Before I tell you more about the new film, it will have more context if I explain the back story behind the film . . .
Anyone who has watched our travel series ‘The Big Lap’ will know that on our 16 month road trip around Australia we stopped at Lake Argyle in the East Kimberley for 6 weeks.
The main reason we stopped at Lake Argyle was that we were running low on funds and needed to replenish our bank account, so we took on any jobs that we could to earn some extra dollars while we were there.
This including Jen working in the office at Lake Argyle Cruises and behind the bar at the Lake Argyle Resort, me doing work for some clients back in Melbourne and our favourite, every morning we ran a tailgate pancake breakfast for our fellow campers.
We had a fantastic 6 weeks and managed to top up the bank account enough to get us to the finish line 5 months later.
We had originally stopped at Lake Argyle for 5 days after crossing the Gibb River Road and I interviewed Charlie Sharpe (Owner of the Lake Argyle Resort & Caravan Park) about the history of the Lake, the Durack family and the Ord River Scheme.
This was for The Big lap Film Series.
After our interview Charlie suggested we ’should come back one day and make a documentary specifically about Lake Argyle, the Ord River Scheme and the East Kimberley’.
I agreed it would be a great idea and figured I’d get back there one day in the future to film it.
But the idea stuck in my mind and would not quit.
Driving across the Kimberley the previous couple of weeks, Jen and I had been brainstorming ways to earn some extra money to fund the rest of the trip and when the ‘make a doco about Lake Argyle’ idea came up, a new plan was hatched.
What if we were to stop at Lake Argyle for a month or two, do some work to earn the extra money we needed AND film the Lake Argyle documentary at the same time?
I knew I wouldn’t be able to edit and finish the doco until after our Big Lap trip was finished but at least I’d have all the footage ‘in the can'.
So we ran the idea past Charlie and he agreed it made a lot of sense.
This was in late May / early June and we’d already committed to being in the Red Centre in June/July so we re-jigged the rest of our itinerary and came back to Lake Argyle in mid July and stayed there until the end of August, 6 weeks in total - working, filming and making pancakes!
To say that we fell in love with Lake Argyle would be an understatement!
Our original 5 days there would have been enough but after 6 weeks there we felt like locals.
Each morning we’d run the 'Tailgate Pancake Breakfast' until about 9:00am (which was more fun than work!), then Jen would head over to the Lake Argyle Cruises office and I’d head out and do some more filming for the documentary.
This involved interviewing local experts, exploring Lake Argyle and the Ord River on our little boat, filming everything I could and generally trying to weave together the incredible story of the East Kimberley since the Duracks arrived in the late 1800’s.
After 6 weeks I had a tonne of footage and a pretty solid plan for the film and we continued our Big Lap heading east on a mission to get to the top of Cape York before the wet season hit . . . but that’s another story (watch The Big Lap).
Fast forward and ‘Discovering Lake Argyle’ was finished and has been selling on DVD to travellers in the East Kimberley and from our website ever since.
It’s been a great success and a couple of years ago, Charlie & I discussed the idea of me heading back to Lake Argyle to film some updates for future editions of the DVD.
Quite a lot had changed since our original visit on The Big Lap trip and there was plenty of new material to include in a new edition of the film.
So mid last year I packed up our trusty Landcruiser and with Buddy (our Dalmatian) on board, I drove back to Lake Argyle from Melbourne and I spent a week filming new content for the 2019 edition (& beyond) of the film.
I also decided to film the trip there and back for our YouTube channel and have posted 4 videos so far which you can watch here > Steve & Buddys Big Adventure (There are a few more episodes still to come but I needed to put that project on hold while I finished editing the new edition of Discovering Lake Argyle - I’ll be back on to it now).
As it turned out, I managed to enlist the help of another family, ’The McCabe Mob’ who were visiting Lake Argyle before me on their own big lap trip and they filmed a whole bunch of spectacular aerial drone shots which I was able to incorporate into the updated Discovering Lake Argyle (Massive thanks to Mitch and family - you guys did an awesome job!)
Now the new Discovering Lake Argyle ‘2019 edition’ is complete.
The film includes heaps of new footage that I shot while I was there last year, the aerial shots from the McCabe’s, new music, new faces and I’ve completely re-mastered the sound and colour grading.
A definite step up from the original film.
In the film I take you on a journey through time exploring the birth & construction of the Ord River Scheme and Lake Argyle starting from the pioneering Durack family who left Ireland in the mid 1800’s for Australia to build a better life and make their fortune.
The Duracks succeeded and played a pivotal role in the creation of the Ord River Scheme and ultimately the building of Lake Argyle.
With so much drought gripping large areas of Australia these days, the success of the Ord River Scheme stands out as an example of what is possible when as a country we are prepared to tackle big ambitious infrastructure projects.
Discovering Lake Argyle also includes footage from the original 16mm film documentaries that were filmed for the construction of the Kununurra Diversion Dam and the Ord Dam that created Lake Argyle.
These old films are a fascinating look at life in Australia and specifically the Kimberley in the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s.
As an added extra, both of these original films are included complete and unedited on the DVD and Online editions of Discovering Lake Argyle.
Moving beyond the historical aspect of Lake Argyle I also want to give viewers a taste of what to expect when you visit there.
During my visit last year the local tour operators rolled out the red carpet for me and I was able to film a heap of footage from boats, planes & helicopters to include in Discovering Lake Argyle as well as a special ‘Experiencing Lake Argyle’ feature in the film, where I give you an inside look at the best tours and experiences you can enjoy when you visit there yourself.
Lake Argyle is definitely one of my favourite destinations in Australia and should be on everyone's 'must go' bucket list when you're planning a trip to the Kimberley.
Watching Discovering Lake Argyle will give you an understanding and appreciation of the incredible history of this part of Australia as well as a to-do list of ways to experience it for yourself when you get there.
You can watch a preview of Discovering Lake Argyle on any of the product pages below.
Enjoy the show.
How to buy Discovering Lake Argyle
DVD ($19.95) - Purchase Discovering Lake Argyle on DVD and you’ll also get the Online edition included for FREE so you can Stream + Download the film from our Members Hub in Full HD (Note: The historical dam construction films are included on the DVD and to Stream from our Members Hub but not to download).
ONLINE EDITION ($9) - If you’d prefer to have the online edition and skip the DVD you can buy it for $9.
ALL ACCESS PASS ($27) - If you’re dreaming about doing your own Big Lap of Australia and want to get access to all of our films, eBooks & spreadsheets to give you the inspiration and information to help you plan your trip then check out our All Access Pass for Big Lappers for just $27.