A sigh of relief after the 2 hour journey out of the Bungles to hit bitumen for the relatively short journey to Kununurra, the Oasis of the Kimberley. There is quite a marked introduction to this fertile growing area as the verdant green of plantations suddenly appears along the roadsides. We discovered that we had been driving past Indian sandalwood plantations, which has become an incredibly lucrative market into Asia. However, as they have only just harvested their first crop after a 15 year wait for the trees to reach maturity, they are only beginning to reap the financial benefits.
Took a stroll up to Kelly’s Knob, a sandstone outcrop that looms above the valley in which Kununurra sits. The sunsets were quite spectacular as are the colors of the rock as the rays of the setting sun illuminate their layers.
Have become fascinated (obsessed) with the unique and majestic Boab trees, which are only native to Africa, Madagascar and NW Australia, although our Aussie variety differs quite markedly to the others. Visited a 2000 year old Boab tree at the Wyndham Caravan Park, where it is billed as the world’s oldest Boab in captivity! The tiny port town of Wyndham has experienced quite dramatic ups and downs. It was a migrant destination during the 1880s as a short gold rush struck and the numbers swelled to 5000. It became an important transit port for deliveries to the settlements. However the numbers declined until an enormous meat works provided industry and employment during the dry season, as meat was shipped to Perth. Now live cattle are exported to Indonesia, but on a much reduced scale.
On the trip back to Kununurra, we called in at The Grotto, a natural canyon 100 metres deep and boasts a permanent waterhole and would be a stunning site in the wet with its many cascades.
After walking some of the trails in Mirima NP which is just on the edge of Kununurra, we drove down to Lake Argyle and the Ord River dam wall which created the lake. It is enormous and holds the equivalent of 12 Sydney Harbours! The dam wall was quite impressive as was the scenery for most of the drive in. The first part of the dam project was the diversion dam in Kununurra which created Lake Kununurra…..where there is a ski and yacht club and which creates a beautiful area the town wraps itself around before stretching out to the agricultural areas. We are quite impressed with Kununurra. Tomorrow we move onto El Questro….new month, new place!