First stop today on the way to Wyndham is The Grotto, one of many small canyons located close to Kununurra. There is a small natural water hole but swimming is only recommended in the wet season when the water is flowing. Great place to soak up the natural beauty of the Kimberley wilderness and what is a small, natural amphitheater.
Next on to Wyndham and the Five Rivers Lookout. You are standing on top of the world, trying to absorb an impossibly enormous vista. Spread out beneath you are vast mud flats, cut through the middle by a river so wide that you wonder if it’s a bay. At about 325 metres high, the lookout sits atop The Bastion, part of an ancient mountain range, weathered over time to just shadow of its former self. The Ord, King, Pentecost, Forrest and Durack Rivers come together and flow out to sea at Cambridge Gulf. Thousands of hectares of mudflats spread as far as you can see.
The Warriu Park Dreamtime Statues are larger than life aboriginal statues depicting early aboriginal life at Wyndham. The Statues were built as part of a Bi-Centenary project and originally intended for Kings Park in Perth.
We are using Kununurra as a base for a 3 night stay. We will head up to Wyndham for a day. Our camp site is right on the banks of Lake Kununurra. The town was originally developed to service the Ord River Irrigation Scheme which formed Lake argyle. It is the largest town in WA north of Broome.
Victoria River was our last overnight stop in the Northern Territory. Now it is on to the west and we cross the border into Western Australia.
Lake Argyle is Western Australia’s largest and Australia’s second largest freshwater man-made reservoir by volume. The reservoir is part of the Ord River Irrigation Scheme and is located near the East Kimberley town of Kununurra. The primary inflow is the Ord River, while the Bow River and many other smaller creeks also flow into the dam.
Not a good place for a swim – spot the fresh water crocodile on the bank next to the dam wall. ‘Freshies’ are supposed to be a lot smaller than their salt water cousins, the ‘Salties’ but this one seems to be bucking that trend.
Good question. It is the Kapok tree and it is very useful … when the tree is in flower with its distinctive yellow blooms, that is the time to collect the crocodile eggs. And when the large green pod appears … that is the time to eat the crocodile eggs. Don’t think the crocodiles have worked it out yet though. Not going to find out.
Flowing for 560 Kms (350 mi) from its source, until it enters the Timor Sea, the Victoria River is the longest singularly named permanent river in the Northern Territory. On 12 September 1819, Philip Parker King became the first European to discover the mouth of the Victoria and, twenty years later, in 1839, Captain J. C. Wickham arrived at the same spot in HMS Beagle and named the river after Queen Victoria.
Nitmiluk National Park is 244 kms from Darwin. Previously named Katherine Gorge, its northern edge borders Kakadu. The gorges and the surrounding landscape have great ceremonial significance to the local Jawoyn people, who are custodians of Nitmiluk National Park. In Jawoyn, Nitmiluk means “place of the cicada dreaming”.
Katherine Gorge is made up of thirteen gorges, with rapids and waterfalls. During the Dry, roughly from April to October, the Katherine Gorge waters are placid in most spots and ideal for swimming and canoeing. There may be freshwater crocodiles in most parts of the river, as they nest along the banks, but they are harmless to humans. Saltwater crocodiles regularly enter the river during the wet season, when the water levels are very high, and are subsequently removed and returned to the lower levels at the onset of the dry season.