Gunbarrel from Carnegie Stn to Warburton

 
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Grumblebum and the Dragon



Joined: 22 Jul 2007
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Location: On the road
State:: Qld/NSW
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PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2010 9:39 pm    Post subject: Gunbarrel from Carnegie Stn to Warburton Reply with quote

The Gunbarrel Highway Trip Notes – May 2010

Sunday 9th. May. The Gunbarrel Highway Trip
After spending the year to date spread out all across southern WA and having done a huge “S’ shaped sweep the back blocks of the WA Goldfields the Mack’s have once again left their friends cattle property NE of Wiluna and are heading east towards the Northern Territory border.
Since picking up the van from the factory in June 2005 we have spent the all the time since wandering around WA - including a 14 month spell as Caretaker/Resource Managers at Lorna Glen and Earaheedy Station for the Dept of Environment and Conservation. Why so long in WA – have a look at the map of Europe imposed on the map of Australia in the Travel Photos section
As we depart Millrose Station (26.3989S 1230.9534E) we are not technically on the actual Gunbarrel Highway – Which starts in Wiluna – but on a northerly loop above the Gunbarrel which follows fairly closely to the southern end of the Canning Stock Route. This loop encompasses Millrose, Granite Peak and Glen-Ayle Stations before it rejoins the Gunbarrel at the site of the Old Carnegie Station. The actual Gunbarrel section from Wiluna to Carnegie Station is a well graded and frequently used track. The track we took is also good and more scenic. You can visit and stay at Lorna Glen Station (26.2233S 121.5575E) and see the animal release work being done there and see some interesting station country. They have water/showers and internet access when we were there.
We camped the first night after leaving Millrose Station at Sydney Heads (25.5074S 121.7813E)this is a very pretty section of country and, given some rainfall there may be water in the creek. DEC have erected a fireplace and picnic table with two largish rainwater tanks supplied by collecting rainwater from the covering roof. One was full when we came through. We called into Glen-Ayle Station (25.2663S 122.042E) in the morning for smoko. This station is run by Lou and Pam Ward – Brother and sister of the Rex and Norma Ward at Millrose Station.
Monday 10th May – Heading towards Carnegie Station
Another huge day we only did some 90k… even on good roads…but there’s no rush! We did stop for a long lunch and later stopped again to climb the Kaljahr Pinnales which provide expansive views over the surrounding country. We were parked for the night by 2.30pm at the site of the original Carnegie Station (25.7871S 122.9755E) and enjoyed just lazing around and reading before going for a walk. There is a good overflow of excellent water here from the bore. We are now back on the Gunbarrel Highway – albeit the well graded bit - and are about 30k west of the existing Carnegie Station homestead and we plan on calling into there for morning tea tomorrow.
The stars were really brilliant tonight – we BBQ’d – pork chops and apple sauce, potatoes baked in the coals and tomatoes grilled on the fire all washed down with a few drinks – how good is that. It is now cool enough to really enjoy a fire in the evenings. Out here there is absolute silence on a still night, no other people or lights – just the incredibly bright stars.

Tuesday 11th May
As planned we called into Carnegie Station (25.7965S 122.9755E) and had morning tea with Josh and Elaine who manage the station. They have accommodation for tourist and also can supply fuel – but recently ran out as rain had washed the road out. It has now been graded again but only as far as this station.
From here on to the east the Gunbarrel ‘Highway’ deteriorates into an un-formed track. A few sections were excellent, just smooth sand through the Spinifex plains country… but most of the track is badly corrugated with some deep sandy sections for the first 30K east from Carnegie homestead. The recent rains have washed out the track in places and some people were recently bogged in the first 30k east of the station. The right gear and correct tyre pressure got us safely through with no dramas.
At Mt Nossiter, our first stop after Carnegie, we walk to the top. It’s just a small pimple , raised above the surrounding plain of the Gibson Desert. On the way down we found what I believe is an old aboriginal ceremonial ground on the southern slopes.
Further east we camp at the most remote football field in Australia after travelling only 123K for the day (24.415195S 123.978960E) Nothing special as a campsite other than being flat.
This footy pitch was set up on a clay pan in the 80’s to facilitate games between the remote aboriginal communities at Wiluna 500k to the west and Warburton about 250k east. Unsurprisingly it has not been used for many years.
Wednesday 12th May 2005
Another slow day due to bad corrugations on the track and in many places diversions have been made, cutting a new track to avoid the worst sections. In places the track has been split into three or four different routes.
W stopped for lunch at Len Beadell’s Tree and afterwards had a look at the nearby Geraldton Historical Society’s water bore (25.1761S 124.66E) which is working well with sweet water. Len Beadell completed this section of track in 1958 and it track has not been graded since 1986!!
We pushed on often travelling at only 15-20 kph in the loose pebbly corrugations, doing 121k for the day. Traction, even in 4WD is very poor and needless to say we have seen no other caravans out here – just a couple a 4x4 tag-along safari group and a couple of vehicles travelling together from Victoria.

We reach Everard Junction in the late afternoon where the Gary Highway heads north into even more isolated country up through the Gibson Desert until it eventually links up with the Canning Stock route. Of course we stop for the usual photographs and to read the travel notes that other people have left. In reality it is just a tee junction in the middle of nowhere…. but these sort of things assume some importance out here. Why else would the travelers leave a record of their passing in the book supplied by Connie Sue Beadell?
Late in the afternoon we stop to camp on a ridge leading to the base of Mt Everard and decide that, as it is such as beautiful spot, we will have a ‘lay day’ and let the body recover after being seriously ‘jiggled and bounced’ for two days! Camp Loc: 25.174667S & 125.059920E. This is a far better camp site and has great views compared to those lower down the slopes.
Friday 14th. May
Despite a fairly early start…. Sort of 8 o’clock…ish which is early for us, we made only 70k for the day. Most of the time just poking along in second gear with occasional bursts into 3rd! I got 4th gear only twice – and then only for a few hundred metres! The track is a mix of bad corrugations interspersed with rough sections and washouts. A few places had fairly deep loose gravel; this is usually pretty good as the corrugations are buried or unable to be formed. The bush squeezes in on the track in places requiring you to slow right down or risk scratching the van badly. Most of the Mulga is pretty soft – just watch out for the dry dead branches.
We stopped for lunch and a climb up to the top of Mt Beadell (25.5359S 125.2808E)where there is a beautiful memorial to Len Beadell, Australia’s last great explorer, surveyor and author who surveyed and constructed over 6000km of remote tracks in Western Australia over his 40 year career.
We planned to camp at Camp Beadell (25.6298 125.434) some 16k further on, however on arrival the hand pump on the bore was not working and in need of an overhaul . As it had no other redeeming features other than some litter (that really pisses me off!) so we pushed on. In retrospect we should have parked up at Mt Beadell for the night as it was a special place.
We finally camp at a pleasant spot with panoramic views of the Gibson Desert. We are addicted to parking up with an expansive view! Camp Loc: 25.600868S 125.456813E There was no need to get off the track as there are several running parallel to each other in an attempt to avoid the worst of the corrugations - and you are unlikely to be disturbed by the passing traffic! We enjoyed our drinks as we watched some thunderstorms building up to the north.
Tomorrow (Sat) we will have a lay day if we can find a nice camp site as there is no point in pulling into the aboriginal community of Warburton for fuel on a Sunday.
Saturday 15th May 2010 – Heading to the Heather Highway
Another casual start as it is markedly cooler this morning. We continue our journey of ‘bump and grind’ along the corrugations and wash-outs. Just about maintaining our average of 15 kph mostly in 2nd gear.
We stop and look at the cairn on Notabilis Hill (25.6419S 125.5508E). They are big on cairns in this part of the world. A bit further down the track is a bore and hand pump and we stop and fill the tanks in the van and do the laundry. We always fill up when we have the opportunity in this sort of country.
We enjoy a late lunch at another of the trees blazed by Len Beadell in 1958 (this would also be a pleasant campsite) during the construction of this track and decide to potter on rather than stay at the nearby bore and hand pump which had a bit of litter around the area. There is a rock hole around Mt Samuel just east of the turn-off onto the Heather Highway that may be a possible camp site.
We are now at the junction of the Gunbarrel and the Heather Highway having reached the end of the run from Carnegie Station. a distance of only 362k in the last five days. We travelled every day except for our ‘rest day’ at the lovely Mt Everard. We find a flat area a couple of kilometers east of the junction and park up (Loc: 25.7563S & 125.8948E) This section of the Gunbarrel from here on to Warburton is definitely not passable with a caravan – not even a Bushtracker!
We spoke to a couple in Warburton who had also come down the Gunbarrel behind us and they completed this section and advised that there was not a chance we would have got through – even they had a few problems.
During this section of the ‘real’ Gunbarrel we have passed 10 wrecked and or abandoned vehicles, 7 trailers and one truck. The western end of the Gunbarrel from Carnegie Station to Wiluna to is a well maintained gravel road – unlike this section that was last graded in 1986!
Sunday 16th May
Today we unhitch the Bt and drove about 5k east into the Mt Samuel area for a bit of exploration and had a look at the nama holes – called the Mangi Rockhole nearby (25. 7661 125.9334) The larger of the nama holes has good fresh water seeping in from which clouds of Zebra finches where drinking. The smaller hole had more water but looked a bit stagnant. These Zebra finches are always a reliable indicator of water here in the west.
Monday 17th May 2010
After a lazy Sunday exploring Mt Samuel and letting the body recover from the corrugations, this morning we headed down the so called Heather Highway. The first 40k from the northern end are very badly corrugated with a few wash-outs for good measure! After enduring the Gunbarrel without a mishap, this morning we crushed the folding steps at the vans door. Bugger! However, they have been crushed twice before and some bush engineering may get them working again. We will get them replaced at the Bushtracker factory in Queensland… when we eventually get there.
Once you hit the east bound section of the Heather Highway leading into Warburton from the Tjarrkarli Community the road is wide and in good condition. Once we hit the Great Central Road about 40k west of Warburton the road is in good order with only minor corrugations in places.
We located a good campsite by heading off the main road and onto a section old the old road where they had done a re-alignment. Taking a small track leading off to the south bought us panoramic views and a good phone/internet signal – our first ‘comms’ for over a week! (26.196692S - 125.390220E)
Tuesday18th May
We cruise into Warburton and call into the roadhouse – you are discouraged from entering the community and no photographs are allowed. Not that it has any photographic attractions! There is litter everywhere, the few locals vehicles are little more than mobile wrecks usually driven with great enthusiasm and wheel spin. The fuel pumps are heavily enclosed in steel mesh and there is definitely no self service….. the pumps are kept locked all the time. Diesel was $2.05 per litre.
Food prices are very high – a bag of 4 loose potatoes $4.50… fortunately we needed little more than fuel, bread and milk. Jean’s bread making can have variable results.
We will post more of the latter sections of the trip to the Red Centre.


I will add photos as soon as I can get some time..

John
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niknoff



Joined: 25 Jul 2007
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State:: WA
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PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2010 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I enjoyed reading that John, i look forward to the photo's.
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Grumblebum and the Dragon



Joined: 22 Jul 2007
Posts: 606
Location: On the road
State:: Qld/NSW
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PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Images for the Gunbarrel Highway Trip:



This is Millrose Station just prior to departure

Sydney Heads Pass on the Granite Peak - Glen Ayle Road

The Kaljarr Pinnacle on the same road.
The most remote footy ground in the southern hemishere?
[img]
http://www.bushtrackerownersforum.com/forum/userpix/77_Bushtracker_at_Len_Beadell_Tree__Gunbarrel_Hwy_1.jpg[/img]
Len Beadell's blazed tree and plaque
Looking towards Mt Beadell
Mt Everard from the campsite
Late afternoon in the Gibson Desert
Not graded since 1986 - Make your own track.
[img] http://www.bushtrackerownersforum.com/forum/userpix/77_Golden_Orb_Spider_2.jpg[/img] Golden Orb Spider
Memorial to Len Beadell on Mt Beadell
Evenings amber fluid.... you beauty.
Tracks a bit rough!
Late afternoon portrait


Well That it does'nt seem to want to upload any more images.

Cheers John
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niknoff



Joined: 25 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lovely, #1 & #7 are particulary nice.
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Theywent Thataway



Joined: 16 Dec 2009
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PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AWESOME!!! ABSOLUTELY AWESOME!!!
Those colours make me "away-sick"!!! (as opposed to home-sick )

Maz.
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