Date: 22nd to 30th January 2018
Trip Leaders: Robert and Bridget McPherson
Co-Trip Leader: Bruce Brinkley
Comfortable Tail End Charlie: Peter Cole
This is the second time we’ve attempted to run this trip and been thwarted due to road closures. Last year because of this, we had to change the trip to a completely different area – D’Entrecasteaux National Park. This year, we actually got into Israelite Bay but still couldn’t see too much of what we’d planned for past two years. Bob actually has a great phone relationship with Megan at DPAW in Esperance, in fact should have popped in to say hello when in the area!!
There are 3 ways into Israelite Bay, the two tracks we wanted to travel in and out by, were closed due to fires this year – last year due to floods. The only way in and out was via Fisheries Road. So a final decision was made in the week before departure we’d travel in that way and hope for a miracle to happen and perhaps we could at least go out to Bilbunya dunes (DPAW miracle?? Nah, perhaps not).
We were four vehicles departing Kelmscott on 22nd January – McPhersons, Peter Cole, Gary Arcus, Janine Rosser. Meeting up with Brinkleys (travelling from Kalgoorlie) and Jones’ (travelling from Denmark) the next day at Condingup.
The four of us had a leisurely drive stopping at Gorge Rock, outside Corrigin for lunch – another great free camp if ever in the area (the pool up in the rock was actually full too).
FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE
A Western Australian destination not to be missed. Kilometres of amazing conversions of drums and farming bits and pieces.
The first night we camped at Lillian Stokes Rock in Frank Hann NP as Gary told us about an excellent short cut down to Esperance via Cascades Road – really good gravel road and no traffic – will be using this road in future for sure.
We all met up in Condingup on Tuesday and camped on the community oval, free camping with toilets only. Walking distance to the pub, so of course we went for an evening meal and beer.
Having first checked with DPAW again, we set off on Wednesday morning for Israelite Bay. Once you hit the “4wd only” part of Fisheries Rd you can see all the damage last year’s flooding has done, washed away much of the area and the track in parts was very deeply rutted.
If it had rained hard while we were in there, the trip back out would have been lethal!!
Even the track down to Pt Malcolm was completely washed away and closed by DPAW. Israelite Bay was very quiet with not many other people around. We had a camping area to ourselves and we stayed here for two nights.
A pink lake Bruce found in behind dunes… almost sank in the muddy sand.
Our final phone call to Megan at DPAW was on Thursday by sat phone from Israelite Bay, but no changes to road closures so back out the same way.
We headed out on Australia Day but only met one group of three vehicles coming in, which was a relief as there weren’t too many places to get off the track.
Cape Arid was next on the altered agenda! We camped at Thomas River for two nights and spent Saturday doing the Cape Arid beach run – we did this a few years ago with the club and it was still as spectacular as we remember it. Every headland had a track up and over into yet another picturesque new bay and turquoise water – again not many people around, surprising as it was still school holidays and a long weekend. There were storms brewing on the horizon in all directions but they bypassed us (yeay!!!). looked very dramatic though
We had one bogging to keep the guys busy and the cameras clicking but only needed two Maxtrax, so not very exciting!!
“Snakes Alive” was definitely the catch cry for Thomas River campsite, never seen so many snakes around a camping area – there was even a tiger snake in the ladies drop toilets which caused a bit of commotion. A couple of us nearly trod on snakes lying across pathways. Was glad we were up in the rooftop tent – no, not going to mention my fall from the rooftop 3 nights later!!
Tracy and David were heading back to Denmark and Judith and Bruce needed to head back to Perth, so what else could we do – another nights camp at Condingup plus pub meal and beer!! Janine headed into Esperance before returning that evening, the rest of us headed down to Warton Beach. Whilst grabbing an ice cream at Duke of Orleans caravan park, had the great idea of asking if we could have showers ($5 ea but worth it!!) so we were all clean for pub meal – felt good!!
And what other reason could we need?
We left Janine with the RAC in Norseman (a bit of car trouble) and kind of envied her a night in a motel! Peter, Gary, Bob and Bridget drove until twilight along the Norseman-Hyden road and camped at the Breakaways – down to 3 vehicles for our final night!!
We do plan to run a similar trip again, hoping with this next actually to make it to Bilbunya Dunes, Baxter Cliffs and maybe even Eyre Bird Sanctuary ………. but not until 2019 and most probably at a different time of the year…No floods! No fires! Hoping for 3rd time lucky! Perhaps we need go kiss each of the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse on the Tin Horse Highway at Kulin first?
Won’t fix in dates until at least the trip planning meeting though, as we have plans ourselves for 2019, and need to figure out!!