The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - Escape - - ROUGH DIAMOND -

In the north­east­ern cor­ner of WA, what Lake Ar­gyle lacks in con­ve­nient ac­ces­si­bil­ity it makes up for in sight­see­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties once you’re there.


Al­though the Ar­gyle Di­a­mond Mine site might not look as ma­jes­tic from the air as the famed lake to its east, pi­lot tales of sub­terfuge and es­pi­onage in the early days of the mine’s de­vel­op­ment make for crack­ing yarns. Flights also take in sights in­clud­ing Lake Ar­gyle, the Bungle Bungle Range and even Bow River, cel­e­brated in the Cold Chisel song of the same name.


For those who can’t make it to the Bungle Bungle Range, Mirima Na­tional Park of­fers an easy, ac­ces­si­ble al­ter­na­tive to the real thing. Fea­tur­ing some sim­i­lar ge­o­log­i­cal for­ma­tions to Pur­nu­l­ulu’s famed sand­stone car­bun­cles, the park’s walks are un­de­mand­ing and of­fer a view across Ku­nunurra. Take lots of small change – the park­ing ma­chine re­quires more than $10 of coins per car.


An off-road gem wedged right on the bor­der of WA and the North­ern Ter­ri­tory, this dusty shed on Dun­can Rd dis­plays one of the world’s most im­pres­sive col­lec­tions of the lo­cal ge­o­log­i­cal enigma ze­bra rock. Mine tours are also avail­able but an on­go­ing bat­tle with rock thiev­ery keeps the own­ers cagey about re­veal­ing the ex­act lo­ca­tion of their unique lode site.


The var­i­ous boat tours avail­able of­fer an ex­cel­lent chance to take in some of Lake Ar­gyle’s 1000sq km of sur­face area. Morn­ing cruises of­fer sun­rise photo op­por­tu­ni­ties, while longer sun­set jour­neys in­clude the chance to evade the croc­o­diles and swim in the fresh­wa­ter ex­panse.


Erected in 1895, the orig­i­nal Ar­gyle homestead was built with lime­stone and used crushed ter­mite mounds as mor­tar. Orig­i­nally lo­cated in an area now on Lake Ar­gyle’s floor, the home was dis­as­sem­bled prior to the 1972 flood­ing to save it from a sub­merged pur­ga­tory. Re­con­structed on a clifftop a short walk from the Lake Ar­gyle town­ship, Du­rack Homestead has been re­born as a mu­seum of­fer­ing an in­for­ma­tive his­tory les­son to those want­ing to learn more about the dam’s de­vel­op­ment.


Per­fect for a day trip, the pri­vately owned El Que­stro Wilder­ness Park fea­tures a num­ber of pic­turesque walks. An off-road ex­cur­sion down an unas­sum­ing, dusty 4WD track leads to the won­ders of El Que­stro Gorge, where red cliffs meet lush rain­for­est palms and wa­ter­falls. El Que­stro also of­fers fan­tas­tic restau­rant meals and high-end ac­com­mo­da­tion for mil­lion­aires, roy­alty and the en­ter­tain­ment elite: Hol­ly­wood stars in­clud­ing Ewan McGre­gor, Ni­cole Kid­man and Hugh Jack­man have all spent time here.

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