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Air Safari
Air Safari
On land

Kimberley coastal air safari

Wednesday, February 4, 2004
Ben takes an air tour over WA's beautiful Kimberley and is nothing short of impressed.

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

Kununurra is a local Aboriginal word for "meeting of big waters". In 1960 it became the centre for the Ord River Scheme, which created 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 at least some of them is from the air.

Slingair and Heliwork WA, the largest privately-owned aviation business in the west, offers aeroplane and helicopter flights, fly/drive tours and air safaris throughout the Kimberley and across the border to the equally enigmatic Northern Territory.

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

Along the coast, you get a good look at big saltwater 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, Faraway Bay Coastal Camp on the north-west corner of Australia is a good choice. Bruce and Robyn Ellison have made it their home. You can be as sociable or as solitary as you choose.

There are just eight bush-style cabins, looking onto 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, 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. It seems everyone who goes there feels as though they are the only ones to have experienced it.


The Kimberley Diamond Coast in W.A.


Slingair and Heliwork WA runs air safaris out of Kununurra, el Questro, Darwin and Broome. Three-day packages, including accommodation at Faraway Bay Coastal Camp, start at $3820 per person, twin share. They operate from May to September.
Please note prices are valid at time of filming.

More information

PO Box 612, Kununurra WA 6743
Ph: (08) 9169 1300 1800 095 500
Fax: (08) 9168 1129
To book a flight to Darwin or Broome, call Qantas: 13 13 13

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