AWOL Around Australia… Gold Fever! Part 2

Well, when I got up the fridge was only at 9 degrees. So the Thumper had probably kept it going till about an hour or so ago. The Thumper was totally discharged. So I pulled the fridge off it and ran the car for a short time to bring the fridge back down to temp, whilst the solar trickled charge back into the battery with the rising sun.
With the winds of last night totally gone the fly factor had gone up even more.
Just woken up.
Not happy Jan…
So we scrapped making coffee, and were packed and ready to go in about fifteen minutes. We were only 60km out of the town of Wiluna, this was the western end of both the Gunbarrel Highway and the Canning Stock Route. So I figured there would be good facilities to take advantage of the travellers of these iconic outback routes.
Not so. Wiluna was unfortunately a good example of when you mix a certain part of our community and alcohol. Rubbish and beer cans all around the outside of the town. Scenes I was familiar with after working on indigenous community projects in the Army. We were there early but the facilities, whatever they were, were not open for business, and as all the windows and doors are boarded up, you couldn’t tell what the might be anyway. Nay mind, we’ll push on.
We headed a short way up the CSR and took the turn off to North Pool. Disturbing the cattle getting their morning drink. It’s a nice enough spot but obviously very heavily visited, takes the appeal away for me – and absolutely the reason why such heavily trafficked iconic routes such as the CSR have no appeal.
We took he more minor loop track out to get back to the main road. Minor? You bet. We nearly lost the trail several times and I would suggest that another vehicle hadn’t been down this way in months.
We eventually popped back out on the main dirt road to Meekatharra.
We didn’t see another vehicle in the 160km till we got to the town. Where a mobile coffee lunch truck finally secured us our caffeine hit, along with some freshly made sandwiches and homemade cake. Worth the wait.
Road. Train.
Up there…
Now down the bitumen highway south, back towards Mount Magnet, but our destination was the small historic town of Cue.
Girl doing Terminator walk.
Some grand old buildings.
This one all on its own out the back of town, felt like it would be haunted, for sure.
Back on the dirt now, first stop was one of the more recent ghost towns. Big Bell Township 1936-1955. Boom and indeed, bust.
Watch your step around here.
Whilst photographing the building I heard a noise inside, quietly cursing to myself, surely there couldn’t be anyone in there…?
Seconds later out hopped Skippy…
Next stop on this afternoon’s dirt road tour was Walga Rock, an impressive natural sculpture with indigenous cave paintings all along the inside of the overhang.
This was the perfect contrast to our visit to Wave Rock. Just us there. Minimal modification to to the environment, just a chain to keep you away from the ancient cave paintings and a rusting Heath Robinson irrigation system made from old oil drums that was slowly rusting itself away.
You can drive around the whole rock, absolutely worth it. Very little publicity for this monolith. Australia is normally quite proactive in publicising such things, anyway I’m not complaining.
Final stop was Australia’s smallest meteorite crater. It did have an good back story though.
So we rolled back into Yalgoo from the north, come early evening. No flies to mention here.
A few big days behind us so we slept well that night.
Come the morning we drove out to Jokers Tunnel. Named so because the gold leases in this area were named after playing cards.
So in I went.
Mostly cut by hand…
The bats were amazing, I have never seen them so up close before, they didn’t seem too bothered with me being there, probably quite used to human interference by now. Have them fly past you was a pretty surreal experience.
The tunnel gets quite tight at the other end, and stepping back to full height and the clear daylight was a relief. Looking around for the path back around I expected to find I realised no such thing existed and so there was only one vaguely sensible way back. So back through the tunnel I went.
After a few more photos of the bats and I think they were starting to have enough of me. The bigger ones were flying past me a lot and a couple of them touched me on the way. So I decided I had disturbed them enough for one morning and made my way out, past the several metres of bug lined walls, then the same with spider webs, and then back out into full daylight.
It was a pretty exhilarating experience all in all.
An easy drive back west to the town of Mullewa. Where some of the best examples of the Monsignor Hawes architecture is.
Here we again hit the dirt to go cross country to the town of Northampton.
We were beginning to realise that free camping in WA isn’t really available the way it is in the other states, aside from roadside camps, and who wants to camp there?
So N had found a $5/night place, and it was in the region we wanted to explore next. So Elbenjo Camp it was for us.
The hosts greet you on arrival with a rescue baby kangaroo, there have many rescue animals.
I said its a while since I’ve seen one up this close and they though I meant a dead one! I reassured them that Mt Ive Station in South Australia has a couple of very friendly pets ones too.
That’s a photo from Mt Ive, as I didn’t get any of the Elbenjo joey.
After moving everyday for the past four days, it was going be good to stay in the same spot for a couple of nights.

4 thoughts on “AWOL Around Australia… Gold Fever! Part 2

  1. Hi Ant.
    Wondered where you were and now I know. It s certainly is a big country an you never know what you’ll find. Glad that you are both coping with all that challenges you.
    love to Naomi and R&R,
    Mum xx

    1. Hi Ant,
      I’ve been wondering where you are and now I know! It really is a big country and discovering things in such a large state as W.A. must be exciting and sometimes daunting.Glad that you are both coping with whatever is thrown at you, the Aboriginal sites are amazing.
      Love to Naomi and R&R,
      Stay safe, love Mum xx

      1. Hi Mum,

        we’re now in Tom Price, in the Pilbara region of WA. I’m a bit behind with the journal as there isn’t much internet up here!



  2. Caning is WAY too cool for the likes of you.
    I love this old boom and bust town. Must go when you adopt me and we move there.
    The bug pic. You look good for 60. Good on ya.

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