We have just arrived home from our latest adventure to a 4wd track that runs from Broomehill to Coolgardie (30km southwest of Kalgoolie) in WA. It was first created by John Holland in 1892 to enable supplies to get through. This was during the gold rush era so I imagine there were lots of young hopeful diggers hoping to strike gold while all the opportunistic shopkeepers and other business venturers followed with supplies! Because there is not enough rain out there to sustain agriculture the track soon was not used. However it was rediscovered and carved out again in 1992 for people like us to enjoy!
When John and his team first created the track they carved out the trail of 500km in just over 2 months. This blows my mind as it took us just under 2 days to drive 150km of the track. We were driving between 20-40km most of the time and twice I reckon we got to 60km. So these guys on foot chopping down smalls trees and clearing small shrubs to allow a horse and cart through in 2 months for 500km meant they cleared at a rate of roughly 7km per day (no chainsaws or the like!) I’m impressed!
So on the first day we met with a group of 5 car loads that we were driving the track with. We met at BP lakes roadhouse near the Swan Valley and drove towards Hyden. On the way we stopped at Corrigin, a tiny place that boasted of line up 1527 utes with a dog in each ute’s tray! Don’t you love how sleepy little towns in Australia do bizarre things to attract attention to themselves!
After lunch in Hyden we drove a short distance to Wave Rock. This cool rock is 15m high and about 50m long and is shaped like a big surf wave. It is hard to climb as the rock is steep and even climbing a metre up to sit and pose for photos was quite tricky. Our kids love rock climbing though so climbing up to the top and wandering around was a good stretch of the legs for them!
Soon we were on our way to the start of the Holland Track which is only wide enough for one car. So when you meet traffic coming the other way one of you has to carve a spot out in the shrubby bush, looking out for the sharp mallee roots which have claimed many a tyre!
We found a bush camp and had a lovely night camping in the bush, surprisingly there was no bird song or critters to be heard apart from bats. The colour of the trees is gorgeous coppers and greens which photos don’t really do justice.
One of the funny aspects of bush camping is finding a private spot to toilet in. With such a big group of people together in a sparsely shrubbed area it was difficult to find your own space and not be ‘sprung!’
The next day we drove just over 100km and drove through lots of big muddy puddles. The vegetation changes rapidly as did the dust/soil colour as shown in photos so i wont bore you with my description, however i did enjoy watching the bush around us. There had been a big bushfire through the track around 6 years ago which killed a couple of truck drivers who were sadly trapped by it. Looking at the new regeneration I wouldn’t have guessed it was so long ago. Rain is sporadic out here and so everything is very slow growing!
We kept coming across some large rocky areas that were quite flat but full of puddles with tadpoles in them. They also had lizards that scurry around on their long legs quickly, reminding me of the baby dinosaurs in one of the latter Jurassic Park movies. Abi excitedly caught some tadpoles but unfortunately we gave them a sugar high and they didn’t survive.
We also kept Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy busy with three teeth falling out during our 5 day get away and Easter Sunday having a visit from the tooth fairy. We also had a little service around the campfire with everybody to remember Jesus’s resurrection.
Once we got to Coolgardie we parted company from our travel companions and headed towards Kalgoolie. We saw the superpit where they have combined 4 separate goldmines into one…it is HUGE!
We also went to the mining museum and only had an hour to visit but really enjoyed it. We bush camped on the side of the road about 20km out of town as we wanted another campfire. However it was hard to sleep with road train noise and scratching sounds outside our tent!!!!
The next morning we had a wander up the main street of Kal which is lovely and reminds me of Ballarat where I grew up or Bendigo or even Geelong! Then we headed for home…599 in all and Dale did an awesome job driving the lot!