Iconic WA Events: Ord Valley Muster

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Header image via Ord Valley Muster.

Western Australia is a State filled with some of the world’s most unique landscapes, and right up there with the most stunning is the Kimberley region in WA’s North West. A wilderness like no other, the rugged, ancient land is steeped in history both natural and spiritual, with Aboriginal culture in the area dating back over 40,000 years.

It’s for this reason that the Argyle Diamonds Ord Valley Muster has become one of the must-do activities on WA’s events calendar, serving as not only a remarkable experience on its own, but as the eastern gateway to the Kimberley – a spectacular world of rugged ranges, stunning gorges, waterfalls, pockets of rainforest, pristine sandy beaches and untouched islands and reefs.

Where is it?

The Ord Valley Muster takes place in Kununurra, located on the eastern extremity of the Kimberley, only around 45km from the Northern Territory border and over 3000km northwest of Perth.

The quickest way to get there is fly, and Virgin Australia are currently offering $249 one way flights from Perth to Kununurra – cheaper than they’ve ever been!

When is it?

The Ord Valley Muster usually takes place around mid- to late-May, with the 2021 edition running over nine days from May 21 until May 29. It sits nicely in the Kimberley region’s dry AKA ‘peak’ season, with warm and comfortable temperatures and minimal rain between April and October.

Image credit: Ord Valley Muster

What to do:

The Ord Valley Muster is action-packed with activities centred around the Festival Hub located at Celebrity Tree Park in Kununurra. The days are filled with music, comedy, performing arts, food, drink and more, with the centrepiece of the festival, the Kimberley Moon Experience, taking place on Saturday 22 May. Outwards from there is a raft of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, check the a few selected highlights below:

Morning Ord River Muster Experience: Cruise the Ord River on Australia’s longest daily river cruise, filled with spectacular scenery, wildlife, flora and fauna.
Aviair HeliSpirit Kimberley Moon Experience: The crown jewel of the muster, the Kimberley Moon Experience this year features Jessica Mauboy, Busby Marou and Emily Wurramara playing live, and a variety of different ways to enjoy it.
Stockman’s High Tea: The Argyle Homestead Museum hosts a stockman-style High Tea to remember, learning about the history of the Durack family and the pastoral pioneers of the region.
Waringarri Art Centre Experience: Local artists and arts workers take you on a tour of the centre and guide you in making your own carry bag.
Corroboree Under the Stars: Experience a traditional Corroboree by the Miriwoong Gajeroong people at the Waringarri Corroboree Under the Stars, showcasing local Aboriginal culture, art and traditional tucker.

Exploring the Kimberley:

As we mentioned earlier Kununurra is your gateway to the eastern part of the Kimberley, one of the most enchanting and untouched wilderness areas in the world, offering an array of incredible experiences for visitors. Outside of the Ord Valley Muster, there is adventure aplenty to be found around Kununurra and the east Kimberley region, like:

Aboriginal Experiences

This region of Australia is steeped in Aboriginal culture dating back some 40,000 years, and the Waringarri Aboriginal Arts Centre in Kununurra (pictured, below) is a great starting point to begin immersing yourself in it. There’s a variety of tours you can go on to garner a deeper understanding of the Aboriginal experience, including Ted Hall’s Luridgii Aboriginal Eco Cultural Tours.

Image credit: Tourism WA

The Gibb River Road

One of the world’s most iconic road trip adventures would have to be the 660km Gibb River Road, running from Derby in the western part of the Kimberley all the way to Kununurra. Filled with ancient gorges and waterfalls, spectacular pockets of rainforest and awe-inspiring cattle stations like Home Valley Station and El Questro (more on that below). If you don’t have the car to tackle it properly, there are a number of guided tour operators in the area to go with, or RedSands Campers has a new depot in Kununurra to set you up for a self-drive. Check our full guide to the Gibb River Road HERE.

Image credit: Tourism WA

El Questro

Only an hour’s drive from Kununurra, El Questro is the jewel in the crown of the Gibb River Road. Hike out to the beautiful Emma Gorge and take a dip in the waterfall, soak in thermal waters at Zebedee Springs (pictured, below) and marvel at an array of stunning vistas from a variety of lookouts. Guided and self-guided tours are available, and you can also choose to stay with accommodation ranging from private camping under the stars to the luxury of El Questro Homestead. Check our full guide to El Questro HERE.

Image credit: Tourism WA

Lake Argyle

One of the largest freshwater lakes in the southern hemisphere, Lake Argyle is actually classified as an inland sea! As such there’s plenty to see and do around it, with a number of cruise and tour operators who’ll show you around, or you can explore yourself by hiring a dinghy or kayak. And make sure you pop into Lake Argyle Resort & Caravan Park to get a quick snap in their incredible infinity pool!

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Image credit: Tourism WA

Guided Tours & Scenic Flights

The best way to really experience the Kimberley region is to go with those in the know, and there are plenty of guided tour options available to explore Kununurra and its surrounds properly. Likewise to truly understand the region’s spectacular landscapes is to do so by air, with scenic flights and helicopter tours offering unparalleled views of such natural wonders as the Bungle Bungle Range in the World Heritage-listed, 350million-year-old Purnululu National Park.

Image credit: Tourism WA

For more ideas on tours around the Ord Valley Muster and Kununurra as a whole head HERE, and keep your eyes peeled on Perth Is OK! for our own deep dive in the coming weeks as we head north to experience the East Kimberley ourselves.