A Summer Holiday Down Under
Part 9: Kimberley to Kununurra
18th and 19th July 2008. Days 21 and 22.
In brief : We leave the superb Kimberley Coastal Camp and complete the circle back at Kununurra. We had already booked a Lake Tour before we left a few weeks ago, so as to avoid the feeling that we've started back on our return journey already.
Weather : Kimberley Blue - we're quite getting used to the delightful predictability of it all.
The Ord River Diversion Dam as we make our final approach to Kununurra Airport.
This would be our last morning at the camp.
After another fine breakfast it is time to pack our bags and get ready to leave.
We're just gathering our gear and see, through the mesh window of the cabin, the arrival of the helicopter.
The incoming transport has brought fresh supplies for the campand the ground crew off-load the goodies
fresh fruit and veg and all the other day to day shopping requirements they need !
We're up and away
heading for Mitchell Plateau, the high ground at the far end of the bay.
Flying low over the Mitchell River we make our way inland.
The sandy river banks are lined with Mangrove trees which are no doubt home to large numbers of crocodiles.
From the air, we say our goodbyes to the bay that has been home for the last five days.
The camp is on the peninsular in the centre, the Mitchell River is to the left, the Lawley River where we met Bucky to the right.
Steep Head Island, where we had lunch on the beach, is presumably the first tall island across the bay to the right of the photo.
Looking down on the artistic meanderings of the estuary.
We've gone full circle on our trip out here, but the holiday isn't quite over yet.
Dean our aircraft pilot now changes vehicles to drive the Heliwork people carrier, so after a short car journey we're back at the Lakeside Apartments.
The Kununurra Information Centre.
We walked into town to do a little shopping (souvenirs and tomorrows breakfast) and then enjoyed a late lunch in the Boab Bookshop and cafe.
Next morning we have a trip planned and we are up early again . . . it's getting a habit !
Across the Lilly Pond is the "Sleeping Buddha", the sandstone rock hills reflecting the early morning sunshine.
Our bus arrived and proceeded on a short tour of town, collecting the other passengers for the Lake Argyle Tour.
First stop, the old Durack Homestead house.
This is an old and solidly built stone house that was the centre of the Durack Family cattle station.
It was saved from flooding by the Lake Argyle water and re-built on a headland overlooking the new reservoir. It is now a museum and heritage centre. Unfortunately the speed at which the waters rose, and the difficulty of access in the wet season, meant that the other outbuildings were never rescued, and they lie to this day, submerged at the far end of the lake.
We visited the dam and looked down on the Ord River.
The initial scheme in the 1960's was a small Diversion Dam downstream at Kununurra, but the seasonal flows were too erratic to ensure a regular off-take of irrigation water. The main Lake Argyle dam acts as a regulatory dam to balance the water flow in the river over the differing seasons. They generate enough hydro power here to supply both Kununurra and Wyndham townships and replaces the old diesel power stations that were used previously.
By closing off this narrow gorge, they have created the largest man made lake in Australia, Lake Argyle.
Our trip included the coach ride, visiting the Homestead on the way, lunch and a video in the visitor's centre
and now a lake tour on this rather interesting looking fast catamaran, Kimberley Durack.
First stop, a chance to see the Rock Wallabies that live around the lake.
Despite the use of the plural noun, don't try looking for any more as there's only one in the picture !
We cruise the lake, Travis giving us an interesting commentary as we go.
This is a Fresh Water Crocodile and they are quite common on the lake.
He / she's about 2-3 metres long and has a much thinner, less muscular snout than the salt water variety.
Whilst they are not considered dangerous to humans, as they are quite shy, I still wouldn't want to upset one !
You are allowed to camp on the islands in the lake if you wish, but the park authorities insist on a no fires policy, that you have a boat available at all times and that the boat has onboard facilities including a toilet to prevent pollution.
This effectively has stopped overnight camping out here. I'm not sure I'd fancy it anyway, with the neighbours like we have just met.
The Archer fish have developed the skill of shooting down flies by squirting water several feet up into the air and effectively knocking their food out of the sky.
We duplicate this by holding out crumbs of fish food at arms length. If they squirt your hand then you drop the food as a reward. Very impressive !
The activity attracts the catfish too, and they go berserk over a handful of food thrown directly into the water !
Peace and quiet returns as we move on.
Sit back and enjoy the ride.
While moving from one location to another, the boat manages an impressive turn of speed.
The sun is staring to set now and the rich colours are reflected in the sandstone hills and islands.
The far end of the lake was so far away it was beyond the horizon. The Durack Ranch was up there somewhere.
We moor up in a small bay to enjoy the last of the sunshine. It was a sunset cruise after all.
On the brochure it also advertised "Bring your bathers" as there's chance to swim in the lake . . .
I found a float pole too, as drinking bubbly and trying to tread water at the same time is more difficult than you think !
The last of the sun for today.
Ann and a fellow passenger enjoy the views as the sun goes down.
Sunset over Lake Argyle.
All that remained was to enjoy that fast boat ride back to the landing stage.
- - - o o o - - -
Technical note: Pictures taken with my Cannon G7 or Ann's Ixus 75 Digital cameras.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . an extra sunrise surprise when you're not expecting it.