Each year, in a riot of colour that reflects the Kimberley landscape itself, the Ord Valley Muster in Kununurra, WA, brings together station folk, townies and tourists. 

Photos Peter Pap

The festival began simply with a one-night dinner in 2001 and has grown into a 10-day extravaganza, with more than 30 events attracting thousands of people from all over Australia and beyond. It has won multiple awards and been declared one of the best regional events in the country.

Last year, the memorable Corroboree Under The Stars was held at the Waringarri Arts Centre. As soon as dancing began, all electrical power was lost. Generators kicked in and just a few lights created a unique mood that was even more magical, with dancers appearing and disappearing in a haze of dust in front of a crowd of about 450 people.

At Hotel Kununurra it was standing room only for the sold-out Muster Idol finals. Voices ranged from the heavenly to the humorous, with local schoolteacher Andrea Henriques taking out the main prize in a close contest. 

The signature event was the Kimberley Fine Diamonds Dinner. Guests in black-tie dress arrived by boat to enjoy dinner under the stars on the banks of the Ord, with entertainment by Amy Shark and Pete Murray.

Hundreds of guests took advantage of the tours on offer, including flying over and into the Bungle Bungles in Purnululu National Park and visiting El Questro for a cruise on the Chamberlain River. 

This year’s Ord Valley Muster will be held from May 15–24, with Jessica Mauboy, Busby Marou and John Stevens part of the huge festival line-up. There are comedy events, a rodeo and even a yoga boat planned. 

For more information on this year’s Ord Valley Muster, see www.ordvalleymuster.com.au. 

This story excerpt is from Issue #129

Outback Magazine: Feb/Mar 2020