Maps and Stats

 

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Australia, Meekatharra, Cue and Dalwallinu, 20 – 22 August 2020

The last leg of my journey took an unexpected turn because Murphy decided to remind me who was Boss hahaha.

Total trip distance 11,632 km and 76 days.

 

I left Marble Bar bright and early driving down a good paved road and Murphy made me miss the turnoff to Nullagine which is a gravel road. After about 20 min I realised something was wrong as I was still driving down a paved road that led to a mine site, the roads to the mines are better than some public roads. So I turned around and found the turnoff and straight onto the dirt which continued for 150 km passing through the tiny town of Nullagine, interesting drive with good views. After that I joined the Great Northern Highway and encountered the first of the wide loads travelling very slowly usually in a convoy of at least two. These are trucks carrying the monstrous machines used by the mines and they take up the whole width of the road and require 3 pilot vehicles, one of them a police escort. The police escort preceeds the wide load by about 10km and as soon as you see them you are required to find a spot where you can drive completely off the road. They will contact you by radio and you must acknowledge, this is for trucks not cars. Next pilot vehicle is a few hundred meters in front and again they will contact you by radio, next come the wide loads themselves and behind them the last pilot vehicle. Getting stuck behind them means waiting until you reach pre-determined points where the wide loads can pull over and let following traffic pass, be patient hahaha.  The normal oversize loads have only one pilot vehicle in the front. Avoid the Great Northern Highway and take the coast road as far as possible.

The next morning, my last day on the road or so I thought but Murphy had other plans, I started out early as it was 767 km to Perth and I was hoping to get ahead of some of the wide loads. Not long after I left just as a Semi trailer passed me going the other way I heard a loud bang and a big crack appeared at the base of the windscreen with shards of glass on the dashboard, a big rock and I don’t have windscreen insurance. Note: if travelling on the Great Norther Highway make sure you have windscreen insurance. And I got stuck behind the wide loads again hahaha they must sleep in their cabs and leave at the crack of dawn. After about an hour the Engine started making a loud clattering noise and then I noticed a sign “Cue 10km” so kept going until I reached the town and parked at the Service Station, checked the oil and water and it looked good. I then called the RAC (my Automobile Club) at  8AM and they said it would take a mechanic 4 hours to get to me from Mt.Magnet. The mechanic turned up at 12 and had a look, he noticed that stop leak had been used in the radiator and suspected that there had been overheating problems in the past. He said there was nothing he could do and to have it towed back to Perth as the RAC would pay for the tow. So I got back to the RAC and they managed to find a truck in Cue but it was now too late so they organised accomodation at the local hotel and told me to be ready to leave at 7 AM for the 650 km drive back to Perth, I would be riding in the tow truck with the driver. The weather has become colder and I actually had to turn the air-con to heat in my room.

Cue Walkabout – Once upon a time a Gold rush town with some interesting street art.

Dalwallinu – A wheat belt town where I had to swap tow trucks.

After several calls to the RAC the Tow operator arrived, he turned out to be the Boss and loaded the vehicle onto the tow truck and said they were very short staffed. We then drove to his Depot and had to wait for the driver who was also a local farmer with a small cattle and sheep property (250,000 acres) who did some driving on the side. They complained that they can’t get enough workers here while the Government was paying people a full wage to sit on their hands in Perth hahaha. We finally left at 8:20 AM, uneventful drive to Dalwallinu arriving at 12:20, unloaded the vehicle, had lunch and the driver went back to Cue while I waited for a truck to come from Perth to complete the journey. The second truck arrived at 1425, we loaded up and headed for Perth finally arriving at home at 06:15 PM.

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Australia, Marble Bar, 18 – 19 August 2020

I left the Roebuck Plains Roadhouse at 0700 hrs and drove almost immediately into heavy fog which persisted for about 30 min. I travelled South back towards Port Hedland until I reached the Boreline Road. This is a gravel road short cut to Marble Bar, with great views, no traffic and in good condition due to the mines in the area. The road is shown on Google Maps but there are no signs for the turnoff, just turn left and keep going until you reach Marble Bar hahaha.

Always remember to carry your EPIRB plus food and water for a week just in case you get lost, breakdown, bogged, break a leg, run out of fuel, etc.

This is a useful website for maps of Australia Bonzle.com

 

 

Marble Bar is famous for being the hottest town in Australia. It was not very hot this time around, the last time I was here in 2007 when I came through with the Australian Safari Rally it was 40c. It was named after a type of  colourful quartz called Jasper across the Coongan River which was initially thought to be marble. They also found some big Gold nuggets in this area.

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Australia, Wolfe Creek Meteorite Crater, 16 – 17 August 2020

Wolf Creek Meteorite Crater – After I finished with the Northern part of the Bungle Bungle range I headed back to the main highway and drove west until I arrived at the Tanami Road. This is a gravel road that goes all the way to Alice Springs. I turned onto it and after 112 km of fairly smooth dirt came to the Wolf Creek Meteorite Crater turnoff. The Crater is located 20 km further, on a Cattle Station, 3 gates to open and close and I was there. Short walk up to the Crater rim, hard to imagine the impact and explosion that caused this 875m (diameter) and 60m deep dent in the planet. I wandered around for a while and as it was still early decided not to stay in the National Park Campground but carry on and stop at a Rest area on the main road.

It was made famous by the film Wolf Creek

Mary Pool Rest Area – on the Mary River, Mueller Ranges, good place for a free overnight stop.

Roebuck Plains Roadhouse – Another good place for a good meal and a paid overnight stop.

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Australia, Bungle Bungle Range, 15 – 16 August 2020

Kununurra to the Bungle Bungle Range, 2.5 hours to the turn off and then an hour and 10 minutes to cover 53 km of a fairly rough, winding dirt road to the Range itself. This is the most interesting place I have seen on this trip. I saw it from the air in 2006. I visited the Southern part, camped in the National Park Campground overnight and visited the Northern part the following morning.

 

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Australia, Kununurra, 01 – 14 August 2020

Wyndham to Kununurra, a short drive, I stopped at a few interesting places along the way.

The Afghan Cameleers – were brought from British India and worked in the bush transporting goods before the arrival of the motor vehicle.

Moochalabra Dam – Wyndham Water Supply

The Boab with a Window to its Insides

The Grotto

Kununurra – a long way from anywhere. The largest town in this area with a permanent population of 5000 but this goes up in the dry season. The weather is tropical with day/night temperatures of 30/15 and no rain at all, very pleasant. I waited here for two weeks hoping the Western Australian border would open but there are no signs of that happening anytime soon with grandstanding politicians and salivating media frightening the mob. Therefore I have had to forego visiting the Northern Territory and start on my journey back to Perth.

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Kangaroo Haven we need more people like them.

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Lake Argyle created by a Dam across the Ord River. The Durack Homestead was dismantled and moved to higher ground and is now a small museum.

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Mirima National Park and the Saturday Market

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Australia, Wyndham, 29 – 31 July 2020

Wyndham – a very small town, population 780 in need of some maintenance. It is surrounded by mudflats and five rivers Durack, Pentecost, King, Forrest and Ord which meet the sea at the Gulf of Cambridge.

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Australia, Day 3, Gibb River Road, 29 July 2020

Today I was meant to go North off the Gibb River Road onto the Kalumburu road to explore the Mitchell Plateau and the coast beyond Kalumburu but the Road was closed. All the additional emergency supplies and fuel I was carrying was mainly meant for this part of the trip. Covid flu paranoia reigns supreme, even when there is not a single case of the virus anywhere within 5,000 kms of this area.

The Politicians and the Medical Industry continue to pretend they are saving us ALL from certain death and the gullible, terrified people remain petrified with fear and submissive to their saviours.

The Green Line is the Gibb River Road, 1,055 kms from Derby to Wyndham.                    Day 1 – 373 km, Day 2 – 293 km, Day 3 – 389 km.

Mount Elizabeth to Wyndham the last leg of the GRR, after the first 30km of deep corrugations getting back onto the main road it was a good dirt road. There were a few river crossings with hardly any water in them and some magnificent views of the Cockburn Range.

Aghan Cameleers – interesting history

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Australia, Mt.Elizabeth Station, Gibb River Road, 28 July 2020

Day two on the GRR, I drove from Mount Hart (222m altitude) down to the main road and first stop was Bell Gorge, about a kilometre walk and there was a pleasant surprise a waterfall with flowing water and I also saw some water Lilies. Next stop Imintji Community Store for a Magnum ($7) and finally I topped up with the most expensive diesel of this trip ($2.05/litre) at Mt.Barnett Road House. I was carrying 2 x 20 litre containers of diesel which I added to the tank at Mount Hart. The road to Mount Elizabeth Station (579m) was atrocious, as bad as the Steep Point Road.

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Australia, Mt.Hart Station, Gibb River Road, 27 July 2020

Gibb River Road – was used as a route to transport cattle from the farms in the Kimberley to the South of the State. Now it is a tourist route and kept in good condition though the tracks leading to the Stations which offer accommodation can be quite bad with a few creek crossings. The road to Kalumburu and the Mitchell Plateau was closed and many other stops as well.

The first 130km from Derby is a good paved road upto the Windjana Gorge / Tunnel Creek turnoff, after that it is a dirt road with paved sections at certain points when going up or down a hill. The main criteria for travelling on this or any other dirt road is good quality,  All Terrain tyres with a thick layer of tread and strong sidewalls as the gravel used to surface parts of these roads has many sharp stones which can puncture your tyres. After my puncture in Tom Price I fitted 4 new Cooper AT3 tyres, not the cheapest but if they saved me even one puncture they paid for the difference between cheap and good quality tyres. While it was easy to buy tyres at Tom Price, a puncture on this road could turn out to be very expensive due to the fact that it is 660 km long and help is far away. I was also carrying two spare tyres as further insurance.