827km (513 miles) SW of Darwin; 1,032km (640 miles) E of Broome
Given the generally arid and rocky conditions in the Kimberley, it's quite a surprise to swoop over broad green fields as you come in to land at Kununurra. This relatively new town (pop. 6,000) was developed as an agricultural center based on major irrigation works created by the damming of the mighty Ord River. There are two dams: Lake Argyle, Australia's largest, and the smaller, downstream, Lake Kununurra that actually feeds the irrigation areas.
Kununurra (the name is Aboriginal for "meeting of big waters") has become the base for visiting several outstanding attractions and is now a significant tourist center. A cruise or canoe trip down the Ord River to see real wilderness, dramatic cliffs, birds, and crocs is a must. So is a flight over, or a trip into, the Bungle Bungle, monumental striped domes of rock that look like giant beehives. The world's biggest diamond mine is not in South Africa but out in the rugged Kimberley wilds near Kununurra, and it can be visited by air. The town is a gateway to the Kimberley proper via the Gibb River Road. There's also El Questro Wilderness Park, a 405,000-hectare (million-acre) cattle station (ranch) where you can hike magnificent gorges, fish, cruise rivers, and ride horses. The port of Wyndham, terminus for some Kimberley cruises and with a superb lookout over Cambridge Gulf, is 101km (63 miles) away on a sealed road.