18-Dec-2012 -- The story starts at 43°S 147°E and continues from 18°S 146°E.
I had been cycling in Australia for almost two months now, but not reached a single virgin confluence point. This one appeared to be the last feasible opportunity. Its remote location far beyond Chillagoe however, made it impossible to ride by bicycle to the point before leaving Australia on the 23 December.
My hosts James and Sarah in Yungaburra had the idea: why don't you rent a car instead? I didn't have the idea myself, because I was somewhat determined to ride every single bit by bicycle. But looking at the map, I realized that renting a car for a single day would be sufficient to reach the confluence point including return.
So I rented a car in Mareeba and hit the road to Chillagoe. In Chillagoe's information center (called the 'hub'), Jim (a staff member who knows everybody in the area) called the land owners of the Blackdowns station and notified them of my visit. After a lunch break I took off for the remaining 60 km (beeline) to the confluence. Shortly after leaving Chillagoe, a road sign reminded on refuelling the tank, since there is no gasoline for the next 560 km (all on gravel!). Luckily, I didn't need to go that far. Already after 24 km, I left the highway and turned into the private road towards the Blackdowns Station. 42 km later, the GPS showed a perpendicular distance of 3.8 km to the confluence from the road. I was able to drive a bit further on a side track and parked the car at a distance of 2.8 km.
The hike was a little tenuous at a temperature of 38° C. At such temperatures one needs one litre water per hour. Being alone without mobile connection is dangerous, even if the hike is short. In my case, everything went well. After walking 45 minutes, I had reached the confluence point.
It is located in a forested steppe with high grass and a dense appearance of termite mounds. The area burnt down recently, which can be seen from the black trunks of the trees.
I returned the same way that I had come and reached Chillagoe without meeting a human being. In Chillagoe, I visited the caves and the balancing rock. Back in Mareeba I returned the car and switched back to my bike. This was the last confluence out of 20 confluences that I visited in Australia.
CP Visit Details:
- Distance to an asphalt road: ca. 40 km
- Distance to a track: 2.8 km
- Distance of car parking: 2.8 km
- Time to reach CP from car parking: 45 minutes
- Time at CP: 2:45 PM
- Measured height: 224 m
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 0 m
- Position accuracy: 4 m
- Topography: flat (besides some canyons)
- Vegetation: various trees, bushes, high grass
- Weather: sunny, 38° C (felt temperature)
- Given Name: The Termite Mount Confluence
More pictures of the trip can found at mautz.net.