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How to spend 36 hours in Kununurra

Perth Airport’s Chief Aviation Business Development Officer, Carolyn Turnbull, recently took part in a Tourism WA-organised trip to Kununurra to meet tour operators and learn more about the amazing experiences on offer in this wild and wonderful part of Western Australia.

I have a confession.

Although I consider myself to be one of Western Australia’s biggest advocates, I hadn’t made it up to the East Kimberley region until this month. Like many others, I’ve been stuck in a rut visiting the same much-loved family favourites each year instead of venturing out and exploring new parts of WA.

So, when Tourism WA asked if I wanted to join a trip up north to get a taste of the region, I leapt at the opportunity. In just 36 hours we would pack in an entire holiday’s worth of attractions, experiences, and tours and would return to Perth exhausted but enthusiastic about this incredible part of regional WA.

Carolyn Turnbull, Perth Airport Chief Aviation Business Development Officer, at departures sign at Perth Airport
Carolyn Turnbull at Perth Airport departures

The flight from Perth to Kununurra is a relatively short three hours. Just enough time to settle in with a coffee and a good book. I was lucky enough to bag a window seat so I got a chance to admire the epic Kimberley landscape as we came in to land.

The first stop on our itinerary was the Hoochery Distillery, an utterly charming small pot distillery built by hand on a family farm just outside Kununurra’s town centre. We enjoyed the team’s generous WA hospitality while they talked us through unpretentious and engaging tastings of their award-winning spirits. You may visit for their rum, but I defy anyone to stop at ‘just one’ of their gin and cucumber coolers.

View from cruise along Lake Kununurra with Triple J Guided Tours
View from Ord River cruise with Triple J Guided Tours

Fuelled on excitement, our next adventure was an incredible Ord River cruise with Triple J Tours. This is an incredible way to see a whole lot of Kununurra. Thanks to the keen eyes of our guide, we were able to spot freshwater crocs and a rock wallaby catching some rays.

Triple J Tours also offer a sunset cruise, which I imagine would be fantastic, but we kept our feet on solid ground and watched the sun go down over Lake Kununurra on the open-air deck of the PumpHouse Restaurant. Our group enjoyed a delicious selection from the a la carte dinner menu but I also spied a tempting wood fire pizza oven for next time.

Sunset over Lake Kununurra, view from Pumphouse Restaurant
Sunset over Lake Kununurra from Pumphouse Restaurant

The next day kicked off bright and early with an Aviair scenic flight. Over the course of two hours, we soared over Lake Argyle, the Argyle Diamond Mine, and the Bungle Bungle Range in Purnululu National Park. These weird and wonderful beehive-shaped rock formations are part of one of three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Western Australia. They’re amazing to see from above but it’s also worth heading out on foot to walk amongst them.

Scenic flight over Lake Kununurra
Scenic flight over Lake Kununurra

Billie and Pete from Bungle Bungle Guided Tours were our fabulous guides on the easy 4km return hike weaving through the domes and deep canyons and into the Cathedral Gorge. Travelling with experts really brings to life the scenery you encounter on the walk in the way you just can’t replicate with a guidebook or app.

Guided tour group at Bungle Bungles, Purnululu National Park, Western Australia
Purnululu National Park with Bungle Bungle Guided Tours

We rounded out our trip with lunch at the Artopia Gallery. There is plenty for artist lovers up in Kununurra and I particularly enjoyed the diversity of artwork in this bright and airy space. Visitors to the area should also take a trip to Waringarri Aboriginal Arts for more outstanding local artists.

Flying back that afternoon, I reflected on the staggering wealth of world-class attractions and experiences on offer in Western Australia. No matter how much you travel, there will always be more to explore in our great State.

Getting there

You can fly from Perth to Kununurra with Airnorth and Virgin Australia.

Book your car hire with Perth Airport.

Eating and drinking

There are many great places to eat and drink in Kununurra. Carolyn visited the Hoochery Distillery and the PumpHouse Restaurant + Bar.

Tours and experiences

Get the most of your trip with tours and experiences led by Waringarri Aboriginal Arts, Artopia Gallery, Triple J Tours river cruisesBungle Bungle Guided Tours and scenic flights with Aviair and Kimberley Air Tours.

Want more? See all the action from Carolyn's trip in our Instagram highlights.

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