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Australia 2007

Woodland Tracks

Leg details

Date
October 10 - November 3, 2007
Leg
Perth - Perimeter Rd. - Kulin (Tin Can Hwy) - Dragon Rock - Holland Track - Pigeon Hole - Kalgoorlie - Victoria Rock - Cave Hill - Burra Rock - Widgiemooltha - Kambalda - Higginsville - Willey Lakes - Old Hyden Norseman Rd. - Hyden - York - Perth
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Leg map (click to enlarge in separate window)

On Wednesday, October 10, 2007, we leave Perth together with Ruedi's sister Heidi and her husband Peter, trying to escape the rain.
(Heidi and Peter will be travelling in Australia with their Swiss car for the next few years.
For details on their car and trips please go to www.hanhart.schoensleben.ch ) .

On the Albany Highway we travel south to Sullivan Rock but cannot do the hikes because of the bad weather.

But the spring flowers are out and compensate for the bad weather ....

We also find different sub-species of Cow's Lips Orchids.

We travel further south looking for the entry point into a trip described in the "4WD Days out of Perth" magazine.
We hit the dirt at Wearner Road where we find a nice spot for the night.

Here too the spring flowers are already out.

During the night the sky clears up and the temperature drops to 6.3°C.

We wake up to a sunny day and soon continue on the described route along Wearner Road, then along some small fence-lines and fire tracks.

Enamel Orchid (Elythranthera brunonis)

Amongst the many flowers that we find on our way we find a patch of pretty Enamel Orchids.

We leave the track and turn east travelling along Perimeter Road, a narrow but interesting track.

Some areas are very wet.
It is the task of the co-driver (Susi) to find a track were the heavy OKA can get through.

Of course Susi also finds flowers ...

Nature is full of interesting animals too. The spider is a Wolf Spider (Lycosidae Lycosa spp.).

We also find a spot with lots of grass trees. Ruedi loves them ...

We enjoy a sunny but rather cool day with day temperatures only reaching 21°C.
The country looks so pretty with all the fresh colours.

We continue on to Boyagin Rock where we stay for the night.

After another cold night with 7.6°C we continue on along small country tracks lined with flowers towards Corrigin, where we visit the Dog Cemetery (for details please click here ).

The flower drive opposite of the cemetery has a few nice flowers to offer too.

Interesting is to see how some plants change once the flowers have finished blooming.

It is a beautiful and warm day with temperatures around 25°C and we enjoy it very much after all this cold weather and rain.
We continue on towards Kulin and have a look at the "horses" along the Tin Horse Highway advertising the bush-races.

The races had just been a few days ago and some of the "horses" had received a fresh paint coat or even a new shirt!
(For more "horse"-pictures click here .)

Then we turn towards Jilakin Rock where we stay for the night.
There are lots of flies and we flee into the OKA.
When it is time for the flies to go to bed the mozzies take over and ensure we stay indoors for the rest of the evening.
At least the night is a comfortable one with 11.6°C.

On Saturday morning the sun shines, the birds sing and the radio announces a hot day.
Perfect!
After breakfast we hike on top of Jilakin Rock.

It is an easy walk with nice views over the countryside and the surrounding lakes.
Surprisingly there is a lot of water in the salt lakes.

Once back from the hike Susi finds a tick on her leg.
Warning is given and when checking Heidi finds one on her arm too.

We continue on in direction of Lake Grace but deviate to Pingarin to get fuel.
We are not lucky; the shop seems to be closed on Saturdays.
So we are forced to deviate to Newdegate.
We are impressed with the provided facilities at the BP station; they even offer warm showers for free.
That is service!

We pass Lake Stubbs and decide to stop for lunch and enjoy the pretty sight of the salt lake.
Even though it has water the lakeshore shines in spotless white.

In the meantime the temperature has risen to 31.5°C.
Fly-nets are mandatory today (for the ladies) ....

We continue on to Dragon Rock to have a look at marks of the wagon reels in the rock, reminders of the old Holland Track, still visible after all this time.

Of course there are also flowers to be looked at ....

Then we drive to Emu Rock where we stay for the night.

The temperature does only drop to 20.6°C.
It's the first night without using the floor heating on this trip!

We decide to stay for the day and work on our diaries.
The day is very hot with 34°C but the humidity is below 20% and also a constant light wind makes it very comfortable.

Looking at the flowers in bloom one can tell, that it is rather dry here. There are many paper daisies and all flowers are small.

A deep red sunset announces bad weather.
But the rocks are so warm that we become stargazers and try to identify the one or the other constellation ... with more or less success ....

Over night the clouds move in and the temperature drops to 14°C, a drop of 20°C since lunch.
We wake up to a grey and cloudy sky, a cold wind and drizzle.
But the weather forecast is for good weather so we decide to continue and hit the Holland Track.

Compared with last year's Holland Track-trip (for details click here ) it is much wetter, with many puddles of water on the road.
But this is part of the fun, isn't it?
For a short movie click here (file type: .wmv, size: 1'029 KB)

We are surprised about the many cars we see: in the first 2 days on the track we see 4 cars.
This is as many as we saw last year over the whole 5 day period!
This place is getting crowded .....

As the weather improves the road dries and warms up and we start seeing animals.

We continue on to Sandalwood Rock, where we stay for the night.

Tuesday, October 16, is a sunny day, the weather forecast announcing warm temperatures around the 30°C mark.
For once they are right.
We don't mind at all!

We continue on to the State Barrier Fence.
Compared with last year there are almost no flowers.
But as soon as there is some water around the flowers appear.
Susi hopes that further north there will be more water and flowers.

On and off there are a few puddles of water but nothing serious.


We continue on and come across the Holland Track guest book.
It is interesting to see who has come through.
We browse through the business cards and even find one card from a well known Swiss Hotel in Zurich, the "Kindli".

We pass Krakauer Rock and continue on to Agnes Gnamma Hole.
We need some water and check the gnamma holes for levels.
The major hole has lots of large tadpoles and small crabs in it.
So we decide to use the smaller hole further down on the rock to fill our water tank.
There are no animals in it and the ladies are please about this fact.

As the rock covering the main hole is not large enough Peter gets busy and prepares a new large plate.
First thing he finds when lifting the rock away is a large Red Back spider (Latrodectus hasseltii)!
Luckily Peter is wearing gloves!

Heidi places a stick in the hole so animals that fall into it can climb out.
Then the new "lid" is placed on top of the Gnamma hole and we are all pleased with the improvements.

We decide to stay for the night.
We find plenty of time to watch animals getting ready for the night.

Some of them "close" the entry to their nest with a net ...

... some of them even have a "roof" that can be placed over the entry over night!

Later on when showering Susi discovers a tick under her arm.
It is already dead and removing it is not an easy task, especially the head that is buried.
Later on as Susi goes to bed it does not take long and she discovers another tick on her ankle, a fresh one.
It must have fallen onto the bed when Ruedi was cleaning the wood off the roof and the hatches were open.
Well, it is spring and with the bush-bashing we are doing one must expect ticks.
Thank God there are no paralysis ticks in Western Australia!

On Wednesday we continue on to Thursday Rock, where we go for a short hike.
It is very dry, not many flowers are blooming.

Also where the Holland Track reaches the Victoria Rock Road, there are almost no flowers.
Last year it had been a paradise for flower lovers ..

We turn into the track towards Pigeon Hole.

After a while we spot a few trees with Quadongs, small red round fruits, bush-tucker for the Aboriginals.
We have not seen Quadongs since Kulin, it seems to be too dry in the area.
We gather a few kilos; this will make a nice jam which tastes similar to rose hip jam.

At the Pigeon Hole we find the Gnamma Hole to be empty ... last year it had been busy with insects ....

We continue on out into the bush.
The track has not been driven lately but is ok.
A short section has some bad wash-outs that have to be navigated.

We stop for the night on a cleared area to be ready for the storm that is looming.
The wind is so strong that we can't put up the tarp and fly-net.

We have time to have a closer look at the trees and how they recover after a bush fire.

The tree just grows back around the dead wood.

We also find some twisted branches and wonder, what freak of nature has caused this phenomenon.

We also find this cocoon and wonder, what animal has hatched here ...

Later on Susi prepares her Quadong-jam.
It is much better than last year's jam as the fruits we picked are much riper.
So next year we will only pick the Quadongs that fall off the tree once touched, leaving the ones hanging that still require a bit of pulling.
We are working on our bush-tucker knowledge .....

The sun-set is spectacular!

The night is surprisingly cold with 8.3°C.
We are not used to it anymore and Heidi and Peter turn on the heater in their camper.
But in the morning the sun soon warms us and we hit the track again.

The drive through the forest with its different trees is very nice.
Especially the Salmon Gums and Bloodwood shine very prettily in the morning sun.
Some trees are peeling and the old bark generates interesting patterns on the trunks.
It is also nice to watch the wind playing with the loosened bark; it looks like a ballet.

We spot large groups of Rainbow Bee-eater (Merops ornatus).
We also spot a blazed tree from the days when John Holland came through here.

Today it is slow moving.
The track we are travelling has not been used very often lately and lots of trees have grown into it.
It is either break them off, pull them down or drive round them.

At one stage we even decide to drag a fallen tree out of the way instead of creating a new route around it.
For details click here (file type: .wmv, size: 1'435 KB)
It's a good exercise and test for the equipment.
We are pleased with the result, the OKA performs as expected.
We are very happy with it.

We have lunch at a pretty salt-lake near Nalarine Rock.
Then we reach the bitumen again near Woolgangie and head past Coolgardie to Kalgoorlie.
We find our way to "our" spot close to the riffle range just a few kilometers out of Kalggrolie, where we stay for the night.

We wake up to a sunny but muggy Friday morning.
We head into Kalgoorlie, the ladies to do the laundry, the gents go shopping.

Then it's time to go and have a look at the Super Pit.
Because the wind is very strong and gusty there is no blasting today.

We also drive over to Boulder where the Super Pit Shop can be found.
The friendly lady tells us that on Sunday there is Boulder Market Day (happens every month on the third Sunday) and that free tours into the Super Pit are given away.
But she also warns us, that the queues are looooooooooong to get them so we decide to pay 5$ and get the tickets in advance.

Then we head back to the camp, where Susi goes animal-hunting.

The Trap-door spider still lives in the same spot, where it lived last year.
And it is friendly enough to perform its "door-closing" technique.
For details click here (file type: .wmv, size: 232 KB).

Also this interesting insect crosses the path of Susi .... when she gets closer to it with the camera it lifts the back with the "face" on it ... strange little creature.

A thunderstorm is looming and even though there are only 30% of humidity the air feels sticky .... but only a few drops of rain fall.
With the clouds hanging around the night stays warm with 18.4° as lowest temperature.

On Saturday morning it is still overcast but they predict sunshine in the afternoon.

Today they have scheduled a blast at the Super Pit at 1 PM.
To be sure that we have a good spot we get there early .... like many other people who had the same idea.
There is a choice of possible blasting sites so we place ourselves strategically correct to see all of them.
We wait for the blasting radio-communication to be broadcasted over the loudspeaker but nothing happens.
So we wait in anticipation and hope that we will not miss the blast and can film it .. but a few minutes ahead of schedule the blast happens without any warning.
It looks good how the rock is lifted like a wave.
There is lots of rumbling and a large dust cloud forms where the rocks have fallen down into the pit.
It looks really good and it is a shame we were not able to film it so we could view it a few times.
Then we head back to the camp and continue working on the diaries.

On Sunday morning we head to Boulder for the Boulder Market Day.
We stroll along the stalls in the main street and the park, listen to the Brass Band performing, have some food and watch people.

The fairy gives us "magic dust" that we have to blow towards each other and wish something nice .....

... lots of junk is sold ... faces painted ... and the "girls" at the German Club booth sell Bratwurst and Beer.

For more junk click here (file type: .wmv, size: 1'389 KB).

To see the "star" at the German Club booth click here (file type: .wmv, size: 990 KB).

At 11:30 it's time to go on the mine tour.


The bus takes us inside the mine and gives us the chance to look behind the curtains.
Again we are impressed about the details given.

The stop at the second lookout that is not open to the public gives a great view into the pit.
For more details on the Super Pit click here.

Then we head back to the camp site and continue working on our diaries.
Some pictures and movies from today's tour have to be processed too ..

On Monday, October 22, we visit the Royal Flying Doctor Services (RFDS) Base at Kalgoorlie - Boulder Airport.
It is not as interesting as the visit that can be made in Alice Springs, but we learn a lot.

Then we head back to the camp to finish the diaries.
This has to be done today as we will hit the bush again tomorrow and will not have Internet access for a week or more.

Ruedi also has to look at his front tire, which is loosing air.
In one of the mud holes some dirt has been forced between the rim and the tire and now air leaks out through there.
He manages to get the leak fixed but while doing this he notice that the beadlock in the tire has "shifted" its position so the inner tube blocks the the air valve.
We can still use the tire as spare, just not reducing the air-pressure.
This will require some more work, but not today.

On Tuesday morning after a cold night with only 7.3°C we leave Kalgoorlie and travel south to Coolgardie.
There we hit the Holland Track again.

At Gnarlbine Rock Susi gets some driving experience with the OKA.
Since the gears shift now smoothe after being fixed by OKA, she can handle it (before the gears were not very "user-friendly" and she refused to drive the truck).

We continue on to Victoria Rock, where we hike to the highest point.

We see a large stick insect and many dragons.
There are loooooooooooots of flies too!

We stay at Victoria Rock for the rest of the day.
Even though the sun has been shining the whole day the temperature does not really get up much above 24°C and a cold wind makes sweaters a "must" for the ladies.

For dinner Heidi produces some Kangaroo grilled on the provided grills at Victoria Rock Camping.
(No no, it's from Coles, not road-kill ..... at least not that we know ....)

On Wednesday morning Peter takes over the steering wheel of the OKA with Ruedi as co-driver.
Heidi drives the "Kokopelli" with Susi as co-driver.
We drive south and then head into the woods in easterly direction.
Soon we encounter wash-outs.
The fun begins.

Then the track gets narrow and Peter decides that he rather has Ruedi driving the OKA when trees have to be pushed out of the way ..

Soon after a tree blocks our way and driving around is not an option this time.

Now it is Peter's turn to remove the tree.
The recovery gear is unpacked and the tree removed with ease.

The next tree needs a bit of "pruning" ..

We learn that a just recently burned area is an excellent place to collect char coal ....
The dead trees that already lay on the ground and are rotting away only burn partially and turn into quality char coal.
This will provide us with "fuel" for the next BBQ!

Just watch out:
Ashes can be like quick sand!

We are impressed by the speed how nature grows back.

We continue on.
There are now basically two possible vegetation states:

- Overgrown - meaning that the branches screech and scratch along the OKA
(gives an excellent patina ...)

- Burned down - meaning that we have to watch out like crazy not to get a puncture in the tire because of the remains of roots and trees that stick out of the ground.

At an extremely narrow section Ruedi decides that he must remove the short UHF antenna, because even that one gets bashed around as the OKA pushes its way through the greens on both sides of the track.
As he leans out of the cab to loosen the antenna he slips off the clutch, the OKA jerks forward and a loud metallic "clunk" announces that something has snapped ..
Is it the hub .... or the drive-shafts ... or even something worse ....?
We unlock the hubs, get out of 4WD and slowly start driving .... no suspicious noise .....
So we put the hubs back on, engage 4WD on too ... no suspicious noise either .
Then Ruedi stops, puts the hand-brake on ...... even though we can hear the hand-break engaging, the OKA starts rolling forward with no problem ....
Ok, we have busted the hand-break.
At the next possible spot Ruedi crawls under the truck and checks everything.
But he cannot find anything suspicious.

We decide to have lunch there.


After lunch the rear left tire is flat .... a puncture in the side-wall ... illegal to repair .... and of course it is a brand new tire!
Well, at least Ruedi can fix it with the tire repair kit and soon we are on the road again.

Every so often we have to get out of the OKA and clear away some trees that have fallen onto the track.

Susi gets a some more experience and drives up to Cave Hill where we stay at the camp ground.

There Ruedi gets the manuals out and studies the set-up of the clutch ...

And another beautiful sunset ....

After a warm night with 16.8°C we wake up to an overcast sky.
But soon the sun starts burning away the clouds.

We leave early to hike on top of Cave Hill.

Some caves have excellent acoustics.
Susi is able to hear Ruedi's whispered words some 60 - 70 m away!

We find the views from the top very nice.
The country stretches for miles and miles, just bush and every so often a large rock.
Yesterday's sunset would have looked splendid from up here.

A few dams have been built at Cave Hill.
The one on the east side of the rock is almost full. Donkeys come for a drink ....
On the north side of the rock we find 3 more dams, but they don't have much water, the bottom one is almost dry.
We find remains of yabbies around the dams.

Then we leave in northern direction towards Burra Rock.
Susi is driving again.

It does not take long and she encounters some challenges but with Ruedi's guidance she masters it without any problems.
The track follows mainly the old Woodline Train Track.

The track is narrow and some of the wash-outs are quite nasty, but Susi also manages them.
Ruedi is very pleased.

At Burra Rock Ruedi starts working on the spare tire that has a problem with the beadlock.
He is successful and will change the wheel next morning.
We stay over night.

Shortly after 5 in the morning the OKA suddenly starts rolling forward.
Susi panics, jumps out of bed and dashes for the door.
Then the OKA stops again abruptly and Susi is thrown against the kitchen bench and then to the floor.
Ruedi quickly jumps out of the OKA and checks the driver cabin.
The first gear was not engaged properly (shame on Ruedi!) thus when the wind picked up in the early hours of the morning the large back of the OKA had acted like a sail and push the OKA forward ... towards Peters Toyota.

What stopped the rolling vehicle was one of Ruedi's boots that had been sitting on top of the rear tire.
When the OKA started rolling they fell down in front of the tire thus stopping the truck!
One only realizes how often one uses the hand-brake when it is broken!

After breakfast we decide to hike on top of Burra Rock.

We stop at the display of old and rusty cars and equipment.

Ruedi has to inspect all ...

Then one of them let's go and Peter and Ruedi have to fix it ....

Then we reach the dam.

Here too like in Cave Hill the water is collected and channelled into the dam.
But the dam is not even half full.

Rocks eroded by the weather make an interesting landmark and have to be investigated too.

Again the views are stunning, that open land, no limits, just lots of space ....

But it is time to leave this place, the flies are driving us crazy!

When checking the cars we find that Peter and Heidi had been very lucky ... the stick had pierced the mud guard and not the tire ...

We pass an area where we can see many Funnel Web spider nests.
They are very venomenous and we are even more careful here when removing trees and branches.

Then we hit the track again.
The track gets narrow and is not used very often.

Wash-outs and fallen trees give us lots of chances to take some good shuts.
But also the saw has to be taken out ... some trees are just too thick to be pushed aside by the OKA.

We reach Ten Mile Rock and in vain search for our track.
There is one, but it doesn't look the one we are looking for.
Peter and Heidi drive it for a few hundred meters and find it to be as narrow and scratching as the one we came on.
Ruedi gets his back-pack, the GPS, the UHF-radio and some potable water and walks all the way around the rock to find the right track.
But all he finds are the tire marks of Peter and Heidi's Toyota.
So we haven't got much of a choice and take that track .... or turn around and go back on the track we came from, which isn't any better.

The quality of the track is appalling, it is more work than fun, but we have to push trough.
One wash-out in particular is really nasty and the OKA suddenly swings to one side.
Susi, who is taking a movie just beside of the road a few meters in front of the OKA can only scream and jump to the side.
But all goes well.
For details on this nasty swing click here (file type: .wmv, size: 1'052 KB)

At the next cross-roads we don't know which road to take.
All look the same, narrow, not much traffic through lately and very scratchy.
So we check the map and choose the shortest one that will bring us back to normal road the quickest.
Soon the road improves quiet dramatically, they must have cleared it just recently.
Now we can enjoy the track again.

We drive through a forest of gums just a few km outside of Widgiemooltha.
The afternoon sun gives the Salmon and Blood Gums a pretty colour.
We find a cleared area and stay for the night.

Ruedi climbs on top of a tree to have a closer look at the "wood-collection" on the roof of the OKA.
It looks like the OKA has "eye-brows".

The winds pick up and the forecasted storm soon reaches us.
During the night the temperature drops to 7.9°C, strong winds shake the OKA and even some rain falls.

The weather forecast for today, Saturday October 27, is not good.
Strong winds are expected and a severe weather warning is issued for the region south of Norseman.
So we decide to go north to Kambalda.

Just before we hit the bitumen again we find a spot, where an old camp must have been.
It is really interesting to dig around and see what the old diggers have left here.

At Kambalda we stop at the lookout for a bit of Internet activity.
The wind picks up more and more and we see gusts of 75 km/h
The OKA shakes like a boat.
Out on the salt lake we can see the dirt being lifted into the sky by the strong winds.

We head north and try to find an entry road to the Mt. Monger Road South but all roads lead to mines and are private - access denied.
We head south and try the same, with the same result - no access.
At the Higginsville Pump Station Road we decide to head west and back into the Cave Hill Nature Reserve.
Right after the entry we cross the railroad tracks and decide to stay here for the night and try to spot one of the long ore-trains.
At sunset we hear the train whistle blowing but we are all not ready and miss a good chance.
During the night two more trains loaded with ore pass us heading south to Esperance.
One of them has blocked wheels on one wagon and they glow red in the dark.

Early on Sunday morning an empty train passes us on its way back from Esperance.
Just after breakfast a long train comes from north, with 3 locomotives and 126 ore wagons.
It takes 2 1/2 minutes until the last wagon has passed us!
We could not have hoped for a better example of an ore train and are pleased with our train-spotting results.

Today Heidi and Susi have some more driving lessons.
We continue on into the Cave Hill Nature Reserve and reach Higginsville Pump Station.
There we find some Pump-Station History ...

The loo is very interesting .... built from an old VW bus body ....

At Pioneer Graves we leave the Cave Hill Road.
Already at the beginning we have work to be done, cutting back a tree so we can get through with the OKA.
A few more follow.
On one occasion Susi (and Ruedi) misjudge a tree and rip it down.
Susi steps on the breaks (the next mistake ....) and the tree lands on the HF antenna tuner.
It takes all four of us to lift the tree over the antenna but luckily the antenna is not damaged.

We pass some salt lakes.
Even though they are shining white and the surface looks solid it only takes a bit of force to break through into the soft mud below.
Once again we realise how treacherous salt lakes can be.

Just before Willey Lakes we stop for lunch.
As it is Peter's birthday today we surprise him with cake and "candles" (matches have to do as we forgot to by real candles!).

Ruedi and Peter also install some ropes so we don't have to cut down the trees but can pull them down.
Soon after the installation we can already test it and it works fine.

At Willey Lakes we find some strange holes in the sand and wonder what kind of animal makes them.

The track is again very overgrown, the travelling speed drops to 2 - 4 km/h.
Getting caught in a bush-fire in areas like this would not be very healthy....
So when we find a large rocky outcrop we stop for the night.
With speeds that low one better finds an area without wood around the campers over night.

Being Peter's birthday tonight's menu is a bit more elaborated than usually with a roast from the Cobb.

After a cold night with only 4°C the sun greats us.


Soon we find another tree that has to be removed.
Ruedi gets the chainsaw out and it works perfectly fine, the power being supplied by OKA's batteries.

Then the front left tire has a stick in it that is making a hissing sound .... but it is fixed in no time and soon we are off again.

Ruedi also calls OKA to find out what he should do with his busted handbrake, but Arthur recons that itis ok to carry on.
So we stop worrying, even though a bit of oil has started to leak out of the hand brake drum.

Some more pulling down and removing of trees has to be done as we slowly proceed through the woodland.

We pass some more salt lakes and the clouds look very pretty with them.

Shortly before lunch we misjudge a dry tree, the stainless steel tree-protector rope at the driver's side snaps and the tree smashes into the box with our rubbish we keep on the roof.
Luckily Ruedi has some of that steel rope in his spares box and soon that is fixed too.

When cleaning away the debris we find this animal .... what is it?
Click here to find out.

We reach Mundale Dom and go for a hike.

It is a very nice area with views over the surrounding salt lakes.

There are also interesting rock formations Do you also see those eyes starring at you?

The walk along the base of the rock is recommended too.

It is amazing to see how nature need just a bit of water to grow flowers or how bees find the spot where fresh water seeps out of the rock and go and have a drink ...

Then some more pulling and dragging of trees has to be done ...

... today we certainly don't get far ....

... but learn a lot and have fun too!

But we also have time to look at interesting things like this skink ... its legs are already very much degenerated, it already looks more like a snake ...

... or these pebbles ... interesting formations ... how were they created?

2 km after Cowan Rock we stay for the night in a small clearing and enjoy a warm and relaxing shower after all this work.

On Tuesday morning it is hard to believe the weather forecast, announcing thunderstorms for the afternoon.
The sun is shining and there is no cloud on the sky.

We continue on our track and soon the first branch is blocking the OKA's way.

Ruedi and Peter get the tree-protector, throw it over the branch and bounce on it ... and crack, they both land on their buts on the floor, the falling branch nearly missing them.
After a good laugh we decide that this is fun not to be repeated as it could cause serious injury.

Soon after the next branch needs removing.
This time Ruedi and Peter run in opposite directions with the tree-protector.
This works fine, the branch breaks and falls safely to the ground without endangering anybody.

To view the movie click here (file type: .wmv, size: 615 KB)

After some more pulling down of branches and squeezing through thicket we reach the Old Hyden - Norseman Road.
It is not much wider but less overgrown.
But the road has some interesting wash-outs every so often, Ruedi has to be alert at all times.

Then we reach Victoria Rock Road, where we stop for lunch.
There are so many flies that even Peter now wears his fly-net .... the flies are a real pest this year!

Within 1 hour we see four cars ... comparing with none in the last four days .. this is getting really crowded again!

Shortly after we reach the new Hyden - Norseman Road where we continue on to McDermid Rock.

Even though a thunderstorm is building up we decide to do the hike.
The balancing rock is really eye-catching.

Also interesting is the small wave, a granite form, which was formed through weathering.
Not fast enough weathered away are the marks left on the fragile surface by trail-bikes of people that are too lazy to explore such places by foot ....
For more details on McDermid Rock click here.

We decide to stay for the night.

Over night rain falls.
As we continue towards Perth on Wednesday morning the Hyden - Norseman Road shows signs of "driving when wet".

We are surprised how little rain it takes for that ... and the cars look really good, like if we had REALLY been out in the Outback ...

Soon the sky clears up and when we reach "The Breakaways" the light is just perfect.

The local flora shows signs of recent rain, the "before" and "after" the rain version looks quite different ...

Some plants have sprouted again and an extra "round" of flowers and buds are visible.

As we travel along the dirt track we find this exceptional flower ... no idea what it is.

On the way towards Hyden we stop at the Lake Cronin Nature Reserve, a small freshwater lake, but there is only a bit of water left in it and that is covered with a carpet of red plants.
A few flowers are blooming. For them the amount of water left seems to be enough.

In Hyden we visit Garry and Wendy, the farmers we meet earlier this year.
For details on their farm please click here .

Then we head out into the countryside where we find a spot in an old quarry for the night.

While Ruedi is busy cleaning off the dirt from this morning (in the meantime it has become hard as rock ....) the ladies go for a photo-walk.

On Thursday, November 1st, the weather has improved a bit and we decide to stop at Mt. Walker, even though a strong and cold wind is blowing.
We are just a few days too late for the orchids ... it would have been quite a sight!


We continue on we are crossed by some oversize vehicles carrying farming equipment telling us that the harvesting season is due to start soon.
In Narembeen we learn about the water management in the area.
To prevent the salt being washed to the surface by the rising ground water ditches have been built, where the salty water evaporates, keeping the ground water levels low.
In the olden days this was done automatically by trees, but due to the clearing of the bush this now has to be done artificially.

We pass Wadderin Wildlife Reserve but there is not much left, just very dry bush.
Looks like the reserve did not get much water this season.

Kokerbin Rock is quite a sight.
We decide to climb it and are surprised by the great views.

The fields in the area look quite healthy and ripe.
The farmers here must be some of the lucky ones.

Lots of well camouflaged dragons run around on the rock.
We also find a pupa but have no chance of finding out what has hatched here.

10 km outside of Quairading we happen to drive passed the Salt Lake that we had already seen on our first trip to Perth in 1995 .
It still looks good with the salt crystallizing on the fence poles.

We pass through Quairading, a very pretty little village with lots of blooming roses.


Then we reach York where we drive up to the Mt. Brown lookout, which offers great views over the town and the surrounding country.


We spend the rest of day sightseeing; the town also has lots to offer.

After checking in at the local caravan park and enjoying a looooooong shower we walk 40 minutes into town and find ourselves a good restaurant where we conclude our trip with an excellent dinner.

 

 

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Last updated: Tuesday, 22.06.2010 11:14 AM


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