East Kimberleys – Kununurra to Darwin

Kununurra to Darwin

Have Azulo and I finally lost our marbles?

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No…It was an amazing stunt show in Darwin before the parade for the Supercars that are racing here soon

The distance they jump is 25 metres. Simply amazing.

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As you see, I arrived safely in Darwin and Merry arrived on the 15th June. We’re off on a trip through Kakadu, Litchfield nnd Katherine

Back to the journey!

My last stop of any significance was Kununurra. After that it was a dash to Darwin to meet Merry.

Kununurra is a new town created when they did the Ord River scheme in the 1960’s. It’s become a centre point for tourism in the East Kimberleys..

I did two tours from Kununurra…one a boat trip up the Ord River to Lake Argyle and the second trip by air to the Mitchell Falls. Both were fantastic.

The Ord River Cruise

The Ord River scheme is an amazing engineering achievement which has trasnsformed the area.

Here are some photos of the river trip down the Ord.

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An amusing thing happened on the boat…a lady got locked in the Loo! Luckily the skipper had a screwdriver and had to remove the door handle. It took about 15 minutes and we all thought the poor lady was destined to spend the day in the Loo!

Skipper trying to open the Loo to release the trapped lady!

Skipper trying to open the Loo to release the trapped lady!

The Ord River Scheme that started in the 1960’s has transformed the area by harnessing the massive waterflows of the Ord River. Previously, during the rainy season massive amounts of water was wasted as it poured into the ocean.


The result is a huge and fertile area for crops which will eventually be over 45,000 hectares. Also, the year round stable river system has created a wonderland for plants, animals and birds.

The Ord’s flow is stabilised though two dams. The Argyle Dam blocks the Ord River upstream and has created the huge Lake Argyle which has more water than 21 “Sydney Harbours”

Overflow Channels release excess water from Lake Argyle mainly in the wet season and Lake Argyle itself provides more than enough water to stabalise the flow during the dry season.

The other Dam near Kununurra, further downstream, regulates water from the Ord River and controls flows to the sea and the irrigation channels.

It all works through gravity.

A hydro electric plant by the Argyle Dam generates enough electricity to support Kununurra and the whole area.

The Argyle Dam

The Argyle Dam





The next day I took a flight to see the Mitchell Falls


Another spectacular day.

The flight took us over King George falls and the coast. We landed on the Mitchell Plateau and walked 4.5 k to the Falls.

On the way we saw the Little and Big Mertens falls which are impressive in their own right and some Aboriginal paintings in the caves.


Captain Geoffrey

Captain Geoffrey

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Aborigianal paintings

Aborigianal paintings

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A very sophisticated steer.(photo taken by Peta Land

A very sophisticated steer.(photo taken by Peta Land

Eventually we reached the Mitchell Falls. There were a group of keen photographers all with big tripods and very expensive cameras taking photographs of the Falls….I asked stupidly if they were on a photographic tour and was told they were on a Ken Duncan tour.

Ken Duncan for my overseas readers, is a famous photographer here in Australia. He takes superb photographs of landscapes etc. His photos cost heaps.

Anyway…the great man appeared running over the rocks with his equipment strapped all over him.. He barged past me saying he had to get to a ledge as the light was perfect. He is a big man and I was amazed how he navigated the rocks to get to a ledge high up on the cliff. Not to be outdone I followed him…He was like a mountain goat!

He eventually got to the ledge and here is a photo of the great man’s backside taking a photo of the Falls.


I met two charming nurses from Toowoomba QLD who were travelling around in a camper van, Peta and Judith…They thought my chasing Ken around like a “groupie” was hillarious and Judith took this photo of me taking Ken’s photo!

Judith's photo of me tasking Ken's photo!

Judith’s photo of me tasking Ken’s photo!

The next photo is mine from the same spot. The good news is that my photo costs you nothing!


Here is Peta’s photos of the Falls…Ken better watch out!

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Finally a photo of Peta and Judith. Great companions. Merry and I later met them in Darwin.

Peta (left) and Judith

Peta (left) and Judith

The flight back to Kununerra was a photographers delight. Here is Peta’s photo of the Coburn Ranges


After leaving Kununurra, I dashed to Darwin to meet Merry, a distance of about 800k.


I am very impressed with Darwin. it’s a lovely modern place that was virtually rebuilt after Cyclone Tracey destroyed the City on Christmas Day 1974.

The weather here during the dry season is perfect. Sunny and 30 degrees every day. The wet season isn’t so fantastic apparently!

As always when Merry arrives the quality of our food and lodgings goes up several notches.

We did a wonderful Sunset Dinner Cruise where we had a feast of prawns, oysters and beautifully cooked fresh local fish. Definitely an improvement on the hamburgers and pizzas I’ve been living on for the past six weeks


Another arty shot!

Another arty shot!

We visited the new Parliament House which is a magnificent building built in 1994. It is a superb and grand building amongst the finest Parliament Buildings I’ve seen. Given the population is only 250,000 they are obviously planning for the future!

One wit says it’s known locally at the “Wedding Cake” partly because of it’s design. He said, like a wedding cake its full of fruit and nuts and alcohol


Government House is a beautiful building surrounded by lovely gardens. I love the pink hedge and have no ideas what it is!


Darwin suffered badly in WW2…there are reminders everywhere

Darwin, Broome and the North suffered over 60 air raids by the Japanese, the biggest of which took place in February 1942 when 188 Zeros bombed Darwin in two air raids.

Over 235 people were killed, 300 injured, nine ships sunk, at least another 11 badly damaged and 30 planes destroyed.

At the time the seriousness of these attacks was hushed up and even today many don’t realise how serious these Air raids were.

It was only 10 weeks after Pearl Harbour and it was the same Japanese strike force that attacked. Apparently, more bombs were dropped on Darwin than on Pearl Harbour.

There is a superb “virtual reality” experience at the Royal Flying Doctor Service museum at the Waterfront.It really feels like you are in the middle of the air raid.


We’re now off to Kakudu, Lichfield and Katherine in a comfortable rental car. Azulo is having a well earned rest at the Hotel.



54 thoughts on “East Kimberleys – Kununurra to Darwin

  1. The second busiest air facility in the region is at Kununurra, and is commonly referred to as East Kimberley Regional Airport. Arriving via this gateway is more difficult, as only Darwin and Perth provide flights to Kununurra Airport. All other connections are made from within the Kimberley. The terminal has, however, recently undergone a major renovation. The improved facilities have led to plans for an increase in flights in the near future.

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