Kununurra is the largest and newest town in the East Kimberley, located 1063km northeast of Broome
and only 37km from the Northern Territory
border. It is the gateway to exploring the many spectacular tourist attractions the region has to offer, including the Gibb River Road
, El Questro Wilderness Park
, Lake Argyle
and the Bungle Bungles
The town’s main industry, besides tourism, is agriculture. The lower fertile plains of the Ord River produce abundant crops of all sorts, which are irrigated by the Ord River itself. The Diversion Dam just outside of Kununurra on the Victoria Highway was built to regulate the flow of water into the agricultural irrigation area so as to ensure a year round water supply for the crops. Flood and irrigation levels are controlled by raising or lowering the numerous gates at the appropriate times of the year.
The town and surrounds can be seen from its highest point, Kelly’s Knob Lookout, only a few minutes from town on Speargrass Road. Take in the picturesque views from above and even visit late in the day and enjoy the stunning sunset.
Swim Beach and Ski Beach are located just off the Victoria Highway near the Diversion Dam. These popular water sport areas are grassed and shady and are great spots for picknicking, swimming and relaxing.
Ivanhoe Crossing is 10km along Ivanhoe Road and is a very scenic spot ideal for fishing and watching the sun set. The concrete causeway over the Ord River can be crossed by four-wheel drive only and at own risk. Fishermen are known to stand on the crossing and fish the water below, but again at own risk and usually by experienced locals. The crossing can be slippery and crocodiles do inhabit these waters. Fishing from the river bank is advised for the inexperienced and understandably cautious fishermen.
The Zebra Rock Gallery on Packsaddle Road shapes and polishes unique rocks which are mined near Lake Argyle. A variety of original items are made such as jewellery, vases, coasters, bookends and ornaments. Fish feeding and views of Elephant Rock (Sleeping Buddah) can be seen from the Ord River banks on the property.
Mirima National Park, located at Hidden Valley not far from town, features sandstone ranges with striking resemblance to the Bungle Bungles, on a smaller scale. The park is only small and offers 3 short walks, the longest being 800 metres return. The walks provide views of Kununurra and the Ord Valley, and an informative signed trail focuses on local plantlife. A small entry fee is payable.
The waterways around Kununurra are crocodile inhabited and not suitable for swimming. There is however a freshwater spring, known as Molly Spring, about 31km west of Kununurra. Just after the 70km sign to Wyndham on the Victoria Highway there is a 3km gravel track leading to this refreshing rock pool and waterfall. Basic picnic tables and enclosed drum barbeques are provided near the car park.
The Keep River is about 62km from Kununurra across the NT border and is a great location to camp and fish for Barramundi and Salmon. Access is via Weaber Plain Road off Victoria Highway in town. Follow Weaber Plain Road for about 62km and when the bitumen ends the road bends to the left. Turn right straight after the bend and drive about 1km to the river. Turn left just before the river and cross the creek bed. A gate is located not far from the creek and tracks to the right lead to the Keep River. You’re bound to hook up Barramundi here at the right time of year. We’ve been successful with Barramundi and Blue Nose Salmon on a couple of visits. If you have a throw net and aerator we suggest using live Mullet as bait. This spot is suitable for dry season visits only as after rain the track turns to complete sluggish mud and is very soft and boggy. There is also the possibility of becoming landlocked and not being able to cross the creek bed to return to the other side. We packed up camp after 24 hours of rain and managed to get out successfully but the state of our four-wheel drive and camper trailer was atrocious, they literally had a mud bath over 50km of serious four-wheel driving (our mud terrain tyres got a great workout). So if you’re heading out to the Keep River always check the weather forecast and be prepared to leave if rain sets in or have adequate time and supplies to see it out.
The eastern entrance to the Gibb River Road
is 53km west of Kununurra off the Great Northern Hwy. The 660km unsealed road is recommended for four-wheel drives only and features some stunning scenery and natural attractions. This outback track sees many magnificent ranges, gorges, waterfalls, rock formations and rivers and is a very memorable sightseeing experience.
El Questro Wilderness Park
is 100km from Kununurra along the Gibb River Road and boasts stunning gorges, hot springs, scenic lookouts, breathtaking sunsets and adventurous four-wheel drive tracks. El Questro Station is accessible to two-wheel drive vehicles and is a fabulous outback getaway with all the creature comforts.
Lake Argyle is located 70km from Kununurra and is the largest body of fresh water in Australia. Follow the Victoria Hwy 35km east towards the Northern Territory border and turn onto the Lake Argyle access road which is another 35km in. The lake is a spectacular sight and home to an abundance of wildlife, including about 25,000 freshwater crocodiles which are not dangerous to humans unless threatened. Bush walking, bird watching and water sports are popular at the lake and boating, sailing, canoeing, swimming, skiing and fishing are all permitted. Lake Argyle Village provides camping and cabin style accommodation, swimming pool, restaurant, bar, store and tours. Dogs are permitted to stay at the camp ground.
Purnululu National Park is located about 280km south of Kununurra via the Great Northern Highway and open to high clearance four wheel drives and off road campers only due to the rugged corrugated track. The impressive sandstone beehive-like domes of the Bungle Bungles are a natural wonder of Australia and World Heritage listed. These stripy orange and black sandstone towers rising over 250 metres in height have formed over millions of years and are truly spectacular.
Kununurra is one of Western Australia’s most popular tourist destinations and the 2008 Top Tourism Winner. There is so much to see within close proximity of the town. We highly recommend you seeing it for yourself.
Click here for climate statistics for Australian locations (provided by the Bureau of Meteorology)
Destinations in Western Australia
Cape Le Grand
Cape Range National Park
Eighty Mile Beach
Fitzgerald River National Park
Gibb River Road
Kalbarri National Park
Kennedy Range National Park
Porongurup National Park
Port Denison Dongara
Torndirrup National Park
Wellington National Park
William Bay National Park
Return from Kununurra to Western Australia