Friday, January 9, 2015

This is Australia - As a Grey Nomand: Part 6 - Kununurra Western Australia - Welcome to The Kimberlies

We said a sad farewell to the Northern Territory and headed for Western Australia. Welcome to the Kimberly where you are  instantly  rewarded with the spectacular WA scenery - WA where the red dirt and red countryside is overwhelming, and just so beautiful. It oozes minerals so no wonder so much mining is done in this part of our country it screams there is money in them there hills.  You get this everywhere you go in WA - and until you are actually in it can you appreciate just how fantastic it is.  There seems to be a view everywhere you look.  This is what this journey was about, seeing our own ICONS, we spend so much money and time travelling the world to see the Icons of other countries, but here in our own back yard we have plenty, WA is one of those treasures and The Kimberly region is definitely the KING, no photo can do it justice, it is big, like WA, it is unique in every way and for us it definitely provided the highlight of our trip - we loved WA and everything about it, no words can describe it and while I have seen it on TV, in pictures this is one of those places only your eyes and eyes mind can capture it, nothing does it justice.

The drive from Katherine to Kununurra is good, even if the speed decreases again in WA.  You are now in The Kimberly.

Lakeview Caravan Park Panorama
At the Grotto

Kununurra is one of those places which surprises, with its beautiful Lake Kununurra - incredible 
forestry, and very lush generally, there is no shortage of water here unlike our experiences so far.  We chose The Lakeside Caravan Park where we were able to get a grassed site, on the waterfront, so we felt very special (yes we saw some fresh water crocs, but the birdlife etc were so lovely you forgot about the nasties). This is also a place that seems to inspire great camp site camaraderie with the park having a restaurant, bar, nice pool area and lake views and full tourist booking services - there is a lot of things to do in this area and to really do it all would cost a fortune, but while here at least 1 flight (plane or helicopter) is a must. If you have a 4wd then trips to El Questro, or doing the Gibb River Road drive would be just fantastic (this is when we wished we had bought a 4wd - these are the great Australian drives, and everyone we spoke to who had experienced them felt they were superb).

We didn't miss out though, we had a fantastic time here, so much to see, so much to do and experience and the we
ather was perfect as well.  I will try not to bore you with every little detail of our stay, and look at the major highlights.

The Bungles from the Air
We did do a day drive to Wyndham, which was a pretty desolate place and reminded us a lot of Peru, but where petrol was significantly cheaper than Kununurra, but there was a great lookout here 5 Rivers lookout, and WOW what a view of 5 Rivers of the area with the ridges of The Kimberlies and the sea - truly lovely.  We met a couple at this lookout and we would continue to run into them over the next month so that was nice as well.  There are lots of other things to see in this area as well so a good full day was enjoyed.  Don't be afraid to take turn off's and most of the great value things to do in this area are well sign posted - one of the smaller off road drives we did was to The Grotto - climbing up and down 140 rock steps to a magnificent water hole, but there were others on this track as well we also did.

Our next day though was one of the highlights of the trip for us being the Flight over the Bungles - we choose the sunrise flight (all the helicopters where booked out so we did have to be happy with a fixed wing aircraft flight), but this was a great time of day to do, not too hot and the flight was fun, small and intimate, incredible views and great commentary.  You don't just get the Bungle Bungles though, the views of the Ord River Dam (the largest man made dam in the Souther Hemisphere), Lake Argyle and Argyle Mines (home of the Pink Diamond), and the hundreds of miles of forests including the sandalwood forests.  What a great morning we had, so exciting.  It was funny because we had no phone or internet access in Kununurra, however on the flight we all of a sudden started to get emails etc and were able to instantly post our trip photos on Facebook.

Aboriginal Rock Art
A day going to Lake Argyle and Ord River Dam was also a great day, there is a camp site here so you could stay here rather than Kununurra if you prefer, it is an incredible place, more beautiful views, big big big scenery and all on a dam that holds 21 Sydney Harbours.  Lots of nice little driving tracks around here as well and we took one that lead us to a beautiful little cave that had indigenous art work, it was off the beaten track and no one else we spoke to had seen it, but there was a small sign at the entrance of the cave indicating its significance, but there were lots of interesting little
tracks off the main road that lead to these beautiful places full of surprises.

I seem to have so many photos, but nothing captures the heart and sole of this place , so you will just need to go and see it for yourself - it comes with high recommondations!  Enjoy and take it all in.  

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