All in a day’s adventure
The immense system of freshwater reservoirs and permanent wetlands created by the damming of the Ord River forms a vast expanse of waterways and habitat for native Kimberley wildlife. The lakes are an important dry season refuge for waterbirds, regularly numbering in the tens of thousands and Rock Wallabies are a common sight on Kimberley tours and Ord River Cruises.
Perhaps the most popular native animal that everyone wants to see is the famous freshwater crocodile (Crocodylus johnstoni) and there is no shortage of those, sunning themselves on riverbanks and camouflaged in the water, but for two beady eyes and nostrils. Your guides are expert at spotting crocs. Another reptile you are likely to spot is the goanna or monitor lizard. The Merten’s Water Monitor is often seen sunning itself on rocks and logs in gorges and at water holes. Of the 28 dragon lizards in Australia, the Frilled Lizard is both popular and very common. The highly venomous King Brown or Mulga Snake is another Kimberley resident, but if you see what looks like a snake head sticking up out of the water of a billabong, it’s probably a Snake-necked Turtle.
There are over 300 species of birds in the Kimberley. The most colourful among them are the Red-winged Parrots and Rainbow Lorikeets. Large and noisy, the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo is plentiful as well as the magnificent Black Cockatoos.
Australia’s only stork, the beautiful Jabiru, and Brolgas are often found in large flocks.
Other waterbirds include herons, egrets, ibises and bitterns. If you hear a duck at a billabong it will likely be a Whistling Duck. You might even see an iridescent Rainbow Bee-eater.
Over 300 of the 760 species listed in the Australian Atlas of Birds can be found in the Kimberley, which includes birds of prey. The Lake Kununurra wetlands and Ord River are a haven for birds and easy to explore.
All Triple J Tours are designed to showcase the best of the region’s wildlife and you never know exactly what you’ll see on a day’s adventure.