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Australian Traveller talks up Kununurra’s hidden treasures

3 May 2022

The current issue of Australian Traveller magazine has called the East Kimberley capital of Kununurra ‘underrated’ and ‘worthy of more attention.’

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Heavily impacted by the last two years, when even long-distance domestic travel became a no-no, places like Lake Kununurra in Western Australia’s far East Kimberley are finally bouncing back. 

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Discovery Parks - Lake Kununurra evokes Top End tropics in the middle of the outback. Credit: John Montesi

Captured in the Feb/Mar/Apr issue of ‘Australian Traveller,’ writer Fluer Bainger took to the air to witness some of Kununurra’s most incredible attractions, including the Bungle Bungle Range and nearby Lake Argyle, before taking on the Gibb River Road to El Questro.

“While driving into the Bungle Bungles from Kununurra is a top-shelf adventure,” she writes, “flying comes with the bonus of understanding the scale of the rock forest from above.”

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The Bungle Bungle Range in Purnululu National Park. Credit: Tourism Western Australia

“Most aerial tours take in Lake Argyle, the lake so big it inundated more than 70 mountains when it was dammed, turning them into uninhabited islands."

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Who needs the Amalfi Coast when there's Lake Argyle? Credit: Lake Argyle Resort

“I’ve opted for a special chopper jaunt that includes a James Bond-style landing on one of the isles’ elevated sides. I emerge to wrap-around views of flat, velvety water, rubbly red islets and glimpses of the nearby resort’s famous infinity pool.”

As Bainger explains, it's no surprise that trainee pilots have regularly based themselves in this part of the world to get their flying hours up; 'the airport is a hive of light aircraft, float planes and helicopters.'


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The famous inifinity pool overlooking Lake Argyle. Credit: Lake Argyle Resort

Engaging with another local pilot, she flies over one of Kununurra’s other most famous sights, King George Falls, describing the scene below:

“I join a scenic flight over the King George Falls, twin cascades that plummet 100 metres down, flanked by dramatic red cliffs. From above, I can trace the waterway winding inland through the vast boab-dotted landscape, collecting the wet season’s abundant rains before dumping them over the edge.”

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The Cockburn Ranges mark the path toward El Questro. Credit: El Questro

Deciding to finish her trip with a Gibb River Road adventure toward El Questro, which Bainger describes as ‘exclusive at the Homestead, casual at the Station and basic at the campgrounds,’ she rightly identifies what brings people to these remote but spectacular locations - Australia's frontier wilderness.

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El Questro Homestead from the air. Credit: El Questro

“Returning to Kununurra, I round off my epic exploration with a 4WD trip to El Questro Station, which lies 110 kilometeres away, off the rough-and-ready Gibb River Road.

“The drive alone captivates: the Cockburn Ranges, which have been likened to a rock fortress, gaze down in weathered red greatness, moving behind us as we turn to rev through the Pentecost River."


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Emma Gorge is one of many spectacular sights inside El Questro Wilderness Park. Credit: El Questro

“The lure is, of course, nature, with gorges, cliffs and springs open to all. This egalitarian nature is very Kununurra, and spreads to guests who greet each other on hikes and chatter beside waterholes.

“Like its setting, it is a special, spirited place, one that deserves everyone’s attention.”

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Discovery Parks - Lake Kununurra is on the water's edge. Credit: John Montesi

You can fly direct to Kununurra from Perth, Darwin and Broome with Airnorth and Qantas. Check out our list of things to see and do while you’re there, and read the full online version of the Australian Traveller article here.


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