I'm an Australian living in Thailand. I like to read, write and travel. I'm currently working on my (commercial) travel website skedaddlecarhire.com.au to make more moolah for my trips.
Published August 12th 2015
And this guide lets you in on most of it
Located in the Kimberley region of North-western Australia, Kununurra is the perfect place to go to escape from the hustle and bustle of big-city life and really get to explore what the Australian wilderness and natural landscape is all about. The population fluctuates from between 7,000 and 10,000, depending on the season. Derived from the English pronunciation of "Gunanurang," an aboriginal Miriwoong word meaning "large river" or "big waters," Kununurra is nestled next to the Ord River, which provides the lifeblood and primary source of tourist activity for the city.
Indeed, it is ironic that a city that celebrates so much natural beauty is a result of engineering power that dammed the Ord River and harnessed the powerful water, allowing the possibility of regional agriculture and eventual prosperity. Kununurra has plenty of things to do, although many activities in the area are based around this water source and the surrounding landscape. Renting a Four Wheel Drive is essential (you'll be able to locate which ones are available across all agencies by using carhirekununurra.net.au).
When to Visit
Knowing when to visit Kununurra is important, as the season will definitely dictate what activities are available. Since travel is often difficult during the wet and rainy season, it is best advised to visit during the dry season, from April to September. During this time it is usually cooler and less humid. Visiting the traveler centre for information on Kununurra tourism is highly recommended.
With its shaky, snakelike path through the eastern Kimberly and the beautiful colors of its clean waters, the Ord River is one of the most popular Kununurra attractions in the area. Boat tours are available through Triple J Tours, and information can be gathered from the Visitors Center in town. Depending on the time of year and weather conditions, these boat tours will go to a variety of different destinations, including up and down river of the Ord, as well as to the Kununurra Lake and Lake Argyle, which are both very close to the town. Since the river is so long and there is so much to see, this is often the best way to really get the full experience of the area, especially if time is of the essence, and it is one of the best things to do in Kununurra to boot!
Since it is so close to town, visiting this lake is one of the best things to see and do in Kununurra. In addition to boat tours, there are hiking trails, picnic tables, barbecues, and beaches to enjoy as well, where visitors can see great sights, waterfalls, and gorges. This is located just outside of town and is very easy to get to.
As the second largest man-made lake in Australia, Lake Argyle is located roughly 70 kilometres from Kununurra and very easy to get to by boat or car. Lake Argyle is one of the most popular Kununurra tourist attractions, and people often enjoy visiting the dam, which created Lake Argyle in the first place, as well as fishing, hiking, and biking around the area. There are also excellent camp sites, and tourists can purchase all necessary supplies at the visitor's center by the lake, which also has information for various different boat tours. This lake is a great place to swim, lay on the beach, or explore!
Towering above most of the area at a little over 190 metre, Kelly's Knob is the highest point in the area, making it the perfect height for getting the best view of the beautiful surrounding landscape. Since it is so visible, it is one of Kununurra's points of interest. There is a carpark where visitors can picnic and relax and a small trail that goes a little farther up the hill, all of which is completely free.
Also known as the Sleeping Buddha or Elephant Rock by locals, depending on their point of view, this ridge is easily seen from Kelly's Knob and not much more difficult to get to from there. Different locations obviously will provide different views of the rock, but it is also fun to visit up close and hike the trails surrounding the area, or to even climb to the top, although it is not easy.
Mirima National Park
Photo credit: (WT-shared) Cardboardbird at wts wikivoyage /
Although just a fifteen minute walk outside of town to nure entrance, this Mirima park is actually very massive. Many people enjoy visiting at sunrise or sunset, when the colors are magnificent and the temperatures are cooler. The environment of the park is very diverse, and there are many hiking and biking trails that snake through the vast expanse of this territory.
Photo credit: Bas van Oorschot / Flickr Creative Commons
Although this attraction is littered with restaurants and other traveler stations, the trails and views are magnificent, especially at sunrise and sunset. Although there are many gorges in Emma Gorge, this is probably the most frequently visited, and for good reason. There are countless little rock pools and waterfalls along the way, and although the hike is a bit strenuous, it is definitely worth every bit of effort.
For those wondering what to do in Kununurra that is not related to the outdoors, there are still activities to partake in. The Hoochery Distillery, for example, offers guests excellent food and drink choices. The Waringarri Art Gallery shows aboriginal art, from paintings to poles to Boabs, and is the best indigenous art gallery in the area, with the next closest being two hours away at the Warmun Art Centre.
All images appear courtesy of Wikimedia Commons unless stated otherwise