First, we planned to have a short stay in Kalgoorlie. But after we knew that they have a daily blow in the "superpit" (open gold mine), we stayed a little bit longer. We wanted to see that. Blows are only permitted if the weather and the wind direction are correct. And therefore we waited four days to see this powerful event.
It was frustrating: if a blast was announced and we were there , it was called off in the last minute, and ignited some when later. If we were not there, they blew. Finally we gave it up and made us on the way to Coolgardie, the starting point of the Holland track. The place has, like Kalgoorlie also, a rich past around the gold and we learned in the museum much over the history. The next day, we continued on the Holland track, with rainy weather . In the tourists information, we found a good booklet giving us all the information we needed, and more.
The track led us through country with bush and gum trees. There were interesting rocky hills, which raised every now and then. On those rock outcrops were holes, after rain filled with water, which were extremely important for Aboriginals, white settlers and animals (Gnamma holes). When we drove on the track, most of the water holes were dry.
In January there was an enormous bush fire, which burned the largest part of the area around the Holland Track. It was the first time, that we drove through such a fresh bush fire area. This is a completely different kind of desert and also very impressive. Thousands of square meters of country destroyed, only black charred trunks remaining - so far the eye can see. No animals, even no flies were present. Burnt branches, which were sticking on to the track did scratch the landcruiser's paint. But in the burned desert sometimes a small green island remained unburned, which seemed to us almost unbelievably. We guessed how it was possible that the fire didn't burn a particular spot.
And although everything was burned, if we looked exactly, we found many beautiful patterns, forms and colors, which the fire had drawn into the vegetation. (see the pic below)
On the second day we had left the burned earth behind us, back between different green and brown tones of the intact bush country. And at the flies decided again to make us the life difficult. On the Holland Tack we drove further in direction west coast. The Holland ends in Hyden, where we visited the Wave Rock.
This is an interesting rock formation and worth a visit. After the dusty track we wanted to relax and spent the next night on the Holland Track Farm. Cathie and Malcolm Kelly gave us a warm welcome and we enjoyed our stay. After a long, extremely hot day we arrived at Grimwade, our next goal. We did not have such a good mood, because of the unexpected heat (again 45 degrees in the car!), on the other hand because our plans were rather unclear. Actually we would like to do a part of the Canning stick route, but the time is still too early. In addition this track is considered as one of the longest and remotest of the world and it is a little risky, to do it with just one car. Along the west coast towards the north, it is again more touristic and particularly a paradise for fischermen, surfer and diver. Though we sat that evening rather without motivation at our camp site and did not know where to go further. Fortunately at night, it cooled down. The next day we were again in mood to travel. Our next camp on Preston Beach, was great, cool and without annoying flies. The only other visitor was a Possum. The small chap smelled our rubbish and did gymnastics on our roof, until we were awake and had to chase it away. We decided to stay another day and ease. It was before easter during the next day and our idyllic place turned into a holiday camp. It was over with peace and loneliness. Nevertheless we went productive and could finally make a good decision for our further journey. Full of energy we drove to Perth and along the coast to the Pinnacles.
We definitely wanted to see them. They are normally accessible on bitumen, but there is also a off road possibility. We selected this and informed us about tides, since a part of the Beach is only passable during low tide. The woman in the tourist Office in Lancelin told us that the track was not anything special, even ugly. off course we drove there anyway, but she was right. Towards the evening we reached a chaotic fishing village near Wedge Island. We decided to stay there overnight. During the dinner the wind went stronger and the sky covered itself with dark clouds. We had enough time to bring our things into the Toyota, into the dry, when a storm passed by.
The wind shook the car and the raindrops drummed on the roof. It was rather uncomfortable and made us having a long night. In the morning we discovered that our Toyota was skew. The wind and the rain washed sand away from under the wheels. We decided to leave the dunes as fast as possible. It rained more or less all day long, everything was damp and full of wet sand. After the beach section the track became narrow and really bumpy. Therefore we only could drive at low speed through a 'grey in grey' landscape.
This was probably the point, where we both had the nose rather full of the travel . The weather stayed like this the next day. We afforded to have the comfort of a Cabin on the campground at Geraldton, where we watched television most of the time. Our plans for further adventures seemed to move into far distance and we missed a proper dwelling, our friends and family and our own shower more than ever before. Here on the campground we met the first other vehicle with European registration. Naturally we exchanged many travel experiences with the nice German family.
Finally Peter seized the initiative and changed the slogan of our journey in somewhat more holidays, somewhat fewer adventures. The beginning of the new way of travelling, formed the cultural attendance of a local tractor Pull with many old tractors.
Is that Marianne? - No it's not
For Marianne it wasn't easy not to go on the Canning Stock Route. But we found a national park with great beaches, which made even Marianne enjoying herself again: Francois Peron National park. There we saw a couple, which was stuck at the beach with their 4x4 camper . No question that we offered our assistance immediately and with shovel and sandboards we moved them forward.
Finally they let us do all the work, while they watched. With our equipment we helped them out, in no time. But they didn't seem to be pleased, and drove away soon after. We should have watch them digging longer. Perhaps that would have increased their gratefulness ;-) But we think they were quite nervous.
We spent some calm days, saw dolphins, sharks, stingrays, other fish and many birds. And we again and again took a refreshing bath in the wonderful clear, blue water of the Shark bay.
Although we took it a little more like holidays than traveling adventurous, we went inland again. We visited, 200 km east of Cananarven, the Kennedy Ranges and Mt. Augustus. So we also an escape from the tourists at the coast.
It was amazing, how quickly we let the tourist crowd behind us, and could again enjoy the calm isolation of the outback. A beautiful bush camp and a cool beer was the reward for the dusty travel.
We explored the Kennedy Ranges one day long and found sedimented stones, which were formed like fruit bowls. We couldn't take one home, because of the weight.
Before sunrise, we started to climb on Mt. Augustus with a torch. For sunrise we were on the top. Going down we passed a couple, coming up, with astonished faces. This action made us to the daily discussion on the campground.
Through the outback, on a lonely hinterland route we continued to Tom Price, a mining town. On a guided tour in the mine area, we received an impression of the work and admired the enormous machines from the proximity. We went it into the Karajini National park, where we saw flowing water in the rivers since months again. What an experience! We enjoyed bathing in the fresh water pools. After three days investigate the gorges, we continued to go to Broome.
In Broome we remained longer than planned. The place has a certain charm, from which we couldn't escape. Naturally we visited the old Sun Picture cinema from the 20ies. It is an open air cinema and is exactly under the access passage of the airport. Therefore the sound of the film is over-sounded approximately every 30 minutes by the noise of an airplane for nearly a minute. This was a really special cinema attendance.
Another event was on at the time, when we were in Broome. It is "stairway to the moon". With full moon reflection on the beach at low tide, it looks like stairs to the moon. On our campground a Swiss corner developed. Normally we wouldn't appreciate this. But this time we met Daniela and Roger (www.roger.ch). The two are also with a Troopie on the way. We got along well, and soon found out that we have the same travel plans. It was clear that we wanted to travel together. We prepared the last thing, left Broome and started soon on the Gibb River Road. This road must have been more difficult in older days, today it's however a good gravel road. We met many other travellers and shared the more famous places..
It's good to have a swim at many places, which are a welcome refreshment. The gorges are very different and very green. The colors changed. We are now surrounded by more blue and green tones, than in the inland. We saw also our first fresh water crocodiles. These are fortunately not dangerous, except you provoke them, but it is exciting to see some. We absolutely wanted to see the Mitchell plateau and had luck that the road was already open. After the Gibb River Road it was now more bumpy and we advanced more slowly. But we were recompensed for the effort. The Mitchell Falls, briefly after rain, are quiet impressive. But the ultimate experience was a helicopter flight over the unaffected landscape of this coast!! To be able to seet he wildness once from the air, was worth each cent. We sat almost one hour in the helicopter, saw large saltwater crocodiles and a shark and the view was simply stunning!!
Something else caused some excitement. When Marianne drove with the car over a large stone, it touched the axle and there was a spark. The the noise made us already suspicious, but when we looked back, we saw that the grass was on fire. Peter jumped out of the car, ran back and trampled the fire in the grass out so fast he could. Now - so quick, a bush fire could come alive, for us almost unreal! On the next day we had to say good-bye to the Mitchell plateau. We were not yet on the Gibb River Road, when suddenly Roger over radio announced : We have a flat tire. Soon we arrived, and the wheel got changed. We drove on and were approximately 20 minutes on the way, when it sounded from the radio: We have another flat tire. We answered: Good joke! Bugger, it was no joke. We changed then the second spare wheel. So quick two spare wheels are gone. We will never complain about the additional weight. In the proximity of Kununurra we separated. We wanted to drive another small off road detour. Daniela and Roger wanted to get, as fast as possible, their tires repaired. After a long search, we found the beginning of the track. First it looked adventurous. But our joy was only from short duration, because after some hundred metres, the way transformed into one big rut. It was completely washed out. Only roots remained, where the way once had been. But after some kms with snail speed, we gave it up. It did not make sense and we turned around. As soon as we were in Kununurra, ours mobile rang. Daniela and Roger, told us that we made an error with the day. It was not Saturday, but Sunday. Therefore they could not get their tires repaired. Though we decided to spend the evening in Kununurra. On the next morning they woke us with bad news - flat tyre again! We couldn't believe it! The good thing was, that they got 4 new tires. We separated again. We drove to the Bungle Bungles and they to El Questro. A long, bumpy road led us into the national park. We had a full program in two days. There are some beautiful stone formations in the Bungles. The most famous are the bee hives.
Three days later we met Daniela and Roger again in Kununurra and made ourselves then on the way in the Northern Territory. We had a look at the Bullita stock route, a short 4x4 Track, in the Gregory NP. But the track was unfortunately closed and continued. On the way to Katherine we spent two beautiful days in the Butterfly Gorge and at Daly River Hot Springs. Our campground was close to the hot springs, and we enjoyed a romantic night swim with candel light. In the Litchfield NP the most interesting things routes (4wd roads) were still closed though we shared all the attractions with heaps of camper van and bus tour tourists. That was rather not, as we like it.
Now, we are in Darwin and wait for the permission to visit the remote Arnhemland. This would be again a genuine adventure. The whole area is Aboriginal country, and for only 15 vehicles, entrance is granted at one time. Thus we hope that we are lucky and write some exciting reports of our further journey.