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Kimberley Coastal Air Safari

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Kununurra is the gateway to the Kimberley and the home of outback adventure. The town offers a huge variety of experiences and is the perfect base for four-wheel driving, lake and river cruising, fishing for barramundi and flying over some of the world's most spectacular landforms.

Kununurra is a local Aboriginal word for "meeting of big waters" and in 1960 became the centre for the Ord River Scheme that generated a boom in agriculture, tourism and mining.

Generations of the Durack family have had a huge impact on the area, beginning with the formation of the Kimberley Research Station in 1941. Dame Mary Durack's books have documented the area and the famed homestead was built by Patsy Durack.

The mysterious, ancient land holds many secrets, and one way of uncovering some of them is from the air.

Slingair & Heliwork WA is the largest privately owned aviation business in the west and offers plane and helicopter flights, fly/drive tours and air safaris throughout the Kimberley and across the border into the Northern Territory.

The company, which focuses on personalised customer service, will tailor a voyage for you, and two of the most popular destinations are the Bungle Bungles and Mitchell Plateau.

Along the coastal area you get a good look at big salt water crocodiles, sharks, manta rays and large fish in feeding frenzies. You're also likely to see hundreds of turtles and not far inland, some of the planet's most deserted and isolated country.

When you're looking for somewhere to bunk down, The Bush Camp Faraway Bay in the north-west corner of Australia is a good choice. Bruce and Robyn Ellison have made their home there and you can be as sociable or as solitary as you choose.

There are just eight bush-style cabins with expanses of pristine scenery and there's never any waiting for a boat to go touring or fishing. Each cabin is equipped with mosquito netting, safari chairs and fans. Facilities are close to the cabins and have plenty of hot water. The freshwater pool is perched on the edge of the cliff overlooking the bay.

The open-style kitchen and dining area has a paved terrace and that's the best place for a sundown cocktail, while watching the sandstone cliffs take on a fiery glow.

Bruce hosts breakfast and dinner, the evening meal being a barbecue or delicious local seafood.

A visit to King George River is recommended. It has cliffs up to 80 metres high and at its falls, water is 60 metres deep. Seems everyone who goes there feels as though they are the only ones to have experienced it.


The Kimberley Diamond Coast in WA.


Slingair & Heliwork WA runs air safaris out of Kununurra, el Questro, Darwin and Broome. Three-night packages including accommodation at the Bush Camp Faraway Bay, meals and activities start at $2765 per person, twin share. They operate from May to September.

Please note that the prices listed are valid at the time of filming.

For further information

PO Box 612
Kununurra WA 6743
Ph: (08) 9169 1300, 1800 095 500
Fax: (08) 9168 1129

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