More time - Blackstone Ranges or Rawlinson Range

Submitted: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 07:03
ThreadID: 118918 Views:2063 Replies:5 FollowUps:6
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I am planning a trip which includes the Laverton across to Surveyor General's and Giles and part of the old Gunbarrel.

I plans to spend a few nights camped near the above two ranges and trying to work out which area to spend more time in.

Which is the most interesting and spectacular.

Thanks in advance.

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Reply By: Mick O - Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 09:15

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 09:15

Hope I’m not telling you something you already know but I think permits will be an issue for both. Permits can be gained for Transit past both ranges on various tracks (Old Gunbarrel for example with the Rawlinson), but actual access to the ranges themselves is not implied in those permits and may require additional negotiation with the relevant organisation that is administering the areas.

Blackstone Ranges has a few access tracks but they are bloody difficult to get access to although if you can negotiate it, the alternate drive out through Lightening rocks to/from Warburton is an interesting one.

For me, I’d do the Rawlinson and read up on Giles ill fated expedition. His depots and retreats are all in the northern side of the Rawlinson and it’s very interesting country from a historical perspective.

Blackstone ranges are quite piddly in comparison although a few explorers passed that way over the years.


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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 15:55

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 15:55
Thanks Mick.

Interesting. I currently have transit permits and realise going the next step may be harder.

Assuming I get permits, is the drive on the North side of the Rawlinson's relatively achievable. It doesn't look like there is a track there but it sounds great. I have done a small amount of digging since your post.

Any more info woudl be appreciated.
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Follow Up By: Rick (S.A.) - Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 18:50

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 18:50
Yes BooBook,
There is a track, and it's in pretty good nic. An easy drive, quiet and thus classified by me as remote.

If you have permits, head north through Warakurna community, through the Pass of the Abecarrages, hook west along the northern flank of the Rawlinsons, passing to the north of Gorge of Tarns, Fort McKellar & Circus Water. Circus Water has been described as 'probably the best water in the whole of the Rawlinsons'.

Note that there is currently some dispute about the location of the 'Circus' water feature - the topo maps have, at the western end of teh ranges, a Circus Rockhole, and further east, Circus Water. My own co-ords are Latitude: 24° 45’ 22” Longitude: 127° 45’ 10”. This is not the position on the current Rawlinson top map. It is highly likely that place this is the T/O's 'Tutjurangara'.

The track then rounds the western edge of the Rawlinsons, whence you can pick up the Old Gunbarrel, or go on further west past Lake Christopher and eventually south, on to Jackie Jackie Junction and down to Warburton. Some lovely scenery through the Gibson Desert sandhills & desert oaks.

This is all of course hot on the heels of Giles - which I alluded to in an earlier reply. Its of interest, IMHO, that near to Circus Water, in 1932 Michael Terry found a cabbage gum blazed by Lasseter.

All fascinatin' stuff in my view!

The relevant topo map "Rawlinson, 1:250,000, printed 2001, Datum: Map Grid of Australia 1994" does not have enough detail, unfortunately, but on Google Earth you can see the tracks.


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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 19:52

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 19:52
Hi Rick

How did you get a permit to head that way?

When I applies a few years ago, I was told it is completely out of bounds.


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Follow Up By: Rick (S.A.) - Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 22:14

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 22:14
G'day Stephen,

trust all is now OK with the 4WD rear door.............

As far as permits go, I have no experience at all. The bloke I travel with does it all, so I am no help to you at all. Sorry.

About to depart for the CSR and other desert destinations. Four desert trips in the wind - what could be better?

All the best
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 22:57

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 22:57
Hi Rick

Hope you have another great time out in the desert. You must have been very lucky to visit that area when you did, well done.

Yes the Prado should be ready some dime next week fingers crossed.




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Reply By: Rick (S.A.) - Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 09:24

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 09:24
Because you are looking for most interesting and gunna be on the Old Gunbarrel (don't know which part of that looong road and from where you are travelling, which could determine matters more clearly), I'd suggest the Rawlinsons. Ernest Giles spent much time here and, IMHO, there's weeks worth of poking around to be done.

The water at Warakurna is good to fill up with & the roadhouse is amongst the best. And you can ring home on your mobile - there's a cell network serving those 6 or so local communities.

Going either to S-G Corner or via the Rawlinson's, you can go past the delightfull Schwerin Mural Crescent (maybe you could visit Gordon Spring, under Gill's Pinnacle?), ponder about the lost Gibson - was he really 'lost' or is there another possible explanation??? - and see the ranges which lead on, in an easterly direction, to the visually speccy Petermann's (formerly reputed to have been the same height as the Himalayan mts).

However, it's a grand area and no matter where you spend most time, if you do a bit of pre-trip research and travel with your eyes open, you'll be rewarded.

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Follow Up By: Members Pa & Ma. - Monday, May 25, 2015 at 10:47

Monday, May 25, 2015 at 10:47
Hi Boobook,
As Rick says, The Schwerin Mural Crescent is magnificent on a clear day ( if there's no burn offs), we got permits to go into Blackstone a few years ago for the fees mentioned, Also to the S.G.C with an Aboriginal Guide.
However, we weren't allowed to travel on the road which traveled along the Blackstone Ranges and we had to come back along that same road.

We were wanting to see the Ranges close up & felt that the price per car was a bit of a waste,being only 2 people.

Anyway, when we got back to Alice we met up with someone who had met with the right person, (so to speak) & was allowed to come back the other way, therefore not doing the same road in & out.
I don't know about now.
Take care, safe travels. Ma.
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Reply By: MARIC - Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 09:44

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 09:44
I believe permits cost $100 per vehicle plus $25 per person min 2 cars max5 and you have an aboriginal guide with you
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Reply By: andy - Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 18:49

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 18:49
Branching off the old Gunnbarrel there is a good track around the North side of the Rawlinson's Ranges which, east along the Rawlinson, leads to Warrakurna. A magnificent area but probably still difficult to get a travel permit for.

Cheers and good luck
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Reply By: Echucan Bob - Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 13:52

Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 13:52
Boobook, we visited a confluence point just west of Blackstone a couple of years ago. After that we headed east to a place called Singing Rock in the Blackstone Hills. Its an easy walk up into the range and sometimes there is water in the spring. We camped further to the east, along a road that heads south from Blackstone toward Tjawupalya (turn L off the road about 3 km south of the intersection with the main road). There are some great places to camp in the rocky out crops here. The area is well shown on the EOTopo online maps.

The big disadvantage of this area is the proximity of communities. I prefer to camp well out of the way. I'm not sure if the Rawlinson Range offers sufficient isolation either. There are some tracks to the north of the Warakurna Roadhouse that take you to the north side of the range. These might be worth a look.
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