The Wandering Tops

The Wandering Tops

22 July, 2013


We had been fortunate enough to meet Michael & Kate at the Zebra Rock Mine camp site, who live in Kununurra and have a lake side block which we were offered if we would like during our stay in the area.  As we had initially thought we may only do our shopping and quickly pass through we thought this could be a great opportunity to a look at some other points of interest around Kununurra. After following Michaels mud map we found the spot.   Well this is a dream camp site and we could not believe how lucky we were to be able to say there :0)

It was then that we also decided to do the Triple J Tour on recommendation from Norm and Michael.
Our dream camp site on Lake Kununurra

Hels could not believe .... how lucky!!

Even the odd V8 rumble and wakeboarder

Looking east along the river at sunset

Our panoramic view
The van well protected by beautiful big trees
We booked onto the Saturday Triple J Tour which picked us up from Freshwater Apartments at 9 am for the boat cruise along the Ord River to Lake Argyle and returned us back to Kununurra at 3.30pm by bus.  We travelled 55km by boat, just the boat ride was exhilarating enough with the 3, 350 V8 Yamahas pushing us along and the ride had the feel of a jet boat as we travelled through the rapid water in the upper section climbing 10m to the base of the dam wall.

Commentary was given by Grant the tour guide stopping at various points of interest along the way and using the drop down map to point out the locations. Our tour included a smorgasbord lunch, not knowing exactly what to expect we were again gob smacked as we stopped at their remote site to find eco friendly toilets and tables and benches.  As Grant hurried around to get the lunch out on tables we had nibbles and drinks.  Another amazing lunch with special Triple J pickled egg salad, no one went hungry and I only heard compliments as Grant quickly packed all the empty dishes and cutlery back in the eskys as we boarded the boat.

As it turns out our tour coincided with the 50 year celebration of the Diversion Dam being built in 1963, this also forms part of the road you travel over when heading west from Kununurra.  The diversion dam controls the level for irrigation going out to the Ivanhoe irrigation area while always maintaining a flow in the Ord River and the level in Lake Kununurra.  It was because of this dam that the town of Kununurra was established.  Later in 1972 the second dam was constructed 55km up stream from Kununurra which created Lake Argyle.  As a result of Lake Argyle the wet lands which we travelled through on the Zebra Rock Mine tour (previous blog) became into existence.

It is difficult for me to describe how great it was to travel along this section of river, it's very remote and only accessible by boat so another Kimberley wilderness.  I hope the piccies help but still it's one of those experiences that you can't really capture in a photo.  We did pass some canoeists who had their swags to travel down camping along the way ...... maybe next time.

Triple J cruise boat
The lower section of the trip

3 Yamaha 350 V8's

One of many stops when Grant provided detail commentary

Our lunch stop, green eco friendly loos

This is the narrowest section along the 55km of the Ord.  In a good wet season this can rise 6 meters.

Grant on the job .... what an office

Our first glimpse of the Argyle Dam wall.
Once we reached the base of the dam wall we thanked Grant as we disembarked to get on the bus which took us to the top of the dam wall and on to visit lake Argyle caravan park and the

From the top of the dam wall looking across Lake Argyle

Looking back on the Ord where we had disembarked.  The hydro powerstation on the right 2 units 30MW.

The caravan park pool over looking Lake Argyle, as you cam see a great photo opportunity that couldn't be missed.

The original Durack homestead (Durack being a pioneering family) site is now under water in Lake Argyle however prior to the Lake construction the stones from the homestead were dismantled, marked and stored until such time as it was rebuilt in its current position.  Grave site headstones were also relocated to its present position.  Was interesting walking through the homestead as doorways were aligned to create a breeze way from all sides. 

Headstones of the Durack family were also relocated to the grounds

From the homestead we were transported back to Kununurra with the driver giving us commentary regarding history of the Durack Family.  If anyone has the opportunity to visit Kununurra we would thoroughly recommend the 'Triple J Tours'.

Sunday we travelled into Town checking out a few sights before heading out to Ivanhoe Crossing.  Couldn't spot any crocs so headed back to camp, set up the chairs and with drink in hand, watched all the week-end river traffic coming back from a day of fishing, sightseeing, skiing & wakeboarding.

On Monday we were up early (even Hels is up as the sun comes up around 5.30am) and drove up to Wyndham, approx. 100km north of Kununurra for the day.  Sad to see a lot of the buildings closed and vacant as when we first visited the town back in 1980 the meatworks was still operational and the town was 'alive'.  Hels was looking forward to visiting the Bakery as she remembered sitting at the lookout eating the biggest vanilla slice she had ever seen!  Unfortunately the Bakery is long gone so had to visit the look out empty handed!  Was back in Kununurra for late lunch at the Kimberley CafĂ© before coming back to camp for relax and watching the River run by and another sunset (moon rise).

Wyndham pioneer cemetery, contains 12 workers who died during the construction of the meatworks

Wyndham from the lookout

Some cool dude looking at Wyndham harour

Same cool dude tickling the Wyndham croc

Our view while having happy hour drinks

We set off for Derby on Wednesday after a great 6 days on the banks of the Ord River.


Shell said...

Hi Geoff & Hels,
Great post made me feel like I was there, loved the pictures. It is on our bucket list :)
Happy Travels,
Cheers Shell

Geoff n Hels said...

Hi Shell,
Thanks was a great trip. Got another spot to tick of the bucket list next week, so hopefully some great pics.
Cheers Geoff