This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2004 Travels June 24


I had read some tourism promotion material for new drive routes – Outback Pathways – through these parts of WA, and it was this that had given me the idea of going to Mt Augustus this way. From Mullewa north to Gascoyne Junction was being called the Wool Waggon route – because it passed through sheep grazing country. Historically, wool bales were carted over these tracks.

Refuelled at Mullewa – $1.12cpl.

Set out on the road north – the Mullewa Carnarvon road. There was a new iron ore mine at Tallering Peak, so we encountered  several big trucks on the road, which was sealed for that distance. After that, it was gravel – wide and mostly fairly smooth, and there was very little traffic.

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Outback Pathway – Wool Waggon Route

We were soon into mulga country.

Crossed our old friend, the Greenough River, a bit north of the Tallering Reserve.

We stopped to have lunch at the bridge over the Murchison River. This stream actually rated a bridge; our other watercourse crossings had been floodway type. Even the Greenough River crossing was basically a low causeway over pipes.

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Murchison River and bridge

We had quite a wander around at the Murchison River – not in any hurry today. There were some holes in an eroded bank area; outside one of these holes was an assortment of little bones, presumably the leavings of the hole’s resident.

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The lair of a carnivore

Stopped again to have a look around the restored Well 9 on the DeGrey Mullewa Stock Route. This featured a long trough that stock would drink from. It was filled from the underground water table via a bucket and windlass – hand operated. Filling the trough for stock would have been a long and hard task – one bucket at a time!

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Well 9 – trough, windlass, bucket on rope.

Today was a wonderfully easy one, after the long one yesterday.

We got into Murchison in the early afternoon.

Murchison Settlement consisted of the Shire offices, a couple of other buildings, and a roadhouse with attached caravan park. Murchison Shire billed itself as the Shire without a town.

Refuelled – $1.35cpl. Some 200kms had seen a rise in fuel price of 23 cents a litre!

The little caravan park was fine. $10 a night. We were the only people there.

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Camp at Mutchison Settlement

After minimal set up – we stayed hitched – we went for the “Botanical Walk” – a 700 metre track around the area. At least they were trying to provide something for the visitor to do.

I was almost better – just a little head congestion left.

We discovered that the roadhouse generator ran all night! Obviously, the settlement was not on the power grid.

Resize of 06-24-2004 to mr

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2000 Travels November 16


Before breakfast, I wrote a letter to K, informing him that we would not be arriving home on the 14th, after all, but going to Healesville instead. I requested that he let us know a suitable arrival time for us, and also let us know how much the water rates were, when the bill arrives. I reminded him to make sure they left my photos and negatives of their wedding, and to put the cats into our room, on moving day. With the cats’ propensity for getting into boxes and vehicles, I could see them getting moved, too!

I then walked to the shops for fresh rolls, and a new film, and to post that letter.

I phoned Healesville and booked us into a drive through site for the 14th. I also booked us into the Coffin Bay Caravan Park – there was no problem about sites at the time we wanted to visit there.

It is all seeming horribly final!

We drove out of town the way we’d originally come in, for a short way, then took the unsealed road to the river gorges in the National Park.

First stop was at the Lookout, where the river was moderately cut into its valley. The river was a greeny colour, the valley walls red. Because the Murchison flows through sandstone layers here, the erosion has been spectacular, creating steep sided valleys and gorges.

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Murchison River and Gorge from Lookout

Next stop was the Natural Window, where one looks through a dramatic hole in the rock cliff face, at the river and valley below.

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Murchison River through Natural Window

We set out to walk the Loop Track, an 8km circuit, graded moderate – which in WA means quite hard. The track follows a great bend or loop in the river so you arrive back where you started.

The track started out along the top of the ridge, above the gorge, where walkers had built cairns along the cliff top – like at Barnett River Gorge track. There were good views of the deep gorge.

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Murchison Gorge at the start of the walk. The track follows the ridge to the left of the river

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Many cairns

Then the track descended to the river level – quite a straight forward descent. However, it did occur to me that what goes down must at some stage, go up again!

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Rugged country

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Cairns mark the descent to the river. Can see the way we’ve come along the gorge rim

The track then followed ledges alongside the river, through the gorge. This was harder going. A couple of the sections were not very enjoyable, given my dislike of heights and narrow ledges!

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We followed ledges through this part of the gorge. This was a nice wide ledge, unlike some!

We ate lunch sitting on a rock ledge, admiring the striking outlook over the river and the layered cliff walls.

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Gorge wall

Carrying the backpack was making my back ache quite badly – more so than usual – and the heat down in the gorge, with no breeze to alleviate it, was making me tired, too, so John took the backpack for the last part.

The climb back up to the Natural Window was not too bad.

The bloody RAAF was inescapable! They were doing a practice rescue in the Gorge, and so the chopper was all about during the last part of the walk, making noise and stirring up lots of dust. We watched it land, from back up at the Natural Window.

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More RAAF games!

We were pretty tired by then. Fortunately, some cloud had come over and there was some wind up top to make conditions a bit cooler. We even had a few spits of rain.

That walk took us four and a half hours. It would probably be the last decent walk of the trip.

We then drove to the Z Bend – so named because of the river course there – and did the 1km walk to the Z Bend Lookout. This was different again.

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The Murchison River at the Z Bend

The wildflowers were brilliant. It would be most interesting to be in these parts for a whole spring season, one year.

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This was the seventh National Park we have entered in WA, since buying the annual pass, back in Kununurra, so we have “saved” $63 in entry fees. That puts us ahead by $12 on its cost. It was, of course, meant to see us through maybe nine months of WA touring, which will not now happen,  but it still has saved us a bit.

Whilst driving back to town, we decided we’d buy a new fridge to replace the broken down home one, which is over twelve years old. We also decided we’d look for a new mattress for the bed at home, similar to the one in the van, which we both find extremely comfortable.

Called at the shops for some V8 juice, to make “soup” for tea. We were too tired to go to the sausage and burger cook-up, put on by the park. I made a soup out of the juice, tomato, onion, garlic. John cooked himself whiting and chips. I had a small salad.

Overall, it was a great day of exercise and scenery.

This whole Kalbarri area was totally new for us, as we bypassed it in ’93.

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2000 Travels November 11


After breakfast, John topped up the fuel tank from a jerry can, thinking that we had really used up a lot of diesel yesterday.

Apart from that, the rest of the pack up and departure was quite routine.

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This little guy was trying to get a drink? Or catching insects?

I took a photo of the Telegraph Station before we left.

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Old Telegraph Station, Hamelin Pool

We stopped at Overlander Roadhouse, when we reached Highway 1, and filled up – at $1.24cpl.

As we travelled south, the roadside vegetation became gradually taller and greener, and eventually we came into sections where there was cropping – wheat – in the distant paddocks.

Crossed the Murchison River – not a very large water course – at Galena Bridge.

Not far south of the river, we turned off the highway to go towards the coast.

Reached Kalbarri about 11.30am.

We parked the rig close to the shops, found a chemist and put John’s script in for filling – it had to be done today, as he had run out of his Celebrex. We waited while it was made up, then went and bought rolls for filling for lunch.

We set up at the Anchorage Caravan Park, for $18 a night. We’d liked what we’d seen of the township, there was some walking we wanted to do, so we booked in for a week and got the seventh night free.

The park was on the northern edge of the town, up on a hill above the Murchison River, which entered the sea just a bit further down. The outlook was really pretty.

Set up, had lunch and settled down for a relaxing afternoon.

John slept for a couple of hours.

I walked to the town along the river side path, which was a lovely walk, although it was very windy.

I’d been hearing amplified noise from the town direction so curiosity had taken me that way. The loud speaker system at the boat jetty was broadcasting the annual blessing of the cray boat fleet. The cray season opened later that week. Obviously, cray fishing is a significant industry here. There was some very low quality entertainment happening there.

John was awake when I got back from my investigation. We walked up to the bowls club, so he could find out about any coming events.

For tea John had whiting and salad, and I contented myself with Greek salad.

It was a really windy night.

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