This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2004 Travels June 25

FRIDAY 25 JUNE   MURCHISON SETTLEMENT TO MT AUGUSTUS   390kms

Today’s was a really interesting drive. North of Murchison Settlement, we moved into slightly less flat country, with more interesting stream crossings.

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Wooramel River

We stopped for a while at the Wooramel River crossing, walked around, took some photos.

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Wooramel River

Then stopped at Bilung Pool for lunch.

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Bilung Pool

These occurrences of water in the otherwise semi-arid country, act like magnets. A little stream that would be unremarkable in, say, Victoria, assumes great significance up here.

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At Bilung Pool we chatted for a while with another couple with a van, who pulled in behind us.

Bilung Pool would be a very pleasant place for an overnight stop – or longer – if we came this way again.

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Could be a pleasant camp at Bilung Pool

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The road was surprisingly good – all unsealed, of course.

At “Glenburgh” we took the road past “Dalgety Downs”, north west to “Landor”.

By now, we were in the upper reaches of the Gascoyne River basin, and the little floodways and stream crossings – mostly dry – became quite frequent.

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Near “Landor” we met and turned north onto the Meekatharra-Landor road. We had used this route in 1993, to go from Meekatharra to Mt Augustus.

Crossed the upper Gascoyne River – multiple channels.

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On Landor Station

There were a few aboriginal driven cars around the Burringurrah community, about half way between Landor and Mt Augustus.

We reached Mt Augustus about 5pm. The mountain was even more impressive than I remembered. It looms large from the camp ground, and can be seen from about 160kms away.

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Satellite image of Mt Augustus (from Google)

Mount Augustus is actually the world’s biggest rock, reaching about 717 metres above the surrounding land. This is supposed to only be the top third – the other two thirds stretch below! Geologically, it is a monocline structure – a great fold of rock which protrudes through the surface – as opposed to Ayers Rock, which is a monolith, where the ground was worn down around it.

Mount Augustus is so much bigger than the better known – and more accessible – Ayers Rock. Mount Augustus is about 8km long and to drive around it is 49kms. It is really old – at least 1000 million years.

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Mt Augustus area (from CALM brochure)

The “resort” – really just a camp area, with a few dongas too, on a station – does not seem to have changed much (progressed) in the eleven years since we were last here. It was kind of tatty and poorly maintained – but was $18 a night for a powered site.

The place is licensed. John bought a slab of beer – he forgot to do that in parts further south – whoops. Cost him $50. Diesel was $1.40cpl. The place appeared to do a sound trade in selling alcohol to aboriginals – presumably from the community we passed.

We set up on an area with a very welcome surround of grass.

Sat outside before and after tea. just watching the changing light on the mountain, and rejoicing in being in a remote place again.

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2000 Travels November 1

WEDNESDAY 1 NOVEMBER   CORAL BAY TO CARNARVON   247kms

We thought about having a final snorkel on the reef, before breakfast, but decided we needed to focus on the pack up and travel.

Left Coral Bay about 9.30am, after topping up the fuel with 20 litres, at $1.31cpl.

The van jockey wheel had been going flat really quickly, since Onslow, and John had not been able to get a new tube in the small towns we’ve been in. So, here, he tried putting silicone on the perished parts, and it actually stayed up longer. Having the flat jockey wheel had made hitching up the van harder for me, so I was pleased with any improvement.

It was a routine, but rather tedious drive to Carnarvon, through featureless, scrubby country.

We crossed the Tropic of Capricorn again, before reaching Highway 1. I wondered if/when we would return to the tropics?

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Going south again

Just before reaching Carnarvon, we came into the irrigated fruit and vegetable growing area that exists around it, relying on  water from bores around the Gascoyne River. This river is another with a really large catchment area. It can flood quite spectacularly. Its waters soak really quickly into the underlying aquifer and that is where the irrigation water comes from. Some say it is a river that flows upside down.

We stopped at a roadside produce stall on the approach to town and bought tomatoes and capsicums. They were cheap and fresh – lovely.

Booked into Wintersun Caravan Park, for $16.50 a night. John paid them an extra $3 so we could wash the van and get the Coral Bay salt off.

We ate lunch as soon as we arrived, then set up the camp.

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Less arid here than at Coral Bay

Drove into town – this caravan park was right on the outskirts. There were banana plantations lining both sides of the road as we drove.

John was able to buy a new tube for the jockey wheel – hooray!

Bought a few supplies and meat for tea at Woolworths.

Carnarvon is rather a strange town – there seems to be no really defined central focus to it, just straggles of shops and businesses. There were quite a few closed businesses, which would seem to indicate some sort of local downturn.

John wanted me to make stuffed peppers for tea. They take quite a while to do, so tea was late.

I missed the sound of the sea at night, that we had at Coral Bay.

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