Have I mentioned the boab trees lately? They are everywhere across northern WA. Some of them are huge! The caravan park we stayed at in Kununurra had a large one that was estimated to be 2,000 years old! It’s so interesting to see them as we are driving along, the young ones are much harder to pick out because they are so skinny. They all seem to be in different stages of bloom, some have leaves, some have huge seeds (nuts) right now. We spent one day looking around in Kununurra. One of the places we visited was Ivanhoe Crossing. The crossing itself is closed, I’m not sure if it’s open for part of the year or not. There’s a big boulder in the road so that no one can take their chances at it. When we visited there were several people fishing. Not with poles, just lines they’d throw out in the water and reel back in by hand. We didn’t venture too far out as the water was rushing quite fast out there. I tried to surreptitiously get this picture of the rock blocking the road but of course right as I snapped the pic I was caught. 🙂 Then we went into town to have a look at some of the pink diamonds that are mined nearby at Lake Argyle. I wasn’t sure if they’d appreciate a family coming in for look when we weren’t intending to buy any diamonds, but they could not have been nicer. One of the ladies gave us all kinds of interesting information about the diamonds and showed us several. They were so friendly and happy to educate us, it was a real treat. They gave the kids some little fake gems and told us take all the brochures we wanted. There was a toy basket near the counter which kept TurboBug occupied. The mine near Kununurra is the only diamond producing mine in Australia. I think they said 90% of the world’s pink diamonds are mined here, but pink diamonds make up only .01% of the world’s diamonds. Of all the diamonds mined in a year, there are only enough pink ones to fill a champagne glass, and only a few of those are the dusky rose colour which makes them very valuable. She had a champagne glass filled with fake pink gems to illustrate the point. She said the white diamonds mined worldwide in one year would fill a small bedroom. She showed us the various colours of diamonds, blue, green, brown, etc. She even showed us a pink diamond valued at $800k! We also visited the Sandalwood Factory. We watched a short video to educated us a bit about sandalwood. It’s a new industry in Australia, the first trees were only planted in 1999. Kununurra was the first and is still the biggest plantation. It’s also grown in the NT and QLD. After the video the lady in the shop told us they grow 420 trees per hectare, valued at about $1.6 million per hectare. Wow. It’s mostly exported to drug companies, they use it for all kinds of treatments which I don’t remember other than she mentioned eczema. We had a browse around the shop, the oil is used to make all kinds of toiletries and other smelly items. 🙂 They had some pieces that were like sculptures, so gorgeous. Sandalwood trees need host trees so driving by you’ll see a mixture of trees with the sandalwood. We were going to stop into the mini Bungle-Bungles (I can’t remember the real name), a local national park in Kununurra but it was too hot to do any walks by then so we skipped it. The rock formations are gorgeous and really are reminiscent of the Bungle Bungles further south. Our stay in Kununurra will be memorable in that it was just so hot there, at least 40 degrees every day we were there. It was the end of the dry season but not yet the wet season. They call it the build-up to the wet season. Locals told stories of getting a metre of rain in one night during the wet season. It was so hot, we were so thankful for the air conditioning in the van and the pool nearby. We visited church while we were there (and discovered the sales lady from the diamond store was one of the singers up front!) and it was very casual. Everyone was in shorts and flip-flops because how could anyone bother dressing up in that heat? 🙂
A Few Stops Around Kununurra
posted in: Western Australia
A Tour of the Perth Mint – How Many More Minutes?
[…] There was a jewelry store on site and we were happy to see some Kimberley pink diamonds like we’d seen in Kununurra. They also sell specialty coins, some of them are so beautiful. The Canberra mint has a […]