Lake Argyle is approximately 75 kilometres from Kununurra, in the East Kimberley region at the end of one of the most scenic drives in Australia. Formed by the damming of the mighty Ord River, Lake Argyle is classified as an inland sea and at its peak holds a staggering 10.7 billion cubic metres of water. Just to put that figure in perspective, that’s more than 18 times the size of Sydney Harbour!
Part of the Ord River Irrigation Scheme, Lake Argyle is one of the largest man-made lakes in the southern hemisphere and the largest reservoir of freshwater in Australia when in flood, second only to Lake Pedder in Tasmania at normal supply level. Once a great valley home to the local Mirriwung Gajjerong people, the area is now home to more than 70 islands, and has created a truly unique ecosystem.
Australia's Top End and the Kimberley await with adventures to be had, dreamtime culture to enlighten and glorious nature to explore. Marvel at the termite mounds of Litchfield National Park, see Rock Art and cruise the Yellow Water wetlands in Kakadu, discover Katherine Gorge and the Ord River, soar above the Bungle Bungles, see the Derby Boab Tree for yourself, then finish with a camel ride on stunning Cable Beach.
Take a Lake Argyle cruise from the Mighty Ord River, and you’ll meet the most incredible variety of native fauna. There are freshwater crocodiles (an estimated 35,000 of them) and 26 species of native fish including barramundi, archer fish, bony bream, and the quaintly named mouth almighty, forktail catfish, and sleepy cod.
Lake Argyle is a protected wetland and an important bird area with more than 240 species of birds - almost one-third of the known species in Australia. The mudflats and grasslands support around 150,000 waterbirds and migratory wader bird species from the northern hemisphere. Some are considered to be internationally significant and there’s also a healthy population of the near-threatened Australian bustards.
Throughout the year the land masses in and around Lake Argyle bring new life, from crocodile hatchlings to millions of Golden Orb Weaver Spiders and Basket Spiders that construct enormous webs, sometimes covering a whole tree!
There is much to explore in the surrounding areas of Lake Argyle and Kununurra. Enjoy a magnificent scenic flight over Lake Argyle, the Bungle Bungles, and the Argyle Diamond Mine. Take a cruise on the mighty Ord River and learn about the lake and its wildlife inhabitants.
The Argyle Diamond Mine opens its doors for guided tours. The mine is the world's largest supplier of natural-coloured diamonds, including the rare Argyle pink diamond. See how man has tamed nature at the Ord Hydro Plant, the 30-megawatt hydro-power station located at the base of the Ord River Dam that provides clean, renewable energy.
Visit Artlandish Aboriginal Art Gallery and view the high-quality, authentic aboriginal artwork or step back in time at Durack Homestead Museum. Take a drive through the rich farming land of the Packsaddle Plains and pop into Hoochery Distillery, the oldest continually operating ‘legal’ still in Western Australia.
Lake Argyle is one of the largest man-made freshwater reservoirs in the world. It has a surface area of approximately 1,000 square kilometres.
The storage capacity, to the top of the spillway, is 10,763 gigalitres with the usual storage volume sitting at around 5,797 gigalitres.
At maximum flood level, Lake Argyle would hold 35,000 gigalitres of water and cover an area of 2,072 square kilometres. That’s a LOT of water!
In 1967, the Commonwealth Government provided a grant for the construction of the Ord River Dam which was formed by an earth and rock-filled dam in the Carr Boyd Ranges.
The dam was completed in 1971, officially opened the following year, and named after ‘Argyle Downs,’ the property that was partly submerged in the dam building process.
Yes! You can take a scenic flight that takes in the wonders of Lake Argyle, the fascinating Bungle Bungle Range, and the massive Argyle Diamond Mine.
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