Day cruise on the Ord River

20th July, 2015.

There were a number of cruises to choose from on the Ord River. Some included a bus trip to Lake Argyle with a visit to a museum etc but we opted for a river cruise from Kununurra to the dam wall at the base of Lake Argyle and return. It was not a cheap day excursion but something we felt we needed to do to appreciate the area.

Between us we must have taken about 1000 photos! I won’t bore you with them all; Erich has culled them to something useful, I hope! Not all are captioned as they are just beautiful shots of the scenery.

The cruise we did was with Triple J Cruises and our guide was very knowledgeable. He had lived in Kununurra since he was 9 years old (probably about 20 years ago!).

We did a quick trip 55kms up river to the dam wall and we delighted in the light on the gorge walls thinking we had positioned ourselves correctly on the eastern side of the boat so we would get wonderful photos on the return journey. As it turned out we should have done it the other way around as, on the return journey, the sun was behind the cliffs throwing them into shadow.

This section of the Ord above the diversion dam is home to many freshwater crocodiles, the largest concentration of them in Australia and also growing the largest – up to 3 metres, which is really big for this species. The birdlife was spectacular.

Prior to the damming of the Ord river, it flowed only during the wet season. During the dry, the flow ceased leaving only a series of billabongs that drovers used to water their cattle as they drove their mobs towards the port at Wyndham.

The Ord River Dam wall below Lake Argyle – a clay core dam wall which apparently is one of the most efficient dam walls in the world. On the left of the photo can be seen the hydro electric power station which powers Kununurra, Wyndham and 90% of the Argyle Diamond Mine.

20150720-13-31-Triple-J tour - Lesley-20150720-13-31-DSC05390-Lesley

A wonderful way to explore the Ord River is by canoe on a 3 day escorted trip down river with established campsites along the river. We passed about 8 canoes on our trip.

These Jicanas were fascinating. The male incubates the eggs and protects the chicks. They live their entire lives on the weed mat. When a predator appears, the male gathers 2 chicks under each wing to protect them. You can just see the approximately 4 day old babies in these photos. There were only 3 chicks with this male meaning that one chick had already been taken.

A rock wallaby barely discernible on the rock face. He remained totally still the whole time we were waiting below the cliff. This apparently is their best defence against predators. Had the boat driver not been specifically looking for him, we would not have seen him.

Deserted wasp nests on the cliffs.

Appropriately named Horse Head.

One of the other tour boats.

We watched the sun go down over the diversion dam before heading back to the dock. The courtesy bus dropped us at a caravan park a short walk from where we were staying.

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