Kununurra is a relatively new town and was only established in 1961 as a service centre for the Ord River Irrigation scheme after the success of the first stage and lots of investment. Kununurra is a local aboriginal word meaning ‘meeting of big waters’. Kununurra initially sustained a population of 400 people, today the town supports a population of 7500 – this can swell to double during the dry season when the tourists are in town! This number is also set to increase significantly as the area becomes more and more important with further investment into the Ord River Irrigation Area.
One of Kununurra’s most famous landmarks is the Ord River Diversion Dam which was constructed in 1963 at a cost of roughly $20m but plays a big part in controlling the flow of water for the irrigation of crops in the area. The dam wall is 335 metres wide and contains 20 radial gates which can be closed and opened depending on the need for water flow. Water is continually released from Lake Argyle, 55kms down the Ord River, into Lake Kununurra which in turn provides the water for approximately 18000 ha of farmland. The main crops grown in Kununurra are sandalwood, mangoes, chia, citrus and melons as shown in the image below.
Please watch this video, produced by B Visual Media and Kimberley Exposure, titled 'The East Kimberley - My Heart My Home' which really brings Kununurra and the East Kimberley to life!
Western Australia is one of the oldest lands on Earth, and the East Kimberley region boasts a wide variety of environments ranging from semi desert lands, rugged ridges and coastal fringes to lush tropical micro environments, all alive with a wide selection of unique flora and fauna. Aboriginal history and activity in the East Kimberley dates back more than 40,000 years and the Aboriginal rock art that exists in the Kimberley region is recognised as some of the best examples of rock paintings found anywhere in the world. Today the East Kimberley offers the visitor access to different styles of art inspired not only by the strong traditions of the local Aboriginal people butalso art flavoured by the passions of artists of non Aboriginal descent who call the East Kimberley home.
The Kununurra Visitor Centre (KVC)
The KVC is a non-profit membership-based centre with over 150 members and averaging at least 98,000 visitors through the doors annually. The Kununurra Visitor Centre's sales are in excess of $2 million annually.
The KVC was incorporated in 1972 and remains today, one of the oldest and longest established, continually operational Visitor Centres in WA. Since 1972 the KVC has evolved and changed as the demands for tourism in the region have intensified. The Visitor Centre holds Level 1 Accreditation, is licensed with the Travel Compensation Fund and is a member of Australia's North West, the Visitor Centre Association of WA, WA Tourism Network and plays a significant role within the local community with representation on various Committee's/Board's. To complement our very high standards of operation, the VC sells an array of generic merchandise, offers a comprehensive website, has a good selection of locally produced items and is also in the enviable position of having professionally managed member products on offer throughout the East Kimberley.
The KVC should be your first point of contact when visiting the region, including those visitors seeking information on its Northern Territory neighbour. The KVC prides itself on delivering professional up-to-date information and advice, as well as being one of the most pro-active Visitor Centres within the region, state and nationally.
The KVC promotes a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, where people can speak to one of our knowledgeable tourism consultants seven days per week (seasonally) about their queries.
The KVC is centrally located, adjacent to the post office. The KVC is co-located with El Questro Wilderness Park Booking Office and Kimberley Asian Cuisine. The premises provide a safe, friendly shop facility that caters to those with disabled or special needs. There is a ramp available at the entrance to the building and clean, public toilets, including a disabled toilet. The KVC is easily recognisable as we have a large windmill at the front of the building with the italic ‘i' signage on it.
There is plenty of parking and we are an RV friendly town so come and say hello!