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Home > Travelogues > 2008 Travelogues Index > Wyndham to Kununurra
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Touring the East Kimberley 2008 – Wyndham and Kununurra.  We look around Old Wyndham then reach Kununurra on the Ord River.

After leaving the Gibb River Road, we went via the Great Northern Highway to Wyndham.  The scenery along the way was lovely.

Driving through Wyndham to Old Wyndham, we stopped for lunch by this ‘pontoon’ floating jetty.  Wyndham has a tidal variation of around eight metres. 

From the Bastion Five Rivers lookout, looking south to the Cockburn Ranges.  The King River can be seen meandering towards the West Arm.   

 

At the Bastion, the Five Rivers Lookout is a spacious hill top park and picnic area.  There are several parking areas for different viewing on the way up the hill.  This lookout is at the highest point of the Bastion Range at 330 metres.

Overlooking Old Wyndham and the small wharf.  From 1918 to 1986 an abattoir operated, and meat was shipped from this port. Tidal pools can be seen forming with the incoming tide.  Looking south west down the West Arm towards the narrow opening known as The Gut, the King River can be seen where it enters the West Arm.  The Pentecost and Durack Rivers enter the estuary beyond The Gut.  The Forest River enters the West Arm just to the north of this lookout from the west side, and the Ord enters near the Cambridge Gulf.  There is a small crocodile farm at the northern end of Old Wyndham which is open to the public for limited hours. 

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When I was a very young child, on a family cruise we visited Wyndham and the abattoir.  At first we watched for the cattle coming in until we saw a faint cloud of dust on the horizon, and then watched the horse riders bring the large herd of cattle into town.  The Aboriginal stockmen were very skilled riders and drovers.  I was interested to return and see what I could remember of the town as it was then.  The north of the state was serviced by the state ships not road and the ship we were on carried supplies for the north west towns as well as agricultural machinery. 

Looking to the north east, the vast tidal flats of the Ord estuary can be seen. 

To the north, Adolphus Island is where the water from the West Arm and the Ord River enter Cambridge Gulf.  Mangroves and tidal flats are exposed by the tide, which we watched coming in.   

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From Wyndham, we took the Parry Creek Road as an alternative route to Kununurra. 

Extract from ABC

 

A donkey by the name of Fuzzy has for years roamed the streets of Wyndham in far north Western Australia after being saved as a baby from a donkey cull on Flora Valley station.

 

Locals know and love Fuzzy for his gentle nature, but the special friendship which he struck with a horse known as Mr Ed became famous.

 

"Mr Ed and Fuzzy lived on and off together for years" says the owner of Mr Ed.

 

"Even though there was four or five strands of barb wire keeping the horse in, old Fuzzy would stick his head in and then walk straight through the barb wire, spend a day or so with the horse and then leave whenever he felt like it."

 

Unfortunately last year Fuzzy's best mate Mr Ed, died outside the local bakery.

 

"He was saved from the 10,000 donkeys that got shot on Flora Valley, the only mate he had here (Wyndham) was Mr Ed and he lost him as well, so he's the loneliest donkey in the world."

 

With a personality bigger than Wyndham's big croc, Fuzzy spends his days munching on green pick near the caravan park or pinching flowers from Wyndham gardens.

 

A bird viewing platform has paintings which identify the many species which frequent Marlgu.  The shallow running water was teaming with tiny fish and 220 bird species can be found here.    

On a hill overlooking Marlgu Billabong is Telegraph Hill.  This was the site of the Wyndham Wireless Station between 1914 and 1921, which assisted ships enter the Wyndham Port.  Seven people were housed on the site.  During World War I (1914 – 1918) naval intelligence used this station to intercept radio signals.  The station played a vital role in the tracking and sinking of the German warship Emden by HMAS Sydney off the Cocos-Keeling Islands. 

We drove down to Marlgu Billabong in the Parry Lagoons Nature Reserve.  This fresh water wetland flows into the tidal floodplain of the lower Ord.

Back at the Wyndham Caravan Park, a very friendly old donkey came around for pats, scratches and bits of food from the visitors. 

 

Donkeys were once a transport and pack animal in the Kimberley, and a large feral population built up.  During the early 1980s, aerial surveys counted one donkey for every three cattle, and an aerial eradication campaign took place during that decade. Some which have been kept as pets can be seen on the stations, but the feral population has been eliminated.

 

 

A directional map shows the five rivers and the inlets.

The Parry Creek Road follows the lower Ord valley, much of which is in quarantine for Noogoora burr.  This road leads across the Ivanhoe Crossing, but with fast flowing water, we chose to visit it later from the other side, and took a short detour to the highway via Valentine Springs Road. 

The Victoria Highway leading from the west into Kununurra crosses the wall of Lake Kununurra.  This is the only highway between the north west of Western Australia and the Northern Territory.  As road transport rigs are getting bigger, this crossing is a limiting factor, and plans for an alternative crossing are under consideration.

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The Five Rivers Lookout is an ideal spot for viewing the surrounding area, and watching a golden sunset.

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The meatworks train that took the meat from the abattoir and other cargo to the wharf is now on display at an outdoor ‘museum’. 
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