A Sunset Cruise On Lake Argyle: My Unexpected Bucket List Addition

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Today, I want to start off by asking you guys your opinion.

Can you add something to your bucket list during or after the event?

I know how everyone bangs on about creating their bucket list and going through life ticking things off. But if I’m honest with you, I’m far too spontaneous about my travel plans to ever be that organised.

However, was recently enjoying something so incredible that as it was happening I realised this had Bucket List written all over it. So I’m going to bend the rules in this case and tell you that you need to add a sunset cruise on Lake Argyle in Western Australia onto your lists, as it’s certainly being backdated on to mine.

Lake Argyle

Lake Argyle is situated close to the border between Western Australia and the Northern Territory. It sits on the fringes of a beautiful and remote region of Australia called The Kimberley, which I was fortunate enough to explore on a brilliant nine day trip recently following my time in Darwin.  It is only 70km away from one of Australia’s newest towns, Kununurra, which was created as a service centre for the region’s growing tourism and agriculture industries.

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It is an entirely man-made storage reservoir that was created as part of an irrigation system on the River Ord. Whilst this doesn’t sound particularly interesting, knowing that that the lake itself has the capacity of 18 Sydney Harbours and is one of the world’s largest man-made water bodies is pretty cool. The dam’s existence is essential to maintain the successful livestock farming in this semi-desert area. Without it, the agriculture in this area would be fighting a survival battle against the intense dry seasons and wild storms of the wet.

Now, if that still doesn’t impress you, then taking a look at the lake certainly will. Because, it’s huge. It’s so vast that pictures are useless in capturing the size. Remember, we’re talking 18 Sydney Harbours here.

I was excited to see more.

Cruising On The Lake

We joined our skipper, Matt, on a small boat from the fleet at Lake Argyle Cruises. We set off from the jetty at about 3.30pm and headed off across the sapphire blue water, which was as smooth as glass.

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Our skipper Matt explaining about the lake

As we sat back with a platter of cheese and crackers on board, beers in hand, I felt supremely content as we zipped across the lake. The temperature was beautiful, as although it was hot, the warm breeze as we motored across the mirror-like surface was like a balm on my skin.

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Animal Encounters

The cliffs of the Carr Boyd Ranges that encircle the lake do not have much vegetation on their scraggy faces, so you could be forgiven for thinking that this area wouldn’t be abundant in wildlife. However, the boat pulled up alongside a section of the rock face and unexpected to me, and the others on the boat, we found ourselves face to face with tiny, inquisitive rock wallabies.

These adorable and agile little creatures often live in rugged and steep terrain. They are nocturnal and emerge from their shelters at dusk to forage.

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Just minutes into a boat cruise, I hadn’t expected to be nose-to-nose with such cuteness!

Further into the trip we pulled up at more shallow areas of the lake where the reeds and vegetation floated under the water to give it an almost wetland-like feel. Our skipper explained that these sheltered areas were perfect nurseries for baby freshwater crocodiles.

Sure enough, our eyes soon picked out the distinctive ripple in the water of a baby crocodile’s back.

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The freshwater crocodile is endemic to northern parts of Australia and unlike their larger, fearsome cousin the saltwater croc, they are not known as man-eaters and rarely cause fatalities.

We also spotted the Golden Orb spider, which spins a web with a golden-yellow thread that glints in the sunshine.

A Sunset Swim

Comforted by the knowledge that we were not going to become dinner for a hungry freshie, we were keen to leap off the side of the boat and into the water when our skipper cut the engine a little while later.

The sun was gradually sinking to touch the hills around the lake and it was time for the newest addition to my bucket list to be realised:

Swimming in the middle of a gigantic lake in a remote part of the Australian outback at sunset.

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Apart from our voices and the splashing of our bodies in the water, there was absolute silence. We were alone on the lake, kilometres from anywhere.

Buoyed up by my flotation device, I simply hung there in the water with my beer in hand, watching the day give way to evening.

Slowly, the sky gave up the sun and surrendered to the orange and yellow hues of a magnificent sunset.

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Just absolute perfection.

It was in this moment, out on the peace and quiet of the largest capacity dam in Australia, that I added this activity to my bucket list.

And, I’ve Not Even Shared The Best Part

I’ve been gushing on about the beautiful lake, when I have neglected to tell you about the cherry on top of the cake. We pitched our tents in the wonderful Lake Argyle campground, high up on the cliff top with killer views overlooking the lake. To cool off we wandered down to the swimming pool.

And, my goodness, what a pool with a view.

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Getting There

Lake Argyle is 500km from Katherine in the Northern Territory and can be accessed by a sealed road from the Victoria Highway. It’s only 7km from the WA/NT border to the turnoff and only 35km down to the lake through the stunning scenery of the Carr Boyd Ranges.

Have you ever visited Lake Argyle or is this a part of Australia that remains a mystery? How do you feel about adding to your bucket list in the sheer bliss of the moment? Do you have an example of when you have done this? Share your thoughts with me in the comments!

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4 Comments

  1. November 23, 2016 / 11:48 PM

    What a beautiful area – north of W.A is a mystery to me, would love to explore that area. Your recent posts are creating a nice little itinerary 🙂

    • November 28, 2016 / 10:32 AM

      Thanks, Lee, much appreciated! It’s a beautiful part of the country and well worth a visit. I’m glad you’re liking the recent blogs; there’s more to come on The Kimberley!

  2. November 27, 2016 / 9:50 PM

    YES you can add items to your bucket list while you’re doing them!

    • November 28, 2016 / 10:31 AM

      And I know you would agree with me for sure on this one!

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