Saturday, September 1, 2018

Lake Argyle and Ord River -- 8 Sep 2018

All good things come to an end .. But not necessarily a good end.  Happy to report that my final day of Kimberley exploration was superb.

It was a two part story.  

Part 1 was a luncheon cruise on Lake Argyle.  Bus pickup at 8.30, with a 70km drive to the lake.  On the way we stopped at the relocated Durack homestead.  The entire Durack cattle empire today lies submerged below the lake.  Before the dam wall was completed and flooding began, the historic homestead was dismantled stone by stone, carefully numbered, and re-assembled on land above the level of the proposed lake.  Today it houses a museum of all things Durack, including maps of the extraordinary 2.5 year cattle drive from the Diamentina to the Kimberley by the Durack brothers.

There were about 20 of us on the cruise in a very comfortable tour boat capable of quite some speed.  We had a 2 female crew, and the captain's information flow was very good.  Lots of trivia -- like the lake at the moment holds 21 Sydney Harbours in volume; in the 2006 flood, double that.  The lake loses 120,000 litres of water per second through evaporation!  The dam wall is rock and clay .. No concrete except for the road surface across the spillway.  We pulled in to a small cove just around the corner from the Argyle Diamond Mine for lunch .. A very substantial meal of fish, cold meats and salads with beer, wine or soft drink.  Those inclined could also swim off the back of the boat before lunch .. A few hardy souls did.

Part 2 started on return to the caravan park at the dam wall.  Bus took us down to the bottom of the wall where we hopped aboard a smaller high speed tour boat (45kph most of the way).  We set off on a 55km down river run from Lake Argyle to Kununurra.  The scenery along the way was varied and ever changing ... High cliffs closing in narrow stretches of the river;  wide lazy flowing stretches with plenty of fresh water crocodiles sunning themselves.  And our guide took us up some backwaters bird spotting or to point out native trees of the area.  Halfway down we landed for a comfort break and afternoon tea. Perfect timing had us arrive on the home wide stretch of the river called Lake Kununurra just as the sun set ... My 3rd sunset over water on the trip!

I took a few photos, but was all the more aware of how limited the camera really is (unless you are Steve Parrish) in capturing the grandeur of water and mountain, of forest and plain.  The human eye can capture and enjoy the richness and depth and spread of it all, but the camera just snaps a tiny segment that does not do justice to what one is actually experiencing.  For that reason on this trip I have taken many fewer it has been a scenic odyssey rather than an historic documentary as my previous voyages have been.  No famous buildings to film or statues to capture or galleries to portray.  Just the wild of Australia's north-west!

As to the photos I did take, I will add them as soon as I get home.  Internet connection has been inadequate for the uploads involved, so I have given up. 

A few final observations.  The Pajero ran faultlessly.  I only travelled 250km in 4WD .. All the rest was on sealed roads and 110 kph limit.  Cruise control makes the time behind the wheel much less stressful.  This car is fitted with an intelligent cruise control.  You set you maximum speed (say 110 kph) and sail along until you come up behind a slower vehicle.  Your car automatically slows to keep you a safe distance behind until you intervene to overtake or the other car turns off.  Then it speeds up to your set speed again.  Brilliant!  The other noticeable feature of the drive has been the almost total lack of road kill.  I think I have seen no more than 5 dead wallabies in 1000km of driving.  In country Queensland you would see as much in just a couple of km.  Final note:  dehydration is a real risk in these parts and one always needs a couple of bottles of water on board for regular gulps.

Tomorrow I will do a little local sightseeing, turn the car in at the airport at 3pm, and hopefully leave on time at 4 for the flight to Perth, thence on to Brisbane.  Here's hoping for a good tail wind to speed the overnight journey.

Today's pictorial record is here.

No comments:

Post a Comment