Kununurra is a beautiful place. I remember the first time I drove through it in 2015 thinking this has got to be one of the most picturesque towns I’ve ever seen, and I still believe it today.
The massive red hills, stunning water crossings and beautiful wildlife make it a hugely attractive place to visit. In 2015, we passed through purely to get some food and fuel, before heading out to Lake Argyle.
However, in our 3 month trip, we stayed at Kununurra for 5 nights, keen to look around and really soak it up. There’s lots of great places to explore, and I’ll cover as many as I can.
This small water hole flows year round, and is absolutely stunning. It’s literally 200 metres from where you park your car, cold, refreshing and has some amazing little fish.
You can walk up to where the water falls, and perhaps beyond, but my bare feet had enough punishment just getting to the top, so I turned back.
Its a short 3km drive off the main highway, on a fairly good gravel road. You’d get there in a 2WD vehicle with a little bit of clearance, but not a commodore or small sedan.
Molly springs is 55km from Kununurra.
Just before Molly Springs lies a turn off onto a gravel road towards Valentine Springs and Blackrock falls. You’ll pass Valentine Springs in one of the flood ways. When we visited in May, it was just a stagnant pool of water which was probably just OK for swimming in, but not that attractive.
Middle Springs looks like it would be amazing when the water is flowing, but it had stopped by May. The track in is a bit more fun, and there is a great little 4WD track from there to Black Rock Falls, which is stated as high clearance 4WD only. It’s not overly difficult, and I reckon with a bit of care you could safely do it in most 4WD’s.
I can’t actually comment on Black Rock falls, as our little boy was asleep in the car when we arrived, and we decided to continue on rather than wake him. Let sleeping babies lie! It’s supposed to be a great spot though.
Parry’s Road is a gravel track that starts at the Ivanhoe Crossing, and continues up for quite some time, passing a few attractions along the way and eventually coming out on the great northern highway, not far from Wyndham. You can get onto it from both sides, and you don’t have to do the Ivanhoe crossing if you don’t feel like it.
The road is in excellent condition, and covers a fair bit of scenery worth looking at. There’s a boat ramp which is commonly used by those looking to wet a line, and a couple of spots mentioned below.
Parrys Lagoon Bush stay
If you want somewhere out of the hustle and bustle of Kununurra, Parrys Lagoon Bush stay is a great option. It’s built around a little lagoon where a salt water crocodile lives. There are a number of rooms you can stay in, and its all connected by a big walkway several metres from the ground.
Alternatively, you can camp on their big, grassy area under a tree. We had a couple of milkshakes here and a barra burger, and couldn’t fault the service at all. They are great people, and its a great place to check out.
In terms of beautiful places to visit along Parrys Road, this one tops the list for sure. Marlgu Billabong is a stunning place with a huge array of bird life and the occasional salt water crocodile.
They have built a small bird hide that you can sit in and watch the birds, without them feeling so threatened by your presence. We visited here twice because of how lovely it was, and spent a fair bit of time admiring nature do its thing. If you are into birds, this is an absolute must see. To get there, you need to get onto Parrys road, either from Wyndham side, or Kununurra side.
There’s some old ruins of a telecommunications building at the top of the hill too, which are worth a poke around.
Kununurra has its own mini bungle bungles, just to the side of the main town. It’s known as Mirima National Park, and is well worth a quick visit, early in the morning or later in the afternoon when the heat isn’t around. There are 4 walks you can do, and we did 3 of them.
The one to the top of the Bungles is quite good, although a bit of effort to get up the last part of the climb. The real Bungles at Purnululu National Park are substantially bigger and better, but these are interesting, and unlike Purnululu, you get to walk up high and see them from a different perspective. We probably spent about 2 hours here, and thoroughly enjoyed it, but wished we had gotten up a bit earlier as the heat truly is a killer.
Every Saturday Kununurra has markets next to the skate park, which are your typical country town sort of arrangement. We bought some nice fresh, local produce including red grapefruit juice which was amazing, and some snacks while looking around at the different stalls.
If you are into big water crossings, this is it. The Ivanhoe Water Crossing is about 100 metres long, and a huge volume of water flows across it. It was actually closed for many years, but is open again providing the water flow is acceptable. After substantial rain it is closed, and you’d be mad to try it anyway.
In May, the water was roughly 400mm high, and we saw a number of vehicles cross without any issues, including a Rodeo towing a big dual axle caravan.
Even if you aren’t game to cross it, its worth a look, but don’t go too close to the water as its salty country, and they love tourists.
A place we were recommended to visit was Packsaddle springs, but I couldn’t find how to get there, and we had conflicting advice in terms of the walk time, which is a problem when you have to carry a toddler on your back! This is supposed to be unreal though.
We had a quick look at the Museum, which is rather small but has some interesting bits and bobs in it. Not bad to kill an hour or so in the middle of the day!
Old Halls Creek 4WD Track
This track starts about 50km out of Wyndham (check this), and winds its way onto Parry Creek road, near the bush stay. It’s 4WD only, and worth doing. Let your tyres down as its very rocky, and cruise along. There are a few little dips where water would flow in the wet, lots of great country and its only about 40 minutes to do the whole track.
Road to the back of Wyndham
We decided to take the 4WD track off Parry Creek road and into Wyndham. We hadn’t gone more than a couple of kilometres when I suggested maybe it wasn’t for us to do – middle of the day, only one vehicle and the track was looking fairly overgrown.
Nevertheless, we persisted, and kept going. The first half of the track wasn’t too bad – you could sit on 20 – 40km an hour and the track was reasonable, despite lots of turns and the occasional thick part of spinafex.
After that though, it deteriorated. The rocks became very consistant, spinafex got higher, we drove right next to a salt pan (which I hate, after Israelite Bay in Esperance!) and had a few dried out dug out bits. With no satellite phone, I was concerned that if something happened we’d have a long wait before someone came for us.
We finished the track, pulling into the back of Wyndham. Realistically, the scenery is not worthy of the drive, but it was an interesting way to arrive.
Just out of Wyndham, towards Kununurra lies Kings Road, which has a dam, billabong, aboriginal art work, boab prison tree and Diggers Rest Station on it, before it turns into the old Karunjie Road. The road condition was excellent, with some great views. Initially we were going to do the Karunjie track, but after finding out there had been a few bigger tides and that you have to cross 3km of marsh, I thought it wasn’t worth the risk. With only one vehicle, a pregnant wife and a little toddler I rather play it safe!
El Questro Station and the Gibb River Road
A lot of people who arrive in Kununurra do so from, or on their way to the Gibb River Road. El Questro is only 100km away, and is a beautiful place well worth the visit. The rest of the Gibb River Road is also unreal, and cannot be recommended highly enough.
There’s lots to see in and around Kununurra, and you should head up and take a look!