Ord Valley Muster is the magical Western Australia festival

A once in a lifetime trip.

The best time of year to visit Kununurra is in May when the iconic Ord Valley Muster lights up the region. The major drawcards of the festival are the Top End Mustering Rodeo and the Nexus Airlines Kimberley Moon Experience, with world-class performers (including Rogue Traders, Sarah McLeod and The Screaming Jets). This year, the Ord Valley Muster will run from 17- 25 May 2024.

Here’s some of the best things to do during Ord Valley Muster and in the wider area of Kununurra.

Ord Valley Muster highlights:

  • Corroboree Under the Stars, held at the Waringarri Aboriginal Arts centre, features singing and dancing from Miriwoong Gajerrong children.
  • Art In The Park is a must-see art exhibition showcasing local creativity and talent in a remarkable open-air gallery. 
  • The Ord River Paddle is a competitive(ish) kayak race from the upper Ord to the finish line (and after party) at Sandy Creek.
Ord Valley Muster

Explore secret spots 

The best way to see the Kimberley is via troopie. Jump in the back of the Hot Tours’ Land Cruiser and strap in for a bumpy ride (and personalised tour) with long-time local Ian. At the end of an unnamed dirt road lined with native salmon gum trees, you’ll find a hidden oasis. The waterfall – appropriately named Secret Springs – appears like a mirage, while the glass-clear water of the natural swimming hole calls your name. 

Fly high over the Bungle Bungle Range 

The alien-like rock formations of the Bungle Bungle Range in Purnululu National Park (top) are a five-hour drive or a 47-minute flight from Kununurra. That time stamp pales in comparison to the 1.5-billion-year-old diamonds found in the region. And the 1.7-billion-year-old sandstone, which forms the cliffs at the nearby Emma Gorge at El Questro Station. These rocks pre-date life as we know it.

Aboard the Kingfisher Tours Cessna plane, you’ll fly over the Piccaninny Crater, where a meteorite hit the area 360 million years ago, and the Argyle Diamond Mine, where 1.5-billion-year-old diamonds have been found. 

Ord Valley Muster

Honour the land 

“Growing up here as a child is magic,” says Rebecca Sampi, a Gija woman, who leads the Kingfisher Tours Cathedral Gorge hike. It’s here, surrounded by the ever-changing colours of the gorge walls, that Rebecca pulls out her clapping sticks and starts to sing. Time stands still. Rebecca’s voice fills the cavern and dances down the valley. It’s an experience like no other. 

The song Bec sings – in her language – is about strong women. There are other songs, she says, that are just for her and her community. These are the secrets she keeps.

In trying to capture the magic of this Country, Bec says it best: “The Kimberley is like the sand. It will always be here. We don’t own it. We belong to it. And we’ll end up back in the sand.”

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