“Are there crocodiles in here?”
Savannah inquisitively asked after a few strokes of treading water. I was holding on to her, our legs wrapped around a noodle to help us stay afloat. Freshwater doesn’t have the buoyancy of salt water.
Especially when deep water is below you and you’re relying on floating pretty heavily.
“Yes there are crocs in here.”
She looked at me like I was mad. The months of my lectures about never going near the river’s edge because of crocodiles had obviously sunken in.
“Will they bite my toes?”
I chuckled. “Not these ones darling. There are only freshwater crocs in here and they won’t come near you. Mummy will always keep you safe and will let you know if you can swim or not, so always listen to me first. Freshwater crocodiles are gentle and scared of you.”
So we kept swimming. She smiled and laughed and just let her normal fear of the water melt away.
We’d just jumped into the middle of Lake Argyle, the largest artificial lake in Australia by volume. The sun was setting and I was feeling a little euphoric.
Our tour guide, Josh was tossing out beers and passing glasses of wine to us all as we floated, enjoying the refreshing swim – even at 25 degrees the water was cool to the 35 degree baking hot Kimberley day.
The sun was going down behind the red sandstone escarpment and we were swimming in a pool of water that is home to over 25,000 freshwater crocodiles.
I think that was one of the most liberating and coolest moments of my life. And here I was experiencing it with my two daughters.
Sublime and surreal.
Only hours before I was pretty much over travelling, ready to toss it all in. The challenges of the road getting on top of me. But, this was the interruption to show me why it was worth sticking it out.
The sunset cruise with Lake Argyle tours is a bucket list experience. We’d never heard of Lake Argyle until a passing traveller told us it was their favourite place on their whole Australian road trip.
What? Where is this place?
I HAVE to go here.
Then our Facebook community started whispering reasons why we should go.
We were devastated that, upon driving to Lake Argyle from the Northern Territory, we heard there was no internet connection and had to divert and stay at Kununurra.
Unfortunately, huge deadlines meant we could not go without being offline for such an extended period of time. The challenges of our biz.
But, after a hot day at our caravan park in Kununurra we decided to drive out for a dip in their infinity pool – noted as one of the best in Australia. Just so you know, this pool is at the caravan park, not a luxury resort, so it’s accessible to everyone.
We arrived hungry, and stopped for some lunch at the cafe attached to the caravan park, opting to wait to look at the pool.
But, just as we were about to go to the pool, a spot had opened up and we were asked to join the sunset cruise, with only two minutes to get on the departing bus.
We totally missed the infinity pool.
But were gifted with something so much more amazing instead. This one random afternoon turned into a memory that we’ll talk about for the rest of our lives.
I was wowed.
Not just by the tour and the incredible sunset experience, but by water – the immensity and intensity of it.
After two hours of cruising past the Bay of Islands, and miles of water and cliffs our tour guide Josh rolled out a map to show how much of the lake we had covered. He had warned us, that at this time of the year, at the end of the dry season, it was low and only the size of 11 Sydney Harbours.
I thought we must have covered almost all of that on the cruise, but the map showed us we had only touched just under a third! Wowee.
Lake Argyle is a man-made lake created by the damming of the Ord River for an irrigation scheme. Visit here to get an understanding of the amount of water that falls in the Top End of Australia. It blows my mind after growing up in an area of Australia that is on constant water restrictions.
Every second, water equivalent to what the whole of Australia uses in a day is passed through the turbines that power the electricity in the Ord River area.
So bloody impressive.
So was the landscape.
I had such a feeling of peace and a returning to home.
Craig and I lived in the other end of the Kimberly region in 2004 working on a Paspaley pearl farm. The magic of this region runs so strong in my veins. It’s a place where there is no right or wrong, no striving or competition, no cares or problems, it’s just a sense of being in the right place.
The landscape here is over 600 million years old. That is perfection and I welcome the privilege of being a part of it. It makes me feel safe because no matter the impermanence of my own life, I can turn to those golden mountains and understand strength and power.
When you’re here in this perfect isolation you never have to fear or dread that the world will give you anything but perfection.
The light dimmed as we cruised back to the jetty and the sunset and ripple effects of the water put on an amazing show.
I just hope that you don’t have to plan your trip around internet connection. If you have that freedom then please stay just a little while longer at Lake Argyle. Go swim with crocodiles, soak up that infinity pool and the magic of this special part of a special region of the world.
You might just not want to leave.
P.S. DON’T EVER swim where SALTWATER crocodiles are!