Kennedy Ranges and Mount Augustus July 2022.
Wilco, Silvia, Thirsa and Nayeli – Lexus LX470 towing Kimberley camper trailer and swag.
Do and Jane – Nissan Patrol towing Cub camper trailer.
After a few months of preparation, it was finally the day that we were leaving for the Kennedy Range. Although we had to delay it by a day as Thirsa came back from the National Championships in Brisbane with COVID.
We had never been to this area and we were looking forward to it.
Our first night was at a camp spot just north of Mullewa after visiting the Butterabby Graves. Interesting historical place, a place where you can’t stop thinking of the past.
The next day we said farewell to bitumen and entered dirt road country at Pindar. This is more like it. The road was smooth and there were even some flowers. Unfortunately we were too early for the wreath flowers.
The night was spend at Wooramel river, a spot I noticed on Google maps. As it was winter, a camp fire was needed. (image Wooramal)
Another day on dirt, today we would reach Gascoyne River and were going to look for the crossing on the west side of the range. My GPS was playing up and we had no service, unlike Don who got a call 20 minutes before we arrived in Gascoyne River. We found the turn off and drove up to the open area before the river bed were we had lunch. Jane and I walked to the river, which was quite a bit away. The total width of the river is 200 meters with only water in the last 30 meters or so. The river bed was soft sand like what you find at the beach. I walked the crossing which came to my knees with a soft bottom. Further east we noticed another crossing which had a rocky bottom and was only ankle deep. We decided to go through there with the trailers.
We stopped at a shaded spot on the bank of the river and decided to stay for the night, it was another great camp spot with a gorgeous sunset. Don and I couldn’t resist the temptation of the river and after unhooking the trailers, we both went through the deeper crossing.
The next morning we woke up at a light rain. We packed up and followed a track which I hoped was connected to the main track further north. The track was amazing: dry rocky river beds, bushland one moment, open vistas the other. Meanwhile the Kennedy Range was looming in the distance. Our destination was Mooka where you can see mookaite, a fossiliferous silicified porcellanite mineral only found here. The girls were enjoying looking at all the different stones while I was searching for a track through the river. Unfortunately it was blocked off. We kept searching for a track but every wheel track ended in nothing. So we had to return.
On the way back we saw our first dingo who stepped out on the track in front of us.
When arriving back at our starting point, we all agreed that even though we did 40 km in 4 hours, it was worth it.
We followed the main track north and came only 25 meters from the spot at Mooka where we were looking for the crossing. It was blocked from this end with a high wall of dirt and mookaite.
Our camp site for tonight was Chaffcutters Springs. Another beautiful site, surrounded by hills and trees. During the night the weather changed and the wind picked up, we had to tighten the ropes a few times.
Today it was Thirsa’s turn to take the wheel. We had a look at Pharoh’s Well and continued north, looking for the track leading us to the top of the range. More dry river beds until we found the uphill track. It was narrow and rocky. Thirsa did a great job driving up, for the first time with a camper trailer in tow. On top of the range we found the logbook which we had to sign. According to Jane, the track was similar to the Canning Stock route: red dirt with Spinifex, navigating the red sand dunes. We all loved the scenery and the remoteness. Reaching the east side of the range, we stopped at a cliff and looked out over the vast country side. It’s an amazing location. As time was going by, we had to continue to the camp site. After lunch I thought that Thirsa had enough of driving, but she hadn’t. We arrived at Honeycomb late that day, tired but satisfied we set up camp for two night. After 4 nights of solitude, we were not prepared for other people around us.
Today was a rest day, so for breakfast we had pancakes. Jane and us went for a walk and enjoyed the grade 3 Temple Gorge trail. Climbing over rocks, following dry river beds we arrived at the end: a small pool. In the afternoon, Jane, Silvia and I walked the Honeycomb trail. It was a short and less challenging trail but with a great pool at the end. It was a day well spent.
Our destination is Mount Augustus. The day was uneventful, driving on more dirt roads. We decided to do the loop around Mount Augustus before we headed to ha camp site. We walked two trails to see the Aboriginal rock art. One was located under a rock bridge which required crawling under. It was a tranquil place, with a trickle of water running underneath.
After a beautiful sunrise, lighting up Mount Augustus, we left for Meekatharra. We stopped at the Mount Gould Police Station for lunch. The nearby water dam was visited by many finches. We arrived a bitumen again and after 1 hour I had enough of it already. We turned off the main road and followed some tracks, leading us through the Hope river and to watering holes for the cattle.
The night was spent at Peace Gorge, just west of Meekatharra. A big area with boulders of granite with many camp sites.
We left for Big Bell town site. There isn’t much left apart from the hotel, the water tower and a church. Interesting walking through the streets where once 850 were living, courtesy of the gold mine.
Next stop was Walga rock, where Aboriginal art is found including a drawing of a ship which is amazing as the rock is 325 km from the ocean.
We followed the road to Dalgaranga meteorite site, the smallest in WA with a diameter of 24 meter.
Camp for tonight was at Chinaman Rock.
Jokers Tunnel was on the itinerary for today, followed by Camel Soak on the Rabbit Proof fence (which is not rabbit proof as we saw rabbits on both sides of the fence).
Our final night was at Buntine Rock. Our final meal was cooked on the camp fire. We ran out of water and gas.
It was raining! Our final day today and we packed up a damp trailer. On our way home it started to really rain. At a T-junction there was a sign: left to Meekatharra, right to Perth. Do we need to turn right?
It was a great trip with great company, beautiful scenery. Too many pictures to chose from.
Definitely a place to visit.
Story by Wilco