Boothy's 4WD Trip - November 2007
During the initial planning stages of this trip there were at least 12 vehicles and 24 people committed to it. For various reasons (mainly health related) the final number was 5 vehicles and 10 people. Kevin and Lorraine (Navara), Lindsay and Dianne (Patrol), Doug and Mavis (Prado), Wally and Stuey (Prado) and Dad's Army - aka Terry and Tiger (Patrol). And so it was that we set out from the Pinjarra RSL at 0930 hrs on Saturday the 17th headed for our first overnight stop at Camp Hart, a Veterans free camp site with nice facilities at Lake Jilakin just outside Kulin. Several MMVVG members have had a hand in building and developing this facility (see separate trip notes on Kulin Bush Races).
Day two and we headed through Lake Grace, Newdegate and Lake King then on to the track through the Frank Hann National Park (one of many NP's we would visit on this trip). A short drive in to the Peak Charles National Park then on to our overnight camp spot at Bromus Dam south of Norsman.
On day three we travelled to Norsman for refuelling before heading out on to the Eyre Highway to the turn off at Balladonia for our trip down to Cape Arid National Park. This track was a reasonable gravel road for the first 60km before changing to a rocky sand track which presented us with our first driving challenges. We stopped at a small lake at a place called Pine Hill where there were two graves of stockmen from the area. The view of Mt Ragged as we neared it was quite spectacular. There is a small camp area in amongst the trees which had just enough room for the five vehicles and tents.
Next morning we drove the short distance to Mt Ragged and a couple of us climbed about a quarter of the way up. The view was spectacular as we watched a rain squall approach (the only rain we had on the whole trip). We then travelled on to Israelite Bay. The scrub was quite close on this sandy and rocky section and the first screeching of sticks on paint work could be heard. We arrived at the camp area not far from the Old Telegraph Station and set up our tents and gathered wood for the fire. This would be our campsite for three nights. Over the next few days we explored the area which included a trip to Point Malcolm. We initially tried to reach it along the beach but the sand just got softer and softer until we could proceed no further. Point Malcolm is a lovely area with a nice camp ground. We watched a seal fishing in amongst the breaking swells under the rocks at the point. The architecture of the Telegraph Station is as amazing as it is remote. One of our crew (Wally) pounced on a hapless Carpet Snake and held it for some (not all) of us to have a pat. We also visited some old grave sites.
On day seven we headed off on the 4WD track that follows the old Telegraph Line. This was a spectacular drive through thick stands of small Banksia and over numerous salt lakes. The wildflowers were fantastic with beautiful red Kangaroo Paws, Banksia and any number of other flowering plants. At one stop I counted six different species of flower in a one square metre area. We drove down one very tight track and through some reasonably difficult sand hills to find a camp area near a bay with of all things, a fresh water well. This leg was a highlight of the trip. We were fortunate to have two fella's (Wally and Lindsay) who have an excellent knowledge of both the flora and history of the area so the UHF was used to give us a running commentary. The last part of the day's drive was on good gravel roads leading to Duke of Orleans Bay Caravan Park for our overnight stop.
Exploring Cape Le Grande National Park was on the agenda for day eight. Here is the start of the most spectacular coast line I have ever seen. The granite rocks, white beach sand, stands of orange Christmas Trees and the turquoise waters take your breath away. Each bay we came to seemed to be better than the last. There was a wave shaped rock which amplified the surf in to almost surround sound. We lunched on the beach at Lucky Bay and swam in the refreshing surf (the air temperature was in the thirties most days of the trip). After lunch we drove for about 25km along Le Grande Beach to Wylie Head just short of Esperance which was our next overnight stop at the Seafront Caravan Park. After a long hot shower we headed out to dinner at a restaurant overlooking Esperance Bay.
We decided to stay two nights in Esperance and day nine saw the temperature rise to 43 degrees so it was a smart move. We drove along the beaches on the tourist loop road and saw more spectacular bays before heading past the Pink Lake (no longer pink due to fertilizer run-off killing the algae in the lake). In the afternoon we visited the Museum (a most interesting place) for a couple of hours. Had a relaxing evening with drinks at the caravan park then up early for an 0800 departure for the long drive back to our overnight at Kulin. We travelled via Munglinup and Ravensthorpe (now a mining town where real estate prices have increased dramatically) where we stopped for coffee and a pie. Back through Lake King then across to Kulin on the gravel Holt Rock Road. The following morning (day eleven) we packed the tents for the last time and headed for home picking the dog up on the way.
Overall we travelled 2400km in the eleven days and all five vehicles performed faultlessly in sometimes fairly rough and boggy conditions. Not one puncture which I think is testiment to maintaining correct tyre pressures for the conditions encountered. I was most impressed with the Prado with fuel consumption being just under 10km per litre over the entire trip. All the vehicles now need a good detail and polish.
Written by Doug Burvill