.
On the edge of the impressive and ever-changing landscape of the east Kimberley sits the small and young town of Kununurra. This quiet town in far north-west of Australia turns into a hub of activity after the monsoon rains cease and the dry season kicks in.
There are plenty of places to see in and around Kununurra: Mirima National Park, Kellys Knob Lookout, Sleeping Buddha, Diversion Dam, Lake Kununurra, Ord River, Lake Argyle, or you can make a day trip to Wyndham across Ivanhoe Crossing.
Mirima National Park – also known as the ‘mini Bungle Bungles’ – is located just minutes from the town centre and features sandstone ranges, cliffs and valleys, similar in appearance to parts of the Bungle Bungles.
Access is via a sealed bitumen road and you will need to pay an entry fee unless you have a National Parks Pass. Three short walking trails are suitable for families with small children.
The most popular is the 800m Lookout Walk, which rewards you with spectacular views over the Ord Valley and the surrounding ranges. It is also worthwhile doing the Demboon Banan Walk Trail, which is only 500m long and leads you to a view of Kununurra through a gap in the eroded sandstone.
From Mirima National Park it is only a short drive to Kelly’s Knob Lookout – a great place to catch a sunset and take a family pic.
Head out to Lake Argyle for the day, bring along a picnic lunch and stop at Dead Horse Springs on the way to admire the beautiful billabong.
If you are interested in history, have a look at the Durack Family Homestead Museum (small fee payable).
This magnificent homestead was originally built in 1895 and had to be dismantled stone by stone as the house was going to be submerged by the lake. It was rebuilt in its current position and is dedicated to the pioneering spirit of the Durack family.
Continue on to the different lookouts and be amazed at the sheer size of Lake Argyle. The first lookout used to be called Durack’s Folly, reminding people of the fact that one man had an amazing vision but was regarded as a fool.
The short drive over the dam wall is quite the experience and below the dam wall there is a beautiful picnic area with a fantastic view of the wall as well as the power station. With a bit of luck you will spot a croc or two in the river – you certainly don’t go swimming here!
For a bit of a 4WD adventure, head out to Wyndham via Ivanhoe Road and experience Ivanhoe Crossing – this concrete causeway was constructed as part of the original road from Wyndham to Katherine in the Northern Territory.
Due to consistently high water levels, the crossing is closed during the wet season. Ivanhoe Crossing is a popular fishing spot but be crocodile aware.
- Kununurra is located along the Great Northern Highway in the north-west of Australia, 3200km north-east of Perth and 880km south-west of Darwin.
- Mirima National Park: Visit the ‘mini Bungle Bungles’ just minutes from town and take one (or more!) of three child-friendly walks.
- Lake Argyle: Take a picnic and go for the day.
- 4WDing: Cross the iconic Ivanhoe Crossing, which is part of the original road from Wyndham to Katherine, NT.