Thursday 25 August 2022.
Highlights: The Hoochery Distillery, Understanding Sandalwood trees, visiting the Argyle (Durack) Homestead Museum, Cruising on the Ord Dam spotting crocodiles, flying foxes, birds and amazing rock formations!
Today we moved into a major agriculture region of Australia around Kununurra all made possible by the Ord Dam completed in 1972 that capture the wet season rains so they can be release over 12 months instead of just 3-4 months. An amazing feat of engineering and foresight that helps nature and people at the same time.
First up was a visit to the Hoochery Distillery who make rum, whiskey and gin. We learnt how this small family own and operate company start as a farm and expanded into a distillery. There main product is rum, but that needs to be bottled for 2 years, so they also made other alcoholic beverages. I try a shot of rum which had a strong kick, but Kara passed.
Next up was a visit to The Sandalwood Shop where we learned about the many uses of the sandalwood tree which is farmed in this region. A lot of free samples were tried and used by both Kara and myself. A remarkable tree.
We then visited the Argyle Homestead Museum which is the old homestead for the Durack family who were pioneers in this region. The homestead had to be moved in 1972 due to the Ord Dam which would flooded the original location. A nice look back at homestead from 100 years ago.
But the main highlight of the day was the Ord Dam cruised which lasted over 3.5 hours in the afternoon to just after sunset. Starting at the edge of Lake Argyle (near the Ord Hydro Power Station) were the dam wall was created from rocks in the area, we worked our way to Kununurra via the Kununurra Lake.
The Triple J Tours cruise went for 55 kms and was an amazing experience. Freshwater crocodiles become a common sight as was the many birds species as they hunted for fish. We also got to witness some flying foxes.
The rock formations were incredible. Our cruise captain explained the history of the dam and how it works and how after 50 years nature has adapted to having consistent water over 12 months instead of floods and droughts every year.
The boat would stop often for us to get close looks at wildlife or to admire the rock and cliff formations, then we would speed to the next significant sight.
We also had an on shore stop for an included afternoon tea, spotting catfish who were hoping for some food for us I guess.
One of the major highlights of a cruise full of highlights was seeming the sunset over Kununurra Lake. Breathing taking.