Lake Argyle in the Kimberleys is the second largest freshwater reservoir on the Ord River. It is part of the Ord River Irrigation Scheme and keeps Lake Kununurra at a constant level, downstream on the Ord River.
The Ord River then flows into the Scambridge Gulf, one of five rivers seen at the Five Rivers Lookout on the other side of Kununurra.
Lake Argyle and the irrigation scheme were originally created to support rice crops, however, waterfowl were eating the rice shoots too quickly for rice to be a viable crop.
The dam caused problems with the eco-system along the Ord River but it also created a new eco-system and is now recognised as an important wetlands area.
The lake is stunning, especially with the contrasting colours of the blue sky and water and the red cliffs and mountains surrounding it. The green grass and trees further adds to this beautiful place.
There is plenty of things to do around Lake Argyle, with activities you can do yourself or one of the tours on and around Lake Argyle.
Fishing in the lake can provide you a meal with barramundi, southern saratoga, archer fish, sleepy cod and others to be found in the lake. There is a boat ramp you can launch your own boat in if you wish to spend some time on the water. With around 70 islands in the lake there is plenty of places to explore or enjoy some water sports like canoeing or water-skiing.
Swimming in the lake is done too. The lake has a large population of freshwater crocodiles which don’t normally attach people. Salt water crocodiles have been found in the lake at times but is not common. Tours will offer swimming in the deeper waters where crocodiles are not likely to be as they stick closer to the shore.
For those who are fit and want to participant in some non-water activities surrounding the lakes, there you can participate in mountain biking and bush walks.
The Rotary Lake Argyle Mountain Bike Track is a circuit track built by volunteers and just shy of 5kms. The track takes in the great scenery around the lake with sights of Lake Argyle and the surrounding hills.
Bush walking trails are around Lake Argyle, taking in the rugged and stunning scenery. Pannikin Bay Lookout has a short walk for those without a 4wd, or a moderate 5km walk along The Bluff Walk Trail takes you on the southern part of the Banagum Ridge with cliff top views over the lake and towards Pannikin Bay. You can find out about the walking trails in the village of Lake Argyle.
We stayed at the Lake Argyle Resort and Caravan Park where you can admire the splendour of Lake Argyle from and use as a base when heading out for tours and activities. Your stay would not be complete without a visit to the infinity pool with the amazing backdrop of Lake Argyle behind it. Having a swim in the infinity pool is one of the first things we did after setting up the caravan.
If you are worried about having a swim in Lake Argyle because of the small possibility of sharing company with a salt water crocodile or one of the many fresh water crocodiles, then the infinity pool is definitely a way to have a cooling dip and still take in the beautiful scenery.
The Infinity Pool is open to all guests at the resort, including those who are camping or caravanning. There is a grassy section just below the pool, which is where the main photo was taken from.
Day passes are available also, so you can experience the infinity pool even if you are not staying there. Lake Argyle is close enough to Kununurra to come for a day trip if you prefer to stay there. There is enough to do around Lake Argyle for more than one day though, so staying at Lake Argyle is worth the effort. We stayed for 3 nights at the lake.
We took a sunset cruise which started at 2pm, taking us to the dam wall and down to the bottom of the wall where the turbines are for generating electricity. The tour guide pointed out where the spillway is, which started to flow a couple of years after it was constructed and continued to flow for nearly 10 years.
On the cruise we saw some fresh water crocodiles, pelicans and other birds. It rained quite a lot which is very rare during the dry season, so it was a bit of a treat really. We stopped in a sheltered spot where some jumped in for a swim.
To get there:
From Kununurra, head east on the Victoria Hwy about 33km. Turn right into Lake Argyle Rd at the brown sign for Lake Argyle (Ord Dam). Follow Lake Argyle Rd for about 34km to reach Lake Argyle Tourist Village. The dam wall is about another 1.5km further on.
From the Northern Territory/Western Australia border, continue west on Victoria Hwy for 6.8km and turn left into Lake Argyle Rd at the brown sign for Lake Argyle (Ord Dam). Follow Lake Argyle Rd for about 34km to reach Lake Argyle Tourist Village. The dam wall is about another 1.5km further on.