No matter what time of year you make the journey, the drive between Katherine, NT and Broome, WA is guaranteed to be a long, dusty, hot one.
But there is a very welcome oasis in the midst of all that red dirt which absolutely cannot be missed: Magnificent Lake Argyle.
Just 40km past the NT/WA border and an hours drive from the township of Kununurra, Lake Argyle is often called the Jewel of the Kimberley, a name it definitely earns.
One of the biggest man-made lakes in the Southern Hemisphere and a fantastic introduction to the iconic Kimberley ranges, it holds as much water to fill Sydney Harbour 18 times over. It is home to an incredible array of native fauna, including freshwater crocodiles, countless (rather friendly) catfish, and more than 200 species of birds.
What to do:
Fun at Lake Argyle is unsurprisingly, all about the water. When the day gets a bit too hot for comfort, look for the signposted dirt track winding through the trees and down the cliffs, and follow it right to the water's edge.
There you can properly admire the lake's deep blue-green water and red Kimberley rocks from one of the handful of swimming pontoons dotted around the banks. The water is just the right temperature, and if you bring a packed lunch you can easily spend a full day just lazing by the water. If you’re worried about the resident freshwater crocs, don’t be; they’re usually pretty shy and generally keep to themselves.
Another option is to jump on one of the Lake Argyle wildlife cruises, which generally run once or twice a day. These are a relaxing, informative way to see more of the magnificent landscape and get a better scope of just how big Lake Argyle really is.
Where to stay:
To get the most out of your visit, we’d definitely recommend staying at the Lake Argyle Resort & Caravan Park for a few nights. One of the best caravan parks we’ve yet stayed at, it’s surprisingly budget-friendly and its location is second to none. Live music is often played on the grassy lawn at sunset, and when paired with a blanket and a glass of wine, is the perfect way to wind down the day as you watch the sky change colour.
Staying at the park also includes access to the Instagram-famous infinity pool, though non-park guests can still visit the pool for $10pp.
So if you’re planning on making the journey across Western Australia’s wild top end, be sure to pencil Lake Argyle into your “Must See” list.
As far as road trip stopovers go, this one takes the blue ribbon, and you’ll be kicking yourself if you miss it.