ROAD TRIP SERIES – Kununurra

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This is one of the best trips I have done to date. Kununurra is my favourite country town in all of Australia and there is something so magical about the Kimberley’s.

Kununurra is a great central point to travel from to El Questro, Wyndham, Cockburn Ranges, Ivanhoe Crossing and Lake Argyle, so let me take you there.

El Questro is a well-known privately run million-acre cattle station that is also open to the public and draws in the tourists.  The station is located approx. 130 kilometres south-west of Kununurra on the Gibb River Road.  You will drive past the amazing Cockburn (silent ‘ck’ in Cockburn) ranges on your way down the Gibb and there are so many things to see and do.

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The Cockburn Ranges and El Questro Resort, WA

From boating, four-wheel driving, swimming, and fishing to name a few.  There are several hikes and amazing waterfalls including El Questro Gorge, Zebedee Springs, Chamberlain River, and my personal favourite Emma Gorge – an amazing waterfall where you can swim and enjoy the magic of Kimberley’s truly surrounding you.

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Zebedee Springs and Pentecost River Crossing, WA

Try a spot of fishing at the Pentecost river or cruise down Chamberlain gorge between stunning red rock cliffs and feed the giant barramundi. There are plenty of accommodation options out there too, anything from camping to luxury suites in the El Questro homestead where rooms start at $2,100.00 AUD per night.

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Emma Gorge and Emma Gorge Resort Accommodation

If you head back towards Kununurra after a visit to El Questro, you must detour north 100kms to Wyndham for a look.  The five rivers lookout is amazing on sunset where five of the Kimberley’s rivers all meet and flow out into the ocean.  The Wyndham Races in August are a great event and speak of true country racing on the dirt track.

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Five Rivers Lookout, Wyndham WA (image by Mark Boyle)

Ten minutes north out the road from Kununurra you will find Ivanhoe Crossing – a croc infested water crossing for cars where fisherman like to risk the biscuit and try for a barramundi.  A further 10 minutes north is the famous Hoochery Distillery, brewer of the famous Ord River Rum which has proven to be popular with the ringers living on surrounding stations.

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Ivanhoe Crossing, WA

If you’re into hiking, climb up the top of Kelly’s Knob for a great 360-degree view of Kununurra and its surrounds.  Boating, fishing, and skiing on the Ord river are popular activities and the Pumphouse located right on the Ord River is the best spot for a nice meal and sunset drinks.

The Ord river flows down from Lake Argyle and although it is populated with freshwater crocodiles, it is considered safe to swim.  As they say however, swimming in Northern Australia is at your own risk…

Kununurra hosts several great events throughout the year – Kimberley Moon Festival, Dam to Dam Tinnie Race, Rodeo and Races and the annual Kununurra Show to name a few.

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Ord River, Kununurra and Lake Argyle Resorts Infinity Pool

Heading East of Kununurra and up-stream is Lake Argyle – a brief 70km drive east of Kununurra along the Victoria Highway, this is a must-see feature of the East Kimberley’s.  Australia’s second largest freshwater man made reservoir and is part of the Ord River Irrigation Scheme. You can again swim, ski, and fish in the lake.  The Lake Argyle Resort offers accommodation and one of the best views from their famous infinity pool overlooking the lake itself.

This is a great place to take a helicopter flight over the lake where you can really see the sheer size of how big it really is.  They also offer trips down to the Bungle Bungles from here which is an amazing and must do experience (from what I have heard).

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Lake Argle by boat or helicopter

If you are heading back to Darwin from here, you will literally be driving between cattle stations or national parks along the Victoria Highway where cattle droving along the side of the highway is common and rogue cows are always floating about.  The Vic River Roadhouse is a good pitstop and is where the highway crosses the Victoria River – approx. 3.5 hours east of the WA/NT border.

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Vic River Roadhouse and Charlie the Buffalo at Adelaide River’s Bar 303, NT

From Vic River its 2 hours onto Katherine and a further 2 hours onto Adelaide River where you cannot go past the roadhouse and Bar 303 where Charlie the Buffalo from the movie Crocodile Dundee lives (he’s stuffed).  The biggest and best pub meal available!

Litchfield National Park is a great day trip from Adelaide River or Darwin, with many different water falls and hikes around.  My personal favourites and popular to tourists are Florence Falls, Buley Rockhole and Wangi Falls but there are many others to explore also.  Driving in a clockwise direction, you will end up at Berry Springs which also hosts an excellent pub and meal!  There are also the springs at Berry Springs to swim in which are beautifully crystal clear and close to Darwin.

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Wangi Falls – Litchfield National Park, NT