Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Lake Argyle

The UysHuis had slept peacefully at Big Horse Creek, and I thought I'd been up pretty early to cook the rest of our fresh food into a fritatta (Western Australia has a pretty full on quarantine policy to protect its cultivated crops- no honey or fresh fruit and vegetables of any kind are allowed over the border).  We opened the camper door though to find most of the Grey Nomads had already moved out... Probably to beat that horrible queue at the border.

The quarantine queue of one car and a road train filled with worried looking cows.

A three trailer road train, over 50 metres long.
Consoling the cows.

For whatever reason, we were stoked to think we would soon be in WA. The Northern Territory had been great,  sort of like a good first date; a bit of hard work, a lot of exhilaration and wondering whether there's a crocodile about to unexpectedly launch itself at you all at the same time. Anyway, we were excited and approached the border like kids going to Dreamworld, not a big dusty shed and a Welcome to Western Australia sign...


So we took the obligatory photos and headed to our first stop in a fresh state, Lake Argyle, mostly on the recommendation that the caravan park had an amazing pool. Lake Argyle is the second largest dammed lake in Australia, holds 18 Sydney Harbours and regulates the water further downstream in Kununnurra so we can all eat mangoes, pumpkins and the like whenever we want. It's the  walls of the lake which are the most impressive though,  and gave us a taste of what we could expect later in the Kimberley. Crumbly cheddar cheese like  cliffs of red, black and yellow tumble down to the water- it must have been an impressive gorge before the damning (sorry did I misspell that?).

The cool pool in name and nature.

Lake Argyle- the 1% you can see from the campground.

The campground was pretty full but we got the pick of the sites overlooking the gorgeous cliffs and we seemed to be back to the "Keep Out, Hazardous Kids About" buffer though I could still hear someone snoring a few sites over. We checked out the pool which was satisfyingly amazing. The infinity pool looks down the guts of the lake from high up on the walls and you can swim up to the edge and yell out "I'm the King of the Woooorld" at the East Kimberley  until your vocal chords freeze, which they most definitely would- the weather had turned.

Our view from Camp Uys.

The kids being quiet and angelic (yes, it was momentary).

We'd gone from sweating ourselves to sleep to sweating over whether we'd make it through the night, such was the cold. Ha, as if, but it is at this point that I apologise and admit freely that yes Mum and Dad, you were right, we did need that big bulky sleeping bag, and yes, I should have brought along both of them. The days were topping 26 degrees at best and the nights were getting down to around 5 degree not to mention the freeeezing wind coming off the lake. Brrrr. The Northern Territory had changed us. Without warmth of 28 degrees plus at night, getting a full night's sleep had become a fairly haphazard affair.
The army doing sea rescue training on the lake.

My name is LeRoux.

What do you wear when it's cold? A camping hat of course..

What we needed was a good dose of heart warming vegetables,  which you could theoretically get at the park's restaurant of $40+ per meal. I was initially incredulous- here the park had a veritable strangle hold on the  fresh food market since the vast majority of its patrons had dumped theirs at the quarantine point 50kms down the road yet there was not a carrot or apple to be seen. It wasn't until someone  of more financial ilk than I pointed out that the profit margin on a roast with a few vegies is vastly more impressive than that on a couple of pears. Cynical perhaps,  but it sounded justifiably rage enducing as we stared down our carb and protein rich meal of cream, chicken and pasta.

At the outlet. You can see a big camper van on the top of the wall.

On the lake side of the wall.

Anyway, the views  made up for it. And at least Fiela and Marguerite burnt their calorie overload off by swimming in the subzero pool. I don't even want to know what my cholesterol reading is. We spent a few days gazing at the lake, wondering when we'd succumb to scurvy before we pulled up stumps and headed off for our first major Western Australian attraction- Purnululu National Park, or the Bungle Bungles.

Lake Argyle at sunset.

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