Keen to visit the East Kimberley but worried your 2WD vehicle won’t get you to those secluded tropical waterfalls you’ve been checking out on Instagram/ Pinterest/ Facebook/ Brochures/ the list goes on…. Don’t fret. Let us introduce you to ‘The Grotto’.
The Grotto is just 70kms from Kununurra on the Victoria Hwy on the way to the historic port town of Wyndham. A deep, cavernous gorge that flows throughout the wet season, and is generally one of the last to dry up around late April early May. Pack your camera, a picnic and Great Aunt Bessie’s knee replacements (there’s a lot of stairs) and hit the road. Rated 5 out of 5 smart cars – bitumen the whole way.
I decided to visit The Grotto on one particularly warm March day. The Kununurra wet season is just coming to an end and we haven’t had rain for a while so I knew this might be my last chance before the wet season lightning strikes again and the familiar rumble of thunder rolls around the skies. Driving from Kununurra to the Grotto, you cross the Ord River Diversion Dam bridge which was built in 1966 to harbour water for the Ord River Irrigation Area. On the left you see what’s referred to as the ‘Upper Ord. This stretch of the river is safe for swimmers and is considered free from Estuarine Crocodiles (the bitey ones). The lower Ord River on right is what eventually flows out into the saltwater at the Cambridge Gulf in Wyndham and is home to a large population of large Estuarine crocodiles, so while it is excellent fishing, it is definitely NOT a swimmers choice.
It’s a pretty drive to The Grotto. About halfway on the left you will see the Deception Ranges. I’ve driven past these ranges hundreds of times in my lifetime but have never ventured in. Apparently there is some very ancient Aboriginal art around these parts which doesn’t surprise me. It might be something I will look at doing sometime during the year.
On the right hand side, much of the country is Ngamoowalem Conservation Park, and you will notice a couple of large yellow signs identifying it. Continue driving towards Wyndham, passing the turn off to Halls Creek and the Gibb River Road turn off. I will definitely be featuring both of these destinations later in the blog! And at 70kms (approximately) you will see The Grotto.
We spent a couple of hours here on this particular day. It’s such a great spot, nice and shaded, and the water was beautifully clean. The rock ledges on the side are ideal to sit on and enjoy a light picnic and the tarzan rope will keep kids entertained for hours! When swimming at The Grotto be careful of under surface rocks and always check before jumping off any ledges. Similarly, be mindful that some rocks may be slippery. Other than that, have a blast!
You can also reach Valentines Springs by 2WD in the wet season provided there hasn’t been too much rain, and the ‘Swim Beach’ on the Ord River is accessible all year round by 2WD. Valentines Springs is just 10kms from Kununurra, and the first in a series of waterholes along a dirt road that eventually leads to the original road to Wyndham. Middle Springs and Black Rock Falls further along are very popular but require a 4WD.
Hiring a car is a great option if you’re flying in to Kununurra. The following companies are available at the Kununurra Airport:
- Budget Car & Truck Rentals: 08 9168 2033/ firstname.lastname@example.org
- Avis Car Rental: 08 9169 1258/ email@example.com
- Hertz: 08 9169 1424/ firstname.lastname@example.org
- Thrifty Rent-a-Car: 08 9169 1911/ email@example.com
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 Kunu
nurra 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.