Kununurra, Western Australia
Telling you that Kununurra is 3200km from Perth probably won’t help you all that much. It might be more useful to understand that, while the town is in WA, it is just 37km from the Northern Territory border and 840km from the NT capital of Darwin. Whichever measurement you prefer, the thing that stands out is that Kununurra is a long way from anywhere.
Kununurra didn’t exist before the early 1960s, when the land was opened-up as part of the Ord River Irrigation Scheme. The Ord River was dammed to provide water in the north and encourage agriculture. That means a lot of the population is seasonal, so while the town is officially home to about 3750 people, in peak tourist and harvest season,
you might have up to 10,000 people living there.
The town is surrounded by some of WA’s most beautiful scenery – incredible gorges, waterfalls and ranges – which attract tourists from all over the world. Local attractions include the Bungle Bungle Ranges, the Argyle Diamond Mine, the Ord River Dam itself and El Questro station. Check out the local visitor centre for more information.
The region is famous for its diamonds, including rare coloured diamonds, unearthed from Rio Tinto’s open pit Argyle Diamond mine. Various minerals have been mined in the area over the years. For more about mining in the Kimberley region, see the Kimberley Development Commission’s webpage.
Kununurra is, like the rest of the northwest, very hot. The average maximum temperature ranges from 30C in winter to 39C in summer (yes, that’s the average maximum – it’s not a mistake). The average low is just 25C in summer and 15C in winter. That said, the wet season offers spectacular storms (and humidity) and when it’s clear skies, the sunsets are amazing.
The town, while being small and quite isolated, has retail outlets including supermarkets and specialty stores, a well-equipped hospital with specialist services such as physiotherapy and maternity facilities, all the major banks, several schools, a swimming pool, a police service, a leisure centre and sporting facilities, a cinema, post office, several hotels and some good restaurants.
For more information on Kununurra have a look at the Kununurra Council website.
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