02-Nov-2000 -- On the way back from a work visit to Busselton,
south of Perth, we decided to take the South Western Highway through Harvey, just
to see if 33S 116E was a likely prospect. We had the perfect excuse - Owen
(complete with GPS) was visiting from Queensland, so if we failed to get anywhere near
it, we could pretend the detour was "just sightseeing!"
139 kms south of Perth, Harvey is the centre of a large agricultural area, mainly dairy
and citrus country, with a series of water supply dams east of the highway. We'd had a
look at the map the night before, and figured that the confluence was somewhere
around Logue Brook Dam. The dam is a popular spot for bushwalking, trout fishing,
water-skiing and swimming, so much so that the owner of the petrol station we stopped
at was able to tell us that the turnoff was exactly 9.2 kms further - they'd been asked so
many times, they measured it!
The turnoff led onto a narrow bitumen road, winding through farms and into the
foothills of the Darling Scarp. Owen's Garmin III+ showed we had about 13 kms to go
from the highway to the confluence, which was roughly east north east of the road at that
stage. With his eyes on the GPS, and mine on the road, we kept winding along and
watching our goal getting progressively closer as we passed the main road down to the
boatramp and camping area. Perhaps that's about as far as most people go, as the road
then changed to a reasonable dirt and gravel track, then to a not-so-reasonable dirt and
ruts. At this stage, we were hoping like hell that the confluence wasn't actually IN
With about 1.5 kms to go, the track veered off to the left and we watched the
distance to the confluence increase as our bearing changed - it was now 1.8 kms
southeast, and the track appeared to be taking us further away. With neither of us
really equipped for bashing through the bush, and with limited time, we kept driving,
hoping we'd continue to follow the banks of the dam. Around the next corner, the
track straightened out, and we watched as the Garmin read 1 km, then the
countdown - 800 metres, 500 metres, 300 metres (fingers crossed!) 100 metres --
finally, with both of us hyped up as the distance to THE SPOT decreased, we parked
45 metres away.
33S 116E is off to the west of the road, in a small clearing (pic #1). The bush in
this part of southwest Western Australia is pretty scrubby -- a month or so earlier we
would have seen heaps of wildflowers, but most of them have finished by November.
Keeping one eye out for snakes and the other on the GPS, it was an easy walk, and
the numbers clicked over -- you've gotta love that line of zeros! (Pic #2).
On the way back home we debated about making it a double confluence and
picking up 32S 116E, just inside a golf course in Perth's outer suburbs. Owen had
already been out for a quick recce, and we knew it was close, but it was getting
darker and we decided to make it another day, satisfied that we had (we thought!) the
first confluence in WA. A few days later I checked the WA confluence pages -- and
found that James Nicholls and Justin Alloi had beaten us to it, nabbing 32S 116E six
OK guys - the race is on :*)