We crossed the WA/NT border and after getting rid of our fresh produce with a big ‘feast’ of apples and oranges, we were delighted to be reminded of the fact that by crossing the border we were in a different time zone and therefore 3pm was now 1.30pm. This meant that we now had more time to find accommodation for the night.
We found a playground (which is no mean feat in Kununurra) and decided that we would stay at Ivanhoe Village Caravan Resort. While ‘resort’ may be a little bit too strong a word, we certainly enjoyed our time there over the next few days.
Kununurra, the ‘gateway to the Kimberley’, was where we based ourselves to explore some of the little treasures of the area and while we didn’t get to do ‘The Gibb’ we decided we would still try to get out to El Questro – the first or last stop on the Gibb depending on which way you’re travelling. Originally we had planned to drag the caravan in and camp a night or two as it is a sealed road all the way to the turn off to El Questro itself. The advice online was mixed as to whether the road in was suitable for 2WD vehicles however we decided we didn’t want to risk it after we had done some damage to our van after visiting the Zebra Rock Mine. After visiting El Questro we were convinced this was the right decision although we wished we had more time to explore El Questro.
There is so much to do at El Questro with all budgets catered for. As our budget was $0 we opted for the ‘self guided’, ‘no frills’ experience and headed out to Zebedee Springs. No helicopter rides for us! We walked the 1.5 km walk from the carpark to be greeted by yet another oasis and warm inviting water. It was a beautiful spot for a relaxing soak.
Now supposedly the water was filled with leeches. This meant that I made a very quick exit after being informed of this fact and after seeing what I thought was a leech swimming in the water. The others were not deterred. The dip proved uneventful and everyone left without any little friends.
After Zebedee Springs we headed to El Questro Gorge. This involved a serious water crossing that made me very nervous as our 4WD does not have a snorkel which we were advised to have in order to make this crossing. Tom was fairly confident we could do it after observing a couple of other vehicles cross, so off we went. I anxiously held my breath and tried to think of a way to pay for any potential damage should the need arise as Tom edged his way across the water safely to the other side.
On arriving at El Questro Gorge, I realised that the impending adventure of trekking into El Questro Gorge meant that we were not going to make it back to Emma Gorge in time. I was disappointed that we were going to miss out on visiting Emma Gorge, one may argue ‘the highlight’ of El Questro Homestead. “Oh well, I thought, just means I have to come back again!”
We only made it to the first pool. It was a long, tricky hour or so walk in, but again, we felt like we had the place to ourselves, only coming across a couple of other groups of walkers. We had a few rocks to jump over to avoid getting wet which is always a hit with the kids. Both Tobias and Matisse were casualties but they continued on.
The other highlight of our time in Kununurra was our trip out to Lake Argyle. We decided we would just take a day trip out to Lake Argyle to spend the day at the much talked about ‘infinity pool’. It was definitely one of my favourite days of the trip.
We started the day with 8.30 am mass and then jumped in the car for the hour drive out to Lake Argyle. Lake Argyle is a manmade, freshwater lake in the heart of the rugged, Kimberley outback. The lake was formed by the damming of the Ord River that occured in the 60’s in order to provide irrigation to the remote Kimberley region and to harness the rains of the wet season. Lake Argyle is the major storage reservoir of the Ord River. This lake is huge. At normal supply it has 18 times the volume of water of Sydney Harbour. If it were to flood, it could fill the harbour 70 times.
Once enjoying a picnic lunch overlooking the lake and having a little drive around, the infinity pool at Lake Argyle Caravan Park was next on our agenda. This was fun and truly spectacular. The views really were amazing and the photo ops one in a million!!
After a beautiful day relaxing by the pool what could be better than happy hour accompanied by some mellow tunes. We were lucky enough to listen to the very country sounds of resident singer/songwriter Steven Case and enjoy a very welcomed drink on the lawns of the caravan park watching the sunset over Lake Argyle. Oh! Happy Days!! What’s more, the kids happily joined us, finding their own space on some towels and chilling out to the ‘outback grooves’.
What a happy day! We all drove home with such a feeling of contentment and joy. It was a day we didn’t want to come to an end but we looked forward to what awaited us next and where the road may take us.