The following hike takes you through Kununurra and its surroundings. The Kununurra Walking Trail has been divided into six sections, giving you the choice on how far and long your walk is going to be. The walk encircles the town and passes the Diversion Dam, Mirima National Park and ends on Kelly’s Knob. Allow 6 to 8 hours for the full walk.
Designed by Jeroen Vogel, author of In Australia
⇒ Starting point: Kimberley Croc Backpackers YHA
⇒ Section 1
⇒ As you leave Kimberley Croc Backpackers YHA, cross Konkerberry Drive towards IGA, and turn right alongside the supermarket.
⇒ Cross the streets in front of you and enter the park. Follow the footpath as it curves to the left and take the first turn-off to the right, cross the street and turn left on the sidewalk.
⇒Take a right into Coolibah Drive.
⇒ Follow Coolibah Drive until the end of it.
Please note that the sidewalk ends at Ivanhoe Caravan Park and that walking continues on the side of the road.
⇒ Take a left on Ivanhoe Road. After approximately 20 meters, take a right at a sign ‘Department of Environment and Conservation’.
⇒ Enter the gravel road and turn left behind a few installations, ignoring a trail to the right at a Y-junction. You’re now on a dirt trail following the cables above you.
On your right, in the bush, you’ve got a good chance of spotting kangaroos and wallabies.
⇒ Take the first turn-off to the right.
⇒ Take the first trail to the left.
⇒ Turn left at the waste water treatment facility. Where the road that you now walk on bends off to the left, turn right onto grassland. You now walk alongside a ditch and road train parking, both on your left.
⇒ After 300 meters, cross the Victoria Highway.
Section 1 ends here. For Lake Kununurra, Swim Beach and the Diversion Dam, see section 2. Otherwise, skip to section 3.
⇒ Section 2
⇒ Cross the pedestrian/bicycle path and enter a dirt road.
⇒ At a Y-junction, go right and continue until you reach an elevated, paved road. Enter the paved road and turn left.
About 30 meters before a big sign ‘Prepare to stop,’ you’ll find a plaque tucked away under a big tree. See if you can spot it. The plaque marks the site of the “original Carlton Reach agricultural experimental farm”. Before Kununurra came into existence in 1961, and even before there was any other agricultural activity in this area than cattle farming, the experimental farm was established in 1943 to determine which crops would successfully grow in this environment if it was irrigated. It turned out to be such a success, that the government went ahead with one of Australia’s most ambitious projects of the 20th century.
⇒ Pass the Pumphouse and enter the ‘Lake Kununurra Walking Trail’. At the end, cross the paved road and follow the dirt road until the Victoria H’way (100m). On your right you’ll find a memorial with three different plaques, on your left you’ll find the Diversion Dam with the only traffic lights in Kununurra.
The construction of the Diversion Dam took place between 1961 and 1963. It holds back the water that feeds the main irrigation channel, which then feeds the much smaller irrigation channels on the farms on Weaber Plain through gravity. The Diversion Dam is one of two dams: the other one, upstream, is Lake Argyle Dam, which is there to guarantee that Lake Kununurra (Upper Ord River) is always on the same level.
⇒ Walk back on the dirt road. As you reach the paved road, you’ll find the Swim Beach and some picnic tables on your right.
Swimming is said to be relatively save at the Swim Beach. However: saltwater crocodiles have been sighted in this part of Lake Kununurra and can fatally attack with a speed and strength that leave no chance for escape.
⇒ The walk continues on a dirt track to the left, which runs alongside the paved road. The dirt track continues as a pedestrian/bicycle path. Follow the path for the next 4 kilometers. You’ll cross a bridge with a wide channel just past the airport. This is the main irrigation channel.
Section 2 ends here.
⇒ Section 3
Hikers having skipped section 2: Turn left on the pedestrian/bicycle path.
⇒ Ultimately, you walk along a caravan park on your right hand side. At the end of it, cross a paved road and enter ‘Celebrity Tree Park’.
To the right are toilets on the park edge. At the end of the paved road, past the caravan park, is a boat ramp where a quick dive in the water can be surprisingly refreshing. Just remember the warning on crocodiles…
⇒ Follow the footpath as it meanders through the park, continuing between Victoria Highway and Lily Creek Lagoon. The path crosses Victoria Highway. Follow it as it bends to the right, cross Messmate Way and keep going past the All Season Hotel.
⇒ Turn left on Weaber Plain Road.
Section 3 ends here. For those who want to go into Mirima National Park, use section 4. Otherwise, skip to section 5.
⇒ Section 4
⇒ After 400 meters, turn right onto Barringtonia Avenue. Cross the road to the left side to use a sand track.
⇒ Take a left into Hidden Valley Way, towards Mirima National Park.
Enter the cemetery to view the headstones of Harry Langford Payton and John Darsey, two stockmen whose remains are now underneath the bottom of Lake Argyle. They are about ten meters behind the entrance on the right hand side.
⇒ Just after the road bends off to the right (small parking in the left corner), enter the walking trail. Allow about 90 minutes return.
⇒ Coming back the same way, turn right onto Barringtonia Avenue. Then right onto Weaber Plain Road.
Section 4 ends here.
⇒ Section 5
⇒ Turn left onto Leichhardt Street and walk until you get to a roundabout.
Hikers wishing to include Kelly’s Knob (1hr return), skip to section 6.
⇒ Turn left to go back to Kimberley Croc Backpackers YHA.
Section 5 ends here.
⇒ Section 6
⇒ Turn right at the roundabout and walk until you get to a T-junction.
⇒ Turn left.
⇒ Take the first road to the right. After about 500 meters, take a right up Kelly’s Knob. The road leads to the lookout point.
On top of Kelly’s Knob
⇒ To go back, return the same way you came.
⇒ Down the right, take a left.
⇒ After 500 meters, take another left.
⇒ Turn right into Konkerberry Drive. You’ll find Kimberley Croc Backpackers YHA after another 500 meters on your left hand side.
Section 6 ends here.
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