Last week I brought you up the coast of Western Australia free camping 3,513 kilometres (2,183 miles) from Perth to Kununurra.and the Kimberley.
This week we are in Kununurra and Lake Argyle right up at the top of Western Australia near the Northern Territory border. You can see Kununurra on this map.
We had been to Kununurra twice before, in 2009 and 2016 and we chose to stay again at the Discovery Holiday Park Lake Kununurra which as the name implies, is on the shores of the Lake. Very strangely, and I don't know why, I don't seem to have a photo of our caravan site in Kununurra, so here is a picture of the Lake. It is a shady caravan park with good amenities, close to town.
We only had one night in Kununurra this trip, a chance to stock up on supplies, and do our washing. But there is plenty to do here, so I suggest a stay of a week. Below are a few ideas...
Kununurra is a relatively new Kimberley town which was established in 1961 as a service centre for the Ord River Irrigation scheme. Kununurra is a local aboriginal word meaning ‘meeting of big waters’. Kununurra initially sustained a population of 400 people, today the town supports a population of 7500.
On both our previous trips we booked a boat cruise on the Ord River, 55 kilometres along the river from Kununurra to the Ord Dam at Lake Argyle. You can either bus out to the dam, and cruise back on the boat (as we did in 2009), or cruise both ways (as we did in 2016). The tour guides showcase the diverse nature that lives along the river. And with afternoon tea (delicious scones, jam and cream) on the banks of the river, it is a perfect way to spend the afternoon. I highly recommend it.
Just a couple of kilometres from town is Kelly’s Knob, the highest point in Kununurra from where you have excellent views of the town, Ord River, Lake Kununurra, Elephant Rock and the Ord River Irrigation area. The irrigation scheme provides water for approx 18000 hectares of farmland. The main crops are sandalwood, mangoes, chia, citrus and melons.
You can learn more about the attractions of Kununurra on their visitor website.
Further afield, 106 kilometres away is the port-town of Wyndham on the edge of Cambridge Gulf, and an easy day trip from Kununurra. The Five Rivers lookout from the Bastion – the hill overlooking Wyndham - provides amazing views of the surrounding landscape and where you can see the Forest, King, Pentecost, Durack and Ord rivers flowing into the gulf.
On the way back to Kununurra, make sure you stop in at Marglu Billabong in the Parry Lagoon Nature Reserve. You might even see a salt water crocodile.
The bird below left is the brolga, well known for its courtship dance. There is a salt water crocodile in the background of the bottom right photo - can you see him?
There are fabulous views from the old Telegraph Station ruins on Wireless Hill.
Last trip we stayed at the Parry Creek Farm caravan park. - perfectly located to stay till sunset for spectacular images of the iconic Boab. Now there is a Kimberley sunset for you!
Another tree you will see around Kununurra are the gorgeous bright yellow flowers of the Kapok bush - Cochlospermum fraseri
The indigenous people of northern Australia would eat the flowers, either raw or cooked, and the roots of young plants. The inner bark was used to make string. They also used to use the fluff from the seeds as body decoration. This plant is a "calendar" plant of the Jawoyn people: flowering indicates when freshwater crocodiles are laying eggs, fruiting the time for collecting them.
From: Atlas of Living Australia
A great place to identify and find out more about Australian trees is at the Celebrity Tree Park in Kununurra. The park was opened in 1984 and celebrities such as John Farnham, HRH Princess Anne and Harry Butler have all planted native Western Australian trees here.
The plaques give the common, botanic and indigenous names of the tree, description and their uses by the indigenous people.
We were very pleased to find here identification of the Kimberley Bauhinia or Jigal tree - Bauhinia cunninghamii - indigenous Miriwoong name: wanyarring. We had seen this tree in abundance along the way - both in flower and pod. The indigenous people used to suck the sweet nectar for stamina, which we tried later on down the track - and yes it is sweet. This is a very attractive tree in pod.
From Kununurra it was a relatively short distance (70 kilometres) to Lake Argyle - the Ord Dam - where we had booked into the caravan park for two nights. It was high season, so we were glad we had booked our site at the beginning of the year as we were given a shady spot compared to those who "arrive at 8am and wait and hope" people who were given an "overflow" spot in the blazing sun! By then it was starting to heat up in northern Australia's winter "dry" season.
A favourite spot at the lake is the infinity pool overlooking the lake. Day trippers can also use this pool for a fee. The water was very cold but it was a relaxing spot to cool off.
You do boat cruises on the lake or take a scenic flight (which we had done on a previous trip).
Completed in 1972, at normal full supply level the area of the lake formed by the Ord Dam is 980 square kilometres and impounds 10.7 million mega litres (8.6 million acre feet) of water, over 18 times the volume of water contained in Sydney Harbour. At maximum capacity the volume would be more than triple – Sydney Harbour could be filled more than 70 times. Amazing!
Here is a pic from our flight over Lake Argyle in 2009.
|Can you see the Kapok tree in this pic?|
Below is the rock loving Kimberley rose - Brachychiton viscidulus - also known as the sticky Kurrajong. The tree is almost leafless when it flowers.
Not far from Lake Argyle is the Argyle (Durack) Homestead. The Durack family, Patrick (Patsy), Michael and John drove cattle 4828 kilometres overland from Queensland in the 1800s, the longest overland trek undertaken by Australian drovers at the time, taking two and half years to reach the Kimberley. Establishing one of the first cattle stations in the Kimberley, living conditions were harsh for the colonial settlers.
Patrick and his family of six children established a family dynasty in the Ord Valley and launched enterprises that were instrumental in opening up the north of Western Australia. The story of these Kimberley pioneers is told in the book Kings in Grass Castles (and several subsequent books) written in 1959 by Mary Durack.
The homestead was relocated from its original site in the 1970s due to the construction of the Ord Dam. It is now a museum only a few kilometres from Lake Argyle.
The walls were built from local rock - very thick - and the house was surrounded by a wide verandah - both designed to keep the house cool in the high Kimberley temperatures.
The Durack story reiterates the wildness, harshness, loneliness and isolation of the country for the early pioneers and the strength of those who settled here, many having trecked long distances overland from southern Australia.
We enjoyed our two days at Lake Argyle. It was a chance for some rest and recuperation before the next part of our journey. Thank you for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed the this chapter of our half lap of Australia. Next week we will cross the border from Western Australia into the Northern Territory.
I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week.
You might also like:
Intro - half lap of Australia
Free camp Perth to Kununurra
On the road through the Kimberley
Cathedral Gorge, Purnululu, Kimberley
The wildflwoers are blooming in Western Australia
I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!
My corner of the world through my camera
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global hosted by Randomosity.
My corner of the world through my camera
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global hosted by Randomosity.
Hello there! I love reading your comments. If you scroll down to the bottom you can comment too! I would love to hear from you.
Your landscape photos are stunning, so different what we have here. Happy MM.ReplyDelete
Jill - another fascinating chapter in your journey. I am partial to the first picture, and the Kimberley sunset. Glorious! I was also intrigued by the water lilies at the Billabong - so tall. The diversity of landscape and wildlife in Australia never ceases. Thanks for sharing with everyone at Mosaic Monday!ReplyDelete
Hello, Jill, wonderful photos from your camping trip. The landscapes and views are fabulous. I love the birds and the crocodile. The boat ride sounds like fun! Pretty trees and blooms. Great post. Enjoy your day, wishing you a happy new week!ReplyDelete
Oh my I do miss Australia and the stunning blue skies and fresh air. Love these photos Jill. That's an amazing sunset too at Parry Creek Farm.ReplyDelete
Have a great week
yes it was a rather spectacular sunset, and just the sort of shot I was hoping for.Delete
Amazing photos! Some really lovely captures! Have a grand week!ReplyDelete
It's nice when you point out things and tell us what the flowers and animals are. I love the birds and would have missed the Crocodile! He sure blended in, didn't he? What a trip of a lifetime!ReplyDelete
yes they do, those are the dangerous ones too!Delete
What a gorgeous area. I see it was a very memorable camping trip. It was nice to see Kununurra through your blog.ReplyDelete
Wow - just gorgeous!ReplyDelete
You've got me wanting to go on a road trip with your awesome photos and stories. :-)ReplyDelete
Wonderful photos that bring back great memories for me. I was pleased that you identified the Kimberley Rose as I didn't know the name but it was flowering when we were there. Thanks.ReplyDelete
the Kimberley Rose is so beautiful isn't it.Delete
What fascinating stories you tell. The Durack family had incredible tenacity. I can't imagine driving cattle for 2 1/2 years before reaching "home". Such spirit! The lake with the infinity pool looks like a lovely place to spend some time, as does taking a boat cruise with afternoon tea!ReplyDelete
The lake is stunning! Inviting to have scones there:) Never seen waterlilies with such long stems, as you are showing! All the lakes, and dams here are so serene. The yellow flowers and kimberly rose are fascinating. Am off to follow the link you gave of the underground house. So much to discover here, Jill. Am thankful we can see the beauty here, through your eyes, and lens! Many thanks for sharing it with All Seasons! Have an adventurous week:) Jesh
Amazing place. Great pics.ReplyDelete
Oh everything looks so lovely and so so WARM :DReplyDelete
I am surprised the bird is so close to the gator! Unique plants!ReplyDelete
I know, perhaps they knew he had already eaten? ......Delete
I always enjoy your photos and these don't disappoint! The celebrity park is a very cool idea :)ReplyDelete
It's great to see you joining us on 'My Corner of the World' this week!
My Corner of the World
Despite good intentions for many years, I still have not travelled to either WA or NT. Some amazing scenery and as always, your images are terrific. One day soon ...ReplyDelete
Western Australia and NT is a long way from anywhere. We haven't been to Queensland yet, and still have lots more to explore in New South Wales and Victoria!Delete
I love the photo with the Kimberley rose. Very nice.ReplyDelete
Wow really nice pictures from down under. I was never been there, so i enjoy to watch them.ReplyDelete
Jill I am loving this vicarious RV (caravan) trip! We were full-time RVers for almost 12 years and loved every adventure traveling around the US.... I know we would have loved doing so in Australia just as much. Thanks for letting me experience it virtually. Parks by the water were always our favorites, so thhose where you stayed in todays chapter would have been perfect. Cool to get to do the scenic cruises while you were there.ReplyDelete