2 week trip
to the Kalgoorlie Goldfield area
Another trip to Australia done. Too short as usual. Total about 2000km.
This trip revisited some of the same places we went last year and a few new spots.
The basic trip was from Perth to Bullfinch and then to Mt Jackson and up to Pigeon Rocks. From there we went across to Johnson Rocks via the same old tracks as last year. Some of the areas had a fire through and were real easy going. Some were tougher because the fire had caused a lot of trees to fall over the track.
We visited some of the Hospital Rocks area (worth another visit and stay) then worked our way up to Galah Rocks and across to Mulline Rock. We then made our way to Menzies with a stop over at Niagara and then via a bit of cross country driving down to Donkey Rocks Road and off towards Kalgoorlie. We got to enjoy some very bizarre weather on the Kalgoorlie drive down. We started with a sprinkle in the morning followed by some quite warm weather that required a cooling off at an appropriate water tank. Then in the afternoon the weather in the south started looking very dark. We stopped for some pictures at Gindalbie Mining area and there was a VERY dark thunderhead in the south. The wind was cold and we rugged up. Then we headed south again and within 1km of where we had stopped we hit heavy rain and the result of the thunderhead - the road was awash and there was large hail on the ground and washing across the road. In the few minutes it took for the thunderhead to work its way across the road it must have dumped several inches of rain. It was an amazing sight to see the flooding that was taking place. We made a dash down to Kalgoorlie and found most of the dips in Kal flooded with 1/2' of water. We then drove to Coolgardie and had dinner there hoping that the weather would clear by the time we were done. Fortune was with us and after heading towards Perth another few km we had a break in the rain and we set up camp in the dry. The next day had us heading for the Prince of Wales mining center (abandoned) and from there we headed back east to Gnarlbine rock and the effective end of the Holland Track. We then popped down to Queen Victoria Rock (after visiting it more than 10 yrs ago) and finding it quite the tourist spot. Finally we got onto the Holland Track (highway actually - you could drive a toyota corolla on it) and wound our way to Hyden and then back to Perth.
Following are some of the pictures from our trip. The participants were:
- Myself 'just another 10km or so to go' 'about another 20 minutes to go' (Keeper of the holy path - i.e. in charge of keeping us from getting totally lost).
- Amando the commando 'time for bed' (photo nut, reader of the Hobbit & Lord of the Rings)
- Lionel 'just like new' 'it's a little weak' 'watch out for the duco' 'salt lake shortcut' 'I was sure this was a CB antenna' etc.
- Richard 'we are running out of water' 'the kettle must whistle to be at the right temperature for the tea' 'cyclops' (Mr Gourmet food)
- Barry 'this looks like the right way' (son of Lionel)
- Tim aka Tigger 'what?' (son of Richard)
Amando having breakfast on the way to Pigeon Rocks. It was raining that day - some fun driving on wet (but not boggy) tracks. Later in the trip we got a free 'brush only' carwash...
Up on Pigeon Rocks after the previous day's rain. Lots of fresh water trapped on the rocks. You get some good views from the top of the rock.
A view of our camp site from up on Pigeon Rocks, looking roughly to the south. No one around for miles and the wildflowers were brilliant. We have the tarps up at the camp since it was drizzling on and off for a couple of days.
Lionel, the owner of the bogasaurus with his laptop. Note the insane look on his face - the result of too much technology in the bush! Looks like he needs the toolbox to get Windows to boot properly.
We saw an interesting claypan but being too lazy to walk directly to it - I figured we could take a 'short cut'. Nice thing about having 8 ply tyres - you don't get flats too often (those are sharp & hard pieces of wood on the ground).
Nope, not a dead body in the tent. Amando decided to sleep in this morning (as usual) - guess the tent must have fallen down eh?
Yeah, it's a tough life out in the bush. Hmm, what to cook for dinner, decisions, decisions...
Some of the tracks we followed were fairly overgrown. You can see some of the kindling we are collecting just in front of the windscreen...
This was one 'evil' looking owl. You get the profile on the left and the full on on the right. Penetrating stare doesn't half describe the look this guy gave us! Pretty sure this is a Tawny Frogmouth owl.
Lionel (tight arse - or shorts at least) and Richard (foreign legion candidate) on the northern edge of one of the Hospital Rock outcrops. We stopped here for an hour or so after leaving Johnson Rocks (and topping up water) in the morning. It's quite an impressive outcrop that will be worthy of a revisit the next trip out to this area.
This is one of the burnt out areas. We're heading to Rundle Rock and then on to Galah Rocks. This is one of many examples of why it's good to have a GPS and Oziexplorer running on the laptop. We are on a track that hasn't had any traffic since the last big rain - there are no tyre imprints and due to the fire the track is literally invisible unless you are looking down it. This is not a place to decide you are lost and start running around in circles like a headless chook ;-)
We went in two vehicles. My MQ patrol and my mate's cruiser (the Bogasaurus - named after the patrol had to winch it out of a salt lake). On this trip my mate had his son and another mate & his son along.
A view of the salt lake that the bogasaurus got stuck on. You can see the tyre tracks stopping in the middle of the picture. Towing a trailer certainly didn't help. We ended up using the patrol's winch to tow the trailer out of the lake first and then pulling the bogasaurus out backwards. Without the trailer the cruiser just needed to be pulled out of the hole it had dug and then it reversed back the rest of the way under its own steam. Funny thing is that later in the day I went out with a shovel and found that another couple of inches below the lowest point where the tyres had dug was an extremely hard layer of clay - like concrete. Of course the tyres were so filled with mud that even had they reached the clay they probably would have spun anyway.
Yeah - that looks pretty stuck to me. Lovely consistency!
The trailer has been winched back to hard ground. Now it's time to get the bogasausus back out of it's natural habitat.
Camped at the salt lake. Looks like we are quite comfortable - the tarp gave us shade from the sun. This picture is in the morning and we are having breakfast & coffee before packing up and moving on to Niagara via Mulline rock.
Niagara dam. Lionel on the left, Richard in the middle and trendy Amando on the right (the one not in flannel). We all had a dip in the dam to wash off the dust from the track (though the water was cold and somewhat murky). Amando declined figuring that the water wasn't clean enough for him. In the past I've put the odd net in and caught some reasonable size yabbies here - possibly the story of toe chewing yabbies put Amando off ;-)
Great use of the kids - protect the roobar!
Richard ('cyclops') is on the top of my Nissan 'calling home' when we were about 30km or so from Coolgardie. That's one way to increase the height of the phone's antenna. He's wearing one of those LED head lights, hence cyclops ;-) This was the evening of the day that had the thunder, hail and downpour - a good time to be the highest point around...
Which way? Heading from Bulla Bulling to the Prince of Wales Mine - a clay pan about 1/2 way in between. As much as the bogasaurus tried - it couldn't find any mud to play in ;-)
A willy willy on the beginning of the Holland track (the east end). The track is just a typical goldfields dirt road at this point.
Still on the Holland track, emus decide to 'travel' with us. Eventually they decided to get off the road so we could get past them. This is only a little after we spotted the willy willy above.
On the Holland Track proper. As can be easily seen from the following - this is not a track - really a main road. Good for the weekend warriors that want to take their shiny new 4wds on an 'adventure'. Even as a historical track it's pretty boring - the rock outcrops are disappointing and the terrain is less than inspiring. The tracks north of the Great Eastern Highway are much more interesting with the old minesites and diggings. Given how dry the Holland Track is - I can imagine any of the old diggers that went that way must have had a hard time of it.
More of the Holland track - I've added a few more pics to 'prove' that a corolla could drive most of it very easily. There's only a few spots where the corolla driver would have to do some careful driving.
Still on the Holland Track. Sorry Amando, not enough meat on this little guy for dinner - baked beans tonight... The little emu chick was on it's own - blocked in by the barrier fence and mum & siblings not to be seen - though there were lots of other emu adults around. We left a bit of water in a tin for it - but mother nature would probably sort it out one way or the other.
The last night of our trip - another rotten sunset ;-) Sheoak Rock and the next day it was a drive back to Perth via Hyden.
Just past Hyden on the black top the bogasaurus decided it would shed some weight and one of the rear tyres (a Desert Dueller) delaminated with a puff of smoke. After a stopping and ripping off as much of the steel belts and rubber that was left the bogasaurus commenced its slow drive to the next town to get one of the spare tyres installed. The whole event was quite amusing since Lionel had been quite paranoid about staking one of the wide tyres the whole trip while we were on tracks. The bogasaurus had a spare wheel, but only skinny wheel/tyre combo - it also had 2 spare wide tyres. Fortunately the delaminated tyre (with inner tube) made it the 45km to the next town and the tyre store was open. Guess the old Desert Dueller was a 'bit weak' eh Lionel?