Lake Argyle

Yesterday morning I enjoyed my morning coffee in Timber. In the morning the temperatures are still OK and not too hot. Just around noon it gets pretty warm, and then it doesn’t cool off until very late afternoon. In essence, I also started my driving a bit late that day. Having early lunch on the road I turned off the highway shortly before the WA border, and went to the Zebra rocks mine site. Even as on the highway it was stated that the mine is open, the gate was surprisingly closed. It turned out that this was their last day, open to public access. The owner just came by accidentally and explained to me that I still can go to the mine. The road was just 5.5 km and not too bad. The zebra rocks are a really interesting geological feature, and can be only found around this area. Even scientists haven’t a clue how this was formed, they only knew that the rocks are pretty old. As last customer of the year I had a short conversation with the lady. She told me that this year was pretty dry and all their dams are already dried out. Now they need to make a new bore for about 25 m to get some water, until the rain of the wet season starts in November or so. After finishing my visit, I headed off to the WA border. Quarantine check was done in 2 minutes and not a problem at all, as I hadn’t had any fresh fruits or vegetables with me. After a few kilometres I turned off to Lake Argyle. There are construction works on the road, and even if the stretch is only 1km or so, let me wait for 20 minutes until I could pass. That wasn’t really funny, and I couldn’t see the reason for that. The scenery of the largest fresh water lake in Australia is a bit surreal, as the landscape around is completely dried out, but there is this massive water with more than 10,000 Mio. m³ storage capacity. It would need more than three years to release the water through the control valves, which can discharge 42 m³/s each. From the lookout you can only get a glimpse of the lake, as it stretches for several kilometres to the south and is clearly visible even from space. After having a walk up a small hill to get a view to the gorge, I went down the dam to the picnic area. The Ord river is still like a wild water river during this time of the year, and you can canoe the 55 km down to Kununurra. During this time of the year, none of the rivers has so much water left, and it’s all just possible because of the dam. Nevertheless, the dam is pretty underutilised, as it was planned for a large irrigation scheme north of Kununurra. But the rice they wanted to grow and export to China, doesn’t grow here. Hence, most of the water is not really used for something.

There’s still water in Victoria River, but it’s not clear if it’s still flowing near Timber Creek
The landscape Timber Creek was quite flat, until suddenly some table top mountains appeared
Did you also got some Spam today 😉
Some exemplar of the zero rocks. The rock in the middle was pretty light
The northern end of lake Argyl
It was surprisingly to see, that Sydney is almost as far away as Singapore from here…OK, I didn’t calculate the Great circle distances upfront (:
The eastern banks already dried out, as the water level seem to be low (which is not surprisingly, as we’re reaching the end of the dry season)
The water flows through some turbines, and forms again the Ord river…
…which eventually flows into a gorge.
The water level is far from the spillover…
…and can be easily regulated by the three large outlet vales, which get the water through two tunnels of about 4.5m diameter each

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