(Holland track trip) plan B Helena and Aurora Ranges.

(Holland track trip) plan B Helena and Aurora Ranges.

May 7, 2022 Club Magazine 0

Attendees in no particular order

Shane – Triton (Mightly leader)

Matt – Paj

Alex – Collie and camper

Wilco, Sylvia and Nayeli- Lexus 100 series and camper

Simon and Jacob – Triton and camper

Gary, Claire, Gabe, Az – 80 series and camper

Lin – FJ

Rob – Suzi

Dave – Prado (TEC)

Kieth and Kirk – Rangerous Ranger

Many people can look at the same object but see something different, so for this trip report, we got all the travellers to give their own version of each destination for a variety of perspectives.

Original plans for this trip was the Holland track from Hyden to Coolgardie however with days of rain the Holland was out of action and with a good size group still keen to get away it was swing into plan B, Helena and Aurora Ranges via Southern Cross and Koolyanobbing. Meeting point was Lakes Roadhouse 8am.

After a quick brief on convoy procedures (being Easter weekend busy roads) we made our way out along Great Eastern Highway and before long it was fuel up time at Southern Cross for both vehicles and some hungry tummies. We then made our way towards Koolyanobbing to where we parked at the entrance to the mine site, where we had to give details of vehicles and numbers of people; which must be for safety reasons I guess. Then we aired down as we were now on the lovely redstuff and we couldn’t have asked for better weather. Moving on, we then crossed a couple of haul roads and at the end of the track we turned right, followed that track for another half an hour to our campsite for the night as by now it was 3:30 p.m. and we were all keen to get setup and get a fire ready.

Helena and Aurora Ranges Camp

After an early morning start, it was great to arrive at our first camp site for the night in the Helena & Aurora Conservation Park. We set up camp amongst the trees with Dave and Shane taking only minutes to get the evenings campfire underway, ready for the usual evening group sit around. 
The next morning after breakfast several of us climbed a local peak ( not sure of its name sorry) just next to our site, nothing too vigorous at only 504m ( according to Keith’s watch!) AND…………what a view. The countless miles of the park, the vastness of this country really was spectacularly put on display against a cloudless blue sky. Shane was also able to point out our next destination for the day / night in the distance, Mount Elvire. 
I think the photographs say it all, we were really in a very beautiful place and we couldn’t wait to start the journey of exploring over the next days.

Helena And Aurora Ranges Ridge Top

All the cars made it to the top of the Ranges. Absolutely stunning 360 degrees views. We stopped to take in the scenery and wonder at the vastness of the outback.

Old Water Well

Whilst driving the track from the Ranges to Mt Elvire, we came across this old dis-used water well. Surprisingly the well was quite deep due to the recent rains. The water was a wonderful fluorescent green in colour, not quite fit for making coffee.

Lake Giles Salt Lakes

We arrived at a nice lake that didn’t seem to have a name but after some investigating, we found out it is Lake Giles. We all got out for a stretch and to have a look around. From a distance it looked like the lake was full of water but as we approached it was just a big salt pan. Dave tasted it just to be sure, yep definitely salty. It was quite firm but not completely dried out with little erosion lines forming wavy patterns. Some of the group wanted to draw ‘All Tracks’ in the soft surface but only got part of the letter A and then gave up. It was a nice break in the drive before heading back on the road to the next place.

Mt Elvire

Our second camp for the trip was at Mt Elvire – a former cattle station and communications outpost. There is still a Telstra radio tower in operation on the site. The scenery is outstanding and beautiful with views both east and west towards the rising and setting sun. As usual a camp fire was lit and food cooked and great conversations about everything and anything. A short hop from the station building is a rocky outcrop just big enough for a group photo. What a great spot.

Old Steel Graveyard

Finding an old track off the main track, we stumbled across a treasure trove of old relics . Items included old fridges, a windmill, an old 1960 Toyota and an EH Holden.

Old Grave Site

After seeing the old cattle yards we stopped at the ruins of the old homestead . Not much is left of the house these days. Next to the old house is a large rocky outcrop with a pool of water , around half of the pool is a small concrete wall to catch and hold water . There were a large number of tadpoles swimming around in the small pool of water. Not far from the pool are two memorial crosses . One of the crosses belongs to James Allan McLaughlin , The McLaughlin family owned the station from 1973 to 1977 and ran 3500 head of sheep.

Cattle Station

Leaving Mt Elvire, we stumbled upon this old cattle station. It was once used for sheep and cattle since the 1920 up until the 1970’s. As you can see, the fencing was in extremely poor condition, but please keep the gate shut, so the animals don’t escape.

Mt Geraldine – Old Diggings

We travelled south along the Bullfinch – Evanston Road all day; stopping along the way to take in the
scenery. One of our early stops was near Mt Geraldine, where climbing up the rocks there were a
number of old, abandoned, hand-dug mine shafts to be found. We pondered over what sort of men
came out here and the hardships they would have endured. There was also a grave site/memorial on
the hillside for W. M. Brabazon, presumably someone who had mined here?

Near Mt Jackson lunch stop

Back in the cars and on to our next stop at Mount Jackson, a deserted mine site. We made this our
very welcome lunch stop too.

Mt Jackson Homestead

What can I say about the homestead?

It is a ruin in bad shape, luckily there was a geocache which I had saved on my GPS before we left. While Nayeli went to the friendly dog in the back of the ute, I went straight to its location and had it within a few minutes. Another to my tally.

The drive to and from the homestead was uneventful. However the whole trip was very enjoyable. What made it even more enjoyable for us was that with the long range tank installed, I was no longer the one who needed to fill up anymore.

Rocky Outcrop

This particular area has many rocky outcrops, giving us a chance to stretch our legs, put on a brew, while taking in some great views from on top of the “big rock”.

Baladjie Rocks

Baladjie Rocks, our last stop over for the trip, and a spectacular place to stop. All Tracks has stopped at this particular site quite a few times now, and it’s been admired as a great camp site every time, from the morning sunrise views at the top of the rock, to the sunset lit caves on the western side.

Being our last night, We had a special treat. Good old Aussie Pav (not the kiwi pav), and freshly baked chocolate cake from Gary and Shane. Nibbles, can’t forget some nibbles. How about some freshly popped pop corn, if you can get close enough to make it.

The next morning, we were greeted with a beautiful sunrise. Packing up early, departing around 8.30, we slowly made our way to Merredin, some of us had stopped for fuel, while others continued home to Perth.

Special thanks to Dave for being TEC, ensuring no one was left behind.

Thank you all for making this a very special non Holland track trip (closed to bad weather) We will attempt the Holland track at a later date.

Check out the YouTube vid of this outback explore


Leave a Reply