After leaving Nowhere in a hurry early Thursday morning, we had a very pleasant drive through the eastern parts of the Kimberley region.
We were 328 kilometres away from our destination, and factoring in a few stops for breakfast (and more coffee), it took us a little over three and a half hours to traverse some of the prettiest country we’ve ever driven through. We felt honoured to see it all decked out in various colours of the green spectrum.
Everywhere we’ve been and everywhere we go has its own element of beauty, its own special something, but the mountain ranges and countryside in and around Purnululu National Park are a very special place indeed.
This is where you find the Bungle Bungle Range, and (once again) if the track wasn’t so rugged, if the track wasn’t so wet from the overnight downpour, we might have been tempted. If the track had been opened and we weren’t travelling alone, we certainly would have been tempted.
But sometimes you have to say “It’s just not safe solo!” And move on.
And so we did, to Lake Argyle, Australia’s second-largest artificial lake by area. (Lake Gordon/Lake Pedder, in Tasmania, is the largest) And what better way to enjoy it than to take a sunset cruise, complete with beer and wine, and cheese and crackers.
Just to set the record straight, the name of the cruise had nothing to do with what we saw. There was no spectacular sunset (we’re still waiting to see one of those), but the cruise was no less enjoyable and no less eventful for the lack of a setting sun to the west.
With some rather dark clouds rolling in around the time we were due to depart, we feared the cruise would be cancelled, and once again, we would miss out on something we’d planned to do.
This was not the case and the cruise went ahead as scheduled. Our skipper assured us everything would be fine, but with the thunderous sounds of lightening starting to boom and crash all around us, we were again reminded of the fate of The Minnow and were hoping our luck would hold out a little better than the Skipper and Gilligan – and their passengers. The following photos were taken only a few minutes apart and only minutes after we departed.
Our skipper Tracy was lovely and full of knowledge about the history of the area, and the lake created by the construction of an incredibly small dam wall. The dam wall is only 335 metres long (1,099 feet), and 98 metres high (322 feet). Amazing when you consider that that relatively small wall is currently holding back nineteen times the amount of water in Sydney Harbour. The lake has a shoreline of over 900 kilometres and a storage capacity, to the top of the spillway, of 10,763 gigalitres.
Converting that into layman’s thinking, Tracy informed us the lake currently holds enough water to supply all of Australia’s water demand for 35 days – now that’s a lot of water.
Like many other parts of the Kimberley, the rock formations are unusual and unique, attracting geologists from all over the world to study the forces of nature that created this:
This is a pretty special place indeed.
Thoughts on Location No 82 – Lake Argyle, Kimberley, Western Australia
We stayed at Lake Argyle Resort and Caravan Park and for the first time in what seems like an eternity, we went for a bushwalk to The Bluff Lookout, a (nor so rough) five-kilometre path from the resort to the clifftop on Banangum Ridge. Here we had a fantastic view of the lake (as featured above) as well as encounters with spiders, ants, dragon flies and all manner of creepy crawlies.
The walk took us a little under two hours return. We’d set out at 6:00 am and had turned around to return just before 7:30 am.
By then the sun was already biting and the heat creeping towards the top of the mercury. Thankfully, the resort had a wonderful pool, and infinity pool actually, and not only was the water cool, but the view was something special also.
The resort was full, well at least the chalets were, but the park itself was rather empty at one point, (just before the weekend) save for ourselves and three other couples from Queensland.
It was nice to know we aren’t the only people interested in being in this part of the country at this time of the year.
In 1996, Ord Hydro Pty Ltd constructed a 30-megawatt hydro-power station providing a clean and renewable energy source. The station is located at the base of the Ord River Dam.
The installation of this hydroelectricity power station has reduced the consumption of diesel fuel in the East Kimberley by about 60 million litres per year.