Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lake Argyle April 18 2011

 Moonlight on Lake Argyle

 Many years ago we visited Lake Argyle briefly and moved on to Kununurra and while we were there we went on a Cruise of Lake Kununurra so this time we made sure we stayed at Lake Argyle for a couple of nights and went on a cruise there so now we can say we have done both the lakes.
 When we arrived and after setting up we went for a bit of a wander around the grounds and had lovely views over the Lake especially late in the afternoon when there was a wedding being held on the banks/clifftop next to the pool with the most magnificent backdrop of the Lake .

 What a magnificent backdrop for a wedding

another view from the clifftop

 Spillway creek
 The time difference meant we were up early with the heat already turned up, although it had been fairly cool during the night. After breakfast we decided that a visit to the Lookouts where we hoped to get a view of the dam wall etc was in order and that a trip back down the road to Spillway creek for morning tea would be the go.
 Our trip to the Lookouts  rewarded us with great views of the Lake and the dam wall and the Ord River . However we were unable to drive down to the wall due to the high level of the Lake . Next stop was Spillway Creek for a cuppa and a good look at the water that is surging  past the bridge there at over a million litres a second. It really was a sight . while looking around here we found a family fishing from the banks of a backwater there but they weren't catching anything.

 Fishing the backwater at Spillway Creek for Barra

 On our way to the bridge both Mike and I had noted some tracks leading off to interesting spots on the left hand side of the road so on our way back we checked them out.
The first one led to a rock shelter with Aboriginal cave paintings  which appeared to be in quite good condition.
 Mike ,Lynn and Kerry at the cave entrance
  The next track went into a rock cliff where there was a tiny pool of water that had lots of native frogs around it and there was also a tiny stream running back towards the car parking area which had lots of frogs and water insects in it.

The afternoon after our excursion around the area  we went on the Lake Argyle Cruise with Triple J Tours. The cruise commenced with  viewing a video about the building of the Dam and the associated structures. This involved a large workforce which worked in very hot conditions through 3 "dry seasons" to build the dam  etc.

The tour commenced with a bus ride down to the boat ramp. However we were left sitting in the bus for a while as the bookings were sorted as it appeared that they had over booked and needed some people to pull out . Once sorted we were under way to the boat and were soon out on the Lake .

 We were  given a close up view of the dam wall and the intake structure which allowed for the funnelling of the water to the powerhouse and then flowed down the Ord .

 Intake structure-- 7 stories below water level
 We then went around the corner to Homestead Falls which were  at the end of a small cove . on the way to the falls we passed a number of caves which served as shelter for some Euros and we did see some in a cave high on the hilltop.

Homestead Falls
  after viewing the falls we continued out across the lake looking for some of the 30,000 freshwater crocodiles that live in the lake but couldn't find any so we went past the Kites nest that has a couple of chicks in it and was well guarded by the parents.

 Some of the amazing rock formations in the area

 From there it was a 20 min run at about 2oknts across the Lake and the bay of Islands to Hagen Island where we were lucky enough to see a crocodile basking on a rock at the waters edge  and then we found a colony of Fairy Martin's nests under a rock ledge. As it was rather windy in the bay we went back around the point and stopped so that those who wanted to could have a swim.

 Small Freshwater crocodile

 Fairy Martin nests

 Most people went in for a swim including a number of the young children, the young ones took great delight in being able to jump from the roof of the boat into the water.


 Just after everyone was back aboard we ran out of daylight but were then treated to a spectacular show of the moon rising over the back of the hills.  Prior to that the sky had turned some amazing shades of pink.
 the moonrise was awesome and when it was fully up it lighted our way back to the boat ramp.

 We were a bit skeptical about the cruise due to the disorganisation at the beginning but it turned out very well and provided us with lots of lovely memories.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

On the road again ! April 2011

 After 14 weeks in Darwin through their biggest wet season on record we finally managed to get back on the road again.
 Lynn had been itching to get on the road since we arrived but I knew we would be staying a while to see the twins arrival and watch them grow a bit. So it was rather sad when we had to leave them behind . However it wasn't so bad for me as I am going back to Darwin in July  and then going with them all to Adelaide. for 2 weeks.

 ready to go???
  The weather had settled a bit when we left so that afternoon showers were the norm, but they could be quite heavy. As we neared Pine Creek we ran into quite heavy rain from about 20klms out and it was still raining a bit when we set up in the same spot as when we "escaped  Carlos". However this time a few other vans etc came in to keep us company.  Some of them had come from the West so we checked on the road conditions with them as there had been a lot more rain recently in that direction.

 On the second night we were there we had a huge storm that lasted most of the night with lots of lightening and thunder  and 97mm of rain.
In the midst of this huge storm our loo failed so that the valve that allows for fresh water to flush after use became stuck in the open position and kept flushing so that the en suite was awash. I got up just after going to bed and hearing some water running, expected to find that we had sprung a leak due to the storm and got quite a surprise but not as bigger one as the next morning when I felt wet carpet in the kitchen area when I got out of bed and found the en suite awash again!!!. The only reason the water had stopped flowing was there was no water in the Caravan park due to a burst pipe outside the park.

 Consequently Lynn had to do some running repairs to prevent it happening again and we spent the morning getting everything dry. Luckily the rain had stopped after a brief shower just before daylight. We also took the opportunity to get a few loads of washing done .

 While we were at Pine Creek we registered our new Digital Satellite receiver system for the TV . With the new rules it needs to be registered in a place that does not receive Digital TV . There is no cost involved only the cost of the receiver.

 After 4 nights at Pine Creek we headed off to Katherine to stock up on a few groceries before going to King River Rest area to wait for friends who were coming from Alice Springs.

 While we were there we noticed lots of large black/brown butterflies which would occasionally land on us . There was also a number of other butterflies, blue ones and yellow ones .

 We had a bit more rain at King River but mainly  in the evening or at night. Our friends arrived on Sunday afternoon and we spent a pleasant evening catching up on each others news. However as Kerry had broken a tooth they needed to see a Dentist in Katherine before heading west. So they went to Katherine for a few days to get things sorted and see the sights while we just made a quick stop there to get a new satellite dish and a few other things. Our dish had blown over a few times and was no longer in true shape which was making it difficult to get a signal.

 Our next stop was Mathison rest area about 100klms west of Katherine. We were on our own when we set up and thought it would stay that way but a couple of other travellers came in after dark and then left very early. The weather had really started to change as we had a much cooler night and it was quite crisp in the morning . We were beginning to feel that the "dry season had arrived.

 Judging by the condition of the roads the "dry " can't come soon enough so that the road crews can fix all the pot holes .  Some of the pot holes are real tank traps; we saw crews mending the roads but wiht it still raining wondered how long their efforts would last. We also came across plenty of water over the road signs but the water had mostly gone. There was just a few places further west.

 Sunset at Mathison Rest area
Kerry and Mike caught up with us again at Mathison and stayed the night before we both headed west. Yes the Biz wizards and the NT Nomads are travelling together . So for those that follow our blogs you will find that there is probably a bit of a double up on the information and pictures. 
The next morning we felt like we  were truly on the road as we headed off to Victoria River Roadhouse which as to be our morning tea stop. On the way we ducked into Sullivan's Creek  but as Kerry and Mike were having radio problems we were unable to alert them to this little gem of a waterhole.

 Sullivan's Creek waterhole at Campground
 The campground was quite wet and boggy but drying out after the rain and flooding. We caught up with the others at Vic River and the first thing Lynn did was fix their radio so we had better communication between us. It was wonderful to see the red bluffs,bastions and mesas that are in this area . They are not only picturesque but we just love their raw beauty and their colours. 
 Morning tea stop at Victoria River Roadhouse

 The red cliffs of the north