Kununurra’s Ord River is a Kimberley icon. A 650km stretch of fresh water flowing from the upper reaches near Lake Argyle down to Wyndham’s Cambridge Gulf where it flows into the sea. The damming of the Ord in 1963 for the development of the Ord River Irrigation Area created a permanent year round water system that has not only built one of Australia’s most significant agricultural hubs but also provided an ideal habitat for a wide variety of native wildlife and vegetation.
Triple J Tours have been operating cruises on this iconic Ord River in Kununurra since 1988, and its owners and operators combine over 85 years of local Kimberley knowledge and experience. I joined a tour with Jeff Hayley at Triple J and learnt a whole lot more about this incredible river system that has so significantly shaped the town of Kununurra and the entire North West Region.
The tour began with a pick up at Freshwater Apartments, or any other accommodation house you’re staying at in Kununurra, and takes you out to Lake Argyle by coach. We stopped at the infamous Durack Homestead museum. This museum was rebuilt brick by brick from its original location on Lake Argyle prior to its damming in 1972.
After swinging past the Lake Argyle Resort we hopped aboard vessel ‘Osprey’ for our 55km journey down the Ord River all the way back to Kununurra near the Diversion Dam Wall. This is where the fun really starts! The Ord River is a majestic river system, and while 55kms is just a fraction of the water course it really does showcase some amazing and diverse scenery. We began the cruise quite fast, planing through the shallower narrow parts of the river, past thick Pandanus plants and Paperbark trees.
We slowed down and pulled up to a bank where Jeff gave us a brief history of the Ord, Kununurra, and the wildlife that has thrived with this now permanent water body. I loved Jeff’s comment “A tour guide is only supposed to share facts, BUT my view is that the damming of this river, unlike other river systems in Australia, has actually created a healthier eco system than in its original state”. He pointed out all the vegetation that would have been underwater or ripped out of the ground in the wet season (December to March), and high and dry during the dry season.
Further along we cruised through some beautiful gorge country known as the Carlton Gorge. I’ve actually abseiled down this gorge before – it’s amazing! Jeff pointed out a beautiful flowering plant, the Kimberley Rose (Kurrajong) which flowers around June/ July, before stopping at one of their afternoon tea sites on the river bank. Delicious home-made pumpkin scones, fruit platters, tea and coffee was served and we sat around amidst the Pandanus Palms chatting and sharing stories.
A large part of the tour is sighting amazing wildlife, and it didn’t fail to impress on this day. Jeff has an eagle eye for wildlife and quickly pointed out a host of creatures – Freshwater Crocodiles, Pelicans, a Sea Eagle, Jacana’s, Egret’s to name just a few.
Eventually we neared the end of the tour. But not before watching the sun set to the West and the full moon rise to the East just near the beautiful Elephant Rock. What a magical show!
If you are in Kununurra, this is yet another experience you just can’t miss! It’s ideal for all age groups and interests. Triple J do also combine a tour with Lake Argyle Tours so you can see Lake Argyle by water then jump on a different boat and experience the Ord River as well. It’s a good way to squeeze more into your holiday.
For more information on Triple J Tours and their ORD-Some River Cruises visit www.triplejtours.net.au
Kununurra is a beautiful outback town in the heart of the iconic Kimberley Region of Western Australia. An adventure holiday-makers dream, Kununurra offers a host of incredible things to see and do, and quality accommodation including self-contained apartment accommodation and hotel accommodation. Qantas and Virgin Australia fly to Kununurra daily from Perth, Broome and Darwin. Connecting flights to Kununurra from Sydney, Melbourne, or most other states are possible on some days during our busy season of May to October.
Freshwater East Kimberley Apartments is Kununurra’s newest and only 4.5 star accommodation, and winner of WA Tourism Awards Deluxe Accommodation in 2014 and finalist in the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards 2014.
Offering Studio, One, Two and Three Bedroom apartments with kitchenette or full kitchen facilities, we also offer Deluxe apartments with outdoor stone baths, Nespresso machines, and tropical outdoor showers. Our stunning free-form pool has been designed to compliment the Kimberley landscape with it’s own Kimberley waterfall feature and use of local Kimberley stone.
All accommodation at ‘Freshwater’ includes complimentary wifi, Foxtel, guest laundry facilities, BBQ facilities, secure undercover parking, and all guests receive am exclusive 10% discount with HeliSpirit – The Spirit of Australia’s North West. HeliSpirit have 8 bases positioned at iconic locations throughout the Kimberley and Northern Territory.. Offering a range of Kimberley scenic flights to locations such as the Bungle Bungle and Mitchell Plateau.
About Freshwater’s 52 Weeks of Adventure Challenge
Freshwater East Kimberley Apartments is based in the picturesque town of Kununurra in The Kimberley region of Western Australia and is managed by Kimberley local, Ebony Muirson and her fresh enthusiastic team.
Over 12 months Ebony and her team will be venturing out into their pristine backyard to experience and chronicle 52 different Kimberley adventure experiences. That’s a new adventure every single week for an entire year!
We’re inviting you to come along for the ride by following the blog and joining us on Facebook and Instagram. We will also be announcing an exceptional competition during 2015 so sign up today for your chance to WIN.
On top of this we’re also running a #FresherAdventure photo contest which you can enter or vote on here.
We look forward to seeing you on our journey!
About the Author
Ebony is a Kimberley local and avid adventurer, who moved to Kununurra with her family as wide-eyed 8 year old on a hot and humid April day in 1992. Ebony’s adventures as a child growing up in one of the world’s last remaining frontiers inspired her to pursue a career in tourism where she would be able to share her love of the region she calls home with people from across the globe. Ebony has spent years working on the remote Kimberley Coast before returning to Kununurra to manage Freshwater Apartments. In 2012 Ebony was selected as a North West Ambassador through Australia’s North West’s Characters of the Kimberley campaign.
Ebony loves nothing more than helping create a once in a lifetime holiday for visitors to the Kimberley and looks forward to sharing her own Kimberley Adventures throughout the following 12 months.
Please JOIN THE ADVENTURE by following our blog, as Ebony and her team chronicle 52 weeks of unbelievable Kimberley adventure experiences.