Iconic Pumphouse Restaurant in Kununurra saved

The iconic Pumphouse Restaurant in Kununurra has been saved thanks to the Kimberley Experiences Group who recently announce its purchased.

The Pumphouse Restaurant has to have one of the best views in Australia. It’s perched right over the mighty Ord River, and you can sometimes see crocodiles swimming below. When it closed in November 2021, there was a wave of disappointment from locals and visitors and it has been sorely missed.

Drone view The Pump House Restaurant, Kununurra. Photo: Tourism WA

Dating back to the inception of the Kununurra township in 1961, the building and equipment was once an integral part of the Ord River Irrigation Scheme, serving as its main pump station until the construction of the Lake Argyle dam wall in 1971. It still retains the original pump infrastructure.

The Pumphouse sat largely unused for decades on the banks of the Upper Ord, before being transformed into a stunning restaurant by East Kimberley locals Thomas and Dominique Breig.

Since its opening in 2008, the Pumphouse Restaurant has become a much-loved meeting and dining destination for both locals and visitors. Kimberley Experiences Group Managing Director, Michael McConachy, said he hopes that “the reopening is of great benefit to the whole community”.

“As long-term locals we understand the importance of this special location and piece of history. We have always really enjoyed spending time with our family and friends at the Pumphouse, as well as hosting visitors to the region at this beautiful setting” Mr McConachy said.

Much like the whole of Kununurra, Michael said he had hoped that someone would take over the business when it was first offered for sale.

“As a local and a tourism business owner, I know how much the venue was missed.  I sat back and hoped that someone would take it on,” he said.

“Operating a restaurant wasn’t something I had ever planned for, and I hope that we can do justice to the legacy that Thomas and Dominique have created,” Mr McConachy said.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do before our planned opening in early 2023 and intend on pulling together a team to ensure the Pumphouse can open seven days a week for meals, coffees, and drinks, particularly during the tourism season”.

If you fancy a tree change, the recruitment process for the Pumphouse will start next month.

And if you’re thinking of heading to the wondrous East Kimberley region, there’s no better time to be there than during the Boab Metals Ord Valley Muster which will be held from 19-27 May 2023.

I’m curious to see what the Pumphouse Restaurant becomes, whether it will offer breakfast, lunch and dinner (I hope so!), have the same style of modern Australian food or take a different slant. Either way, knowing that it’ll be operational next May when I’m in Kununurra for the Muster makes me happy.


Corroboree, part of the Boab Metals Ord Valley Muster. Photo: Sarah Duguid

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