The frontier township of Kununurra the green capital of the north, is about an hour’s drive inland and owes its verdant surrounds to the largest manmade lake on the Australian mainland; the nearby Lake Argyle and the smaller Lake Kununurra. Part of the history of the region is documented by Dame Mary Durack in her books Kings in Grass Castles and Sons in the Saddle. The former Durack Station is now flooded by Lake Argyle, however the homestead has been reconstructed and is now a museum. The region is also famous for the Argyle Diamond mine, the worlds' primary source of rare pink diamonds, which have become the company's signature stone. Argyle Diamonds is the worlds' largest supplier of diamonds producing over 30 million carats which accounts for around 25% of the world' natural diamond production.
Flight seeing over the World Heritage listed Bungle Bungle Range in Purnululu National Park affords a breathtaking perspective of these unique formations. Incredibly these ranges were not "discovered" until the mid 1980’s when a television crew happened upon the starkly beautiful range and its unique, beehive-shaped domes. The domes are bordered by great banded cliffs that glow fire-red in the late afternoon sun.
Included Expeditions: BUNGLE BUNGLE RANGES SCENIC FLIGHT
Created especially for experiencing all the best sights the region has to offer. Your exhilarating flight will take you over the Diversion Dam Wall and the Ord River/Packsaddle Irrigation Areas, showcasing our fertile Ord River Valley farming. You will then follow Lake Kununurra and the Carr Boyd Ranges down to Lake Argyle, flying over Lake Argyle Spillway, Argyle Downs Homestead, Ord River Dam Wall and Lake Argyle Tourist Village. Follow the expanse of Lake Argyle down to the cattle country over flying Lissadell and Texas Downs and on to the ancient Bungle Bungle Ranges and Purnululu National Park (approximately 20 minutes orbit); fly past Argyle Diamond Mine and the Ragged Ranges with a panoramic view of Ivanhoe Irrigation Area on your return.
Alternative Expedition: ORD RIVER CRUISE to LAKE ARGYLE
For those guests who would like an alternative to the Bungle Bungles flight you are offered the a cruise aboard the Ord River to Lake Argyle.
The Ord River is one of the most stunning river systems in Australia. Your cruise will navigate a massive 55km stretch of river between Kununurra and Lake Argyle (Ord River Dam). From your modern and shaded vessel you will witness an ecological system that has developed from the damming of the Ord River at two locations. The first of these was the Diversion Dam, which formed Lake Kununurra in 1963, and the second was the construction of an enormous wall in 1972 much further upstream, which created Lake Argyle. What has resulted in between is an area rich in wildlife, flora and scenic beauty. Lunch will be provided either at the riverside camp or at Resort Lake Argyle, with refreshments provided along the way. Your tour includes a ground tour of Lake Argyle, including viewing the Lake from a scenic lookout, and a visit to the Historical Durack Homestead.
Included Expedition: The Orion Zodiacs and tenders will cruise up the stunning sandstone canyon that culminates in the twin drops of King George Falls and convey guests back again to Orion. For guests looking for a bit more adventure, you will be able to take a walk to the top of the falls and have the opportunity to enjoy a swim. This is quite a steep, difficult walk with lots of loose uneven ground underfoot and all participants will need high levels of fitness and mobility. Optional helicopter flight excursion is available this day for an additional fee, please contact us for details.
Included Expedition: After arrival in Vansittart Bay you will go ashore via Zodiac to a beach landing on Jar Island. There, your Expedition Team will take you on a short walk, past some fascinating rock formations, to the site of the Gwion Gwion art gallery. The walk to the art site over uneven ground is relatively easy with only one small rock ledge to negotiate, however the access to the majority of the art is a little difficult and includes scrambling over large boulders and crawling under rock overhangs. The reward is a stunning gallery of this ancient and mystical art form.
Included Expedition: Orion will anchor just off Naturalist Island in Prince Frederick Harbour. From this location you will undertake Zodiac expeditions into the Mangrove environment of the Hunter River and its tributaries. Yur expert Expedition Team will share their knowledge with you as you explore the area keeping a constant lookout for wildlife. Optional helicopter excursion is available for an additional fee, please contact us for details.
Included Expedition: After a Zodiac ride ashore to a beach near Raft Point, your Expedition Team will lead you on a challenging walk to the extensive rock art sites. The walk is approximately one hour uphill over rocky uneven ground with several locations that involve scrambling over rocks. One of the Wandjina galleries is easily accessed once you reach the top of the hill, another is a little more difficult to access. Sturdy footwear and good levels of fitness and mobility will be required to successfully undertake this walk.
Included Expedition: Today your Zodiac excursion will take you to witness the tidal phenomena of the Horizontal Waterfalls. You will also have the opportunity to view the stunning sandstone canyons of the nearby gorges. Your Zodiac excursion will be timed, where possible, to coincide with tidal movement through the gaps were the horizontal waterfalls are created. The amount of actual tide movement will vary depending on tide movement of the day. Optional shore expeditions are offered this day, please contact us for details.
The layered sandstone show its buckling and folding, evidence of millions of years of geological forces. Nearby Crocodile Creek defies its name, and due to several vertical embankments remains "crocodile free" allowing us to take advantage of the cool freshwater to relax and beat the Kimberley heat.
Orion’s Expedition Team will guide you around the area today, in Zodiacs and on foot, and the opportunity exists to take advantage of the freshwater swimming hole.