Alligator Airways was our choice for our flight from Kununurra to over Lake Argyle, 20 mins over The Bungle Bungle (Purnululu National Park) & returning over the Argyle Diamond Mine.
Unfortunately the days before were windy & so too was the morning of our flight :( Should have taken that as a hint to skip breakfast - but I forgot.
The water coming over the spill way is still quite high.
So the irrigation channels come off Lake Kununurra - phew - I hope I've got that right. Totally confusing.
Any way - I think the above pic may be other lagoons coming off the wide Ord R on the western side of town.
There apparently is 14,000 hectares of developed land for irrigation - mangoes, fruit & veg on a smaller scale, & on an increasingly larger scale there's the Indian Sandalwood trees - the oil is used for perfumes & makeup to name some. The amount of land under irrigation is increasing over time.
Here's a very small area of mangoes
The Ord River has gorges along part of it's journey to Kununurra.
The 77km long lake has the Carr Boyd Range to act as the Lake's sides. The only other structure keeping the water in is the dam wall.
Because the area is mountainous, many islands were created with 24mtrs at it's deepest depth of water.
There are 2 huge cattle stations covering 184,000 & 163,500 hectares respectively separated by the Bow River as it's fence line. Both stations are owned by the same family company so I guess it doesn't matter too much that a somewhat 'few' of the 8,000 steers on 1 property crosses the line to graze with the 10,000 Brahmans on the other station. When cattle are sold the proceeds goes to the station name as most animals are ear tagged for identification.
The Beehive formations of the Bungle Bungle came upon us very quickly. The range itself is only 45,000 hectares of the World Heritage Listed Purnululu National Park.
The geological description of how they formed is too long, but basically they formed 350 million yrs ago & several kms of thickness has been removed due to erosion.
The beehive shaped domes have formed case hardened skins, helping to stabilize the rock surface. The skin has a striped appearance, with layers of orange & dark grey. The grey bands are formed by cyanobacteria, a single cell organism that represents some of the oldest life forms on Earth. They may be several meters wide, but only millimeters thick. The alternating orange stripe is iron oxide that also protects the fragile sandstone.- .............shortened version .................
We spent 20 mins flying over the many formations in the Bungle Bungle Range & Purnululu Nat Pk.
The Bungle Bungle isn't all domes. I mentioned the plate movement in the range, with cracks appearing - these are the gorges. 1 such gorge that is open is the Piccaninny Gorge in the middle of the Bungle Bungle Range. A creek of the same name runs through the gorge. Cathedral Gorge is a side step from Piccininny gorge. It's an overnight camp out to see all of Piccaninny Gorge.
After 20 mins of breath taking views, we left the Bungles & headed back towards Kununurra.
Argyle Diamond Mine is below us here. Only discovered in early 1980s, it was the worlds largest diamond seam at the time & produces 1/4 - 1/5 of the world's diamonds including the exclusive pink Argyle ink diamond. That equates to 20million carats of diamonds / yr
Returning over the Lake shows the magnitude as to the size of the lake. Water for as far as the eye can see.
We leave the lake & fly over the Ord River again back to Kununurra.