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Lake Argyle

blog-0956197001399471279.jpgWe left Timber creek after discovering one more new-to-us bird, a Red Winged Parrot. These were in the trees near our campsite and we just had to pause to enjoy watching them. Then we were off down the road to Western Australia, the last of the 8 Australian states and territories. I couldn’t get a city programmed in the GPS because it only showed me cities in the US. I knew I was putting in a large enough city, it should be able to find it. Finally after three tries I realized that WA was Western Australia, not the state of Washington in the US!

As we’re driving, Louise mentions Lake Argyle which is the largest freshwater lake in Australia. She wanted to go see it. The road from the highway was paved and was about 40 kilometers, 24 miles so we decided to go see what was there. There is a campground in case we decide to stay the day.

Entering Western Australia we pass through a biological checkpoint. They check for fruits, vegetables and plants from the rest of Australia. We have a book which lists what can and can’t be taken from one state to the next. It is a good reference and Louise has been planning meals and shopping so we are able to move from state to state without violating any regulations. We thought we were OK but when Louise mentioned the carrot stick and green pepper those were taken from us. WA is the only state that has actually had an inspection and they are known for being quite strict.

Once through the checkpoint we had only a couple of kilometers to the turn off for Lake Argyle. The road was paved but barely wide enough for two vehicles to pass. The speed limit was posted at 100 km/hour but I barely did 80 and often was going much slower. Traffic was light so it wasn’t a factor. The scenery was spectacular on the drive in as we approached some rugged hills. The lake is the result of a dam placed in a strategic location on the Ord River in a canyon. A short earthen and rock fill dam holds back a lake which is three times the size of the harbor in Sydney. The primary purpose for the lake when it was created was irrigation for farming. Since then, generators have been added and it now produces the power needed for surrounding towns.

When we arrived, the campground was packed with people. It was race day on the lake. These were not boat races but swimming races. They were holding a 20 km swimming race and racers and their supporters were there. Kids were everywhere. My initial reaction was that I didn’t want to stay in this park with all the commotion related to the races.

We drove on to the dam and viewed it from an overlook. Then we drove across the dam to a picnic area on the other side. We parked in a shady spot and walked around the park. We spotted a Blue-winged Kookaburra and added it to our list of birds we have seen. Then we broke out the lawn chairs, the temperatures were the most comfortable we have seen in a while and we enjoyed sitting in the shade. We added another bird to our list while sitting there and saw several other birds we had seen before.

After resting for a while we decided to return to the campground and see if any sites were available. There were powered sites available so we took a site, parked and began planning our evening. We tried the internet connection and Louise was able to get connected but my computer wouldn’t even show the campground internet site. I tried everything and couldn’t get it to show up. We went back to the camper and shortly discovered that there had been a time change at the border with Western Australia. We had to set our clocks back 1 hour and 30 minutes. Suddenly it was a lot earlier than we thought. That resulted in an early dinner and an even earlier bed time. It also helped us get up early and out of the campground before everyone was making the same move. I would love to be able to go back when the place wasn’t so packed. It was a really nice place to stay.


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