MONDAY 20 MARCH STANLEY
The morning was a mix of cloud and sunshine.
We left camp about 9.45am, to travel the Western Explorer route, south to Corinna.
The first part of the way took us over the same roads we’d travelled yesterday, through Irishtown and on down to the Kanunnah Bridge over the Arthur River. From here, we kept heading south west, to a T intersection, not long after we’d crossed the Frankland River, where we turned south east. The track ahead went through to Couta Rocks, on the coast.
After some 15kms on the Western Explorer route, we took a somewhat rough track to our left, for a short way, into the former mining settlement of Balfour. Tin and copper were mined here, for a few years, in the early 1900’s. In 1911, a tramway was built from here across to Temma, on the coast, to take the ore to ships. But Temma was not really a safe place for ships, and the mine was abandoned shortly after anyway, so Temma never became a port. The very rough 4WD Balfour Track goes between Balfour and the coast.
We had a little explore and found some abandoned bits of machinery and a lot of tracks, which we did not have time to explore.
Stopped at the Donaldson River crossing to eat lunch. This was in a rather rare forested section. Much of the way had been over button grass plains. These grow where the soil is almost non existent, having been scoured and eroded away in the ice age times. Where the soils are deeper and richer, there are forests.
Stopped several kms further on, parked Truck and walked the Longback Track to the top of a ridge, which gave us great sweeping views all round. I went close to walking on a small snake and back stepped very quickly, while it wriggled away. Today’s snake!
Continued on to Corinna, reaching there at 3.15pm. The place consisted of a few rustic cottages, and the barge, by the very wide Pieman River. Not far from Corinna we stopped so that I could take a photo of a particularly large myrtle tree.
This trip down to Corinna was superb, through the mix of button grass plains, and myrtle dominated forests. There were some big ranges in the distance. The road was fine – where it was steep, or particularly bendy, it had been sealed.
On a couple of our stops we saw ground parrots – a bird new to us.
It had been such a varied and enjoyable drive that we decided to go back the same way, rather than the planned route on the bitumen via Savage River and Waratah.
Just out of Corinna, found we had a tyre going down. It seemed to be the tube again, like the last one. We changed it more quickly this time. Hoped we didn’t get another flat on this remote road – still hadn’t done the smart thing and brought the second spare. It is a hassle to get it up on the roof rack. But we didn’t let any worry spoil the journey.
We actually saw several lots of traffic, all going the other way – more than we would have expected, given the lateness of the day.
We got back to Stanley at 7pm, having driven 326kms.
It was so late that we bought fish and chips for tea.
While walking in the forest on one of our stops, I’d found some yellow and red myrtle leaves on the ground, near a big tree. I thought then that we might be lucky and get to see the spectacular leaf colour change before we leave here in mid-April.
It was a great day!