El Questro Wilderness Park, Western Australia
Dance in the dust and watch polo on the beach as the Kimberley swings into festival mood this weekend.
By Andrew Bain
Published: 19 May, 2017
With its rust-red rocks, ancient boab trees and thundering waterfalls, Western Australia’s Kimberley region is a quintessential piece of the Australian Outback. This weekend it’s playing host to a pair of very Australian events.
The Ord Valley, in the vast Kimberley wilderness, is a special place in the Australian landscape. As well as the massive Lake Argyle (which, when flooding, can swell to 80 times the size of Sydney Harbour), the valley is home to not only one of the most beautiful infinity pools we’ve ever seen at a caravan park but one of Australia’s coolest Outback festivals: the annual Argyle Diamonds Ord Valley Muster.
A celebration of all things Kimberley, the muster this year features more than 30 events and activities across 10 days. Headlining the muster is the Kimberley Moon Experience, an open-air concert on the banks of the Ord River on 27 May, featuring the likes of Aussie music legends Jimmy Barnes and Daryl Braithwaite. Concertgoers can bring picnic blankets and hampers or celebrate in style in the Corporate Circle, an exclusive black-tie area offering pre-dinner drinks, canapes, a beautifully catered dinner and a private dance floor.
A DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH
Ninety per cent of the world’s pink diamonds come from this region, and in the Diamond Dig, an annual muster event, participants search for one of the Kimberley’s famous pink diamonds buried under a tonne of sand. This year’s muster also has several new events on its calendar, such as daytrips into El Questro station, with exclusive access to a thermal spring (perfect for a luxurious private swim); morning yoga classes on the shores of a serene lagoon accessible only by boat; and a literary lunch with acclaimed crime writer Alan Carter. The muster begins on 19 May and runs until 28 May.
POLO ON THE BEACH
Broome’s Cable Beach is famed for its camel trains, which you can ride along the beach every day as the sun sets. But for one weekend of the year, the Airnorth Cable Beach Polo puts horses on the beach instead.
Many of the world’s best polo players compete in this international tournament, which takes place in surely one of the world’s most spectacular polo settings. Cable Beach’s 22-kilometre (14-mile) strip of white sand offers the perfect location to watch a chukka or two. You can also take a dip in the 28°C (82°F) ocean and soak up a stunning sunset over the Indian Ocean. There are two matches on Saturday, and another two on Sunday. The tournament is free for spectators.
CELEBRATE IN STYLE
If you want to splash out, buy tickets for the Cable Beach Polo VIP Marquee or the Polo Beach Bar, where you'll get to mingle with players and, in the marquee, enjoy meze cuisine and Champagne, all in barefoot comfort.
A Gold Weekend Pass gives you entry into the VIP Marquee on both days, plus dinner under the stars on Cable Beach with the players on Saturday night and an invitation to the tournament’s official after-party. The opening party, at the Mangrove Hotel on Friday night, is open to all.
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Kimberley accommodation with style