Lakeside out of nowhere

Lake Argyle is the biggest artificial lake in the Southern hemisphere. It’s formed by a dam in the Ord river and makes a great place for a rest on a road trip to the Gibb River Road. I went to lake Argyle as part of tour from Darwin to Broome. It was a totally unexpected sight, the bright blue water in contrast to to dry surroundings. It wasn’t something I would visit if it wasn’t on the tour, but its beauty surprised me and the experience I had there I will never forget.

The sun was shining, so it was great to board a boat and cool down from the light breeze caused by the movement. Lake Argyle is a great place to see wildlife. We stopped near some rocks that housed rockwallabies. The small kangaroo like animals didn’t seem to mind the sun. They were hopping around, perhaps to collect the food our guide threw onto the rocks.

Next was a swim stop. We anchored the boat and jumped into the refreshing water. Some of our own rockwallabies in the group decided to do some cliff jumping, the entertainment for the rest of us. Besides wallabies there are fresh water crocodiles around the lake. Wait a minute? Didn’t we just have a swim? Of course they waited unitl that was over to show us the luring eyes of the crocodiles. Apparently there are about 25.000 of them here, but they are not dangerous unless disturbed. Besides, they don’t eat anything as big as a human and they don’t like the deep water. I still wasn’t reassured.

Close to the crocodiles we got to feed some fish. Sounds pretty dull, but turned out to be really exciting. We all got pieces of white bread. If you held the bread out above the water, the catfish would spit at you. Hilarious! After we got bored watching the fish spit, we threw the bread into the water to see the catfish fight for the most delicious piece.

It wasn’t all relaxing though. We’d all packed a small pack for the night, which we would spend on a deserted island in the lake. Everything had to be brought onto the island and we unrolled our swags, a sort of sleeping bag with mattress, and set up our cooking gear. After that we tried our luck at some fishing. Back on the boat, we saw some Wallaroos on the island and pelicans were floating on the water. There was a sunset swim, but unfortunately we didn’t catch any fish big enough for our meal.

Luckily our guide came prepared with some meat for on the barbie and we had a meal fit for a king. A meal cooked on the fire: kangaroo, beef, lamb and chicken. It was nearly full moon, so the stars were not as spectacular as they could be, but still impressive compared to the cities. I woke up around 4AM; the moon had gone, and the stars were bright and plentiful. About an hour later the sun came up in dazzling colors.

At six we were on the boat and in the water again. One last swim on this brilliant lake. It was already so hot, it could have been midday. Lake Argyle was a very special place that I wouldn’t have easily visited on my own. It’s worth it though, especially if you can stay on one of the islands.

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