Kununurra is situated in the Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley (www.swek.wa.gov.au) North West Australia and covers an area of 121,000 square kilometres (about 2 ½ times the size of Tasmania and half the area of Victoria).Geographically we are much closer to Asia than we are to some capital cities in Australia. Kununurra is the service town and main attraction in the Ord River Irrigation Area (ORIA), the irrigation area formed by the damming of the Ord River by the construction of the Diversion Dam in 1959-1963 to hold back the waters of Lake Kununurra (90 million mega litres storage) and the Main Ord Dam in 1969-1972 to form Lake Argyle capable of holding some 10,700 million mega litres of water. Lake Argyle can contain a volume of up to 35 times the volume of water in Sydney Harbour. (Maximum design level will allow up to 53 times the volume of Sydney Harbour before concern is raised)
The irrigation project (Ord Stage 1) covers an area of 14,500 ha and crops from the area include, sorghum, maize, sunflower, sandalwood, bananas, mangoes, as well as the family of cucurbits (melons, squash, pumpkins, zucchini etc). Future expansion envisaged would see development of a further 32000-40000 Ha for irrigation. This was designated as Ord Stage 2, the main part of which is in Western Australia with 1/3 to ¼ being to the north east of Kununurra, in the Northern Territory. That section in Western Australia (now designated as Ord Stage 2) is well under way with the leasehold land being developed by Kimberley Agricultural Investments, the Australian operating arm of the Shanghai Zhongfu Corporation. That section of future development in the NT is now titled Ord Stage 3.
Kimberley and Kununurra Tours was commenced by Anne and Keith Wright to fill a definite need in the area. We are situated in Kununurra in the Kimberley region of North West Australia. Keith (a Pharmacist by training) has lived and worked in the area since 1969. Anne and Keith were married on a tour boat on Lake Kununurra in 1979. Their tours encompass the entire irrigation area as well as The Hoochery, Western Australia’s only licensed still producing rum (and other goodies) from local products, (“Spike” Desert, the owner even grows his own sugar) a Rock Gallery where one of the very few sources of this ancient rock are mined in the area and crafted into an amazing range of artefacts and useful articles.
Spectacular scenery of the pristine Kimberley landscape form one of the main attractions for visitors to the area. Coupled with the abundant water supplies in the Ord River and an enviable growing environment this has assisted in development of a viable irrigation project. Before damming, the Ord River was measured at flowing at a rate of up to 1.5 million cubic feet per minute during peak flow in the “wet” season. (This flow equates, for example, to the daily water consumption of metropolitan Sydney passing downstream in about 22 seconds.)
in the Kimberley