Five Cross the Tropic of Capricorn to Kennedy Ranges

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September 20th 2018
Published: September 20th 2018
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Wildflowers as far as the eye can see ... we could travel 100-200 km on these red dusty roads and at each side of the road we marvelled at swathes of all different wildflowers and flowering shrubs and trees . On a couple of days I counted the cars that we saw 3 one day and 4 the next . Yes this was remote and where else but in Oz would you drive 60 km there and 60 km back to a place near Pindar to see wreath flowers. And there they were along the side of the road ..they only grow on disturbed earth and they do look like wreaths ... lots of cars trailers and caravans there just to see this spectacle.

We were aiming for Kennedy Ranges National Park...that would be the furthest north we went ... we could fill up on fuel and water at any little settlement as we went along the Mullewa Road to Gascoyne Junction and beyond. One little place was Murchison Oasis , a lovely spot with a rammed earth museum building ...some of these towns had been flooded completely in the past few years and then the whole town was rebuilt and relocated to a different spot. Always on the look out for the next fuel stop you didn’t miss the sign that said NEXT FUEL 298 km !! At some point we saw a sign that said we had crossed the Tropic of Capricorn 26 deg.

At a side trip to Coal Seam Park we walked amongst the wildflowers saw galahs ( kind of parrot ) and marvelled at the scenery and the flowers .( I am putting a picture of the map on here so that perhaps you can follow our route.)

Kennedy Range National Park had a campsite run by volunteer hosts, a very friendly couple who let us choose a great spot for our site .... you weren’t allowed to your own campfire but they had a communal fire going and as it got dark we sat with some of the other campers with our beers as we waited for Colleen‘s bread to bake in the camper oven on the hot ashes !!! Yes we even made bread !

The one draw back here was FLIES ...bloody pesky flies so we did wear flies nets and very fetching we looked too!! There were several marked trails here so the following day ,after a bacon and egg breakfast with homemade bread, hiking up the gorges was on the agenda. No one else here just the Famous Five scrambling and climbing over rocks ...some interesting geology with siltstones , fossilised limestone and iron sandstone , copper and nickel concentric mineral deposits ...I was happy to see these. At the end of the Temple Gorge was a deep green pool but we didn’t fancy a dip ! Again there were beautiful wildflowers along the trail surviving on bare rocks It seemed. In the afternoon we tackled another gorge climbing higher to view the plain in front of us from the escarpment. Glad I had my hiking boots and trusty Leki Pole !

After 2 nights at Kennedy Range we set off turning east at Dalgetty Downs with Mount Augusta in the far distance ... it is stunning how you are on a very flat plain and then a range of mountains looms up in the distance. Often we were crossing over Creek and river beds where it obviously floods extensively in the rainy season, as we would see floodway markers at the side of the road telling you depth of water should there be any !! At the Lyons River Crossing we stoped for coffee, such pretty pools and eucalyptus trees and so many birds.... egrets , cockatoos, budgies swallows and cockatiels. Gascoyne Junction was a very friendly place and at the caravan park we paid a few dollars to have showers and do some laundry . Nice to feel clean again and the flies had gone.

Late afternoon we could see the Robinson Range in the distance we came across the Mount Gould Lock up, which was being renovated .. a sad story of aborigines being locked up , then put in chains and marched 100s of miles. Horrible.

Once it got to about 4 pm we would start to look for a suitable camping spot and here just after the Moorarie Station we took a track along by the Yalgar River ... Peter is very good at spotting the best places so we set up camp again by a dry river bed , beautiful white gum trees and lots of fallen down trees for firewood and nobody else around ...perfect! as soon as the tents were up we would make a large circle of stones and get the campfire burning. No need to chop up a very long branch just stick one end of it on the fire and feed the rest in as it burns away. It was pretty chilly so the campfire was essential for our after dinner games of canasta ( which Colleen insists on teaching me ) and a game called UPwords ( a sort of 3 D version of Scrabble) and of course there was the nightly ration of Port to send us to sleep. But it was cosy in the doonas ( Oz word for Duvet ) ...I had abandoned the flysheet over the tent by this time as we knew it wouldnt rain and the roof of the tent was just mesh so I could lie in bed and look at the wonderful black starry night.

Try saying Meekathara ...well I kept saying Meerkats and it took me quite a while to get my tongue around it ...I love some of the names ... Widgiemooltha, Munglinup Milliebillie to mention just a few. Stopping there we got food supplies topped up and had coffee at a food truck while we did the laundry in the back of a ladies gift shop . This is the wild remote country where the legendary Flying Doctors would have to rescue the sick and there was one of them waiting for his cup of coffee ...had to take a pic of course! Seeing our first mine at Meeka we were now getting into the Goldfields but before that we took a trip along the GunBarrel Highway to the Gundbarrel Laager campsite for the night. The hosts here at this station made us very welcome and you could even have had homemade ice cream or a cream tea ..however I was on chefs duty and it was spaghetti Bolognese on the menu.

Next episode Five go Goldmining

Additional photos below
Photos: 79, Displayed: 26


Purple flowerPurple flower
Purple flower

I don’t know the names of most of the flowers
Wreath flowers Wreath flowers
Wreath flowers

I know this one !
Pindar Pindar

Not much going on here except wreath flower viewing
Murchison OasisMurchison Oasis
Murchison Oasis

Great little stop for coffee and fuel.
Spot the emus !Spot the emus !
Spot the emus !

They are defo there

20th September 2018

I have so much enjoyed reading this, Lynne! I am also amazed at what a remote and essentially Aussie experience you have had! A real adventure and exploration! Your descriptions and the photos really capture it well! About ten years ago I did something similar, but I didn't camp. Good on you for going the whole hog!
21st September 2018

Aussie experience
Hi Maureen It has been so amazing to be able to do the Camping bit ....I got quite good at hammering in tent pegs and going without a hairdryer ! Am finding as before you Aussies are so kind and generous.. see you in Port in December .
20th September 2018
A different map of Australia

Five in WA Outback
Wonderful to read you are embracing the wide open spaces, colours and hospitality of the Western Australian Outback, Lynne. Also good that you are spending time rather than rushing. Rushing is not the Aussie way. Enjoy the West. Looking forward to when you hit the East...but need to rush.
20th September 2018
A different map of Australia

In the slow lane !
Hi Dave It feel like a real privilege to have been able to do this camping trip and to meet these Aussies who live and work on the land And hear their stories . Loving it 😎
21st September 2018

Camping the Outback
What a once in a lifetime experience. Nothing better than wall to wall wildflowers. We are glad you can add hammering tent pegs to your resume. Hearing the stories make it all worth it.
21st September 2018

I suppose the test is whether you would have the experience over again ...and YES I would love to do it again made such a difference to be with experienced Aussies campers and be able to fit into the team.
22nd September 2018
Temple Gorge

This beautiful land
I'm in awe of your amazing camping trip. I haven't been north of Perth and your photos are making me very envious...especially seeing that landscape come to life in spring. Safe travels, and we look forward to seeing you soon :)

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