With lakes, rivers and striking geological formations, Kununurra is the adventure capital of the Kimberley. Catch a barra, cruise the Ord, go waterfall hunting or explore nearby places such as Mirima National Park, Lake Argyle and (further afield) Purnululu National Park (the Bungle Bungles) and El Questro.
The name Kununurra means river, having been derived from the Miriuwung word ‘Goonoonoorrang’. Bookended by Lake Argyle and the Diversion Dam downstream,
Lake Kununurra and the Upper Ord River provide irrigation to surrounding farms, but that’s not all. It’s a wildlife haven – home to thousands of freshwater crocs and many bird species – and for Kununurra locals it’s a playground for boating, fishing, wet season waterfall hunting and swimming. Cruising the Ord is a popular way to explore. Triple J Tours offers trips down the full length of the Upper Ord, including the breathtaking Carlton Gorge. Alternatively Go Wild Adventure Tours offers three day canoe trips with riverside camps along the way.
An interesting fact – The hydroelectric power station at the base of the Ord Dam supplies renewable energy to Kununurra, Wyndham, Argyle Village and the Argyle Diamond Mine.
Travelling west of Kununurra along the Victoria Highway, you’ll encounter the Diversion Dam, one of the township’s most prominent features. It separates freshwater Lake Kununurra (upper Ord River) from the lower part of the river, which eventually turns to salt water closer to Wyndham. It was constructed to contain a controlled flow of water from Lake Argyle and opened in 1963. Water held within the 55km-long Lake Kununurra gravity-feeds the irrigation channels of the Ord River Irrigation Area, providing fresh water to crops including mangoes, sandalwood and melons.