Visit Lake Argyle. (BL#11
Lake Argyle was high on my list of places to see and I chose a Day Tour for $195. I booked tour from the Ivanhoe Caravan Park and the lady automatically gave me the senior discount. Only $5 off the adult fare but every bit helps. Rene, our driver picked us up from the front entrance to the caravan park at 10am on the dot and we stopped at another couple of parks and accommodation places to pick up further passengers. The drive is about 35km to the turnoff off the highway and then another 34km to the lake itself. Throughout the pleasant drive Rene gave a commentary on Kununurra, Lake Argyle and the Ord River. It was very informative and gave us a heads up on some of the things we could expect to see during our cruise around Lake Argyle. We stopped at the Durack Homestead Museum which was removed some 17km from its original site prior to the land being flooded by the building of the Dam. The Durack family are considered the pioneering family in the district having built the homestead in 1895. The building was removed in 1970 stone by stone and has been reconstructed on its present site. It is well worth a look as the homestead is set out exactly as it was in its original form with plenty of historical facts.
After a half hour visit to the Museum we headed into Lake Argyle Village to change to a larger bus prior to picking up more people at the Caravan Park. We then headed to the jetty area to board our cruise boat. There were about 30 people aboard the boat which had a capacity of about 40 persons so plenty of room to move about. Greg Smith is the owner/operator of the cruise and what he doesn’t know about Lake Argyle isn’t worth knowing, having spent the past 20 years running the cruise. To say the lake is vast would be to sell it short. It is an enormous body of water, 21 times the volume of Sydney Harbour at its peak. Having spent some 30 years living in Perth and hearing the constant need to preserve water and suffering constant sprinkler bans it is hard to see why they don’t build the pipeline that has been mooted since Ernie Bridge first raised the idea back in the late early nineties. They keep saying the cost is prohibitive but 75% of the water in Lake Argyle still goes to waste. Yes, only 25% of the available water is used for irrigation. Sorry I will get back off my soapbox now.
We headed around the cliffs on the lake to see Rock Wallaby’s coming down to look at us and saw and fed a multitude of fish. The birdlife on the lake is a paradise for bird watchers with literally hundreds of different varieties. We were able to get up pretty close to some and of course there are plenty of crocs to see as well. We stopped at Montague Island to fossick for Zebra Rock and as the sun faded we stopped for a swim against the backdrop of magnificent cliffs and a setting sun to the west. Whilst in the water we enjoyed an ice cold beer (or Champaign if you prefer) and nibbles from a floating upturned esky lid. Just a magic end to a magnificent day. We cruised back to the jetty as the sun cast its last shadows and were back at our Caravan Park just after 7pm. The best value cruise I have ever been on and certainly a highlight of my 5 months on the road.