Spread the love
The East Kimberley region covers an area of 121,000 square kilometres and is renowned as an adventure destination. The towns of Wyndham and Kununurra are perfect to use as a base from which to explore and participate in your great Kimberley wilderness adventure.
A very remote region with extremes of temperature and rugged terrain, it is advisable to visit the East Kimberley region during the dry season, that is generally from April to October. However several people that I encountered recommended seeing the area during the wet season when torrential rains transform the normally dry landscapes into a deluge of water in the rivers, creeks and gorges and thunders down mountain faces forming waterfalls. A dramatic transformation!
The most north-westerly town in Western Australia, situated on the Cambridge Gulf, is Wyndham. The ‘Top Town of the West’, has a colourful history of early explorers, gold rush days, pioneering cattle families and the construction of the Wyndham Meatworks in 1913.
Wyndham typifies the true character of the Kimberley region with its fascinating history and spectacular rugged natural beauty. Based from Wyndham, you can access: the many breathtaking ranges that surround the town; the Cambridge Gulf; the infamous Gibb River Road that takes you deep into the Kimberley region; and the five rivers of the King, Durack, Forrest, Pentecost and the mighty Ord.
There are plenty of things to do and see in Wyndham:
Only a short drive out along the Gibb River Road, 58 kilometres from Wyndham, is the El Questro Wilderness Park. The name El Questro conjurs up images of a western town from an old Western movie, with the rugged Cockburn Mountain Ranges forming the backdrop. All that is missing are the Cowboys and Indians and the Cacti!
It is almost 1,000,000 acres in size with a diverse landscape of broad tidal flats and rugged sandstone ranges, to rainforest pockets, gorges and waterfalls. Animal and birdlife congregate at waterholes and the four river systems are home to all kinds of fish, including the mighty Barramundi.
First stop was Emma Gorge where there is a resort offering eco-tent style accommodation, a bar, restaurant and gift shop. The scenic trail into the gorge takes you along a rocky creek bed with changing vegetation to crystal clear pools and waterfalls. The gorge is characterized by massive scree slopes and cliff face escarpments reaching up to 120 metres on both sides of the trail. At the end of the trail you can enjoy a refreshing swim in the icy plunge pool of Emma Gorge Pool and Falls.
A further 11 kilometres along a sealed road, is the turnoff to El Questro. Although a dirt road, it is in fairly good condition. However there are several creek and river crossings that you have to negotiate, so it is strictly 4WD only. The drive through the park is very scenic and there are various turnoffs into places of interest, such as:
There is a range of accommodation at El Questro Homestead to suit all tastes from luxury to secluded riverside campsites. Tours are available from the homestead such as helicopter flights, horseback rides, barramundi fishing, bush culture and history tours and 4WD adventures. You can then eat and drink at the station’s Steakhouse Restaurant and the Swinging Arm Bar, including a traditional Aussie BBQ feast every Saturday night.
One of the youngest towns in Western Australia – Kununurra, was established through the construction of the Ord Irrigation Scheme. The extensive waterways and the rugged landscapes that surround the town offer a huge variety of choices for those wanting to experience the real Aussie outback.
Set on the beautiful Lake Kununurra, that was formed by the construction of the Diversion Dam, the lake is a huge water-sports playground. The Diversion Dam was the first stage of the Ord Irrigation Scheme to regulate and maintain water flow to the irrigation area and manage wet season flood levels.
Located just minutes from Kununurra, is Mirima National Park (Hidden Valley), that is a small park with sandstone ranges, cliffs and valleys, similar in appearance to parts of the Bungle Bungle Range. You can take the lookout walk that takes you to the top of the range and provides panoramic views over the Ord Valley and surrounding sandstone ranges.
From Kununurra you can take some day trips including: cruising the Ord River by boat; or taking a scenic flight over the Bungle Bungles, the massive Lake Argyle, Argyle Diamond Mine and the stunning Mitchell Plateau. Also don’t miss a visit to the Arygle Diamond showrooms in town to see the unique and rare pink diamond.
Kunnunura is renowned for its vast sandalwood plantations and you can take a look at how they process the sandalwood into oil at the Sandalwood Factory.
Nestled amongst a billion year old landscape of the Carr Boyd Ranges, Lake Argyle has a surface area of over 1,000 square kilometres, a shoreline stretching 900 kilometres and holds 18 times more water than Sydney Harbour.
Now if that doesn’t impress you then maybe the words of Dame Mary Durack, Australian author and member of the Durack family, the original leaseholders of Arygle Station and where Lake Argyle is located today.
“If one were to paint this country in its true colours, I doubt whether it would ever be believed. It would be said at least the artist exaggerated greatly, for never have I seen such richness and variety of hue as in these ranges.” ~ extract from the novel Kings in Grass Castles.
Lake Argyle is home to an estimated 25,000 freshwater crocodiles, some 150,000 waterbirds and 26 species of fish. Then there are the flying foxes, the wallabies, the frilled neck lizards and more.
Amongst the many things to do, there are boat cruises, scenic flights, bushwalking, birdwatching or hire a boat and get out on the lake island-hopping, water skiing, swimming and fishing.
A visit to the relocated Argyle Homestead is also a must see to wander through the relocated stone built cottage and learn about the history of the Durack family who originally ran a cattle station where the lake stands today.
The Lake Argyle Resort offers a range of accommodation from lake view villas, cabins, outback safari huts to caravan and camping sites. An infinity edge pool overlooks the rocky escarpments and the vast expanse of lake, and has one of the best views in the world. The resort also boasts a shop, cafe/restaurant, bar and entertainment, including trivia nights, singer/guitarists and the Sunday night roast dinner. Delicious!
If I were an artist and I could paint a canvas to portray the beauty of the East Kimberley, people would be astounded with what they saw. I can only photograph and describe the scenery, but it is so much more – it was like stepping onto that russet red canvas and becoming part of the painting. It was truly astonishing and it simply took my breath away!
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Life Images by JillJuly 29, 2014
I love the Kimberley and hope that we will go back sometime soon in the next few years. Was the big croc in residence at Marglu Billabong? Happy travels.
KathyJuly 29, 2014
It was a very special and unique corner of the world Jill. Yes the big Croc was still in residence at Marlgu Billabong but he slipped into the water before I could photograph him.
JohannaJuly 29, 2014
Wow Kathy you’ve zipped through the east Kimberley at a pace and brought us readers a fantastic post with so much information. I love how you felt you became ‘part of the painting’. I do know what you mean. It’s so vast and so very different that you do almost feel transported to another world. El Questro is a place of such diversity too – would love to return.
KathyJuly 29, 2014
You can probably tell that I was very impressed with the Kimberley region. We hope to return again and drive the Gibb River Road for some more adventure and stunning landscapes.
Susan LattweinJuly 29, 2014
Sigh. Love that last paragraph, and that pool!
KathyJuly 30, 2014
It was very ‘sigh’ Susan! The Kimberley was very special to me.
Pinky PoinkerJuly 30, 2014
Now that is Australia. Wow. I love the Grotto. Lake Argyle looks fabulous too!
kathymarrisJuly 30, 2014
It was ‘Wow’ I can assure you! Lake Arygle was like a piece of luxury in an outback setting – truly magical.
Judy DraytonDecember 13, 2014
We are about to leave this beautiful,stunning place, but not before we head out to some more ‘secret spots’ tomorrow. We love Kununurra and was definitely a WOW factor for us too & we will be back. Landscape photography is my passion & this would have to be the best place to get this, how am I ever going to choose which one to put on my wall?
KathyDecember 14, 2014
Judy I have never experienced such beautiful landscapes as I did in The Kimberleys. It was a truly special place and one that should be on everyone’s bucket list. Good luck with selecting that photo! Thank you for dropping by my blog. :)