The Ord River and its tributaries form one of the most significant waterways in Australia, producing the second largest flow volume in Western Australia.
Visitors will find recreational boating, fishing, water sports and birdwatching activities along the Ord River and Lake Kununurra.
From its source below the highest point of the Wunaamin Miliwundi Ranges at Mount Wells, the Ord River flows over 650km, around the edge of Purnululu National Park, through Lake Argyle and along the western edge of Kununurra before draining into the Cambridge Gulf at Wyndham.
The Diversion Dam on the Bandicoot Bar, Kununurra was built in 1962 to channel water to farmland on Ivanhoe Plain from the newly created Lake Kununurra. Further upstream, the completion of the Ord River Dam in the 1970’s created Lake Argyle and brought a reliable water supply to Packsaddle Plains.
A hydroelectric power station was built at the base of the Ord Dam in 1990 and now supplies renewable energy to the Argyle Village, Wyndham, Kununurra and the Argyle Diamond mine.
The water released from Lake Argyle and the Spillway Plug comprises the inﬂow into Lake Kununurra which, through the Diversion Dam, supplies the gravity channel network of the Ord River Irrigation Area.
Since the Ord River was dammed, new ecosystems have evolved and the lower Ord River’s floodplain, Lake Argyle and Lake Kununurra have been declared internationally important wetlands. The Ord River is a habitat for more than 75 bird species, including significant breeding and migrant populations.
Cruising the Ord River and Lake Kununurra on a boat tour with Triple J Tours or Kununurra Cruises is a popular option for visitors to Kununurra, providing an opportunity to enjoy the spectacular scenery, wildlife, flora and fauna found along the way.
At Swim Beach and Ski Beach, just off the Victoria Highway near the Diversion Dam you’ll find grassed picnic and BBQ areas with changing facilities. Swim Beach is a crocodile controlled zone and a great spot for a refreshing swim, and Ski Beach is a designated area for water sports and water-skiing.
Recreational fishing on the Ord River and Lake Kununurra provides a unique year round fishing environment for anglers with the opportunity to catch barramundi. Popular fishing spots include Ivanhoe Crossing, Mambi Island & Boat Ramp and Buttons Crossing along Parry Creek Road, Lake Kununurra, and Skull Rock on the Carlton Hill Road. For advice on fishing in the Kununurra area, contact the Kununurra Visitor Centre.