CANNING & CORNERS TOUR 2014

Sunday 4th May 2014

We met at the Highway Round-a-bout at 6.30am and had a quick cuppa and debrief for the adventure ahead of us in regards to radio and convoy procedures for the group of 8 we had and departed on our 10 week journey at 7.07am. We had 2 more vehicles to join the convoy in the next couple of days. The weather was fine but cloudy and a little rain in port as we left. Our first stop was at the Browns Flat rest area where we had smoko and checked over the vehicles to make sure they were travelling alright with all the gear we had on them – all ok. We stopped at the Dubbo Caravan park for our first cool night at 16:15 and set up camp for the night. 

 

Monday 5th May 2014

Departed at 8.30am with another cool day ahead of us we were grateful to be sitting in the warm cars. We had a lot of animals on the side of the road and especially goats crossing the road in front of us, had lunch in Cobar and we arrived at the MacCullochs Range Rest area east of Wilcannia at 3.44pm and camped here the night with plenty of room for us to spread out.

Tuesday 6th May 2014

On the road again at 8.00am this morning and heading to Tibooburra for tonight. We had smoko at White Cliffs and a quick look around where our 9th vehicle joined the convoy and then stopped to take photos of the “tool trees” and then off to Milparinka for the tour of the town which I definitely recommend doing. We arrived at Tibooburra and had our 10th vehicle join the convoy and we all went to the Family Hotel for dinner and enjoyed once again a great meal there.

 

Wednesday 7th May 2014

Departed at 7.58am this morning and headed to Cameron Corner and enjoyed a smoko break and photo opportunity here then off to the Strzelecki track which again was a great track to drive on but you do need to pull over for the road trains due to all the dust. We turned off the Strzelecki and headed to Arkaroola in SA and we all dined in that night.

Thursday 8th May 2014

Arkaroola – 4 couples thoroughly enjoyed a helicopter flight of the ranges while the rest of us caught up on our washing and did some local sightseeing or hiking. 

Friday 9th May 2014

8.00am departure and we fuelled up at Leigh Creek then ducked into Copley for a great bite to eat and ended up having lunch at Maree along with some sightseeing of the town. We saw the Curdimurka sliding ruins, Margaret Sliding ruins, Blanche Cup and the Bubbler and camped for the night at one of our favourite spots in Australia, Coward Springs and yes most of the crew enjoyed dipping their feet into the hot springs. We had also ducked in for a picturesque look at Lake Eyre South also.

Saturday 10th May 2014

Strangways springs & ruins was fantastic to look at on our way into Lake Eyre near William Creek. We drove into Halligans Bay and ducked into ABC bay on the way back out and then stopped to check out the William Creek hotel for lunch. We camped under the Algebuckina Bridge alongside the Neals River that night and wow how the bridge changes colour with the sun setting and rising. There is some Ghan Railway line history here to check out also.

Sunday 11th May 2014 (Happy Mothers Day)

Oodnadatta (the pink roadhouse) was the destination for smoko this morning and some more great photo opportunities and then off to the beautiful Painted Desert. They have had a lot of water here just recently and we had several rough creek crossings and water over the road but still an enjoyable drive and the scenery is so worth it. We arrive at Coober Pedy at 14:30SA time and set up for a few days of rest, washing & vehicle checking over ready for our next part of our journey the Anne Beadell Highway.

 

Monday 12th – Tuesday 13th May 2014

We all went on a bus tour of Coober Pedy with George the owner of the Oasis Big 4 and wow did he give us a great tour of the town and we ate out at some great restaurants and in particular the underground restaurant with George the owner (different George).

Wednesday 14th May 2014

Well here we go off to the Anne Beadell Highway (ABH) after fuelling up in Coober Pedy first. We crossed the dog fence and had lunch at the Tallaringa Well and stopped for the night east well before the Ground Zero Totems (British Atomic test site) in SA. The road so far is much better than Darren & I traversed on it 4 years ago, happy days. 

Thursday 15th May 2014

Rained lightly all night the night before but was nice and clear in the morning so we headed off down the track sighting many camels today and stopped early at EMU to have plenty of time to have a shower etc. Unfortunately the flies were horrendous and nearly drove us around the bend and again it rained lightly that night with dingos howling in the background off and on ironically near a camp spot called Dingo Clay pan.

Friday 16th May 2014

Today was passed a caravan abandoned on the RH side of the track which was here when Darren & I were here 4 years ago but sadly many people have vandalised it so it wasn’t in the same state we last saw it in. Next stop was Anne’s Corner where we all signed the book and Darren & I found our signatures in it from 2010 when we were here last how exciting. We made it to Vokes Hill Corner that night where there is a Len Beadell sign also.

Saturday 17th May 2014

Still in SA we stopped for smoko at the No2 post being the “Mallee-Cyprus Pine Woodland” and then crossed the WA border at 15:30 NSW time or 13:30 WA time so yay! we gained 2 hours so we had plenty of time to set up camp and cook dinner while it was still light. J

Sunday 18th May 2014

The 10 vehicle convoy headed off and along the track today we had to do some bush mechanics on one of the camper trailers u bolts which turned out to be a nice rest stop and then once on the road again we had about 6 camels on the track in front of us and they didn’t want to move over for some time so we had a slower journey that day until they finally decided to leave the track. We arrive at Ilkurka which I highly recommend as they have fuel, shop, great souvenirs, phone booth, showers and toilets at this great camping spot.

Monday 19th May 2014

Today was a day of washing and doing basic check overs and maintenance on our vehicles and it sprinkled most of the day. We really appreciated the great, friendly service we received from Robin and Graham that have been running Ilkurka for the past couple of years.

Tuesday 20th May 2014

Got some great photos of Bustards (aka Plain’s Turkey) today on the way to Neale Junction where we met some other desert travellers that were heading down the Connie Sue Highway. We drove a bit longer today and made it to Yeo Homestead where we set up for the night and had the most amazing thunderstorm that night all around us but had cleared up in the morning.

Wednesday 21st May 2014

Due to the rain last night the road was extremely flooded all the way to Laverton so we took it very steady going through the water and luckily it was nice and firm underneath. Last time we were here we stopped at “Yarmarna”, an abandoned homestead to have a good look around but this time it was completely flooded so we found a little patch of not so bad mud and had a quick smoko break before driving through this section of road which looked like a lake. We arrive at Laverton and sadly said goodbye to one of our convoy that needed to head home – so now there was 9 of us that drove to Leonora for to stay for 3 nights to again catch up on washing, vehicle maintenance etc before starting the Canning Stock Route.

Thursday 22nd – Friday 23rd May 2014

Spent a day looking around at the Gwalia Museum and abandoned old mining township and everyone really enjoyed seeing all this history and looking through Hoover House. Friday the 23rd was our youngest daughter’s 20th birthday so we phoned her up and sang Happy Birthday to her – well I did most of the singing, just happy we had service that day.

Saturday 24th May 2014

Drove into the town of Leinster for last minute supplies and then off to Wiluna for our last fuel stop before the Canning Stock Route (aka CSR). Those with trailers headed up past Granite Peak Station to Well 6 where they would wait for the rest of us without trailers to meet them there. We headed off to Well 1, Well2, Well 2a, The Granites and camped near Well 3 that first night as this first section is a little slow going with lots of sharp rocks and dry creek crossings.

Sunday 25th May 2014

After taking photos of Well 3 we headed off to Windich Springs and this was just a pretty as I remember it but certainly a lot greener. We passed Wells 3, 4a, 4b & 5 today. We caught up with the rest of the convoy at about 13:50 at Well 6 “Pierre Springs” who had hot water ready for us to have a cuppa and the fire going which was very much appreciated as it was a raining cold day all day today.

Monday 26th May 2014

One of our cars today had a flat LHR tyre so we stopped on the track to fix this and saw Wells 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and stopped for the night at Well 12 after driving through a long section of wet track after last night’s deluge.

Tuesday 27th May 2014

We drove past a burn out Landrover this morning on the way to Well 13 where we stopped for smoko and wrote in the visitors book at Well 14 and decided to camp at  Well 15 that night stopping early that day.

Wednesday 28th May 2014

Fantastic landscape today on our way to Durba Springs – absolutely amazing scenery you really need to see to believe. We passed the Murray Rankin’s Trolley (a great story behind this trolley), stopped to look at Well 16 and pulled up early again today at Durba Springs which is like an Oasis in the Desert. 

Thursday 29th – Friday 30th May 2014

Thursday we all went for a walk to see the Aboriginal artwork on the rock walls and the engravings of the early surveyors and some climbed up the top and took some great pictures of our camping area which really looks amazing. We had a talent event and most read poems, did funny skits, sang songs or served us wonderful treats. All in all a great time was held by all.

Saturday 31st May 2014

Off we go again on the CSR when we came across a burnt out trailer, Well 18, Well 19 and on our way to Well 20 we pass the Tropic of Capricorn and pulled up a little later than we had liked tonight and what a cold night and morning it was there.

Sunday 1st June 2014

Everyone had a great time today admiring the salt on Lake Disappointment, so needless to say today was another picturesque day. We saw Well 21, Well 22 and had intended to duck out to the fuel drop but received a call on the UHF that someone was hurt at Georgia Bore so we diverted to there for the afternoon instead as we had 4 nurses in our convoy. A man’s hand was deeply cut and need attending to and I called the local community Cotton Creek “Parnngurr” and spoke with Ben and he said they would be able to look at him and give him a tetanus shot etc. The men were very appreciative of our assistance and even sent us a thank you email several weeks later when they arrived home – (you are very welcome guys).

Monday 2nd June 2014

We decided not to double back to the fuel drop and top up our fuel in Cotton Creek instead after talking to Ben who is running this community at the moment and we were very happy with the fantastic service we received in this community as it was 100% better than the last time Darren & I had been there. After refuelling and getting some more urgent supplies ie: Chocolates, ice creams and sausage rolls we headed off to Desert Queen Baths after doing some more bush mechanics on some ball joints before setting up camp at yet another fantastic location.

Tuesday 3rd June 2014

Most of us took off for the long rocky creek bed walk through alongside beautiful water views to reach the canyon’s end where there is a large body of water and some of the group (Darren included) jumped in this icy cold water to swim to the other side but Darren came back quickly when he heard there was a snake in the water.

Wednesday 4th June 2014

Back to Georgia Bore today we found a shovel on the track so we picked it up and no sooner had we done this someone was on the radio looking for it so we met up with them and handed it back to its rightful owner – they were very happy about that. While undertaking some more vehicle repairs to a set of leaf springs a breaker bar fell down and collect Darren on the eye lid and wow did the blood flow out of this and was cleaned & fixed up by the wonderful nursing team we had with us.

Thursday 5th June 2014

Well off to Well 23 and the fuel drop which took us about 1.5hrs to complete filling up everyone’s vehicles with Diesel and Petrol and the wonderful Capricorn Roadhouse crew turned up to deliver some more fuel and take back the empties. We took pics of Well 24, Well 25, Well 26, Well 27 and camped the night at Well 28. 

Friday 6th June 2014

For smoko today we stopped and had camels on the side of the track and everyone was able to get a good photo of them after seeing Well 29 and Well 30. We also saw Well 31 & Well 32 today and decided to stay at Kunawaritji in the accommodation style motels they have there. Of course there was more vehicle work to be done, get more fuel and drop into the shop for an ice cream, chocolate or a soft drink and bread… all the staples. 

Saturday 7th June 2014

Stayed in Kunawaritji doing maintenance and had a communal BBQ that night and what fantastic dishes everyone brought to the table. We invited the owners to join us and they enjoyed the great food also along with a couple of dogs. This was a great break on the CSR for us all to re charge our batteries. 

Sunday 8th June 2014

Well 33, was first off the rank this morning and wow! They have really made some improvements to this camp site and still had a great water supply too. We then travelled to Well 34 (Nibil Well), Well35 (Minjoo Well) & Well 36 (Wanda Well) and set up camp in one of my favourite camp spots under the desert oak trees along with a local Gecko.

Monday 9th June 2014

Well 37 was next and viewing of the graves that were there also and then onto the Rock cave which sadly had collapsed in 2012 a fair bit since the last time I saw it in 2010 so there was less rock art visible. Next was Well 38 then lunch at Well 39 and the flies again were full on. Well 40 & Tobin’s grave was the next destination and we stopped to set up camp near Well 41 (Tiru Well). 

Tuesday 10th June 2014

Well today was fine, with a little cloud as we headed off to Well 42 (Guli Well), Well 43 (Billowagga Native Well), and lunch at Well 44 then onto Well 45 before stopping for the night at 17:30pm at Well 46. 

Wednesday 11th June 2014

Almost there now, we were all getting a little sad to be nearly off the CSR as it really is a very picturesque place to be travelling as every sand dune you crest the landscape changes so much and dramatically at times. Next was Well 47 and then we turned into Breadon Pools/Godfreys tank and did the walk into the pools, then Well 48 & camped at Well 49 for the night…with only 2 more wells to go. 

Thursday 12th June 2014

We were at Well 50 at approximately 9.00am and then Well 51 at 9.43am and then stopped for lunch at Stretch Lagoon and this is now a great place to camp on the banks of the Lagoon with many different bird species here too. We then headed to Billiluna and had to wait for them to open up the shop so we could re fuel again and head up the Tanami. We had a group photo of course with the Canning Stock Route sign before heading up to Wolfe Creek Crater where we arrived at 16:20 that night and set up camp for the night… and no I’ve not watched the movie and won’t. 

Friday 13th June 2014

Last night’s moon was full and the colours in the sky were amazing and yes, we were at Wolfe Creek Crater on Friday the 13th but so were many other people as the campground was absolutely full last night. We all took the walk up the crater and got some more great photos even though it was a little windy and then headed off up the Tanami towards Halls Creek and the first port of call was the bakery of course for a cup of coffee and something yummy to eat.

Saturday 14th June 2014 – Sunday 15th June 2014

Bit cool here in the Halls Creek Caravan park today and again caught up on some more washing, shopping and tinkered with the vehicles. We had some great meals here in Halls Creek and many a beer too. We were waiting for some parts to arrive for one of the vehicles but sadly the freight didn’t arrive and we need to be back in Alice as we had most of the cars booked in for a service so we decided to split the group up and 6 vehicles headed to Alice while the other 3 vehicles waiting for the parts.

Monday 16th June 2014

The 6 vehicles left Halls Creek at 7.00am that morning and headed back down the Tanami and crossed the border into NT at 11.30WA time or 1.00pm NT time and had lunch and found a great spot to camp on the Tanami near Floodout Bore and arrived there at 17:45. For the other 3 vehicles the parts still hadn’t arrived. 

Tuesday 17th June 2014

We were blessed with good weather again today and headed off at 8.10NT time but last night would have been one of our coldest nights and coldest mornings prior to the sun coming up. We stopped for smoko at Tilmouth Well and had a look around at their local Aboriginal Artwork also. We arrived in Alice Springs at 1.28pm NT time and booked into the McDonnell Ranges Big 4 caravan park. The parts arrived late today in Halls Creek for our other 3 vehicles so they would be heading off tomorrow for Alice Springs.

Wednesday 18th June 2014 – Sunday 22nd June 2014

The 3 vehicles made their way down the Tanami and met up with us all late Thursday afternoon so we were all back together again. That Saturday night we had a big communal BBQ at the caravan park and caught up on the past few days. Most of went to the Royal Flying Doctors, Desert Park, Reptile Park, Truck Museum and of course did more washing.

 

TO BE CONTINUED........