Lake Argyle, WA

The sights and sounds of Western Australia’s great man-made ‘Inland Sea’

“It didn’t matter which lookout we went to we never actually saw the beginning and the end”, says Alison Huth (What’s Up Downunder, Editor at Large)

We made a decision to stay at Lake Argyle rather than Kununurra, as they had a festival on, and arrived at Lake Argyle Tourist Park. It’s a big park and if you turn up when all the sites are full, then it is off to the overflow area for you. That’s an unpowered area with some stunning views and it’s a pretty nice place to stay.

One of the must do things is take your happy hour tipple and nibbles to the area by the infinity pool and enjoy a pleasant time watching the sun come down and listening to some live music from a very good entertainer.

Checking out the Views 

There are some lookouts to go to so you can get some sense of the size of Lake Argyle. It is so big that is actually has the right to call itself an inland sea. It didn’t matter which lookout we went to we never actually saw the beginning and the end. We did see the dam wall, which is actually very small when you look at the whole dam.

Durack House 

The Durack family had a long history with the area that was flooded [to create Lake Argyle Dam]. The family house was still there, and a decision was made to dismantle the house, number each brick and rebuilt it exactly as it had been, above the lake. The plan was put into place by the grandson of the first Durack in the area. There was a delay between dismantling it and rebuilding it due to lack of funds, but it has now been rebuilt.

The National Trust runs it and has a very clever way of showing what the rooms used to be used for while giving so much additional history. A bedroom will have the furniture positions marked on the floor with the name of the furniture while the walls and space in the room will have really interesting displays about the house and area. It’s really very clever. The back room also has a good video about the family and house.

Preparing for the Cruise 

This was the highlight of our stay. We were lucky to be able to book six seats on the evening cruise, because it is very popular and books out really quickly. We gathered in the reception and took the opportunity to watch a film on the building of the dam wall which was really interesting. Most of the materials used to build the wall were taken from the surrounding area.

Then it was on to a bus and off for a little drive around before getting to the boat. One thing we did see was the environmental flow. Part of the permit to build the dam was a guarantee that a certain amount of water would be put into the river each and every day. This comes out at a huge rate through pipes from the dam and runs off into the river.

We boarded the boat and set off. It’s a long cruise and relies on the guests enjoying the view and a few freshwater crocodiles being around when the skipper takes the boat closer to the dam banks. There were a few freshies who totally ignored us.

We also called in to see some Wallabies who Tracy, our very entertaining and well informed host, has become very fond of. She has a little bit of food for them and they come to the dam bank to see what they can get. She has names for most of them and can spot them really easily.


About three hours into the cruise, the boat ends up in the middle of a big area and it’s swimming time. We all had our bathers on because there is nowhere to change on the boat, and it was up to you if you went in. Thanks to the noodles provided by the cruise company, I was going in. Majella, Jayne and I went in for a swim. Tony, Rob and Peter all stayed on the boat taking photos! I have since found out that this exact same thing happened with friends of ours. Also, when you look around the photos, there are way more women than men!

It was amazing. The depth was 27m and the tide, while being gentle, was pulling us away from the boat–slowly. You could take a drink in with you if you wanted, and I did help out passing a glass of wine to another brave woman. We had a swim, and I made it back to the boat feeling very proud of myself, the size of my smile said it all! For a non-swimmer, I had been in so much water already on this trip–with more to come.


While the boat was idling for swimming time it was happy hour with wine, beer and nibbles provided by Lake Argyle Tours. About five or so minutes after everyone was back on board, everything was packed up. They have a license to serve alcohol while they are idling, once they are on there way, the wine is back under lock and key.

It was an excellent way to celebrate being at Lake Argyle, and if I can do it, anyone can.

We had an awesome time here, and I really loved the cruise with Lake Argyle Tours.