26-Nov-2005 -- As it was over 12 months since we had last “confluenced” it was with some excitement that we had started to plan this visit.
The confluence site was approximately 570kms from our home base and we allowed three days for the trip. Our plan was to drive the majority of the journey in one day; drive a further 135kms to the closest point of approach (CPA) on the day, and then hike the rest – conservatively 3.5kms each way over / through uncertain vegetation but fairly level terrain.
As the time approached the forecast temperatures rose to 35 degrees Celsius and we did ponder on the wisdom of our adventure! Come the day however, we had an uneventful run and arrived at our base – Mount Ive Station, in reasonable time to be greeted by a dust storm. The red dirt gets into everything! The property, situated in the Gawler Ranges of South Australia is very well run by the owners Joy and Len Newton and they, and their team of station hands, looked after us very well. With their help I was able to contact the managers of Kondoolka Station and obtain the clearances I required for the next day.
The day dawned clear and much cooler and we were off. Initially our track on dirt roads circuited the edge of a very large salt lake – Lake Gairdner. This lake, the fourth largest in Australia, is over 160kms long, 32kms wide and the salt is 4 feet thick in places. It is home of many land speed records.
We transited through the Ranges and found the station track, then the bore track I wanted to use, and finally we arrived at the CPA. The bush here is predominatly she-oaks and blue bush and fairly densely populated. I thought it would take an hour for us to to walk to the confluence and this proved to be a pretty good estimate, skirting denser thickets as we went.
Without the GPS to tell us that we were at the Confluence the view looked very similar to the others we had seen walking through. Very little wildlife was seen or heard. We took the photos, had lunch and then, you guesed it… yes we walked back!
In retrospect we are very pleased to have "scored" this confluence. Of the ones we have done this required more planning and commitment and, in the bush, tighter navigation skills. At one point I had been concerned that the tree / bush canopy would preclude a good fix at the site. I need not have worried, it was clear.