4WD Motorhome's 1st Trip - Wiluna - Wave Rock

Tuesday, Oct 12, 2010 at 16:17

Navigator 1 (NSW)

4WD Motorhomes 1st Trip - WilunaWave Rock June 27th – 19th July 2010

After being in Perth since 28th January watching the build of our 4wd motorhome, on the 25th June, ‘Hugo 1’ finally pulled out of the factory.House sitting during this period provided free accommodation. Our only obligations were to care for the household and the family pets. www.ausiehousesitters.com.au and www.homecarers.com are fantastic sites!
Day 1 Sunday, 27th June
We left Perth with only two days to get to the Exploroz National Gathering at the Gunbarrel Laager, Wiluna. We were committed - we had all the raffle prizes and give aways.
With no time to stop we passed through NEW NORCIA, S30.97321 E116.21338, home to a community of Benedictine monks since the town site was founded in 1847. Today it continues to be a living expression of monastic hospitality. The Abbot and monks invite visitors to share their art, architecture, prayer life and natural environment in a guided tour 11am or 1.30pm at a cost of $22 or Concession $20. The tour includes a visit to the monks’ own chapel within the monastery, the Abbey Church and beautifully frescoed interior of the College Chapels. We will spend time here another time.
70km south of Paynes Find, S29.25934 E117.69447, we pulled into a road side camp.
Day 2 Monday, 28th June
We awoke at 2.30am then, unable to sleep, we hit the road. After 3 hours, We pulled over for another doze then we were on the road again.
SANDSTONE, S27.98962 E119.29652, lies in the heart of the spectacular lower Murchison District. Its bronzed landscape contains many unique and picturesque locations. When we return we will take the 17.9km self guided drive through the town and surrounding district, a pleasant half-days outing. We look forward to taking in the natural rock formations/breakaways which contrast dramatically with the rust stained standstone landscape which gives the town it name. Gold was first discovered in the immediate Sandstone area as early as 1894.
It was necessary to fill up with fuel and this was paid for at the original Post and Telegraph Office building.
Around 4.30 we pulled into the Gunbarrel Laager, S26.59940 E120.34120, much to the relief of Michelle & David, owners of www.Exploroz.com, remember, we had all the raffle prizes and give aways!

Day 3- Day 6 Tuesday , 29th – Friday 2nd
Over the course of the five day gathering onsite and away activities kept the attendees busy: Bob Cooper conducted a Survival Course and a Snake Awareness session; the Hema rep enlightened us on the features of the Hema 5 GPS, not the mention a lengthy run down on the virtues of the iPad; The Royal Flying Doctor representitives, Wendy & Paul , gave a wonderful presentation on their role in the community; an EO session by David made us familiar with site functions and new features that have been, or soon will be, released ; the Gunbarrel Long Distance Education classroom was opened to visitors and the icing on the cake was a BBQ organised and funded the Wiluna Shire Council and BH Billiton. The evening culminated with the auctioning of the EO photo Comp winning picture. This was also the perfect time to Present a card to David & Michelle wishing EO a very Happy 10th Anniversary.
This gathering was a great opportunity for us to meet EO owners, David & Michelle and lots of EO members that we had not previously met. The proceeds from photo auction, together with donations and fines imposed by a very efficient Sheriff, raised $1600 for the RFDS - a very commendable effort!
Everyone appreciated the hospitality of the Gunbarrel Laager owners, Gill and Mal.
Now we wait for the 2011 Annual Gathering in September at SILVERTON, NSW. Dave Beharrie will put on a wonderful show so try to make this one.
Days 7-9 Saturday 3rd July – Monday 5th July
LORNA GLEN, S26.22458 E121.55859, 160km NE was our next destination.
Mid morning we pulled out and headed east on the Gunbarrel Highway, a good gravel road, turning left at the sign for Lake Violet Station, Granite Peak, and Glen Ayle. After passing Millrose homestead we turned right on the final leg to Lorna Glen. We met up with ExplorOzCraig (Qld) - Craig, Louise and Sam and later that afternoon, ExplorOz Evren1 – Evan, Ren and Lee. We camped in the Homestead bush camp but toilets, showers and washing machine were available at the Homestead.
Lorna Glenn is now a DEC property and many projects are underway on the property eg the release of bilbies. A huge enclosure has also been built to enclose animals that have been transferred from Barrow Is, off the NW coast and others from Christmas Island. After a settling in period and being tagged, the animals are released.
Pleasant days were spend around the camp site and a close eye was kept on the progress of the repairs to Craig’s trailer. Evenings were spent by the camp fire.
Day 10 Tuesday, 6th July
Today we set out to explore the property and make camp for the evening at Turtle Pool. The 48km trip basically followed the fence line and we were lucky it was wide enough for the truck to get through. We were stunned by the number of camels on the property and the number of carcasses on the ground due to the culling operations.
The water level at the pool was very low so were lucky the area had not been closed off to protect the fauna. It was a special area!
Day 11 Wednesday, 7th July
On our way out we had to go back past the homestead so we called in to see how Craig & Louise were going with their trailer repairs. Bruce, the DEC Manager, had done a wonderful job straightening the axel but the new springs still hadn’t arrived. Things move slowly in the bush!
We talked for so long we didn’t get off the property. On our way out we camped at a gnamma hole – 51km was far enough to travel for one day! We sat by the fire as the sun set and watched the Spinifex pigeons and a lone emu come to the hole for a drink.
Day 12 Thursday 8th July
We managed 352km today, a real feat for us. Although on the sealed Goldfields Highway, we were travelling on part of the Darlot Loop that takes in many sites associated with the old gold mining days. Our campsite for the evening was Wilson’s Patch, S28.31504 E121.18154. The shafts and other infrastructure remain today. You would have to be game, or mad, to go down the ladder into the mine. It was a cold windy night so we were glad we could stay inside.
Day 13 Friday, 9th July
There was significant rain in the Goldfields region last night and the truck got a much needed wash!
It was still raining when we reached Leonora! We spent a little time in their wonderful Information Centre then headed out to the close by historic ghost town of Gwalia, S28.91506 E121.33488. We had coffee at the restored Hoover House which is situated on the edge of the working open cut mine. Hoover House was commissioned by HERBERT HOOVER while he was mine manager for SONS OF GWALIA in the late 1800s – about 30 years before he became the 31st president of the USA. Hoover, an ambitious young mining upstart, lured to Western Australia by gold, celebrated his 24th birthday in the house. He left before it was finished, but returned regularly, trailing various dignitaries who also slept in its hallowed rooms.

A renovation of the homestead saw it emerge in 2004 as both museum and B&B accommodation. Visitors can now sleep in Hoover’s favoured “gold” or “blue” rooms with original furniture and antique set pieces, and discover the charms of the ghost town at its doorstep. Abandoned virtually overnight in 1963 when the Sons of Gwalia mine closed down, it remains a reasonably intact monument to the WA gold rush. It is both thrilling and chilling to creak open a door and fossick through heritage possessions. It’s as if the owner just ducked to the shop and vanished. The partial restoration of the miners’ shacks is thanks to the town’s recent residents. The absence of fanfare or entry fee – or vandalism, for that matter – makes it a refreshingly authentic brush with history. Remoteness is part of the thrill of visiting this region.
We continued on to Menzies, S29.69330 E121.02882, only to find out that road out to Lake Ballard had closed due to rain. Heavy fines are imposed if found on a CLOSED ROAD! We were disappointed but we would just have to wait for anotherday to see Antony Gormley’s haunting “human” sculptures spread out over the lake. Each sculpture represents one of the 131 local residents, whose bodies were scanned for casts. Scary people in Menzies!
The caravan park was not an option so we continued further south to Goongarrie Station, S29.98254 E121.04772. Although there was a lot of water on the track, it was open.Goongarrie is yet another failed property that has been taken over by the DEC. The homestead and Shearers’ quarters are available for holiday rental. We camped just outside one of the other buildings that we believe is usually occupied the by caretakers.
Day 14 Saturday, 10th July
After exploring the buildings, cattle yards and air strip we continued our journey to Kalgoorlie, S30.74455 E121.47300. The discovery of gold by Paddy Hannan in 1893 led to one of Australia's great gold rushes.
It was late in the afternoon and we found the perfect campsite alongside the Kalgoorlie Raceway.
Day 15 Sunday, 11th July
The town is dominated by magnificent historic architecture with Hannan and Burt Streets providing a focus for modern cafés, restaurants and accommodation, hotels and clubs. Kalgoorlie/Boulder is the hub of the Western Australian goldfields region.
The Super Pit was the draw card for the day and it was amazing!
It is an open-cut gold mine approximately 3.6 kilometres (2.2 mi) long, 1.6 kilometres (1.0 mi) wide and 512 metres (1,680 ft) deep. It was created by Alan Bond, who bought up a number of old mine leases in order to get the land area needed for the Super Pit. Every now and again the digging reveals an old shaft containing abandoned equipment and vehicles from the earlier mines.
The mine operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and a visitor centre overlooks it. The mine blasts at 1:00 pm every day, unless winds would carry dust over the town. Each of the massive trucks carries 225 tonnes of rock and the round trip takes about 35 minutes, most of that time being the slow uphill haul. Employees must live in Kalgoorlie; it is not a fly in/fly out operation. The mine is expected to be productive until about 2017. At that point, it is planned to abandon it and allow the ground water to seep in and fill it. It is estimated it will take about 50 years to fill completely full.
Unfortunately the planned blast was postponed due to a large machine that could not be moved.
Day 16 Monday 12th July
We continued on to Boulder, Kalgoorlies twin city, to see the damage to historical building caused by a recent earthquake. We were shocked to see practically every building in the main street shrouded in scaffolding and safety fences. It is not sure how many can be saved.
We headed west on The Great Eastern Highway through Coolgardie and 84km further west to The Goldfields Woodlands National Park, S31.18101 E120.38591. The camping area, which would make a good night stop, was well set out with fire rings and modern facilities.. Between showers we had time to walk to the top of the granite mound to study the walls that had been erected to channel water into the dam.
Before coming into Southern Cross we turned south on the Emu Fence Track. Our destination was Hyden but for tonight it was a bush camp on one of the side tracks.
Day 17 Tuesday 13th July
Just 21km north of Hyden we took a short detor to visit Mulca’s Cave, S32.31511 E118.96299, and then on to see Wave Rock, S32.44211 E118.89870.The famous wave was well worth the visit! We walked over the top of the rock and around part of the base to ‘Hippos Yawn’, a well named formation.
This rock too has been used to advantage to collect valuable water by means of channelling water into a dam. This dam still provides water for the town.
Day 18 Wednesday, 14th July
Our exploring was over and with only 354km to go we made it back home in the southern area of Perth. Our homeward path took us through Kondidin, George Rock, Corrigin, Brookton and along the Brookton Highway.
Until the next trip.......
The outback calls
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