Bungle Bungle’s, Ord River and Lake Argyle
Cruising the amazing Kimberley Coast for ten nights on-board Silversea’s Silver Discovery more than exceeded my expectations. The voyage from Darwin to Broome along the northwest coast of Australia is indeed a very special experience.
Our first port of call was the island of Matakus, located in the Tanimbur Islands of Indonesia. This pretty little island with its crystal-clear water is just delightful. The locals were very excited to welcome us to their shores and show us around. We walked through the spotless and tidy village, the school children preformed traditional dances and we swam in the turquoise ocean.
All too soon we were back on board and heading overnight to Wyndham and the start of the Kimberley Coast. Wyndham was established in 1886 in the days of the gold rush. Now the town has a population of 900 and operates largely as a port for exporting cattle, servicing the mining industry and hosting a few small ships. Wyndham is also the gateway to the breathtaking Bungle Bungle’s which is now a World Heritage Site.
We chose the optional tour of a flight over the Bungle Bungle’s, Lake Argyle and Kununurra. After a short time above the ancient land of folded hills, salt pans and flat top mesas we then followed the Ord River through to Lake Argyle before reaching the magnificent Bungle Bungle’s. The beehive like hills are very distinctive with their tiger stripes. Each of the bands is a few metres thick and is individual sandstone layers. For thousands of years the Bungle Bungles have had cultural significance to the aboriginal people yet it was only in 1983 that the hidden jewel of the Kimberley was uncovered to the wider world of travellers. The view from the air is the best way to truly appreciate the wonder of the site.
Lake Argyle is the magnificent result of some of Australia’s greatest engineering. The massive expanse of fresh water, equivalent to 19 Sydney harbours on average is home to an estimated 30,000 freshwater crocodiles, 26 species of native fish and a third of Australia’s bird species.
The Ord River is one of the most stunning river systems in Australia – it is scenically beautiful and rich in wildlife and flora. A cruise along the 55 kilometre stretch of river from Kununurra to the Ord River Dam will reward you with sightings of a variety of wildlife, including crocodiles, sea eagles, kingfishers, bats and lizards.
Next stop was King George River but that’s another story.