Gliding over Kununurra’s mighty Ord River, admiring the tentacle like formations of the mangrove lined creeks of the Cambridge Gulf in Wyndham, and touching down on a remote 3km beach near one of the most important turtle nesting beaches on the Timor Sea coast, all topped off with a picnic champagne breakfast. This was week 7 of Freshwater’s 52 Weeks of Adventure Challenge with Kingfisher tours, and certainly not a bad start to a Wednesday.
Check out my short video below for a little snapshot of my amazing day!
Kingfisher Tours is a local aviation company operating scenic flights and tours from Kununurra. Their new tour, The Cape Domett Explorer begins at your chosen Kununurra hotel where Kingfisher will pick you up and transfer you to their office for your departure. Matt our pilot was waiting for us when we arrived and gave us a quick but interesting run down on where we would be travelling and what we would be seeing from the air.
Kununurra from the air is without doubt – breathtaking. As you head up towards the clouds you can properly take in the enormity of the beautiful ranges that border the township. Kununurra’s Elephant Rock (also known as the Sleeping Buddah) sits proudly along one of the bends of the 320km Ord River, and the patchwork green of the Ord Irrigation Area crops appears in the distance. We fly over the lower Ord River which has a huge population of large salt water crocodiles, and we fly low to see them basking on the river bank. Travelling further to the West near Wyndham, we pass Parry Creek Lagoon, a RAMSAR listed wetland with a over 200 different bird species having been recorded there.
Continuing on to Wyndham and the Cambridge Gulf the scenery becomes a striking mosaic of meandering creek systems of muddy brown waters, bright white salt flats, and vibrant green mangroves. In fact, the Kimberley is reported to contain over a quarter of the world’s mangrove species, and is home to a variety of very rare birdlife.
Flying over Adolphus Island, a large island in the Cambridge Gulf, Matt tells us that this is where one of the earliest European burials occurred in Western Australia. Nicholls point on the island is named after one of the ship’s crew on Phillip Parker Kings HMS Mermaid, who was buried in 1819 after a 3 month illness. It’s a reminder of Wyndham’s long, fascinating and often heartbreaking history.
It’s not long before the silty waters clear and take on the turquoise hue the Kimberley Coast is famous for and we begin our descent for our beach landing. Landing on a remote beach in a light aircraft is VERY COOL, and tucking into a relaxed champagne breakfast picnic from the tail of your Cessna 206, while sinking your toes into the sand, I’m sure is something very few have done before.
On a more serious note, Cape Domett is an important habitat for Flatback turtles. It’s a winter rookery which affects the gender determination of turtle embryos resulting in a higher population of male hatchlings, and a better overall gender balance when you consider the high female hatchling rates in the West Kimberley, according to a report from UWA scientist Jess Stubbs. Obviously we didn’t just happen to see any turtles today, but we did see some gorgeous wading birds at the low tide, and just missed a soldier crab before he darted into his hiding hole.
Kingfisher Tours operate their Cape Domett Explorer tour on low tide with a minimum 4 guests. The experience is only $320 per person and can be booked at www.kingfishertours.net or by calling 08 9148 2630.
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.