Kalgoorlie to shark bay via Mt Magnet

Submitted: Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017 at 14:06
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Hi viewers, doing a trip in May/June to Shark Bay then Exmouth ,Barn Hill then back through Karajini down the central road back home to Adel.
Thinking of taking my time and go through Kaloorlie,turn off at Menzies to Sandstone then into Geraldton And up to Shark Bay Carrarang station.
Has anyone travelled this route and have some advice ?I have a good off road trailer and a Nw Pajero Lifted etc

Thoughts appreciated
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Reply By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017 at 15:19

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017 at 15:19
That trip is on my bucket list. I came across this thread when I was looking for info, it may be of some help Adelaide - Mt Magnet fuel & caravan parks
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Reply By: Member - Paul B (WA) - Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017 at 16:59

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017 at 16:59
From Kalgoorlie to Geraldton, you'll be on tar seal the whole way except for the Menzies to Sandstone section and even that is a fully formed and well maintained gravel road, which should present you with no problems at all in a Pajero with an off road camper.

In fact, you could do it in a Commodore with an on-road caravan without difficulty I would think.

Go for it, it's a nice drive. A bit later and you'd see some lovely wildflowers, but May/June is a bit early for them.
AnswerID: 608121

Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017 at 19:06

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017 at 19:06
If you go via Leinster it is sealed all the way.
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Reply By: baznpud (tassie) - Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017 at 17:13

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017 at 17:13
Hi yu braincell,
Actually traveled most of your route last year, but in reverse.
You will need a good couple of days in Kalgoorlie, Miners museum, the Super Pit, etc, suggest visit information centre as there is plenty to do, a tour of the local Brothel is worth it (no joke) we didn't do the bit between Menzies and Sandstone, went via Leinster.
Had previously done the bit north of Geraldton, Kalbarrie is worth a visit, i may get jumped on for this remark, but i wouldn't waist my time going to Monkey Mia.
Other than Menzies to Sandstone, sealed roads all the way, and you may be too early for the wild flowers.
Great area, enjoy the trip.
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Reply By: Member - Robert1660 - Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017 at 17:16

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017 at 17:16
We did a similar trip in 2015. I can recommend the Menzies Caravan Park. It was new in 2015 and is right in the centre of the town. Just before you reach Leonora there is the historic ghost town of Gwalia. It is a magnificantly preserved time capsule. Worth a visit. Leinster is a BHP town. The old mining camp is the caravan park. The service station there is "card only ".
You may like to consider Wooleen Station, near Murchison. This has been featured on "Australian Story" twice and is a great example of how the landscape can be restored after a history of overgrazing and general neglect. Camping was either by the Murchison River, drop toilet only, or near the homestead, showers and flush toilets. When we were there the three station Kelpies were just the greatest dogs. Super intelligent and very friendly. If you do one of the walks the dogs will generally follow/lead you.
Geraldton is quite a large town. We stayed at the Belair Gardens CV Park. The HMAS Sydney Memorial is definitely worth a visit.
The Lynton Heritage Site near Port Gregory on the way to Kalbarri is also worth a visit. Of course no visit to Kalbarri is complete with out a visit to "Nature's Window". Meanarra Lookout east of Kalbarri township gives great views of the coast and the Indian Ocean.
On the way to Denham you will pass Shell Beach. A remarkable place where instead of sand you have a beach consisting of billions of small shells.
From Denham you can visit the Francois Peron NP and do the 4WD trip to Cape Peron. Just remember to lower your tyre pressures otherwise you a bound to get bogged on the very sandy track. This is a great place to practice your sand driving.
People often criticize Monkey Mia. However, these days it is very well organised and we felt it worth the visit.
We stayed at the Bush Heritage property Hamelin Station. Although there are no powered sites the facilities here are probably the best we have experienced on our travels around Aus. We used this a base for our trip to Steep Point. If you go to Steep Point it is worth noting that the tracks are basically sand and very narrow. A sand flag is useful as we found others could see us even though we could not see them.
In Carnarvon you must visit Morel's Fruit and Vegetable store. Fantastic selection of dried mango and other delights. The tracking station has seen better days but from an historical perspective it is worth visiting.
Coral Bay is quite an amazing place. Good novice snorkelling in the Bay.
The road to Exmouth passes next to the Cape Range. There are a number of WW2 memorials along this road. Turning off the main road along Charles Knife Road takes you into Cape Range and some dramatic scenery. At the end of this road is the capped WAPET oil well.
Don't forget the Whale Shark tours. Recommend Ningaloo Blue. Fantastic day out. Expensive but worth every cent.
Yardie Creek Caravan park is not a bad place to stay. A little dated but saves having to book a place in the national park.
Onslow is worth a look if for no other reason to see the effect on this once sleepy town of the Wheatstone Gas Project.
There is just so much to do around Karratha.Burrup Peninsula, Cossack, NW Gas Information Centre and of course getting your permit for the Rio Tinto Rail access road, if you like massive ore trains that is.
Hope this information helps. Enjoy your trip
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AnswerID: 608127

Reply By: Idler Chris - Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017 at 22:01

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017 at 22:01
Have done all of what you are proposing, and most of it only last year. What Robert1660 has said is right on the money, extremely well put and dead accurate.
Another place I would highly recommend is Millstream Chichester NP, I would rate up there with Karajini. Absolutely fabulous spot with great amenities. There are two camping areas, you want the one near the old homestead about 5k into the park.
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Reply By: braincell - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 11:55

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 11:55
Thanks Baz

I have been to kalgoorlie ,just bypassed it before heading west .
However yes , I might take a stroll down the road of the lady's of the night .haha.

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Follow Up By: Member - Paul B (WA) - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 14:27

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 14:27
One other very good reason to take the gravel road from Menzies to Sandstone is that it takes you straight past the Antony Gormley statues on Lake Ballard. I always thought of them as one of those great arts funding scandals whereby someone (Gormley, in this case) manages to convince some bureaucrat or politician somewhere to part with an obscene amount of taxpayers' money in return for "art." However in this case, they are extraordinarily and seductively addictive. If it's not too hot or wet, spend the time and walk around the whole lot - there's dozens!

Also whilst you're in Kalgoorlie, spend the money and DO THE SUPERPIT TOUR. It is absolutely awesome. Even for a local like me who is well used to mine sites and huge machines etc, I was blown away by it when a visiting friend insisted on buying me a ticket. The other thing to enjoy in Kalgoorlie is the architecture, in particular, the town halls (Boulder and Kalgoorlie) and the old pubs, especially the York, the Palace, the Metropole and the Recreation.

You may well not want to spend that much time in southern inland WA in May or June because it can get very cold at night, although the worst is generally later. But just beware that we can get cold snaps that make it pretty uncomfortable in the winter when you're camping, so you will need some warm clothes.
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Follow Up By: braincell - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 17:07

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 17:07
Thanks Paul .
Yeah I'll do a bit of a dash across the Nullarbor ,I know some people like that area but I've been fishing out the head of the bight many times .I might have to talk the War office into the mine tour though ,as for the cold yeah we are ready for that .Have to do the same when we travel up the Stuart highway , rug up the first couple of nights until about Tennant creek .Mind you I hired a Suzuki Jimmy in Iceland two years ago for 8 days in late Oct ,now that was Chilly!


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Reply By: braincell - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 12:01

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 12:01
thanks Robert,

Some great info there , I forgot to mention I have been to cape range etc and peron peninsula when my three lads tagged along .This time it's just me and the war office. However I haven't done the run through to Mt Magent so I look forward to going that way ,don't mind getting off the main milk run type roads .
We also are camping at Ningaloo station for a week .

AnswerID: 608159

Reply By: Member - JOHN C16 - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 21:28

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 21:28
The sculptures at Lake Ballard are best seen when the sun is low on the horizon so it is worthwhile staying overnight in the free campsite. It also takes a few hours to walk around all 51 sculptures.

Sandstone is an attractive small town.There are some interesting rock formations to see like London Bridge but the real highlight is Lady Di's Pies next to the visitor centre.

A side trip from Mt Magnet to Walga Rock via Cue is interesting. Walga Rock has some Aboriginal art including a mysterious painting of a sailing ship that predates white settlement.

There is no public camping at Carrarang Station but there is good camping at the nearby Tamala Station. The campground at Hamelin Station has 5star facilities. It is possible to visit Steep Point in a day from either. There are also two camping areas in the national park. The one at Steep Point is rocky and windy. The one at Sheltered Bay is larger and spread along a sandy beach where it is possible to launch a boat. Both campsites are very popular and are likely to be booked out already for May/June. You could try ringing the ranger (08 9948 3993) if interested.

From Steep Point you can return the same way or loop back by driving down the western side to see the spectacular Zuytdorp cliffs and Thunder Bay Blowholes.

AnswerID: 608175

Follow Up By: braincell - Thursday, Feb 02, 2017 at 16:14

Thursday, Feb 02, 2017 at 16:14
Thanks John, yeah I'll have stroll round the sculptures and remember to grab a pie from Lady di.Not many people know but Carrarang station does let people camp there but you have to book etc , I have done it and the area looks great ,similar to Tamala. We'll just do a day trip to steep point ,as we'll use our tinnies at carrarang .

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Reply By: Member - Michael John T (VIC) - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 22:02

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 22:02
Hi Braincell,

Great deal of good advice in the other replies. We traveled the lower section of your proposed trip July Aug last yr and have been to all the above mentioned locations on various occasions in the past. North to Menzies (now very progressive little town) and then we went out to Niagara Dam for a couple of nights, (a couple of good walks there) then across to Sandstone stopping at the Lake Ballard Camp for another inspiring visit to the statues (52 of them - if you stay there o/night make sure you go for a walk along the sand dune on the North side of the lake as the sun goes down - Magic). If you get to Mullewa turn North along a good dirt road to Murchison Settlement - not much there but an interesting museum and drive drive out to Errabiddy Bluff (good camping at the Billanyoo Bridge Murchison River a few kms before the Settlement. Take the Butchers Track (good dirt road) which brings you out almost at the Shark Bay turnoff.

Since you are going past it from Adelaide think about booking into a visit and tour of Maralinga Atomic Test Site well worth the money and time with Robins commentary.
Plenty to see and Have a great trip.


AnswerID: 608176

Follow Up By: braincell - Thursday, Feb 02, 2017 at 16:42

Thursday, Feb 02, 2017 at 16:42
thanks Mike,
Yes there is some great info supplied ,although I prob won't have time do all the side bits .Only got 6 weeks off to do carrarang station, Ningaloo ,barn hill then down through karajini .
I look forward to retirement in a few years so I don't have belt along all the time ,the end is in sight though !

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Reply By: Dean K3 - Thursday, Feb 09, 2017 at 14:47

Thursday, Feb 09, 2017 at 14:47
Easy route mostly bitumen apart from Menzies to Agnew or sandstone section. Lake ballard on right as you heading north worth stopping at -to best knowledge ok to camp there the night.

Visit London bridge just east of sandstone had my only visit in 2011 as part of australasian safari and very unique archway which will collapse sooner or later -no camping here though but seems most break the rules.

Mt magnet has a decent caravan park bit of a lookout a few essentials stores and thats it just be aware they run super quads around this area, and only has one roadhouse/refuel facility swagman r/house at northern end of town the BP closed down middle of last year -dalaranga meteorite crater is 100 odd kms west of here well signposted and then could head south towards yalgoo

free camping at ellendale pool east of walkaway for a few nights or possibly coalseam reserve further east but north of mingenew & south west of mullewa

Geraldton allows a 24hr stop over down on foreshore near port and tourist info centre for self contained caravans motorhomes - words given to me were as long as has a portaloo its ok - but still wonder about the mobile tent on wheels variant.

Be aware need a ticket to park at woolworths in geraldton but coles further away park up opposite in bill sewell complex doesn't appear to be any issues. -tourist info can give a mudmap of area.

suss out BP shenton street unmanned site for cheaper diesel (diesel & adblu only) in geraldton as long as you got a valid credit card no problems -designed for road trains but no issues to fill 4wd up

two overnight stops between geraldton & sharkbay turnoff galena bridge then nerren nerren both 24hr main roads run spots -toilet at nerren nerren do get bit on nose if nearby

Monkey mia yes bit over commercialized and not worth it in my opinion but peron penisula is worth the day trip or overnight can tow single campers in but i wouldn't do it places too much strain on transmission and engine. I was down to 15psi due to cut up condition of sand track (school holidays make it worse)

Gladstone also makes nice spot to stay night or two low cost as do new bay and bush bay closer to carnarvon

Carnarvon can get fresh drinking water at info bay just south of NWC hwy and Robertson intersection
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