At the end of the Great Northern Highway, at the mouth of the King, Pentecost, Durack, Forest and Ord Rivers in the Cambridge Gulf and perched beneath the Bastion you will find the little town of Wyndham, which has the character and spirit of a true Kimberley outback town.
The most northerly township in Western Australia, the Port of Wyndham was an essential link in the development of the Kimberley. It's beginnings came with the Halls Creek gold rush, as thousands of would-be gold barons travelled through the port on their way to stake their claim.
With the end of the gold rush just a couple of years later, Wyndham continued to service the beef industry, with supplies delivered to and cattle transported from the port.
During this time, the cattle stations serviced by Wyndham Port included the pioneering Durack family's stations at Arygle Downs and Ivanhoe stations - Patrick Durack
's 3 years, 4,800 kilometre journey of cattle from Queensland to the Kimberley to stock these stations is the longest of its type ever recorded.
From 1913, the government started construction of the Wyndham meatworks, and was part of 'Air-Beef Scheme' after World War II - the only air-beef abattoir ever established in Western Australia. The meatworks opened in 1919 and was involved in the export of beef to Britain. It was the town's major employer until it closed in 1985.
The overland telegraph also played a large part in Wyndham's history - in 1889 links between Perth and Wyndham were established, and in 1914 the Wyndham Wireless Station was built on top of Telegraph Hill in Parrys Creek Nature Reserve. It was operational until 1921 assisting ships entering Wyndham Port, and also played a part in World War I.
At Telegraph Hill there is a short 800 metre walk with informational signage through the remaining foundations of the buildings that housed the station workers. The view from the top of the hill is a 360 degree view of the surrounding area, including part of the Ord River floodplain and Parry's Creek. Access can be seasonal as the roads are prone to flooding in the wet season.
Wyndham also made the headlines on several occasions, including in the 1930's when it was the Australian landing point for aviatiors seeking to establish new solo flying records between England and Australia. In 1932, Wyndham was the launch point for a rescue mission to retrieve two German aviators who had crashed just north of the Berkeley River while attempting a round the world flight. The men had been missing for 39 days when a group of Aboriginal people found them; it took a further week for the rescue party to reach them. In 1935, the first Australian Inland Mission Aerial Medical Service (later renamed the Royal Flying Doctor Service) was established in Wyndham.
Today, Wyndham in WA has a population of just 900 people and operates as a working port, servicing the cattle export industry, the mining and tourism industries and the Ord River Project.
Wyndham outback adventures
Surrounded by some of the Kimberley’s most spectacular landforms, rivers and wetlands, Wyndham in WA offers a host of outback adventures. Many of the major Kimberley cruise boats drop in to or depart from Wyndham during their extended expeditions along the North West coastline.
- Say hello to the Big Croc as you drive into town!
- See the interesting statues in Warriu "Dreamtime" Park which depict an Aboriginal family as well as a dingo and kangaroo.
- Walk or drive the Wyndham Port Heritage Trail.
- Visit the Wyndham Museum and discover the area’s fascinating history.
- Enjoy the sweeping views and spectacular sunsets at Five Rivers Lookout.
- See the Afghan Cemetery where some of the regions cameleers were buried, the Bend Cemetery in which the men who died during the construction of the meatworks were laid to rest and the Gully cemetery in the Port area where some of the Kimberley pioneers were buried.
- Experience the thrill of Barramundi fishing.
- Go four-wheel driving and follow the King River Road, crossing creeks and stopping at Indigenous art sites along the way to Moochalabra Dam.
- Travel to Parry Lagoons Nature Reserve where you can view a wealth of tropical birds and crocodiles from the bird hide and boardwalk at Marglu Billabong. The area is an important waterbird feeding and breeding area. It is also a stopover point for migratory waders, some of which travel from as far afield as Siberia. The Parry Creek Nature Reserve is listed as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention and is listed on the Register of the National Estate.
- While at Parrys Lagoon Nature Reserve, visit Telegraph Hill.
- Venture down the Old Halls Creek Gold Rush Track originally used by the miners to reach the goldfields. The track is 13 kilometres long and begins at Parry Creek Farm.
Wyndham accommodation and information
For more information about tours from Wyndham, local attractions and road conditions, contact the visitor centres in Wyndham or Kununurra.
How to get there
Wyndham is situated 105 kilometres northwest of Kununurra on the Great Northern Highway. On the road from Kununurra to Wyndham, you will also find The Grotto, a deep gorge that can be reached by 140 steps (with no handrail), with a swimming hole and Wet Season waterfall.