Lake Argyle is the eighth largest manmade lake in the world and is the largest in volume in Australia. It spans a massive 65 kilometres by 45 kilometres and can hold the equivalent to twenty Sydney Harbours worth of water volume. Lake Argyle is officially classed as an inland sea and its normal capacity is 10.7 million mega litres which can triple when it floods. It has a normal surface area of 980 square kilometres which can swell to 2,072 square kilometres during flooding. The Ord Dam was constructed in 1972 at a cost of $20 million and was created as Stage 2 of a plan to provide irrigation to 200 hectares of land. The dam is 335 meters wide and 100 meters in height.
Lake Argyle provides the water and the hydro-electric power that underpins the East Kimberley. The water is used on the rich, black-earth laser levelled flats that fill the river valleys of the Ord River Irrigation Scheme, a food bowl that annually produces tens of millions of dollars’ worth of agricultural produce for local and international markets.
Locals to the East Kimberley boast that everything grows here, from asparagus to zucchini. Chia is the new staple, rich in Omega 3 oils, and, increasingly, vast sandalwood plantations.
There are approximately 90 islands in Lake Argyle depending on the water level.
It is reported that there are around 30,000 freshwater crocodiles in Lake Argyle with the majority being female. This is due to the fact that during the incubation stage male crocs need a constant temperature of 32 degrees Celsius which is not found in the Lake where temperature vary widely between day and night.
Its main purpose is irrigation but also is used for fish farming, water sports and to support the local tourism industry with Lake Argyle cruises and Lake Argyle flights.
Aviair’s Bungle Bungle Adventurer scenic air safari allows customers to view the mighty expanse of Lake Argyle, the Ord Top Dam, Lake Kununurra, and the Ord Irrigation Area. Aviair operates the Bungle Bungle Adventurer tour up to three times per day, at 6:00am, 9:00am, and 2:30pm with each departure offering a flight over Lake Argyle with a differing taste of scenery due to the changing reflections on the water’s surface as the daylight hours progress.
Aviair also offer a number of scenic air safari combination tours that incorporate Kimberley air tours, Lake Argyle cruises, and cruises along the Ord River both of which are rich in flora and fauna. Why not look at the Bungle Bungle Adventurer tours that offer combinations including a Lake Argyle Lunch Cruise, Ord River Cruise, Ord River Spectacular, Ord River Cruise Luncheon, and Lake Argyle Sunset Cruise. Aviair’s combination tours do not need to be taken all on one day as they can be split over two days.