This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

2007 Travels June 28

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THURSDAY 28 JUNE     KUNUNURRA

M did her Triple J tour today. She had a fine day for it, though there was still some cloud about.

She was collected from the caravan park before 9am. They travelled by boat up the Ord River, from near this caravan park, to the Argyle Dam wall, where they disembarked at a small landing there. Lunch was provided at the tavern at Lake Argyle. A ground tour of the key features followed, like the dam wall and the reconstructed Durack Homestead.

Lake Argyle hydro scheme from dam wall. Boat landing on left

Patrick Durack, the founder of the Kimberley Durack dynasty, arrived in the Kimberley after an epic cattle drive. He built a substantial homestead on his Argyle Downs station, completing it in 1895. The site of this is now well under the waters of Lake Argyle, but before it flooded, the homestead was carefully taken apart, to be rebuilt above the water level. Even graves were relocated. It was to be a monument of sorts, to the pivotal role of the Durack family in opening up the Kimberley.

After the ground tour, the group took to another boat, on Lake Argyle itself, for the sunset boat tour, well lubricated with bubbly! Given that there was still some cloud about, they experienced a slightly different sunset to most groups, but it was very spectacular.

Lake Argyle – just a very little part of it

It was – obviously – well after dark when the bus deposited M back at the caravan park. It had been a full day. She enjoyed it, despite it still being windy and cold.

Ord River on Zoom. Red marks show pick up point and end of river trip

John spent much of the day messing about on his laptop.

Times like this, when we were largely confined to van by weather, and not going anywhere, were – fortunately – pretty rare on our travels. In what was essentially a 6 foot by 14 foot box, it didn’t take too long to start going stir-crazy.

I read and tried to do some planning for a possible trip to the Bungles and the Gibb River Road, and points beyond. One fact stood out – it was going to be expensive! Everyone in the more remote parts had to make their tourist profits in a very short window of time, and the charges reflected this. Even the basic campgrounds were relatively costly – and the tourist guide was emphatic that camping was allowed “in designated areas ONLY.” Gone were the days when one could pitch a camp in any lovely spot that caught the eye – too many such campers polluting the streams, leaving rubbish – and worse – and interfering with station activities.

A dilemma for us was what to do about the van. It was not allowed into the Bungles. Did we do a Bungles trip, with the van left here (or at Turkey Creek), then double back, collect it and take it through the Gibb? With the recent massive rains, how high would the Pentecost River be at the crossing on the Gibb  – really didn’t want water above the van’s floor level! Hmmmm……..

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