A remote outback town on the banks of the Ord River, Kununurra is closer to the Northern Territory (225km away) than it is to Broome, which is 1000 km driving on the Great Northern Highway. It might be small but there are plenty of interesting things to do in Kununurra.
You’ll probably want to spend a few days exploring Kununurra and meeting the folks before heading off to explore the Kimberley.
It’s a land that breeds them tough and produces diamonds in the rough.
The characters who live in Kununurra are as interesting as the Australian Outback landscape.
So meet some people, breath fresh air and let your eyes drink in the landscape of Kununurra and its surrounds.
- Things to do in Kununurra
- Kununurra Accommodation
- When to visit Kununurra
- Getting to Kununurra
Things to do in Kununurra
1- Visit Kimberley Fine Diamonds
Most people don’t expect to see a diamond shop in a small outback town but look past the modest exterior of Kimberley Fine Diamonds and make sure you pay a visit to Australia’s most remote diamond house.
This place is one of the top suppliers of the Argyle pink diamond, the world’s rarest daimond, and is one of the places in WA where you can splash some serious cash.
There is a full jewellery workshop on site with master jewellers, designers and gemmologists.
The display cabinets are full of polished Argyle diamonds with impressive price tags.
Even a small diamond costs at least a few thousand dollars.
On Saturday mornings, the showroom is abuzz with buyers looking to bag a souvenir.
You can spend anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to thousands.
It’s not unusual for a small pink diamond to go for $100,000.
A one-carat pink diamond will set you back a cool one million dollars.
The business is the brainchild of Frauke Bolten-Boshammer, who arrived in Kununurra from Germany 38 years ago and started selling jewellery in 1991 from her veranda.
Not long after the family moved to the Kimberley, Bolten-Boshammer’s husband died.
Everyone expected her to return to Germany but instead, she decided to pursue the seemingly impossible dream of opening a diamond business in the heart of the outback.
The company’s designs hit the international stage in 2006 when their jewellery was worn by Australian contestant Sabrina Houssami in the final of the Miss World competition in Poland.
2- Visit Kununurra’s art galleries
Artists are drawn to this region by its vibrant colours and stunning landscapes.
Even though it’s a small town, Kununurra is the gateway for the region’s artists, many of whom display their works in Kununurra’s art galleries.
Artopia Gallery is a showcase of art, sculpture and photography of talented Kimberley artists.
For aboriginal art, Artlandish has a substantial collection of over 1000 Aboriginal artworks sourced from many of the major Australian Indigenous art regions as well as in-house artists.
3- Eat at the Kununnura Pump House
Have a meal on the deck overlooking the river or dine indoors, next to three 150-cusec capacity Johnson single stage axial flow vertical pumps.
Located on the edge of Lake Kununurra, the pump house once played a vital role in the Ord Irrigation Scheme in 1963.
It closed down in 1971 when the water level of the lake became high enough to gravity feed the M1 irrigation channel.
The pumps are capable of pumping 63,000 gallons of water per minute.
It was the spectacular sunsets that enticed Thomas Breig from Germany and he and his French wife Dominique settle here to fulfill their dream of converting Kununurra’s derelict pump house into the vibrant Pump House Restaurant & Bar.
After 11 years of bureaucratic wrangling, their dream of opening a restaurant in an old pump house came true in 2008.
4- Go on an Ord River Cruise
Cruise from Kununurra to Lake Argyle along the Ord River to the Ord Top Dam.
Floating on the river is a leisurely way to spend an afternoon and a great way to go bird spotting for sea eagles and kingfishers.
The river is home to crocodiles and the sunset over the water is a wondrous sight.
5- Drink rum at the Hoochery Distillery
Eating Ord River rum cake and drinking run in a rustic country saloon, decorated with farm equipment and timber furnishings is a hoot.
An old piano and chandeliers add to the atmosphere of The Hoochery’s showroom where tourists arrive to taste the locally produced Ord River Rum.
Local sugar cane, rainwater and yeast are fermented in a vat, distilled and aged in oak barrels to make Ord River Rum.
Take a tour of The Hoochery’s sugar cane plantation to see how cane is cut and crushed into sugar syrup.
6- Shop at the Kununurra market
Shop at the Kununurra markets, which is held on Saturday (8 am to 12 noon) in Whitegum Park from April to September.
The market is a good place to pick up local souvenirs, such as homemade Boab jam and chutneys as well as crafts.
It’s also a great way to have a chat with the locals.
7- Visit the Kununurra museum
Run by volunteers from the Kununurra Historical Society, the Kununurra museum has an eclectic collection of items.
The museum is the place to learn all about the Ord Irrigation Project and natural history of the region through slideshows and from some of the knowledgeable volunteers.
8- Relax under the shade of a Boab tree
Kununurra Country Club Resort is a refurbished four-star resort in Kununurra.
Another comfortable hotel is Ibis Styles Kununurra
Kununurra Caravan Parks
As Kununurra is a popular camping and caravan destination, there are several caravan parks in Kununurra.
- Discover Parks on Lake Kununurra at Lakeview Drive, Kununurra
- Hidden Valley Caravan Park at 110 Weaber Plain Road, Kununurra
- Lakeside Resort at 50 Casuarina Way, Kununurra
- Town Caravan Park at 40 Bloodwood Drive Kununurra
- Ivanhoe Village Caravan Park at the corner of Coolibah Drive and Ivanhoe Road, Kununurra
When to visit Kununurra
Kununurra has a wet season (November to March) and a dry season (April to October).
The best time to visit Kununurra is during the dry season when the weather in Kununurra and the surrounding region is pleasant.
As there’s little rain, the roads are likely to be open making it easier to manage a road trip.
During the wet season, the Kununurra weather can be uncomfortably hot and humid, reaching over 40C.
Getting to Kununurra
Broome to Kununurra
Broome is 1000 km from Kununurra by road on the Great Northern Highway or via the Gibb River Road, which is a 660km Australian outback drive accessible between April and November.
Perth to Kununurra
Flights from Perth to Kununurra operate year round.