28-Nov-2004 -- After nailing 30°S 126°E we continued on to the next CP 30°S 127°E. As the country out here is sparsely vegetated we were able to drive the 96 kilometres directly due east through the scrub to the spot following the waypoint arrow on our GPS.
If you do drive through the bush out here make sure you regularly check your exhaust for a build of spinifex, which poses a fire risk, and adequately protect your radiator. Although we brought shade cloth and zip ties for this purpose, I regretfully didn’t bother about fitting it until we arrived at the first CP and by then the radiator was already half clogged with grass seeds. Whilst the temp gauge did not rise much above over halfway, it was warm enough for the aircon to automatically cut out which made for a warm ride in the desert heat for the rest of the trip.
We arrived at the day's second CP at around 4:00pm. It is situated on a barren treeless limestone plain about a kilometre west of the Aboriginal reserve of Yurranna. After taking our photos we continued the kilometre east until we met up with the track at Yurranna which would take us south to Loongana. While travelling along this track we kept an eye out for suitable wood for our nights campfire. Another piece of advice - if you plan on having a camp fire its best to bring your own wood as it is pretty hard to find out here. Eventually we spotted some suitable small dead trees to make our fire and decided to make camp there just off the track about 25 kilometres north of Loongana.
Loongana is an old abandoned railway service town that now hosts a small limestone mine. The limestone is railed on to Kalgoorlie where it is processed into lime, which is used by mining industry for use in their mineral processing plants.
After a night under a million stars it was another early start the next morning; we arrived at Loongana at around 6:00am and from there headed west for the 530km return journey to Kalgoorlie following the transline access road.
On the way home we stopped and had a look at a couple of sites of interest such as the old WWII prisoner of war camp, the start of the longest stretch of railway in Australia and the wrecked train carriages at the Zanthus siding. It was here back in August 1999 that the transcontinent Indian Pacific passenger train collided with a stationary freight train. Fortunately there were no fatalities although 12 people were injured. From there we called in at Karonie where our nature expert “Ronnie” showed us the a couple extremely rare examples of Eucalypts that so far has not been found anywhere else in the world. Karonie would be nice spot for a weekend camping trip.
After another successful trip of around 1300km we made it back into Kalgoorlie around 3:00pm.
GPS : Trimble Pathfinder DGPS (precision 1 metre)
Map Name : Australia’s Great Desert Tracks (SW Sheet) 1: 1250000