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Rolling Adventures Pauline's Adventures

06/08/2013 Cooliman Camp, Ord River

AUSTRALIA | Tuesday, 6 August 2013 | Views [446]

We were up at 4.45am for 6am at the boat shed to pack our gear into barrels then a 1 hour drive with 'Macka' and the canoe trailer to the Lake Argyle Lookout with a stop on route for fuel and ice. Lake Argyle is Australia's largest artificial lake by volume and is part of the Ord River irrigation Scheme for surrounding towns and farms. The views if the lake were spectacular.  Surprisingly Melbourne is closer to Lake Argyle (as the crow flies) than Canberra or Sydney. 

Our briefing near the lake wall included information on the route, camping areas, points of interest, potential hazards, a quick lesson on knots and capsize drill, how to use the Epirb (Emergency Positioning Indicating Radio Beacon) but no paddling instructions.  After tying down our barrels of gear, eski, tents and bed rolls, we left 'Macka' and set off on our self guided tour. Freda and I, and a family of 4 (Simone & Peter and their 2 young boys Percy and Frances) were heading off on the 3 day trip and some others were joining us for the day only. 
The first day's 23km paddling was through swiftly flowing water (something we quickly learned was a good thing), the river was narrow in parts, and there were a few hazards including keeping clear of some tour boats whizzing past. We almost missed the lunch spot on Sandy Beach as it was tucked into a bend in the river just as we avoiding a tour boat in a fast flowing section but with a bit of fast maneuvering we survived. The family of 4 was carrying the communal kitchen utensils bucket and they were behind us somewhere so we managed with a tin of tuna, cheese cut with the tuna lid, and some flat bread for lunch. 
The scenery was beautiful with lots of cormorants and darters drying their wings, jacanas tip toeing across lily pads, rock wallabies bouncing about on the rocks and finally Carlton Gorge. The day trippers were picked up by boat as we arrived at Cooliman Creek Camp around 4pm
The camp up on the river bank was great with strategically placed shady camping platforms overlooking the river, and a big outdoor kitchen area with sink, gas hot plates and cooking pots. We also had a large fire place with a supply of firewood and a hot plate ingeniously maneuvered by a set of bicycle handle bars, a bush shower with water from a spring and a loo with a view up a very steep walkway with trees to hold onto as you climbed up. Our mesh tents without the fly were easy to erect on the camping platforms as they needed no pegs, our self inflatable bed rolls were comfortable enough and we could see the stars and hear the sounds of all the animals scratching around at night.  

Tags: kimberley, kununurra, ord river, western australia

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