If you are one of our very lucky globetrotters who has managed to book a highly sought-after saddle seat on our Kimberley Ride, then you will soon be headed to the town of Kununurra where your adventure begins. But before you head off on your horse riding holiday of a lifetime, or perhaps even after you finish your ride, take some time to explore the local area – you will be pleasantly surprised with what you discover!
There’s lots to see and do in the local Kununurra area. Whether you want to hike to a fantastic view point of the town, chill out in a remote natural waterhole, or even try some famous Ord River Rum, there is something for everyone to do and it won’t disappoint. But our HOT TIP would be to hire a car, because unless you want to join a tour, you’ll need some wheels to do most of the sightseeing in the area. There are plenty of hire car places, just make sure you book one before your trip, so you don’t miss out!
SIGHTS AND ACTIVITIES
This lake is popular for fishing, swimming, boating and water skiing. You can join a boat tour cruise up the river to the main dam at Lake Argyle, take a sunset cruise, or hire a canoe and paddle at a leisurely pace. You can also enjoy a picnic on the edge of the lake. With its wetland areas internationally recognised for the wonderful range of bird life they support, keep your eyes peeled for some of Mother Nature’s finest creatures.
If you fancy doing a spot of bush walking, head just 2km out of town to Mirima National Park. Also known as Hidden Valley, the eroded gorges are home to brittle red peaks, spinifex, boab trees and abundant wildlife. This park is also home to some fascinating rock formations that have taken shape over the last 350 million years! There are three short walking trails available, which lead to great lookouts over the area. However, since it is a national park there is a small entry fee charged.
The view from Kelly’s Knob is impressive by day, but even more so in the evening as the sun sets and the sky glows across the vast land, making it the perfect place to finish off your day. Grab some cheese and wine and enjoy a picnic while taking in a glorious sunset over the town (in case you didn’t realise, Kununurra hosts some of the best sunsets in Australia). It’s just over one kilometre out of town and you can drive along a sealed road which takes you almost to the top. The walk right to the very top is a 1.2km round trip and can be quite steep in places and a little challenging for some people, so make sure you take some water to stay hydrated. When you reach the top you will have a stunning view over the town of Kununurra, the Ord irrigation area, Lake Kununurra and the Sleeping Buddha (or Elephant Rock as it is also known).
This excellent gallery-studio is the first wholly Indigenous owned art centre established in the Kimberley region and supports more than 100 local artists as painters, printmakers, wood carvers, boab engravers, sculptors and textile artists. If you are keen to discover more about the Miriwoong culture of the area, this is the place to visit. Not only can you purchase some local artwork, but you can also take in a cultural performance or tour to enrich your experience.
PLACES TO EAT
If you are after the hippest, healthiest feed in town, you can’t go past Wild Mango Café. With real coffee, mouth-watering ricotta doughnuts (if you have a sweet tooth these are a must), delicious hamburgers to sink your teeth into, oh and let’s not forget the homemade gelato which is simply essential in the hot Kimberley sunshine, this is the perfect place to grab some breakfast or lunch.
If you are a fan of sweet, juicy mangos, then you have to try the signature mango smoothie here – it’s heaven on a hot day! This is another great café for a bite to eat during the day. Grab a table under the leafy mango trees and tuck into the tasty wraps, salads and burgers on offer, all made from fresh, local produce.
Overlooking the tranquil setting of Lake Kununurra, the PumpHouse Restaurant and Bar is the perfect place to tempt your palate with local produce and quality ingredients. Enjoy local delicacies in the open-air deck or if the heat’s too severe, you can always retire to the air-conditioned comfort of inside. If you happen to drop some food off the verandah, sit back and watch the catfish swarm! This is a great place to sit back, have a drink, and watch the sunset after a long day.
WHERE TO STAY
With the character of an Australian outback homestead but the style and comfort of a contemporary hotel, our guests always rave about The Kimberley Grande. With a range of dining options on site and a cold, refreshing pool you can plunge into at the end of a hot day, you will enjoy the outback hospitality this place is known for.
Image credits: Helispirit; Noel Lovejoy Photography; Tourism WA; mapio.net; Idaia