Wyndham, WA

Wyndham is the oldest and northernmost town. It was established in 1885 as a result of a gold rush at Halls Creek, and it is now a port and service centre for the East Kimberley.

Wyndham is located at the west arm of Cambridge Gulf, an inlet of Joseph Bonaparte Gulf of the Timor Sea. It is surrounded by the Durack, Pentecost and King rivers to the south, Forrest River to the west and Ord River to the north. Much of the land around Wyndham is inhospitable, and includes the jagged hills of the Bastion Range and the mudflats of the Cambridge Gulf.

Wyndham is split into two areas. The original town site of Wyndham Port is situated on Cambridge Gulf, while Wyndham Three Mile (also known as Wyndham East) is the residential and shopping area of the town. Wyndham is part of the Shire of Wyndham-East Kimberley.

Where is it?: On the Great Northern Highway, 3,224 kilometres northeast of Perth.



Around town

Wyndham is the home of the Big Crocodile, a papier-mâché statue of a crocodile around 18 metres long. The town has a museum in the old courthouse that is open to the public and run by the Wyndham Historical Society.

Singh's Garden: Located off the King river road are the remains of a vegetable garden grown by an Afghan Chinaman in the early 1900's. The vegetables were sold at the marketplace near the Wyndham Meatworks.



Prison Tree: Located off the King River road, this large boab tree was used by the early police patrols as an over night lock-up.

Aboriginal Rock Paintings: Aboriginal Rock Paintings are located off the king river road, these paintings of Wandina spirit ancestors and animals have been done with natural ochre.

Moochalabra Dam: This dam was originally constructed in 1971 to supply water to the Wyndham area. This construction is unique to Australia, having been designed to allow a water overflow to pass through the rock on the crest of the hill. The dam was reconstructed in 1999 and the spillway provides a spectacular waterfall in the wet season.



Lookouts

Ejoy the panoramic views of the area from the Five Rivers Lookout on the Bastion.

Telegraph Hill: The main access road in the Parry Lagoon Nature reserve leads to Telegraph Hill. Here you can enjoy the wide vistas of the floodplain and distant hills, explore the ruins of the old wireless station built in 1914, which assisted ships entering Wyndham Port and was used for naval intelligence to intercept radio traffic during World War 1.

Surrounding Area

From Wyndham you can explore El Questro Station, Parry's Creek Wildlife Reserve and Diggers Rest station overland or the Cambridge Gulf by boat.


Emma Gorge

El Questro Wilderness Park: El Questro Wilderness Park is accessible from either the King River Road, or the Gibb River Road. Offers various forms of accommodation: luxury homestead, bungalows, tented cabins and camping. Meals, stores, fuel, gorge walks, thermal spring, gorge cruise, heli-flights, horse riding, bush walks, and Wandjina Aboriginal Art are also available.
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  • Marlgu Billabong: A billabong in the Parry Lagoons Nature Reserve. A boardwalk and shaded bird hide have been constructed for visitors to enjoy watching the birds without them seeing you. Many species of waterbirds, migratory waders, birds of the grasslands, birds of the sandstone country can be sighted here.

    The main access road in the Parry Lagoon Nature reserve leads to Telegraph Hill. Here you can enjoy the wide vistas of the floodplain and distant hills, explore the ruins of the old wireless station built in 1914, which assisted ships entering Wyndham Port and was used for naval intelligence to intercept radio traffic during World War 1.



    The Grotto: A popular all-seasons swimming hole 30kms from Wyndham. Located at the base of 140 steps is a natural amphitheatre reaching more than 175m at its deepest. A perfect spot to spend many hours and during the wet season you can view a spectacular waterfall.



    Karunjie Road Drive: For keen 4wdrivers, this road begins at the end of the King River road, just past the Prison Tree, and finishes at the Pentecost River crossing on the Gibb River Road. This drive provides spectacular views of the Cockburn Ranges. You can also fish and camp along the banks of the Pentecost River.

    Old Halls Creek Road (4wd): This road was built around 1894 to supersede the original track blazed from Wyndham to Halls Creek following the gold discovery in 1885. The hand laid stone can still be seen in places along the road and creek crossings. Accessible south of Parry Creek Farm, ending at the Great Northern Highway, 71 km from Kununurra.


    Ord River Diversion Dam

    Kununurra
    A well planned, modern town built as the administrative and residential centre of the Ord River Irrigation Scheme, 101 km south-west of Wyndham. It is a popular base for exploring the north Kimberley region.

    The town is situated in among the scenic hills and ranges of the far north-east Kimberley Region, having an abundance of fresh water, conserved by the Ord River Diversion dam and the main Ord River Dam.

    The landscape surrounding Kununurra includes many often visited features such as Valentine Spring, Black Rock Creek and Middle Springs along with many other waterfalls and swimming holes. Popular fishing spots include Ivanhoe Crossing, The Diversion Dam, Buttons Crossing, and various locations along the Dunham and Ord Rivers. Watching the sunset at Kelly’s Knob Lookout, the highest point in Kununurra, is a must.
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    • History
      The first European to visit the area was Phillip Parker King in 1819. He was instructed to find a river 'likely to lead to an interior navigation into the great continent'. He sailed in to Cambridge Gulf, which he named after the Duke of Cambridge, and then sailed down a river which was subsequently named after him. Finding no fresh water on the mudflats, he departed.

      The town of Wyndham was established by John Forrest in 1885 as the major port and trading station of the East Kimberley, after finds of gold in Halls Creek a year earlier. By 1886, the town was booming.

      However, by 1888, the gold rush at Halls Creek had ended and the fortunes of Wyndham declined. Wyndham became a tiny settlement serving the pastoral interests in the East Kimberley. By 1912, money had virtually disappeared from the Wyndham economy, and purchases were paid for using promissory notes known as "shin plasters".

      During World War II, the town was attacked several times by Japanese aircraft. Wyndham's significance as a service centre was also reduced by the construction of the town of Kununurra in the early 1960s. The meatworks continued to be the mainstay of the town's economy until their closure in 1985.

      Climate
      Despite being in the tropics, Wyndham experiences a steppe climate, with the wet season from late November to March and the dry season from April to early November. The hottest month is November with an average maximum temperature of 39.5°C, and the coolest month is June with an average maximum of 31.0°C. The annual average maximum temperature is 35.6°C, one of the highest in Australia. In 1946, Wyndham recorded 333 consecutive days of temperatures over 32°C.


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