Carnarvon Range

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesMeekatharra
FinishCSR Well 5
DifficultyDifficulty 3.5/5
Suitable For4WD 
Distance562.97 km
Minimum Days4
Average Speed39.05 km/hr
Travel Time14 hrs 25 mins
Page Updated: 12 Feb 2017


Dogger Peter Muir, who worked in the area in the 1960s, discovered many rockholes and features in the area. He named them and in most cases inscribed his initials and a sequential number on a nearby rock face. Many of these can still be found today.

Turn off the Great Northern Hwy at Kumarina Road House and travel east until you meet cattle yards at the abandoned Rabbit Proof (RPF), head south passed an old drilling rig and the Mary Mia cattle yards to the turn off from the RPF track, then head eastwards towards Mt Methwin. The windy rocky track to Mt Methwin has washouts and dips and quickly deteriorates. It allows speeds of 10- 20 kph.

The first stop is Surprising Waters, found by P Muir on 20 January 1967. Next stop is Tortoise Rock Hole; here P Muir placed white stones to show “PM 11”. Tortoise Rock Hole was a large body of water about 100 metres long and some 10 metres wide.

Continuing easterly along the windy, rutted, bumpy track, often up creek beds, with speeds varying from crawling to around 20 kph, you arrive at the Mt Methwin / Mt Essendon group of hills. The first stop is Waterfall Rock Hole. Depending on the timing of your visit water could be flowing over the 50 feet high water fall. Muir’s “PM 34”, is chiselled into a low rock face behind a spreading fig tree on the north side of the rock pool.

At Virgin Spring, follow the track until it stops in small parking area in a shady thicket of 3 metre high scrub and tall white gums. Leave the vehicles and head south east following a path to the main spring and gorge. It is a magnificent series of waterfalls, pools and spillways, lined with rocks and white gums. There are hundreds of rock paintings on both sides of this water course. As you climb higher up the gorge you have magnificent views northwards over the desert. Muir’s inscription “PM 65” is found very high up the water course on an eastern rock face.

Talbot Rock Hole, Muir’s PM 39, is also spectacular. Depending on water run off, visitors could see water flowing over the waterfall into a tree lined picturesque pool. On the cliff face beside the rock hole is chiselled “CW/92”, “T Pouthard 4th July 1893”, “Talbot 1908” and Muir’s “PM 39”. Rock overhangs on the left hand side of the pool have faint aboriginal art and the name “Tommy” painted onto the rock face.

Serpents Glen is the next stop; there is an excellent camping area here. There is little firewood in the area; so bring it in with you. Serpents Glen was named by Muir because of a large serpent like aboriginal painting located at the northern side of the entrance to the gorge. Peter Muir’s inscription “Serpents Glen” is located nearby as is other aboriginal art. Rock art adorns most overhangs of the gorge.

Next stop is Peter Muir’s Good Camp Rock Hole. You will find a rock hole a few hundred metres from the track; this however isn’t Good Camp Rock Hole. Walk a little further east and you will find the real Good Camp Rock Hole. On a rock face on its southern side, Peter Muir has inscribed “PM 40” and “Good Camp Rock Hole”.

Following the range south and then east, many high bluffs come into view. From the top of M6 you will have commanding 360º views. Allow 2 hrs and 45 minutes for the walk to the top, it is some 2.5 kilometres for the round trip. There is a magnificent 2 metre high rock cairn at the top of M6.

Leaving the range behind, your next stop is the abandoned Blue Hill Station, originally taken up by Tommy Ingebong. The trek ends with a spectacular drive along ridges and up valleys as you head for the Canning Stock Rote and Well 5.

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The country around the RPF is pastoral country with mainly grassy flats and spinifex plains. As you approach the ranges belts of trees, rocky areas interspersed with low dunes are the main features.

Should rain have fallen recently then the risk of boggy patches is high and appropriate preparation and care needs to be taken.

There are few corrugations however many of the tracks are rocky and rutted; punctures from rocks are a real risk.

Should you be interested in animal life we have regularly seen dingoes, kangaroos, donkeys, camels and many birds on our visits to the area.


Significant aboriginal art work of varying age found through shows the area was of great importance to them.

John Forrest on his 1874 expedition across Western Australia named Carnarvon Range, after the Right Honourable the Secretary of State for the Colonies.

Government geologist HWB Talbot visited the area whilst on Geological Survey 39 in 1908/1909. Talbot Rock Hole is named after him.

Mal Brown, a CSR drover, was exploring the area with camels in 1929 and named Virgin Springs.

Peter Muir the indefatigable government dogger worked along the rabbit proof fence in the 1960s, he explored the area naming many features.


MUST READ: You are strongly encouraged to read the following articles prepared by the knowledge experts at ExplorOz for your safety and preparation before undertaking any published ExplorOz Trek - Outback Safety, Outback Driving Tips, Outback Communications, and Vehicle Setup for the Outback.

Travelling in remote areas is very exciting and challenging, but you must be thoroughly prepared and self-sufficient. You can't call for local roadside assistance out here. Don't travel this area on your own - if you must, advise the Meekatharra or Wiluna police before leaving and when you return.

Have your vehicle fully serviced and checked over for remote area travel by an experienced 4WD service centre, have at least two spare tyres, have a spare tube and the appropriate puncture repair gear for your tyres and have the usual spares of belts, hoses, fuses, oils, etc.

Ensure you have adequate recovery gear including at least a snatch strap, two rated shackles, a towrope and a long handled shovel. Have an HF Radio or Satellite Phone and EPIRB for emergencies. The use of either 27MHz or UHF is only suitable for vehicle convoy work. They will not transmit to emergency services if you strike problems out in the desert.

Ensure you have enough fuel to travel at least 500 km, for the section between Kumarina roadhouse and Wiluna. Then allow a sufficient margin of at least 20% on top of that for sand driving, detours and if you happen to be bogged.

Also, ensure you carry sufficient food and water for the whole trek (i.e. minimum of 4 days). There are no fuel stations or supply points available en-route. Kumarina, Meekatharra and Wiluna are your closest supply points.

You may find water in water holes but this is not to be relied upon, you should also consider the risks of illness if you drink any of it.


Effective 30/6/10: Central Desert Native Title Services have confirmed that the Canarvon Ranges is currently NO ACCESS until further notice. For more information contact Rob Thomas, Manager West Side Central Desert Native Title Services (08) 9425 2000. See

Permission to enter Mary Mia Station to be obtained from John Roach by phoning (08) 9981 2929.

Fuel Supplies & Usage

Fuel SymbolKumarina Roadhouse.
4cyl 79 litres4cyl 91 litres4cyl 113 litres
6cyl 86 litres6cyl 102 litres6cyl 99 litres
8cyl 86 litres8cyl 93 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

Best Time To Visit

The cooler months of April to September is the best time to travel in this region.

Closest Climatic Station

Distance from Trek Mid Point 81.51km SE
Mean Max. °C38.036.534.029.223.819.919.421.926.330.334.036.8
Mean Min. °C22.922.119.615.
Mean Rain mm35.138.035.829.325.
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended

Services & Supplies


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What to See

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Where to Stay

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Meekatharra to Great Northern Hwy & Goldfields Hwy
Driving: 2.63 km
Heading: 23°
Avg Speed: 34.48 km/hr
EST Time: 04:34
Great Northern Hwy & Goldfields Hwy to Great Northern Hwy & Wiluna North Rd
Driving: 168.18 km
Heading: 31°
Avg Speed: 103.73 km/hr
EST Time: 01:37:16
Great Northern Hwy & Wiluna North Rd to Gascoyne River, Great Northern Hwy
Driving: 23.02 km
Avg Speed: 105.03 km/hr
EST Time: 13:09
Gascoyne River, Great Northern Hwy to Kumarina Roadhouse
Driving: 64.88 km
Heading: 27°
Avg Speed: 105.12 km/hr
EST Time: 37:01
Kumarina Roadhouse to Beyondie Station (Abandoned)
Driving: 48.84 km
Heading: 101°
Avg Speed: 40.34 km/hr
EST Time: 01:12:38
Beyondie Station (Abandoned) to Tupee Well
Driving: 18.39 km
Avg Speed: 28.71 km/hr
EST Time: 38:25
Tupee Well to Snake Well
Driving: 6.49 km
Heading: 29°
Avg Speed: 22.19 km/hr
EST Time: 17:32
Snake Well to Tupee Well
Driving: 6.49 km
Heading: 209°
Avg Speed: 22.19 km/hr
EST Time: 17:32
Tupee Well to Garden Well
Driving: 14.48 km
Heading: 178°
Avg Speed: 31.68 km/hr
EST Time: 27:25
Garden Well to Drill Rig
Driving: 15.35 km
Heading: 169°
Avg Speed: 52.31 km/hr
EST Time: 17:36
Drill Rig to Old Rabbit Trap
Driving: 7.16 km
Heading: 159°
Avg Speed: 47.43 km/hr
EST Time: 09:03
Old Rabbit Trap to Mary Mia Well
Driving: 4.21 km
Heading: 167°
Avg Speed: 46.91 km/hr
EST Time: 05:23
Mary Mia Well to Old Rabbit Trap
Driving: 6.7 km
Heading: 155°
Avg Speed: 36.1 km/hr
EST Time: 11:08
Old Rabbit Trap to Rabbit Proof Fence & Mt Essendon Access
Driving: 13.63 km
Heading: 155°
Avg Speed: 34.44 km/hr
EST Time: 23:44
Rabbit Proof Fence & Mt Essendon Access to Surprising Waters
Driving: 10.8 km
Heading: 98°
Avg Speed: 24.01 km/hr
EST Time: 26:59
Surprising Waters to Tortoise Rockhole
Driving: 8.98 km
Heading: 106°
Avg Speed: 21.66 km/hr
EST Time: 24:52
Tortoise Rockhole to Waterfall Rockhole
Driving: 57.08 km
Heading: 75°
Avg Speed: 26.35 km/hr
EST Time: 02:09:58
Waterfall Rockhole to Virgin Spring
Driving: 8.87 km
Heading: 115°
Avg Speed: 17.28 km/hr
EST Time: 30:47
Virgin Spring to Talbot Rockhole
Driving: 8.19 km
Heading: 139°
Avg Speed: 19.93 km/hr
EST Time: 24:39
Talbot Rockhole to Good Camp Rockhole
Driving: 18.88 km
Heading: 215°
Avg Speed: 32.41 km/hr
EST Time: 34:57
Good Camp Rockhole to Serpents Glen
Driving: 1.01 km
Heading: 195°
Avg Speed: 12.68 km/hr
EST Time: 04:46
Serpents Glen to Main Track & M6 Access
Driving: 8.89 km
Heading: 126°
Avg Speed: 26.01 km/hr
EST Time: 20:30
Main Track & M6 Access to M6 & Parking Area
Driving: 1.12 km
Heading: 354°
Avg Speed: 21.86 km/hr
EST Time: 03:04
M6 & Parking Area to Blue Hills (Abandoned)
Driving: 16.86 km
Heading: 113°
Avg Speed: 29.91 km/hr
EST Time: 33:49
Blue Hills (Abandoned) to CSR Well 5
Driving: 21.84 km
Heading: 106°
Avg Speed: 33.42 km/hr
EST Time: 39:12
Distance is GPS recorded distance based on the travel mode shown (Driving, Straight, Cycling, Walking etc), Direction is straight line from start to end, Avg Speed & EST Time is calculated from GPS data.


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Travel Journals

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