So cool to witness the iconic Lake Argyle overflowing at its spillway for the first time in 5 years. Just about everyone from town has popped out to check it out and have a dip. You can also experience Spillway Creek from the other end by boat as it rushes into the Ord River about half way between the two dam walls.
Whilst the rains have eased around the East Kimberley the 5 rivers that feed Lake Argyle are still filling the Lake which is well over 100% capacity. Temperatures have crept up into the high 30's again, but it really feels like The Dry is just around the corner. Our Wet Season tours are now closed but there are still plenty of waterfalls, green landscapes and flowing creeks to experience for several months to come.
Waterfall Season is in full swing now in and around Kununurra. It’s the best time to visit and since the highway south is still a minefield of flood damaged roads and construction works, the airfares from Perth couldn’t be cheaper. There is plenty of accommodation available in town or you might like to stay somewhere just out of town like our unique Airbnb called ‘The Hideaway’- click here. As for HOT Tours…we are fully operational and ready to take you out on a 4-wheel-drive wet season adventure or two. There are several other operators running tours and scenic flights so there is certainly plenty to do if you pop up for a mini break this Wet Season. For the first time since 2017 the Lake Argyle is over 100% capacity and still filling which means the Spillway is flowing as well. We are still hoping and expecting a lot more rain but don’t let rain put you off as the temperatures are perfect.
On another note, to all you workers that are either new to town, or here on a short term contract, grab at least one other person or a small group (max 6) and let us orientate you to Kununurra and surrounds. If you can only get weekends off then give me a call or email and I will open up a tour for you on a Saturday or Sunday (2 pax minimum).
OMG Not the bridge!
Rain, cyclones, road damage and flooding is part of life in northern Australia and is expected every Wet Season….but not like this. Ex-tropical cyclone Ellie has sure made a mess of the Kimberley in more ways than one. Of course, the town of Fitzroy Crossing and surrounding communities and properties have taken the brunt of the destruction as the mighty Fitzroy River broke its banks (peaking at 15.81m) with homes and businesses destroyed. Whilst no human life was lost, the images of stranded and drowning wildlife and stock (700,000 cattle died) have been extremely disturbing. People being flown out of ‘The Zone’ in Chinooks and every other size and type of aircraft made the West Kimberley towns of Broome, Derby and Fitzroy look like a warzone. Thankfully it wasn’t.
If that’s not enough, the East Kimberley towns of Kununurra, Wyndham, Halls Creek and Warmun are now cut off from the West due to the destruction of the Fitzroy Crossing bridge. There is only one road connecting us to the supply lines from Perth and its gone. Trucks with food and other freight need to go the long way around through SA and NT – a 2000km, 2 day detour – inflating freight costs which are being passed on to us all as consumers. Whilst we wait the 2+ years it will take to build a new bridge, a barge system will be used to cross the river, and a revamped low level crossing will be constructed once the Wet Season is over. In the meantime, we can only hope that the Victoria Highway connecting Kununurra to the NT doesn’t get cut off again – we still have another 2 months of the season to go.
Grab a sneak peak at our new tour offering commencing in January 2023.
This tour has been designed based on customer requests for a more flexible itinerary which can cater for specific interests such as bird watching, wildlife photography or just gadding about the bush in a 4WD enjoying the unique features and scenes of the East Kimberley. It is ideal as a half day (6 hour) charter and will operate through the Wet and Dry Seasons. As mentioned in earlier posts, we have had a great start to the wet season already, so we are counting on a bumper season with lots of water to bring the Kimberley to life.
Just when the Aussie-filled tourist buses and caravan-towing nomads are starting to thin out on the roads of the East Kimberley, we are starting to see the return of the more intrepid international traveler to our region. This month we've enjoyed the company of French, Swiss-German, English, Chinese, American, Italian and Spanish guests, who are all blown away with the wide open spaces and rugged terrain around Kununurra. The Karunjie-Cockburn Loop tour has been especially popular with those who like to really get away from it all - at least for a day.
Rain in July? Really! We are supposedly in the middle of The Dry Season and don't usually see clouds for 6 months, let alone experiencing rain. But we did - albeit only a few mm. Can't complain, the clouds actually raised those early morning temps to a more comfortable 2 digit number again, and certainly provided a few spectacular sunsets. Our Kununurra Sunset Circuit tour has been a hit as we enjoy some drinks and nibbles from this stunning East Kimberley lookout.
Come on in the water's fine! Perth-based tour organiser "The Travelling Femmes" brought another bunch of adventurous female travellers to the East Kimberley in early June. They enjoyed walking amongst the ancient rocky ranges within Mirima National Park and the rock art sites of the Deception Range, before taking a refreshing dip in Molly Springs. This was all part of the Galleries of Mirima and Beyond tour which also included a gourmet morning tea under the paperbarks lining the banks of the Lower Ord River.
The month of May usually sees a surge of visitors to Kununurra, not just because the weather becomes more comfortable for Southerners, but because it's time for our largest event of the year - the Ord Valley Muster. Unfortunately, due to the late border opening and risk of covid spread to the community the event was necessarily cancelled. Never mind, we'll make the most of it next year. Below are a few pics from the 2021 Kimberley Moon concert with Busby Marou and Jessica Mauboy.
2023 Ord Valley Muster and Kimberley Moon Festival 19-27th May 2023. - For updates visit: https://ordvalleymuster.com.au/ AND in between all the fantastic events, why not book a HOT Tour! New tours coming for 2023 - available for booking in July.
Despite the lingering clouds and the odd isolated shower, The Dry is definitely just around the corner. Kununurra temperatures have been a little cooler and drier, with a few mornings dropping as low as 16 degrees this April. As much as we LOVED the Wet Season, it's time to get back on those tracks that were inaccessible over the past 3-4 months. Soon the town will be buzzing and bustling with tourist activity, as will the tracks, waterways and skies. Local tour operators are readying themselves for a busy, and minimally restricted tourist season this year. Whilst the East Kimberley was probably the last place on earth to have cases of COVID-19 circulating in the community, we are pretty much over the worst of it already due to the high vaccination rates - and extended border closure. For now, masks are still required in planes and public transport, including tour vehicles, but we are pretty much back to business as usual and are keen to show off this unique corner of Australia.