A Small Trip

General Discussion about almost anything Teardrop or camping related

A Small Trip

Postby Westy » Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:02 am

I am about to head off across Australia on a small trip. I live in Bunbury, Western Australia. My youngest daughter lives in Australia's capital city of Canberra, 3847 kms (that is 2390.406 miles) from where I live. My good wife is already in Canberra, having flown there about 4 weeks ago.
I set off on Monday morning with my ute (a Mazda BT50) and my hopper trailer. This will be the second time that the trailer has done this journey. I expect to arrive in Canberra around Friday or Saturday 26/27July. I will take a few deep breaths, pack my lover into the ute and return to Bunbury via Lake Eyre which is in the middle of Australia. The lake is usually dry and a vast salt pan but this year, due to unprecedented rain more that 2000kms away, is full and filled with fish, birdlife (including thousands of pelicans).
The roads in the area are mostly dirt and towns (if they can be called that) are hundreds of kilometres apart.
I cannot wait to get underway.
Screenshot from 2019-07-17 19-26-57.png
Screenshot from 2019-07-17 19-26-57.png (672.52 KiB) Viewed 1005 times
Westy
Teardrop Advisor
 
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:44 am
Location: West Australia

Re: A Small Trip

Postby GTS225 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:36 am

Westy, if that's a "small" trip, I can't help but wonder what you'd call a big trip. (A drive to the moon,maybe? :D )

Either way, that's an adventure that you should take pics of along the way, and share a few with the rest of us.

Roger
GTS225
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 143
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2018 2:11 am
Location: Waterloo, Iowa

Re: A Small Trip

Postby Westy » Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:57 am

If you have a look at the map, it shows South Australia. At about 2 o'clock there is a largish blue lake depicted. That is Lake Eyre. Just below is is a smaller blue area which is Lake Eyre South. Below that again is Lake Torrens, which I saw about 30 years ago with a vast body of water. I have never seen Lake Eyre, with or without water. A bit more info here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Eyre

It is going to be epic (as my grandkids would opine)
Westy
Teardrop Advisor
 
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:44 am
Location: West Australia
Top

Re: A Small Trip

Postby Tom&Shelly » Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:59 am

Westy wrote:I am about to head off across Australia on a small trip.


Wow! That looks like fun!

What is the weather like this time of year?

Best of luck, and have a safe journey.

Tom
Tom&Shelly
Palladium Donating Member
 
Posts: 454
Images: 449
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2017 3:27 pm
Location: New Mexico
Top

Re: A Small Trip

Postby Westy » Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:05 am

GTS225 wrote:Westy, if that's a "small" trip, I can't help but wonder what you'd call a big trip. (A drive to the moon,maybe? :D )

Roger

In Australia, we often refer to distance travelled to get to a destination as a sum of the number of cans of beer that one would consume in the course of the journey.

So a trip of 100kms (60 miles) would need about 4 cans, 200 kms, by extension, requires 8 cans. When asked how far it is to a destination, the reply would be "Dunno, four cans, maybe".

Unfortunately, policing and stiff penalties have removed all of our small pleasures.

The trip to Canberra would be, usually, about a 3 carton drive (a carton contains 24 cans). :beer: posting.php?mode=quote&f=2&p=1250744#
Westy
Teardrop Advisor
 
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:44 am
Location: West Australia
Top

Re: A Small Trip

Postby Westy » Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:10 am

Tom&Shelly wrote:
Westy wrote:I am about to head off across Australia on a small trip.


Wow! That looks like fun!

What is the weather like this time of year?

Best of luck, and have a safe journey.

Tom

At the moment 8.45pm in Bunbury WA it is fine and 9 deg C but rain is forecast for tomorrow and the next 5 days. In Canberra today, it was -2 degrees C(28.4 deg F) overnight and about 6 degrees C during the day. My wife is frozen.
Westy
Teardrop Advisor
 
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:44 am
Location: West Australia
Top

Re: A Small Trip

Postby GTS225 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:11 am

That's a heck of a way to measure distance. :beer: ;)

Here's a trip that one of the members of "my" T-bucket board is driving through as we speak.

https://nationaltbucketalliance.com/bb/ ... f=5&t=4169

Roger
GTS225
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 143
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2018 2:11 am
Location: Waterloo, Iowa
Top

Re: A Small Trip

Postby Westy » Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:20 am

Wow. What an experience. Some unbelievable scenery in those photos.
I have long been envious of the rivers and lakes that abound in the US. We just do not have them here in Oz. We are such a dry continent, but then we have some attractions that are not found anywhere else in the world. I live in the SW of West Australia and we have jarrah and karri forests that are unique to this part of the world. They are found nowhere else on the planet. And that is pretty special.
Westy
Teardrop Advisor
 
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:44 am
Location: West Australia
Top

Re: A Small Trip

Postby Westy » Tue Oct 22, 2019 9:58 pm

The small trip is done and was completed a few weeks ago but I have been a bit slack in not reporting back on my experiences.
I left home on Monday 22 July and arrived, uneventfully, in Canberra on Saturday 27th having completed 3912 kms (2430 miles). The weather was fine most of the way with just a few rain showers here and there which was a bonus with it being winter in the Southern Hemisphere.
My trailer never missed a beat and I cruised at around 95 kms/hr (60mph) as the maximum speed for a vehicle towing a trailer of any description, in Australia, is 100 kms/hr. My tow vehicle is a Mazda BT50, 3.2litre, 5 cylinder, diesel, space cab utility. It goes alright.
Screenshot from 2019-10-23 10-59-03.png
Screenshot from 2019-10-23 10-59-03.png (900.64 KiB) Viewed 560 times


The map shows the entire journey from start to finish. On the outward leg, I drove from Millbridge to Coolgardie then turned south and then, east, at a town named Norseman. From Norseman to Port Augusta (1700 kms - 1056 miles) the road is known as the Eyre Highway and incorporates a section known as the Nullabor Plain. Nullabor breaking down to Null=No and Abor (Arbor) Trees. So it is a treeless plain of about 200,000 square kilomtres (77,000 sq miles). It also skirts the Great Australian Bight and the road is within a few hundred metres of the cliffs ringing the ocean. Various lookouts provide some spectacular views of the coastline.

There are also several sections of the road that are designated as emergency airstrips for Royal Flying Doctor Service Planes (air ambulances) used in the event of an emergency such as road crashes. The highway also has the longest straight stretch of road in Australia, known as the 90 Mile Straight.

After Port Augusta, the journey was quite straightforward as I travelled through farmlands and vineyards before arriving in Canberra. Much of Australia's outback areas are in the grip of severe drought at the moment, with some areas receiving no or minimal rain for the past 2 years. The country is looking quite bad.
Westy
Teardrop Advisor
 
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:44 am
Location: West Australia
Top

Re: A Small Trip

Postby Westy » Tue Oct 22, 2019 10:19 pm

1280px-RFDS_emergency_landing_strip_sign.jpg
1280px-RFDS_emergency_landing_strip_sign.jpg (229.01 KiB) Viewed 557 times


90 mile straight.jpg
90 mile straight.jpg (151.67 KiB) Viewed 557 times


Bunda_Cliffs_(14560382521).jpg
Bunda_Cliffs_(14560382521).jpg (131.75 KiB) Viewed 557 times

This is the Bunda Cliffs, approximately 20km East of Eucla which is at the West Australia/South Australia Border.

To give a bit of perspective to the size of Western Australia, I drove for 2 full days and crossed into South Australia at about 10am on the 3rd day. We often hear the term "Bigger than Texas" but, in comparison, Texas is 268,581 sq miles and WA is 1,021.478 sq miles, so, roughly 4 times larger than Texas. WA's population is a measly 2.6 million people whilst Texas has a population of 28.7 million. There are huge tracts of land in WA that has no people.
Westy
Teardrop Advisor
 
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:44 am
Location: West Australia
Top

Re: A Small Trip

Postby Westy » Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:27 am

After a week in Canberra visiting the Grandkids, my wife and I set off on the return journey to WA. We headed back to Port Augusta and then turned north, following the old Ghan Railway to William Creek.

The railway is now abandoned and the line taken up and the buildings left to decay. The railway, originally extended from Adelaide (the capital city of South Australia) to Alice Springs in the centre of Australia. It was used for passengers, goods and livestock and was instrumental in opening up some of the outback.

All that is left is the railway embankment, a few decaying bridges and the ruins of stone houses and barracks and various intervals along the route. Most of the remaining towns along the route are either ghost towns or very near to it. One town, Farina, is a collection of stone ruins that were abondoned in the 1970’s.

If anyone is interested, there is quite a good article here https://www.australiaforeveryone.com.au/original-ghan.html

This area is also badly affected by drought and many of the cattle stations (ranches) have been destocked as feed is sparse and many dams are dry. Probably some will become abandoned and never recover.

After a town called Marree, the road becomes a gravel road for 200 kms to William Creek. I reduced my tyre pressures to 25 lbs/sq.in and travelled at about 40 mph for the distance. Luckily, I had no punctures. I was a bit concerned about dust entering my trailer as I had never travelled on dirt roads before but, to my surprise, my seals held up and there was no evidence of dust anywhere.

William Creek has a pub, a small dusty caravan park and 3 aircraft hangers at the airstrip. It is the starting point for flights over a vast inland lake system known as Lake Eyre. This is the remnant of an old inland sea and covers an area on 140 km by 78 km and is approx. 15 metres below sea level. Generally, the lake is dry but every decade or so there is a rain event about 2000 kms away that drains into Lake Eyre via a series of creeks and inland rivers.

This year, that rain event happened and I wanted to fly over it for a look. The wife and I chartered a Cessna 172 and pilot and flew over the area. The lake was, on average, 1-2 metres deep and home to fish which seem to appear from nowhere and millions of birds, mostly pelicans. The water stretches to the horizon in all directions but is now beginning to dry out as evaporation takes it’s toll.

Lake Eyre was an amazing sight.

Much of Lake Eyre is located on Anna Creek Station, which is the largest cattle station on Earth. At 23,677 sq kms (9,142 sq. mi. or 5,851,00 acres) it is larger than the country of Israel. It is more than 7 times the size of King Ranch in Texas. In good times it will carry around 17,000 head of cattle but it is currently carrying about 2,000 head due to the drought.

Anna Creek Station was once part of the cattle empire owned by The Cattle King, Sydney Kidman. Kidman was born in South Australia in 1857 and left home, aged 13, on a one eyed horse and with 5 shillings in his pocket. He set out to make his fortune. He worked for the next 25 years as a roustabout (general hand) bullock driver, drover, butcher, stockman (cowboy) and livestock trader. Mostly he work alone but sometimes in conjunction with one of his 4 brothers. In 1895 SK and his brother Sack Kidman bought their first cattle station. Kidman had noticed that the 3,500 km section of inland Australia from the Gulf of Carpentaria to Adelaide in South Australia always seemed to have land that was productive and produced feed and provised water. Sometimes it was in the North, others in the South or maybe the middle sections. He set about acquiring properties that enabled him to move his cattle and horses between stations where feed and water were available.

Over the next 40 years, SK acquired many properties outright and had a financial interest with others in many more. At the time of his death, in 1935, he owned more than 90 stations totalling 340,000 sq kms (130,000 sq. mi or 83 million acres). The Kidman company still operates to this day.

Kidman was a philantropist who gave freely to charities to support the needy. During WW1 he provided the Australia Army and Navy with food and even a ship.
Westy
Teardrop Advisor
 
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:44 am
Location: West Australia
Top

Re: A Small Trip

Postby Westy » Wed Oct 23, 2019 1:54 am

We left William Creek and headed to Coober Pedy, a thriving opal mining centre on the Stuart Highway which runs from Adelaide on the Southern Ocean to Darwin on the Timor Sea and runs through the traditional centre of Australia, Alice Springs.

It was another 170 kms of dirt road but the ute and trailer handled it well. We came across 2 damsels in distress, approximately 60 kms from Coober Pedy. Two ladies travelling in a Nissan ute and pulling a small 5th wheeler had broken a u-bolt from the axle to the leaf spring on the 5th wheeler. They had spares but not the knowledge or strength to repair the damage. Fortunately, I was able to provide assistance and they were soon on their way, albeit very cautiously. I ran into them a day later and they were getting professional repairs done in Coober Pedy.

Coober Pedy has produced millions of dollars worth of opals and is notable for having many houses built underground in old mine diggings. The temperature down there is a constant 22-24 degrees C (72-75 deg F) and is the only way people can endure the extreme summer temperatures (without airconditioning) that often reach 50 deg C (122 deg F).

We headed North to Erldunda in the Northern Territory and then West to Uluru (formerly Ayers Rock). We overnighted at Uluru and headed out on to the Great Central Road heading back to WA. The GCR is 1200 kms (745 miles) of, mostly fine powdery dirt, known colloquially as “bulldust”. It gets into everything. After the first day, I found that a small amount of the dust had entered the trailer at the bottom of both doors. My seals weren’t as good as I had thought. It was an easy fix by just taping the bottom of the doors with duct tape.

We stopped along the way an visited Lasseter’s Cave, where an explorer named Harold Lasseter sheltered after his camels had bolted during a storm and left him stranded. Lasseter set out for a base camp 140 km away but succumbed to a lack of food and water. This was in 1931 and Lasseter was looking for a fabulously rich gold reef that he had found 2 years previously. The secret died with him and the reef has never been located despite many searches.

We saw dingoes (wild dogs), kangaroos, emus and many camels. Although the camels are not native to Australia (they were introduced to open up the Outback in the late 1800’s along with many Afghan cameleers whose many descendants still live here) they thrive in the outback and have become a feral pest. There is quite a lucrative business in rounding up the camels, transporting them by road train to Adelaide or Darwin where they are live shipped to the Middle East for the rich sheiks and sultans to use for camel racing. The Australia breed is very well regarded and much sought after. We also came across a wedge tail eagle sitting on a fence post. These eagles are our largest bird of prey with a body length of up to 3’6” and a wingspan of up to 9’4”. They are a magnificent creature. They are often seen on the side of a road feeding on kangaroo road kill but take off, majestically, as your car approaches.

We hit the sealed road again at Laverton in WA, visited a living ghost town called Kookynie, where the hotel security guard is a horse ( he wandered in from an abandoned station about 2 years ago, distressed and in need of water. The hotel owner, a lady, gave him 5 buckets full of water and he recovered quickly. Since then he refuses to leave her side and blocks the door to the hotel. I had to push him out of the way just to get a beer) and then made our way to Kalgoorlie, the fabulously rich gold mining town.

Kalgoorlie is the home to an area known as “The Golden Mile” which is, I believe, the richest square mile of gold ground in the world. It is now home to the “Superpit”. The superpit is massive, deep and overwhelming. It operates around the clock with drilling, blasting, digging (loading on to 200t dump trucks) and transporting the ore from the bottom of the pit to the surface for crushing, milling, gold extraction and refining.

85 million tonnes of gold bearing ore is removed each year that produces 700,000 ounces of gold. That is worth (current figures) AU$1,526,000,000 or US$1,044,000,000. For every 1,000,000 tonnes of ore removed, approximately 9,700 ounces of gold is recovered. So, to drill down further, using 200t dump trucks, about 1 gold ball size of gold is recovered from every 7 truck loads. It is a massive operation.

From Kalgoorlie to back home was uneventful. In total, I travelled 10,541 kms (6,550 miles) with about 1500 kms of gravel road. No punctures and no problems.

I hope you have enjoyed this and there are some photos following.
Westy
Teardrop Advisor
 
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:44 am
Location: West Australia
Top

Re: A Small Trip

Postby Westy » Wed Oct 23, 2019 3:21 am

IMG_7641JPG.jpg
IMG_7641JPG.jpg (219.83 KiB) Viewed 527 times

Silo art, painting on wheat silos is becoming very popular Down Under. This is at Weethalle in New South Wales

IMG_7690JPG.jpg
IMG_7690JPG.jpg (202.99 KiB) Viewed 527 times

IMG_7691JPG.jpg
IMG_7691JPG.jpg (223.82 KiB) Viewed 527 times

There are some very long trucks on Aussie roads. This one is 49.7 metres (54 yards). They can be somewhat difficult to pass at times.
Westy
Teardrop Advisor
 
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:44 am
Location: West Australia
Top

Re: A Small Trip

Postby Westy » Wed Oct 23, 2019 3:24 am

IMG_7909JPG.jpg
IMG_7909JPG.jpg (255.39 KiB) Viewed 526 times

A wedge tail eagle

IMG_8012JPG.jpg
IMG_8012JPG.jpg (72.97 KiB) Viewed 526 times

IMG_8565JPG.jpg
IMG_8565JPG.jpg (289.86 KiB) Viewed 526 times

Lake Eyre from 500'
Westy
Teardrop Advisor
 
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:44 am
Location: West Australia
Top

Re: A Small Trip

Postby Westy » Wed Oct 23, 2019 3:28 am

IMG_8176JPG.jpg
IMG_8176JPG.jpg (212.1 KiB) Viewed 525 times

Uluru (Ayres Rock)

IMG_8181JPG.jpg
IMG_8181JPG.jpg (181.29 KiB) Viewed 525 times

The Olgas. Another great rock outcrop near Uluru.

IMG_8199JPG.jpg
IMG_8199JPG.jpg (227.88 KiB) Viewed 525 times

Stopping for a coffee on the GCR
Westy
Teardrop Advisor
 
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:44 am
Location: West Australia
Top

Next

Return to General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: MSN [Bot] and 2 guests