By Jade Johnston
Triple J Review
You may not have heard of Kununurra if you have not yet travelled to Australia. You may even have been to Australia, and still not heard of it. Kununurra is one of the hidden gems of Western Australia – the pink diamond in the rough, if you will.
Kununurra is a small town in Western Australia, near the Northern Territory border. It is in the Kimberly region and is surrounded by that red dirt which characterizes the Australian bush. Yet, despite this, Kununurra is blessed with a massive source of fresh water, which allows its agriculture industry to thrive.
Lake Argyle is what gives Kununurra it’s life. This massive lake, which stores 5797000 megalitres of water, that’s as much as 18 Sydney harbours. The lake drains into the Orb River, and the dam between the lake and the river provides the town, and surrounding diamond mine, with almost all of their power needs.
Triple J is one of the main companies in town which offers excursions out to the lake and river. There are a variety of tours available, but I opted to bus out to the lake, and then take a boat cruise down the river back to town.
The bus journey takes about an hour to go from Kununurra to the lake. En route you pass through some amazing scrub land, with large red hills to the distance. The landscape is dotted with a wide variety of gum trees (all of which our driver could seemingly name and tell apart – quite a feat I might add!) interspersed with the odd fat Boab tree.
The bus ride was enjoyable enough, but the real treat is getting to the water. When we eventually reached the lake, we were treated to majestic views of this massive body of water, before making our way down the hill to the waiting boat. Our skipper was also extremely knowledgeable about the area, and started the trip by telling us all about the construction of the dam which means so much to the economy of the town.
The Orb River
Before we even started down the river, our guide pointed out the first crocodile we would see on the trip. Thousands of freshwater crocodiles live in the river, and since they are not territorial like salt water crocodiles, and since the river ecosystem is incredibly healthy, a huge number of them can be supported there. Freshwater crocs are much smaller than their saltwater cousins, and their snouts and longer and more narrow, making it safe to swim in the river as they will not attack a human.
We spotted many more crocs as we went down the river; some were swimming, some dozing in the sun, and we even saw a little baby croc swimming amongst the reeds.
Our guide was knowledgeable about more than just the dam. Our boat came complete with map of the area, and he patiently described the different systems which fed the lake, and which irrigated the town. He also went into some of the proposed development plans for the area, and how this might affect the lake and river. His knowledge about ecological systems really impressed.
But the trip was more than just maps and facts. We soon entered the most scenic part of the river, where tall red cliffs bordered the steely water. It was pretty hard to capture the true colour of these rocks, but I did do my best!
We eventually cruised all 55 km’s of the river back to town, stopping many times to talk more about this unique place and also to watch the sun set beyond the hills. After the tour, if you are looking for a great dinner option, you can be dropped off at the jetty attached to the power house restaurant, otherwise, Triple J will drop you back off at your accommodation.
The Nitty Gritty
- Pick up is at 11:30
- Drop off is at 5:30
- Afternoon tea is provided, but it is recommended to eat a bit of lunch before the tour
- Water is provided, but bring your own bottle
For booking details, check out the Triple J website
This tour was provided complimentary by Triple J, but all opinions remain our own