28-Nov-2004 -- We had originally planned to visit the unclaimed 28°N 122°E north-west of Laverton but a few days before our trip I thought I should check to see if it had been done, sure enough Des Vlietstra had taken it in the previous week. Must be karma as earlier in the year we had just beaten Des by a few days in visiting 30°S 122°E. Anyway we had to change our plans and seek out the next closest one, which was some 550km east of Kalgoorlie on the Nullarbor Plain.
Our party of three vehicles left Kalgoorlie around 19:00 hrs on the 26/11/04 and planned to travel east along the Trans Line Road towards our night camp at Rawlinna. Because of the large amount of bulldust on the dirt track we gave the vehicle in front plenty of distance so we weren’t continually driving in their thick plume and sucking it into cab and air intakes. Consequently the lead vehicle whose driver shall not be named had not turned on his GPS or checked his map and failed to see the Trans Line turnoff. He had ended up at the mining centre of Mount Monger before realising his mistake. After a bit of back tracking all vehicles were eventually reunited and back on right course.
After seeing many roos on the road that night we made it into Rawlinna about midnight and slept in our swags outside the old primary school. Rawlinna is an old railway service town and most of the town is now deserted apart from a few employees who work at the nearby lime mine.
It was a early start the next morning for us and the flies, we had breakfast and were packed ready to go by 05:30. A few hundred metres away from our camp were a couple of roo shooters who were loading their night's haul into a refrigeration trailer. The guys told us that the meat was destined for human consumption in restaurants in Perth and around the country. Kangaroo meat is a fine textured soft meat with tender muscle fibres, virtually no fat and little connective tissue and is becoming more accepted as an alternative to beef.
We left Rawlinna and proceeded north past Skylab Well towards Premier Downs, then east past Yellowtail Bore. The country out here is arid desert with low sparse scrub and spinifex.
The track became quite rough due to it being cut up in the rainy times by the cattle and also there are numerous limestone ridges to be crossed. After we passed Yellowtail Bore, it became very hard to identify so we decided to leave the track and follow the GPS bearing directly to the CP through the bush some 90 kilometres away. The going was slow but not too difficult to navigate your way through the scrub and we averaged a speed of about 25 – 30 km/h.
A new workmate who joined us on this trip, Dermot Lalley from Ireland, couldn’t believe the isolation of the place. Dermot is on a working holiday and backpacking around the world. This was his first experience of the true Australian outback and he thoroughly enjoyed it.
We arrived at the point at around 10:00 without staking any tyres. It was the first time that we had actually driven right up to a CP without getting out and having to walk to it. The necessary photos were taken and before we left for the next point due east I decided to install some mesh over the roo-bar to protect the radiator against collecting too many grass seeds. Again, we planned to follow the GPS bearing through the scrub and drive directly to our next CP - 30°S 127°E.
GPS : Trimble Pathfinder DGPS (precision sub-metre)
Map Name : Australia’s Great Desert Tracks (SW Sheet) 1: 1250000
Coordinator's Note: A picture of the GPS was provided and position is verified, although the pic didn't upload completely so I have not included it.