Saturday, June 6, 2015

Kununurra 3-5 June

Kununurra is the gateway to the Kimberley Region and a popular spot for travellers to prepare for travelling into an area which is sparsely settled and has few services. It is also the area we promised to return to after a coach tour here in 2004. It has taken a while to make it happen. In the intervening 11 years Kununurra has grown significantly and there have been many changes.

The view from Kelly's Knob

Although it is still a major source for many vegetables a lot of diversification has occurred. An important new crop is sandalwood which is used in the perfume industry, but also used for incense and many Buddhist rituals, in Australia and abroad.
Sandalwood trees grow among other faster growing species for protection

Water is king here, and irrigation is everywhere. The Ord River Scheme started in 1963, and Lake Argyle provide the water. The Diversion Dam on the Ord River is a major landmark, but crocs still lurk, mostly unseen. One was found this week on the bridge over the dam and was featured in the local paper. How it got there is a wonder of crocodile locomotion. Fortunately it was a freshie.

An irrigation channel

The Diversion Dam wall.A bridge crosses the top

Below the Dam wall

This crocodile was found on the bridge. Picture from the local paper

One of the features unique to the Kimberley is Zebra rock, a layered siltstone which is carved into amazing shapes. The zebra rock gallery on the edge of Lake Kununurra is also home to an abundance of enormous catfish who become alert if someone steps on the jetty, and go into a feeding frenzy if bread is thrown into the water. They are fascinatingly grotesque.

Carved zebra rock

A catfish feeding frenzy

We are camped next to Mirima National Park whose red stone glows in the sun set light. The rock formations have been likened to a mini Bungle Bungles. We also visited Ivanhoe Crossing just out of town, where the council obviously considers it much too dangerous to cross.

Mirima National Park

I don't think they want you to drive here.

It has been relaxing here, nice coffee and cake, but the distillery called The Hoochery didn't find favour. Tomorrow we are off the the Bungle Bungles, or Purnululu as it is properly known.

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