This is the start of a lap around Australia. I hope to visit places that I missed on my last three rides. As I am in a 4×4 this time I can carry enough food, water and fuel to enable me to travel roads and visit places I could not on my bike.
First stop Kalgoorlie, I decided to take the scenic route from Perth via Hyden and the Hyden-Norseman Road turning left on Victoria Rock Road which would then take me on to the Great Eastern Highway and Kalgoorlie. Most of the Hyden-Norseman road is gravel in good condition because mining road trains use it and they presumably pay for its maintenance. The Victoria Rock Road is narrower and not in as good condition and I did not see a single other vehicle over its entire 141 km length. You still have to check with the relevant Shires and there are three of them to make sure the roads are open because when it rains they get flooded. This route can also be driven in a normal car.
I stopped and filled up at Kondinin and all went well until I reached McDermid Rock campground where I planned to do some exploring on foot, stay the night and carry on the next day. When I arrived there the temperature gauge in my car read 41c and I was surrounded by a million flies. I had something to eat, took some photos and after 30 minutes of torture hahaha decided to head directly to Kalgoorlie as it was only 15:15. I stayed in Kalgoorlie for three nights with temperatures hovering around 40c. I had also planned to stay a couple of nights camping in Menzies so I could visit Lake Ballard and Ora Banda but decided to drive there and back instead.
Having visited Kalgoorlie in the past I did not feel the need to wander around in the heat. This time I stayed at Forrest House, listed on Airbnb, it is cheaper and much nicer than any of the Hotels and Motels and it has secure parking inside a gated compound.
Lake Ballard – LAKE BALLARD and ANTONY GORMLEY’S “INSIDE AUSTRALIA”
“Invited by Sean Doran, then the Artistic Director of the Perth International Arts Festival, to make a work to celebrate the festival’s 50th anniversary in 2003, Gormley accepted the challenge, and later noted: “I just wanted somewhere with an absolutely flat, more or less 360 degree horizon. [I chose] the west of Lake Ballard, which is an extraordinary lake 70 miles long and 30 miles wide, with this sodium crust that makes everything stand out absolutely clearly.
In December 2002, after months of preparation, Gormley supervised the installation of 51 metal figures at Lake Ballard. It had been an extraordinary journey, superbly documented in the award-winning film Inside Australia (Thunderbox/Artemis International, 2004) and the book Antony Gormley Inside Australia (Thames & Hudson, 2005).”
This was the main reason for and definitely the highlight of this stop, it’s about a 2 hour drive from Kalgoorlie with the last 20 km being a good gravel road, a normal car can do this drive very comfortably.
The statues are spread around quite a large area, I walked about 3 km and only saw about fifteen of them and then I had some fun flying my drone. Once again the heat and flies were annoying but not so much on the lake bed itself as there was a stiff breeze blowing which helped keep me cool and also kept the flies away. When I got back to my car the temp gauge read 47c but it did not feel that hot, it felt about a comfortable 40c hahaha.
I then went looking for the Ora Banda Hotel unsuccessfully as there is nothing left to see.
“The town hit the headlines in 2000 when Gypsy Joker, Billy Grierson, was fatally shot while sitting at a camp fire on the old town site. Former Criminal Investigation Bureau chief and Ora Banda hotel owner Don Hancock was suspected of the shooting and his properties were later fire-bombed. Hancock was later killed in a car bombing in 2001 in Perth in a revenge attack by a member of the Gypsy Jokers.
In the early hours of the morning of 18 May 2019, the hotel was destroyed by fire.”