Each year, the Kimberly Western Australia area, the inspiration behind the movie Australia with Nicole Kidman, celebrates the end of the wet season with the reopening of fantastic attractions around the region including Purnululu National Park, home of the World Heritage listed Bungle Bungle range, the Argyle Diamond Mine (where pink diamonds are sourced), Lake Argyle, and more.
To kick off the opening season, thousands will gather in Kununurra, from Friday, May 17 to Sunday, May 26, 2013, for the Argyle Diamonds Ord Valley Muster festival to celebrate East Kimberley life with an abundance of events and activities, featuring the Durack Homestead Dinner, the Kimberley Kitchen, Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow and the Airnorth Kimberley Moon Experience.
Highlighting its extraordinary cultural diversity, stunning landscape, and warm hospitality, the Argyle Diamonds Ord Valley Muster is an all-embracing community celebration of the prodigious attractions found in the East Kimberley region.
From humble beginnings in 2001, the Ord Valley Muster quietly came to life as a simple one-night affair and pleasant dinner in the outback for local businesses. Now in its 13th year, the festival has evolved into a popular 10-day-long event for Kimberley residents and the many visitors from around the world the region attracts this time of year. Festival-goers will revel in the Ord Valley Muster’s variety of entertainment, ranging from a diamond dig to mountain bike challenges to shopping in the Kununurra markets.
The highlight of the fun-filled muster will be the internationally acclaimed Airnorth Kimberley Moon Experience on May 25. The event takes place at the Jim Hughes Amphitheatre under the Kimberley moon and stars by the banks of the majestic Ord River. The event will feature a full night of entertainment including Guy Sebastian, Mark Seymour, James Reyne, Gurrumul, among others. Audience members are invited to bring a picnic or indulge in the Kimberley Fine Diamonds Corporate Circle with fine wines and a delicious sit-down dinner by one of Western Australia’s most dynamic chefs, Don Hancey. Tickets start at around $100 USD.
Additional events during the Ord Valley Muster include the Waringarri Aboriginal Arts exhibit, street parties, movie nights, “Muster Idol” singing competitions, tours of local landmarks, the Kimberley Gospel Festival and a show by the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
Adventure lovers will enjoy participating in the Gibb River Road Mountain Bike Challenge, a socially competitive 430-plus mile team relay event that raises community awareness and money for charity. Those seeking family-friendly activities will have a ball digging through tons of sand for diamonds in the Argyle Diamond Dig.
Western Australia Unique Stays & Vacation Packages
The Kimberley region affords all types of accommodations for U.S. travelers who are making the trek to Australia for the opening of the Kimberley. While we haven’t personally experienced this region, the following are some recommendations from our Western Australia tourism friends:
El Questro allows guests to explore the outback without sacrificing luxury in an exclusive retreat perched atop the magnificent Chamberlain Gorge. Accommodation options range from luxury lodges to tented cabins to family bungalows. The only thing rustic about this stunning destination is the rugged Kimberley landscape in the backdrop, as the resort provides guests with a swimming pool, tennis courts and several magnificent dining options.
Visitors seeking the complete Australian outback experience will enjoy staying at Home Valley Station. From a rugged adventure in the safari-style Eco Tents to a comfortable retreat in the Homestead Guesthouse Rooms, Home Valley Station provides accommodation options for travelers of all preferences. Home Valley Station has an inspiring range of tours and activities to suit everyone, such as gentle gorge walks, relaxing boating, adventurous horse treks and cattle mustering.
Down Under Endeavours is now offering an Ord Valley Muster vacation package for those looking to enjoy the Kimberley with accommodations at Kimberley Grande and Berkley River Lodge, and guided helicopter tours, river cruises and more. Down Under Endeavours handcrafts dream vacations to some of the most exciting places on earth. They provide travelers with authentic experiences and quality service.
About Western Australia
Western Australia, the largest state in Australia located in the western half of the country, is divided into five distinct regions: Australia’s North West, Australia’s Coral Coast, The Golden Outback, Experience Perth, and Australia’s South West. Travelers can truly “Experience Extraordinary” when exploring the State’s many natural wonders, unique to Western Australia. Australia’s North West is home to spectacular natural attractions, including the Bungle Bungle Range in World Heritage Listed Purnululu National Park, the world’s only Horizontal Waterfall, the famed white sands and turquoise water at Broome’s Cable Beach, and the million acre El Questro Wilderness Park.
Travelers to the Coral Coast can dive with the world’s largest fish – the whale shark, snorkel with manta rays, see wild dolphins at play, and explore Ningaloo Reef—the world’s largest fringing reef. Australia’s Golden Outback, the Gold Rush country of the 1890’s, offers the ideal blend of history and heritage. Travelers can explore mines and museums, pan for gold, or visit one of Kalgoorlie’s historic pubs. In spring, travelers to Australia’s Golden Outback can see the largest collection of wildflowers on earth in bloom.
Western Australia’s capital city, Perth, and the surrounding region is a microcosm of the whole state, boasting vineyards, fantastic restaurants, a lively and original music and arts scene, and stylish accommodation. Perth is also home to Kings Park and Botanic Garden, one of the world’s largest inner city parks.
Featuring beautiful beaches, tall tree forests, and award winning wineries, the South West is also home to the Margaret River region, which produces almost 20 percent of Australia’s premium wine. With over 400 wine producers in Western Australia, travelers can explore more than 100 cellar doors, which are open to the public.
Kununurra, the largest town in the region where the festival takes place, is a three-hour flight north of Western Australia’s capital city Perth, and flights can be booked through airlines Airnorth, Qantas and Skywest.
For more travel ideas, head to www.westernaustralia.com.
Photos courtesy of Western Australia and Australia tourism.