Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Lake Argyle - 11/08/12 to 13/08/12

After finally leaving Darwin we headed for WA. Our first stop was to be Lake Argyle but, as this was 800km away, we overnighted at a free camp at about the half way point. About a dozen other campers there and we had a few beers and a chat about our travels in the arvo before settling down for the night. The night itself was uneventful except for a truck that went passed in the early hours of the morning. As you are right beside the road a truck going passed in pretty loud, however, this one decided he also needed to give a blast on the air horn as he went by. I think we nearly all jumped out of bed thinking the thing was coming through the door. A few unkind words were uttered on our behalf.

The drive into Lake Argyle was quite spectacular with rocky cliff walls coming right down to the road. Then, there was the first view of the lake which showed a mass of bright blue water that went on for miles. We spent the first afternoon, after setting up in the camp ground, exploring around the dam wall and looking out over the lake on one side and the Ord River on the other. We then went back to the campground and had a swim in the infinity pool which is positioned on the cliff top overlooking the lake.A bit cold but well worth it.

Lake Argyle is the largest body of freshwater in inland Australia. It is 55km long and 40km wide at its longest and widest points and has an area of 1,000 square km. It is known as an inland sea because the wind can actually whip up waves up to 2 metres high at times. Its construction was a huge engineering feat that started in 1969 and finished in 1972. It could only be worked on during the dry seasons. Its use is to dam the water from the Ord River so that the area of Kununurra, about 40km further up the Ord River, could have a constant, steady supply of water for irrigation. Of the water that passes through the dam wall each day in the dry season, only 20% can be captured for irrigation use with the rest flowing out into the ocean at the top of Australia. In the wet season the water that is lost is substantially more. On our tour we were quoted numerous numbers about water lost, evaporation, water passing over the dam walls etc, but they were all to large and confusing to remember.

The next day we explored the area further inland which included a tour of the old Durack family homestead. This homestead was originally located in the middle of what was to be flooded by Lake Argyle and was relocated to its currently site by dismantling and then reconstructing. The Durack family have a big history in the area and surrendered there leasehold land back to the WA government so that the lake could be constructed in 1972. In the afternoon we went on our sunset tour on the lake. This was excellent as you got some great views all around the lake, with some great commentary. The tour also included a sunset swim and drinks and nibbles. A great way to finish off our stay here.

Another tree - this one's a Boab for those who don't know

WA border quarantine station 

We have now visited every state and territory

Drive into Lake Argyle

Lake Argyle with dam wall in foreground 

Ord River on top side of Lake Argyle (just below dam wall)

Swimming in infinity pool at our campground

Cruising on the lake

Freshy. These are all around the lake.

This is your captain Nate

And this is also your captain Jacob

Sunset over the lake

Vicki and the boys enjoying their sunset swim in Lake Argyle

Spillway Creek as it was when we crossed

Picture of the pictures of Spillway Creek in flood

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