A Travellerspoint blog

Final Notes - Days 26 -27

Paynes Find down to Beverley and then Busselton

Up to the gentle sounds of dripping water as we'd had rain throughout the night. Today was a leisurely trip down the back road to Beverley to stay the night with a mate. We've not done this section of the road before as we've usually been in a hurry to get elsewhere so this was seen as 'adventuring' as we used to tell the kids way back when.
The Maranalgo road from Paynes Find took us though some great country with plenty of salt lakes and lots of very red mud. Because of the rain the night before we slewed our way down the road holding our breath as we glided through the rather narrow boundary grid gates and wondered if our adventuring would result in a mishap. The alternative would of course been just a lot more dust in the car. 20180722_102622.jpg20180722_101517.jpg20180722_094917.jpg
On reaching the wheat, canola field belts we were lucky to see an echidna making its way across the road oblivious to attempt to get that right photo. It is always a delight to see these animals in the wild.20180722_114405.jpg
Our trip also passed though the tiny wheat town of Meckering which is renowned for the earthquake it had experienced in 1968. This quake destroyed, amongst many other structures, a farmhouse named "Salisbury" which is preserved in its ruined state. We stopped off to check the ruins out and also to see the fault line. This fault line pops up around the surrounding area but if it wasn't signposted we'd be none the wiser. 20180722_145849.jpg20180722_150053.jpg20180722_150025.jpg20180722_145910.jpg
We finally arrived in Beverley without mishap and after a spending a delightful time with our mate on his couple of acres with hot running shower, comfortable bed and a mean steak at the cafe, we made tracks back to Busselton the next day. We knew we were back down south as we travelled through the morning mist to Collie where we stopped off at our usual place for the huge hamburger with the lot.20180724_094517.jpg
This trip provided us with an opportunity to check out our new camper trailer and see what punishment it could take. Unlike our previous set up ( Hilux with a more simple camper) which we took to some of the more challenging places in the Kimberley, this trailer may be a tad more precious. It is certainly heavier and because it is more complex, more can go wrong. As far as problems, we had one shockie give way; our electronic roof assembling gadget we assumed went flat and we had to overide it; the fly has to be modified so that we don't wake up the surrounding sleepers; and the water pump needs a good silencer. However on the plus side, I can now get into the bed without having to climb a ladder and swing myself over sleeping husband or worse attempt the reverse without plummeting to the floor! It is lovely to just pull out the kitchen and fridge and take out food from a sliding cupboard rather than heft myself up onto the back of the hilux... We very much glamped our way around the Pilbara.
In the next month or so we'll be roaming around the Aurora Ranges in search of wildflowers and the like. Hopefully we'll have fixed up all these minor problems and look at tad more experienced in this glamping style of camping. We know at least to make sure we remove our shackles!

Posted by Toot'speak 21:04 Tagged paynes find; echinda; meekatharra; Comments (0)

Newman - Day 24 n 25

Heading towards home on final leg.

Up at a leisurely time we breakfasted, read the paper and then, on hitching up the trailer, we jackknifed it and put a rather largish dent in the bumper...oogh! Given this was our last day in the bush I reckon we've done rather well and little damage to either the car or trailer. Mark on the other hand was not amused!
Before we left the town we popped into a local swimming hole - Garden Pool - that was about 4 ks out of town connected to the Nullagine river that runs alongside the settlement. The river is bordered on one side with lovely tall gum trees and we were lucky to be welcomed by the screeches of a large corella flock, a couple of elegant pelicans cruised off downstream and we watched a large bird of prey feed its little one in a nest high above us. A neat little picnic spot finished the place off. I believe this area once used to be Chinese vegetable gardens.
Our trip to Newman went without mishap and we stayed overnight at the same place we had stayed at previously. On the way we passed through the gigantic Roy Hill Mine site where plenty of activity could be seen from the hill overlooking some of the site. In fact the site disappeared into the horizon - it is massive. The stats on this place are mind boggling with an independent rail system over 300 ks long taking the ore to Port Headland. This ore mine is connected with the latest technology etc., but it does leave a very big scar on our landscape. I just hope those overseas clients are paying enough for it! 59517ad0-c785-11e8-9d8e-3f9dd1f8c56a.jpg
We spent the night in Newman at the same place we'd previously stayed and aside from connecting up to free Wifi at Dome the rest of the day was spent catching up with the world and the inevitable shopping!
On the way through Meekatharra we detoured slightly to check out what was an old swimming hole when Mark worked there in the 70s. Now of course it is fenced off and one can't see the attraction as a swimming place - an old mining pit. 20180721_141026.jpg20180721_141102.jpg20180721_141129.jpg20180721_141003.jpg
Next day we left Newman around midday to head towards home and made it to a 24 hour stopover near Paynes Find which had toilets and enough wood to set up a campfire. As would be the case the heavens opened and we got the car lightly washed. There are always some silver linings!

Posted by Toot'speak 21:04 Tagged hill pool mine; nullagine;garden;roy; meeketharra Comments (0)

On to Nullagine - Day 23

Exploring the glacial countryside to Nullagine

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Before we left for Nullagine we realised we had to stop off again for the obligatory ice cream. Our fellow traveler had to buy an Aboriginal Dot Painting he had seen previously and we also had to pay our respects to those that had passed this way. We visited the memorial wall in the main street where descriptions of those who had died in the area read like horror stories.20180719_095449.jpg20180719_102932.jpg20180719_102918.jpg One was certainly privileged to have passed away in their sleep! The graveyard was sparse but tended to and the odd Chinese grave popped up between the usual Italian, Irish and the like.
Fueled up we then set off for Nullagine, about 150 kms south, where we decided to stay the night, maybe have a meal at the pub! The trip down was made more interesting as we had several geological stops along the way, and now that we could figure out how to ascertain our longitude and latitude on our car we could find the specific spots mentioned in our book.
It is difficult to imagine while wandering around this rocky, spinifex country that one is wandering over the very ancient remains of a reef that has the structure made from the earliest living creatures - stromatolites. Apparently this area is of such significance that scientists come from all over the world to check it out. We were lucky to have the whole countryside to ourselves. Plenty of rocks observed, spinifex seed removed and wind burnt lips licked before we got away to check out some old diamond and gold diggings further down the road.20180719_125626.jpg20180719_130024.jpg20180719_123320.jpg20180719_125619.jpg
Just before arriving in Nullagine the old remains of these diggings can be seen. Apparently these were originally alluvial sites where water was used to wash the ore body and pan out the gold. Today, aside from the total destruction of the countryside where remaining hills have been scraped removing the top soil and huge mountains of the tailing remain, there are a couple of large lakes. We were lucky to see a family of pelicans, ducks and the odd rainbow bee eater. 20180719_142759.jpg
Nullagine beckoned and we set ourselves up in the neat little caravan park, chatted with the resident gold prospectors and patted the two red healers who had decided they didn't like each other .
Before dining at the pub we popped up to the hill, Lynas Lookout (as of 2016), overlooking the town. They have a memorial plaque and display board acknowledge this WW1 hero who took up residence in the town in the early 1900s and eventually returned after WW2 to settle and die there.20180719_172942.jpg
The Town itself is about 3x3 streets and includes a school, pub and general store, along with a couple of government services. About 1 mile away is an aboriginal community flanked by a large, stony football ground. From where we stood up on the hill we could hear, coming from one of the homes in the community, the sounds of some computer game bellowing out across the airwaves. What it was like for the community one could only wonder.20180720_093453.jpg20180720_092205.jpg20180720_092215.jpg
The pub had a lovely big saloon cum restaurant room alongside some outdoor areas and was managed by an Indian couple who had been there 5 years. I did wonder how they managed the inebriated locals and were told the next day how their windows had been smashed that night. Hard way to make a living. We were joined by a Chinese gent who had come up to the town to fix the IT at the Primary School and we discussed how he had adapted to living in Port Headland, his attempts to assimilate into the town and to placate his parents in China who wanted him to hurry up and marry a "nice Chinese girl". We had a great meal and I was able to take away with me my unfinished Fifth Leg of wine. 20180720_093035.jpgWe were also able to get free Wifi near the local park so our mate propped himself on the water fountain while we checked out the rest of the town centre. Lights out by 8.30!

Posted by Toot'speak 04:18 Archived in Australia Tagged marble hill; bar; lynas nullagine; Comments (0)

Marble Bar and Surrounds - Day 21n 22

Marble Bar

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Today just the three of us left Carrawine Pool without mishap and made our way to Marble Bar via a particular geological spot. First up was a visit to Mt Edgar which is the remains of a core magma chamber. The volcano has blown and this is the plug into the magma below. It looks like a mini volcano and similar to all the hills around but different composition. We had to do a bit of driving though the bush but were rewarded with the hill all to ourselves. Much fossicking provided all the rocks we needed. 20180717_130916.jpg20180717_131611.jpg20180717_125910.jpg20180717_131307.jpg
Into Marble Bar and we set ourselves up at the caravan park which had plenty of shade, water, grey nomads and hamburger night! For $15 we joined the others in the camp for a huge hamburger, providing you were at the front end of the queue. As we were in the younger age group we waited for our older pensioners to go through and we picked up the scraps! What they piled onto their plates would leave a sumo wrestler challenged! One couple had both sides of the bread stacked high claiming that's what they thought a burger was, while (to be fair) a young couple had 3 and 2 respectively. Mine host who was new to this phenomenon has learnt very quickly to control the horde of locusts next time. Still we sat around a log fire under a lovely clear starlit night and munched on our somewhat emaciated burger.
Next day was for exploring Marble Bar.20180718_112037.jpg With an icecream to start us off we visited the bar that makes the place famous. The massive wall of rock that crosses the water way is not marble but a rock called jasper, made up from very hard assorted silca based minerals. There was still water in the lagoon but certainly not for swimming. 20180718_115803.jpg20180718_115918.jpg20180718_115220.jpgThere is a $6000 fine if you are caught taking rock from here, and after we had a quick cuppa and a check of the adjoining Chinaman Pool we set off for an area where jasper collecting was permitted. The gents set off with picks and returned with copious quantities of the rock.20180718_144238.jpg
We then set off to see Glen Herring Gorge some 50 odd kms away. This gorge has the most amazing geology with huge chunks of different rocks all cemented into a conglomerate. There was a section where it looked like lava had oozed through the rocks giving a snake-like appearance. Even if one isn't interested in rocks this gorge really is something to see and although the various pools were partly filled, it was a spectacular scene with the setting sun. We'll go back there.20180718_163533.jpg20180718_163246.jpg20180718_162137.jpg20180718_162326.jpg20180718_161116.jpg20180718_161723.jpg20180718_161137.jpg
After such exertions it was time to to check out the iconic Ironclad Hotel built way back in the late 1800s and one of the first pubs in WA to have air conditioning. The owner of said pub who also owns half the town, was currently caught up with the muster on his station some distance out of town and we gather a tad busy. As a result of the cat being away the mice played up and the manager fired the cook the night before - apparently many bar staff had also left over the past weeks. We were greeted by a tattooed, assertive, somewhat butch lady at the door who asked us what she could do for us. Momentarily bewildered ( and even Mark didn't state the obvious) we were invited into the pub which had walls plastered with assorted photos, old signs, flags, paintings and other paraphernalia. The saloon bar was tiny and next door contained the pool tables, assorted lounge seats (one with a dog flat out sleeping) and a duke box belting out the latest noise.
As it was rush hour for about a dozen of us nomads, we cluttered up the place making the only lady move a little quicker. "What beer did madam serve?" "Everything except Tasmanian" she replied.. that was very helpful. Orders given and she delved into the ice - filled esky containing our beers. One brave soul asked for dinner - pizza only. "What type pizza did madam serve?" "Whatever you want", came back the helpful reply. She then asked a young gentleman, earing, tatts and cap on backyards, if he knew how to make one. "Yeah, I think so," came the reply. We decided we'd rather have some meal fished out of our freezer. Hopefully next visit will encourage us to stop and have a bite.

Posted by Toot'speak 03:41 Tagged jasper glen iron marble edgar herring bar; gorge; rock; chinaman pool; bar;mt Comments (0)

Carrawine Gorge - Day 20

Just the three of us

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We decided to spend another day at the pool and said goodbye to two of the group who needed to head home. This of course left the remainder of us in charge of the dunny!
First up we went and checked out an area which showed glacial action. The pavements of rocks glistened in the sunshine showing clearly the scratch marks left by the glacier when it retreated 320 million years ago. Needless to say the geologists amongst us were in heaven. It's hard to believe as one bakes out in this country with its variety of red baked spinifex - covered earth and the very flat countryside dotted with the occasional outcrop, that you are standing in country that has experienced glacial and volcanic activity. 20180716_095603.jpg20180716_100959.jpg20180716_095527.jpg
On the way back to camp we took a detour and drove along the length of the lagoon. At the far east end the camping grounds have a less harsh environment with grassy edges leading into the water and a couple of tiny islands where the resident pelicans reside. It is here that most of the caravans reside, less gravel and dust. There are a greater number of red gums trees that survived the 2006 cyclone and thus a tad more shade. It's only when you get closer to the west side do you see the devastation caused and the remaining trees are small or dead and partly chain-sawed.20180716_110811.jpg
In the afternoon we decided to go to a place recommended by another - Running Water. On arrival we decided to walk the remaining hundred odd metres as the road ran into the creek bed and one had to decide whether the car deserved such punishment. Several cars had ventured in and put up tents or vans but we didn't think it was worth the possible damage just for a day visit. 20180716_150018.jpg20180716_143932.jpg20180716_144051.jpg20180716_144124.jpg20180716_144057.jpg
However the site was like a scene out of Harry Potter. The huge paperbarks had exposed roots that have been polished bronze over time and the dead matted floor of the mosses etc that formed the floor, combined with shallow ponds of water flowing towards the larger lagoon, gave the place a very primeval feel. We found the pond which had the hot water springs entrance and Mark bravely went in disturbing the large catfish that were circling in the rather clear blue water.20180716_145931.jpg
Tomorrow off to Marble Bar, not too far away so not such an early start.

Posted by Toot'speak 03:26 Tagged gorge running carrawine waters; glacial; Comments (0)

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