Holland Track then Cave Hill Woodlines 2018

Trip Leader:    Joe Metcalf                                                                                                            Co Trip :           Richard King

Convoy:             Andrew Metcalf, Paul Ryan, Rachel Theunissen, Gary Arcus, Ivan Cifuentes and Marie Murphy, Tom Van Hall.

Dates:                  14th April –  22nd April

Day 1   Perth – Broomehill:

8:30am meeting point at Líons Park in Armadale was followed by a bakery and coffee stop at Riverside Road House at Bannister. Wouldn’t be a Mitsubishi trip if there wasn’t a bakery stop!  We were warned that the Alpacas spit on you if you get too close..!  but they were on their best behaviour  and no one was spat on…

Photo 1 – Richard with prize

We arrived in Broomehill just in time to catch the local Town Open Day. We strolled around the fete, looked at old machinery and were given a personalised tour of the local fire truck.  Andrew tried his hand at the toss a coin into the chocolate bar and won a yummy block of chocolate….for the group of course…!                        Thanks Andrew.

While we were on a winning streak, we decided to purchase tickets for the raffle and Richard King was the lucky winner of 2nd prize.

Broomehill Historical Society has an interesting folk museum located in the local church. Opened on prior arrangement by our Trip Leader Joe. We strolled around looking at interesting items and reading about the small wheat and sheep service town.  After the museum tour, we hit up the Henry Jones Winery & Café for some wine tasting.   Owners Jim and Annabel were very accommodating and we enjoyed their chat and the appealing décor while we decided on which wines to purchase.

We camped at the local caravan park and Joe cooked up burgers for everyone.  They were very tasty and everyone appreciated not having to cook or clean up.   Thanks Joe.

On a little walk through the Memorial Park we discovered that it was the 125th anniversary to the exact date from when John Holland and his team set off to blaze open the track. How lucky we were to be setting off on the 125th anniversary!

Photo 3 – Group in front of memorial.

Day 2  Broomehill – Emu Rock:

The next morning , for our last real coffees for a time,  we returned to the HJ Winery & Café. Although it took almost half an hour to get 6 coffees it didn’t matter as we were on holidays and it gave us the opportunity to chat again with Jim the café owner. Turns out he speaks a little Spanish as he travelled in Logroño many years ago,  so Ivan was able to speak his native tongue for a while. Very interesting gentleman and, if anyone is in the market, he is selling his winery. (Just make sure you invite me for vino if you buy it)

All topped up on coffee, we set out.

Now who would have thought that a stop to cut firewood would prove to be good fun and such great entertainment!  The chainsaw barely started, and when it did the chain fell off.  Oh no!

Paul and Gary pulled out the “manual tools” and got a cuttin’….!

We did manage to get enough fire wood and set off to find our next camp at Emu Rock.    Photo 4 – Original Holland Track


But entertainment number #2…. before we arrived at Emu Rock,  Paul realised that he had broken a wheel stud.



Day 3 Emu Rock – Bush Camp (between Mt Holland & Sandalwood Rock)

Paul and Richard called the mechanic in Hyden to fix his broken wheel stud but he was on holiday in Dwellingup. What are the chances? Long story short, they were directed to a farm house 15km away. The farmer was lovely and gave them all the tools they needed to fix it. The rest of the group stayed at camp clambering over the rocky outcrops. Within 2 hours they were all done and we were back travelling in convoy.

Photo 5 – Paul checking a bog hole

There were a few dry, old bog washout areas we all had fun negotiating…with wheels spinning, wheels off the ground and dust flying.  Good adrenaline rush and fun all round!  Ivan became stuck in/on a bog hole and had to use the maxtrax to get out.   The driver wasn’t at fault at all..!!!  That silly troopy and its leaf springs bottomed it out…apparently.

Photo 6 – Ivan Stuck

We walked up to the top of Mt Holland, our goal to find a geocache. Unfortunately we couldn’t find it… maybe next time.

Geocaching, for those who don’t know, is a high-tech treasure hunting game that is played throughout the world by adventure seekers. Participants use a GPS or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called “geocaches” at specific locations marked by coordinates only and listed on a geocache website.  Most geocaches are a small plastic box with a pen and paper inside as well as “treasures”.  Andrew was our group expert geocache locator, but on this instance, we couldn’t find it.

Photo 7 – Mount Holland                                         

We set up in a bush camp about half way between Mount Holland and Sandalwood Rock.

Today was shower day and everyone knows how much fun it is to set up and pack up those quick ezy up shower tents!!  I’m surprised that none ended up in the fire out of sheer frustration.

Everyone produced their best gourmet meals and the variety on display was something  from an international food market. The smells were amazing.  After dinner I whipped up a spinach and feta damper in my dad’s 1979 camp oven. Some were worried how it would turn out as there were ingredients going in, that weren’t  in anyone else’s damper recipe.  Let me tell you, that damper came out perfect…well…a little a scorched on the bottom… we won’t dwell on that.  The consensus was….mmmmm delicioso – look out Richard, you might have had a new contender for the cook off later in the week.  I’d been watching lots of Masterchef!!

Photo 8 – Marie’s damper 



Day 4- Bush Camp to Thursday Rock:

Joe had given us an 8am start time but at 8:05am Paul’s, Taj Mahal (shower tent) was still up.!     No further comment on that.

We were finally  rolling at 8:30am. Morno’s was at the intersection of Banker Mt Day Road where we found our first geocache at the abandoned car. We left our names and a message in the geocache box.

Visited a few more rocks before we arrived at Agnes Gnamma Hole where Tom accidentally came across another geocache… possibly listed on another website.  This geocaching is fun.  Andrew left a club note and sticker and Ivan left a euro! The stuff in those geocaches is very interesting and I enjoyed reading all the messages.

Photo 9 – Banker Mount Day Road Geocache

On to Thursday Rock to camp for the night. The flies were out in force and annoying everyone especially Ivan who declared his hatred for Aussie flies!!! After dinner Andrew cooked up an apple pie for the group and it was served up with Richards’s ice cream and custard!!! Icecream !!?  Yummmm 10/10 for dessert. We were definitely not roughing it with these 3 course meals!                                             Photo 10 – Convoy East of Sandalwood Rock

Day 5 – Thursday Rock to Burra Rock:

We were all ready at 7:55am for Joe’s 8am departure. “No one” wanted to disappoint the trip leader by not being ready. A quick walk up to Armchair Rock to burn off a few calories before heading off.    With a 14 year old in our group there were many moments where we were coaxed into climbing and exploring rocks and hills searching for geocaches.   Let’s say I definitely got in my daily 10 000 steps!  Maybe we need a 14 year old on all our trips!!

We wound out the last few km of the Holland Track and reached the end of that section. Woo Hoo what a great track! There was excitement and a few hundred photos taken at the end sign. !

    Photo 11 – End of track photo

A quick visit to beautiful Victoria rock on the way to Coolgardie. We had a must stop visit to the local IGA for some extremely important items. Socks for Richard being top on the list! The IGA in Coolgardie had almost everything, the ladies were friendly and oh,  yes,  Richard got his socks. Others took advantage of refueling – diesel – $1.49 per litre and $3 showers with HOT water…..Oh so good.!

Some of us explored the town and visited the old grave site to see RJ Hollands grave.

      Photo 12 – Holland’s Grave

Pub grub meal for lunch at the bar and a game of pool won by team Andrew-Marie. Woo hoo   Pulled up at Burra Rock for the night. Climbed the rock to watch sunset and marvelled at the dam on top of the rock. That dam was built 1920’s – 1930’s to collect water for the steam trains that hauled timber and firewood along the railways to the mines in the Kalgoorlie-Boulder area.  After the woodcutting ceased and the rail lines were dismantled, this dam water attracted farmers to the area. A collection of abandoned machinery and rusted relics remain from the 1960’s.

Photo 13 – Sunset at Burra Rock










Toasties and jaffles for dinner followed by some tasty s’mores whipped up by Andrew. What’s a S’more you ask? A s’more is a campfire treat popular in the US, consisting of chocolate and marshmallow sandwiched between two biscuits and heated in the fire. YUM YUM….And that’s why we had to explore and climb rocks every day to burn off those sweets we had after dinner every night.

Day 6 – Burra Rock to Cave Hill.

Late start today, we enjoyed a lazy morning before saying our good byes to Paul and Rachel who headed home today. Always sad when you are all having a fabulous time and someone has to leave for home and work. The remaining 5 vehicles headed off along the Woodlines track.Driving beside the old railway Tom spotted some old bolts and pins…what a find! You would think we had found gold!  We were lucky to have Tom with us on this trip as he used to work on the railways so explained some of the history behind the old railways.  Fantastic and very engaging history lesson. As soon as I had phone reception some quick online searching revealed that the bolts and pins date back to the early 1900’s. That’s pretty cool!

Photo 14 – Woodlines Track

Not before long we had come across another rock.

A quick run up Sunday Soak to locate another geocache and then we were on our way to find the lonely graves of Thomas Cantwell and Jerry O’Conlan both who died of thirst in December 1895 on their way to Coolgardie.

Major Woodlines Tracks  1900 – 1960

Day 7 –  Rest day at Cave Hill

It was lovely waking up this day knowing that we didn’t have to pack up. Some cooked up a storm, splashing out and having a big breakfast. We took a long walk up Cave Hill to see Three Dams complete with ducks and fish! We had researched that there was a geocache on the hill and spent ages looking for it… but eventually gave up and headed back to camp for lunch.

Photo 15 – On top of Cave Hill

2.30pm marked the start of the long awaited scone-off competition between   Andrew and Richard.

There had been previous history of friendly rivalry between these two and the stakes were high. This competition was serious with score cards and points awarded. Both contenders were very nervous but eager to take out the title of the 2018  Holland Track Scone King!  The five fabulous judges (the rest of us..!) were to judge on appearance, size, taste and uniformity of the scones.

Photo 16 – Scone off – Andrew

Photo 17 – Scone off – Richard                       An entertaining, close competition but Andrew won with a winning score of 87.5/100.   Only 1.5 points ahead of Richard.

Thanks boys, we had a great time watching and better time in the tasting.

Later that night, I practised again with my camp oven by making a pumpkin and fetta damper…delicious yet again.!.

Day 8- Saturday

Photo 18 – Old railway formation

A late start today as our destination isn’t far away. On our travels today we came across many old campsites.  Joe found an old medicine bottle. A bit of googling on return to Perth revealed that it was made around 1880. The old game of “I spy with my little eye”  actually kept us all having fun and entertained for a while.

Photo 19 – Medicine bottle

The Norseman-Hyden road was very busy. Our TL called to the truckies, giving them the option to pass us.   A huge dust cloud as they passed.

The Breakaways was our last camp spot for this trip and in true geocaching spirit Andrew had us all climbing yet another rock in search for a geocache. Andrew spotted it first and left a little message and club sticker as proof that we found it.  We enjoyed each other’s company around the camp fire and reminisced about our fantastic trip.

Day 9 – Breakaways – Perth:

A 7:30am departure to reach Hyden for breakfast at the bakery. Oh so good to have real coffee again. We had a lunch stop at Brookton before we all said our good byes and headed home.

A huge thanks to Joe and Andrew for all the effort they put into planning this trip. We sure had a great time and have wonderful memories of the Holland and Woodlines Tracks travelled with an awesome bunch of people.


Trip Report:   Marie

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