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Old 09-23-2013, 07:38 AM   #1
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Heading out West the Hard Way in Australia

Hi Guys we have just return from an epic trip from our east coast to the west via most remote route possible
Two weeks ago we left the sunny skye's of Melbourne and headed out west via every back road we could find in Wenz4b and our off road camper. Well we made it out to Esperance WA via the Eyre Peninsula and the old, unused, and original Eyre Hwy from its very start right to the end at the WA boarder where it was very overgrown. We even detoured to a semi Ghost town called Cook drove Along the access road for the railway line, have seen whales galore, caves in most unusual places and generally having a great time


The Jeep first shot on our epic trip



Some photos from the Eyre Peninsula











Again on the Eyre Peninsula





Great coastline





Feasting on fresh unopened oysters $8.50 per dozen and they were great




Hope your not bored yet



A seals skeleton


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Old 09-23-2013, 07:39 AM   #2
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Local wildlife



Watch out for sharks



The Tub
Here are some more from the same area





Wendy standing in front of the cave it was extremely deep and the birds nested in the roof of the cave


Streaky Bay just Beautiful


$23.00 a night for unpowered site with million dollar views




More shots of Streaky Bay




The surrounding coastline


Streaky Bay has really captured Wendy's heart
We hope to spend another day there on the way back

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Old 09-23-2013, 07:41 AM   #3
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Fowlers Bay is one spot that really impressed me
You can only get there via a rough corrugated road
Pure white sand surrounding the township with huge dunes you need to cross to get to Scotchmans Beach where they where catching tuna off the beach for bait that were bigger than most the fish you would ever catch out in Port Phillip Bay
Fowlers Bay itself had over 10 whales swimming around in there looking after their newborn
Consists of a few private residence a kiosk and a caravan park, that's it




More photo's on Fowlers Bay




I've got footage of all the sand driving and scenery just can't be stuffed editing it right now

Our first real bush camp was also a bit of an adventure
I was trying to find the start of the Old Eyre Hwy and took the wrong track we back tracked a bit found the right track a camped a little up the road

Once dark we had a visit from a car load of our darker brothers asking what we were doing and to make sure everything was alright. They seemed happy with my response and then took off into the night in a beat up Au Ford
It put us on edge for the rest of the night not knowing whether we Would have another visit or not

A double rainbow



Camp all set up




Great Sunset


Here is an old ruin we came across on the first part of the Hwy


Just a great looking tree in the same area





Wendy wouldn't let me take her home





Christine
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Old 09-23-2013, 07:41 AM   #4
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We did the tourist thing and headed to the main Hwy to see the whales

Once done we headed straight back inland up to the old Railway town off Cook

Here are some of the whale photos










The guys taking our money told us there were 53 mothers all with their own calves

It was a very busy section of the Bight
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Old 09-23-2013, 07:44 AM   #5
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Once back out on the old rd we saw this old fella




This cave was way off the main tracks a we were basically following the GPS and two wheel marks running through the desert
Once we got there I could smell electrical burning plastic type smell only to notice the Anderson plug had ripped right out of the socket and the wires were shorting out and creating a fire under the camper
With a fair amount of panicking, once we worked out what was happening we managed to disconnect the trailer, the two batteries and cool everything down we then went out to look at these two holes in the ground




This is the view looking out of the cave


Fossils in the rock

Some more fossils in rocks







We made it to Cook just in time to set up camp and catch sunset




Sunset at the deserted Cook Primary School the only place to camp when in Cook
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Old 09-23-2013, 07:45 AM   #6
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Here are some daylight shots of the lovely town of Cook
It use to be a thriving railway township with its own school and hospital
Now with cutbacks and restructuring it consists of three caretakers and a few drivers plus the occasional maintenance who stay there


The old school building



Some of the art work in the school grounds


The old holding cells for when you played up



Here are some more of Cook









We left Cook looking for a new adventure searching for some tracks marked out on several maps we had, but we just couldn't seem to find the right tracks we needed
We then decided to follow the railway access road ( the un maintained one) there are three to choose from, hoping to intersect some of the other tracks we had planned to explore
We eventually found what we think may of been the right track but it was two very vague lines heading out into no mans land. So being on our own we decided to play it conservatively and head back to Cook and intersect the old rd and continue on our travels




Find the bend in the line

We then headed to Koonalda Station and Cave


We came across old matey along the we, he certainly looks well fed
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Old 09-23-2013, 07:46 AM   #7
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We met a work crew out there working on the old buildings which was occupied up until as recent as 1988
The station was established in 1938
5 km's up the road is an amazing cave system







The crew told us they had seen at least three 5meter brown snakes that day they had never seen snakes that size before around that area





That's just the entrance

How these caves got discovered at all just amazes me because they really are out in the middle of nowhere with no indication at all that they actually exist
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Old 09-23-2013, 07:48 AM   #8
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We made it finally to Eucla and the Old Telegraph Station







We came across another old ruin on our travels following an old dirt track close to the coast



The well



The Ruin

More of the Ruin




Check out the stone work



Here's an old bus



We finally made it to Esperance the following are some of its beauty



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Old 09-23-2013, 07:49 AM   #9
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More on Esperance






















We did come across a lady who had just rolled her caravan she seemed to think her ex boyfriend had sabotaged it
One rolled van

The dearest fuel we have seen so far

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Old 09-23-2013, 07:50 AM   #10
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The next adventure consisted on early morning run thru town with Wendy discovering Esperance has 2 very important pieces of clothing that must be had otherwise her life will never be complete and I busily trying to find all the material to try and get the camper trailer batteries charging again without the risk of another fire
Both missions were successful
We then decided to check out the bays on the east side of Esperence
The roads were extremely wet with water lying in the surrounding fields everywhere and even occasionally covering the main sealed road
Us being us couldn't stay on the bitumen for long and tried to head down to Point Arid but there was a kick arse sign at the side of the road stating if you had dogs even if they never leave the car don't enter
So we turned around and tried to head further east to Isralite Bay but the track got narrower and wetter the further East we went
At one point to Wendy's delight we had the bonnet under water and wheels spinning frantically trying to get traction in one massive hole. We continued on another 200 meters before the next hole which looked over 1 km long and god knows how deep. Wendy was keen to give it a shot but I chickened out being on our own and approx 150km from town. So we turned around battled the holes we had just been thru and headed for Alexander Bay
What a spot it, would have to be one of the most scenic places we have seen so far.


Hopefully you can see the dolphin fins in one of these photos
They were swimming just meters off the rocks mums and babies chasing schools of fish
The Jeep up on the beach


My new favorite photo of the wife


It was just so surreal
Sorry about the quality of the photos I had to shrink them to get them to load easily
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Old 09-23-2013, 07:52 AM   #11
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Here are some shots of some other bays we visited


We did get a little grotty today


Can't say much more and really the photos don't do it justice

So here is the last of them






And how good is Wendy


She cooked Nachos for tea tonight in the Webber
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Old 09-23-2013, 07:53 AM   #12
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When we left Esperance it was pissing down with rain.
I had tried to repair the wiring on the camper so the batteries would accept charge again without creating a short and start a fire.
Finished the job in the rain. Wendy made sure she got the clothes she wanted and then we had a huge meal at a great restaurant called the Dome.
Needless to say we left Esperance late around 12.30pm.
Us being us we couldn't do things the simple way, so we headed back home via the back way with rain teaming down.
To get back in to the Eyre Hwy we took the Parmango Rd then the Balladonia Rd what a ride that was
Before turn off the road signs stated that these roads were open, 1/2 hour further down the road it said it was closed.
We spoke to some workers at the side of the road that said the road is fine and they had been up and down it over the last couple of days and didn't even know that there was a sign saying it was closed. So we made the decision to continue on.
It was a great drive, yes there were some chopped out sections, plenty of mud ( can post up some footage later) and one section that had water covering the whole Rd, that was bumper deep but firm base, the poor camper copped a beating, it got covered in mud, drowned but pulled through to the other side.

Rex loved having his head out the window trying to catch the spray off the mud and water.
Once we turned onto the Balladonia Rd we came across this old Homestead, it was fully furnished, all open and available for the public to use as long as they liked as long as you respected it and left it in the same condition you found it in.



Pizza oven?






Here are some more photos of the same homestead






The work shed


Shower and toilet block


Another bedroom

Finally the kitchen area





We believe the oven was fully operational.
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Old 09-23-2013, 07:54 AM   #13
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After we left the homestead we continued on to the Balladonia Roadhouse the track turned to crap with huge corrugations massive holes hidden in the shadows and plenty of limestone outcrops just to make life interesting.

We all managed to survive the drive out to the highway a little bit worse for wear.

As we had packed up camp wet we wanted to find some where dry to set up camped and Wendy remembered a spot further east that had just what we needed.


Almost like home


Don't they look happy?




Next morning
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Old 09-23-2013, 07:56 AM   #14
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Sunset at the covered camp spot


I think this saids it all.


All at the same camp spot.

Next morning we wanted to try and explore the south side of the Eyre Hwy so we saw there was a track heading to the coast from the Caiguna Roadhouse to the Baxter Cliffs.

This was barely a track that obviously doesn't get a lot of use. It was extremely tight windy sections, cut up with large limestone outcrops and plenty of tracks heading off in all directions( thankfully our mapping software saved us several times that day).
After over an hour of really hard driving we arrived at the John Baxter memorial.


We felt like we had achieved something at least .
I couldn't imagine how tough our early explorers really were battling the unknown month after month with no maps and communication with the outside world.

A little bit further down the track we finally reached our destination









It was really worth the drive to reach this really unique spot of Australia
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Old 09-23-2013, 07:56 AM   #15
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Looks like an awesome trip.
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Old 09-23-2013, 07:58 AM   #16
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After leaving the edge of the Bight we tried to find a track heading east. We followed several but they all seem to Peter out.
So we decided to head back out the way we came in, only to puncture a rear tyre as I was trying to avoid an overhanging branch on the left and caught a tree root straight throughout the side wall of the brand new Pro Comp.
To say I was one happy boy would be an understatement. To make matters worse I had trouble removing the trailer from car I couldn't open the tailgate fully as the trailer was blocking it.
Once I had calmed down we managed to unhitched the trailer and get to to tools I needed


Tyre replacement in progress

I notice the wheel nuts seemed slightly loose so I decided to check all the other nuts to discover they were all tight but one on the LH Rear had a bit of movement so I ended up trying to tighten it which in turn snapped the stud clean off. It was one off the happiest moments in my life NOT.



The eagles were circling waiting to pick my bones clean


The the Emu's were ready to take the rest


So upon breaking the stud and puncturing the tyre we decided to stick to the blacktop to head home, so then we decided to do the tourist (Grey nomad bit)


This was just out of Eucla there are tracks down there all I need to do now is work out how to get down there.
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Old 09-23-2013, 07:58 AM   #17
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More shots from the Eyre Hwy









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Old 09-23-2013, 08:01 AM   #18
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We stayed in Eucla caravan park and paid over $60.00 for two parmas the headed off back to Streaky Bay












At Streaky Bay we had a little visitor





He just dropped in to say hello and grab some crumbs


Even the seagulls were a little special







The view from our camp spot was pretty average
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Old 09-23-2013, 08:02 AM   #19
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After leaving Streaky Bay we wanted to get as Far East as possible. Again we left late as I managed to find someone who could repair the tyre and Wendy wanted to explore the township of Streaky Bay



Port Augusta has certainly cleaned up over the last couple of years.

We ended up just past Burra at a reserve called World's End!



Yep it's true





World's End in the morning



Someone can't function unless they have a cup of tea

Upon leaving World's End we came across this old deserted homestead








We think this was the cellar



This was the old well



That's it there
We made home in one piece all safe and well

A big thanks to Bill and the guys at Double Black Offroad they did wonders sorting out the death wobbles just days before we left
And thanks to 4b Fabrications for doing some mechanical repairs prior to us leaving

Things learnt
Always fuse electrical fittings make sure tailgate can be fully opened while you have the trailer still hitched to the car

Make sure air compressor fittings match the air hose fittings

Camper worked great will organise a new top for it later this year and give it a total rewire apart from that we were extremely happy with the way it performed.

That's it I've got no more.
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Old 09-23-2013, 08:13 AM   #20
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Wow, that looks like an amazing trip, I'd love to vacation there sometime!
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Old 09-23-2013, 11:05 AM   #21
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Looks like a great trip ! thanks for sharing the pic's.
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Old 09-23-2013, 08:09 PM   #22
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Great post. Felt as if I were there.
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Old 09-23-2013, 09:18 PM   #23
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The best part was you having your best friend along for the trip. Looks like you had a wonderful adventure. I hope my wife and I can do something like that someday. Thanks for sharing it with us.
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Old 09-25-2013, 01:27 PM   #24
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Thanks for taking us along for this adventure as well! Looks like a really nice trip.
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Old 09-25-2013, 06:14 PM   #25
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Well done Jono for taking the road less traveled, its amazing what you find. Hopefully I'll be heading that way over summer
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Old 09-26-2013, 11:46 AM   #26
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Inspiring adventure!

Thanks!
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Old 09-28-2013, 10:11 AM   #27
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Thumbs up Heading out West the Hard Way in Australia

Thanks for the great photos and trip write-up.
This reminds me of our trip to Australia back in 1992.

Beginning in Fremantle, (Perth, WA) we drove along the southern route to Brisbane. We did not do it in the remote part like you did, but on the highways and stayed at the Road Houses along the way at night.

As I recall, our trip took 6-days of driving. What an awesome country. I would love to have an opportunity to do it in a Jeep and get into the "real outback".

The Australian people are some of the most friendly I have encountered in the several parts of the world I have had the blessing to have seen. Good-on-ya Mate.
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Old 09-29-2013, 05:26 AM   #28
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Any time next time your here in our great country give us a heads up
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Old 10-10-2013, 06:49 PM   #29
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Looks like a great trip. The following got me wondering:

Us being us couldn't stay on the bitumen for long and tried to head down to Point Arid but there was a kick arse sign at the side of the road stating if you had dogs even if they never leave the car don't enter.

Obviously you didn't go that route but I have to wonder what the matter with dogs would have been?

NC
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Old 10-12-2013, 02:40 AM   #30
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Great pics. Love it down there. Everything looks so unmolested.

Thanks for taking the time to upload all the pics, I made a background out of a couple of them.

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