Israelite Bay - Bilbunya - Balladonia

Submitted: Monday, Jan 07, 2019 at 18:44
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A very quick report on the track conditions. Travelled between 23/12/18 and 3/1/19. Two Mitsi Tritons, both towing camper trailers.

Esperance to Israelite Bay, Fishermans Track - no real problem at all. Very dry. Took about 4 hours total from Esperance.

Israelite Bay to Point Malcolm and back - about 50 kms return. Brilliant track the whole way. You must go and see Point Malcom, it's brilliant. Followed some previously very brave soul's tracks across one of the lakes. Eerily smooth as the lake is the very definition of flat and level. Very strange sensation. Barely left an imprint. Was very hard. Your results may vary, don't blame me if they are...

Israelite Bay to Bilbunya - We ended up taking the inland track the whole way to the official Bilbunya camp site on the escarpment. Poked our nose out on to the beach at several spots but far too much weed for my liking. First half of track to Wattle Camp was pretty slow. Lots of limestone stretches and even the lakes were badly potholed. But we had plenty of time and went slow and easy. No real problem at all. Second half of track was much smoother and in parts, spectacular scenery along the base of the Wylie Scarp. However the last 10 kms before the camp site is a bit stressful. Very narrow, thick trees either side. Absolutely no hope of getting off the track if someone comes the other way. Luckily there was no one. My chain saw would have been the only option if someone came the other way also towing a trailer. Can't even get the mirrors out for reversing. Took around 5 1/2 hours from Israelite with a few stops and being in no hurry at all.

Bilbunya camp site to the dunes proper - a few big washouts at the start but the (un-lifted) Tritons / trailers had no problem. We took the track behind the dunes to our camp spot at the base of the northern most end of the large dunes. Rough and slow at the start but no real dramas. One soft hill was a bit tricky on the way out. A bit of speed made the second attempt work fine. Considered going down the beach instead on the way out, but looked a bit soft for the trailers. Had no problem on the beach without trailers.

Bilbunya - Balladonia. We took the track that comes out about 60 ks east of the road house. First few ks from the official camp site no problem. Bottom of belt way washed out badly but got on it after a low range second attempt. Beltway itself is in good nick. Some fairly gnarly rocks right at the top end of the belts but slow and steady 1st low did it fairly easy. The next 20 to 25 ks took us three hours. Nothing but mongrel limestone. Crawled the whole way in first gear, barely over idle. Very glad to see the back of that stretch. Last 45 to 50 ks to the highway is much better and a lot quicker. From our camp site near the dunes to Balladonia road house was approx 143 kms and took us a bit over 5 hours. We only had a couple of quick stops because it was 44 degrees outside once we got to the top of the Wylie Scarp.

Anyway, apart from a few thirsty bees at Israelite and the murderous millions of March flies at Bilbunya, it was a great trip. Highly recommend it.
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Reply By: Michael H9 - Monday, Jan 07, 2019 at 21:13

Monday, Jan 07, 2019 at 21:13
That's excellent information, many thanks.
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Monday, Jan 07, 2019 at 21:40

Monday, Jan 07, 2019 at 21:40
Good read, Russell, enjoyed that. It’s country that you could spend a week or more enjoying, especially if one liked fishing and the March Flies were elsewhere.

Just checked some photos from our trip, and some of the beach run was quite hard, due to showers the night before.

Glad you enjoyed it,

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Follow Up By: gke - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2019 at 08:49

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2019 at 08:49
Thanks Russell. Very timely for us as we are planning to see the dunes after coming down the Connie Sue in April/ May.
All the best, Graham.
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2019 at 12:56

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2019 at 12:56
Bit more info about the Bilbunya area, Graham, in a previous thread of Russell's, 137580.

We did Bilbunya, Esperance, Balladonia, Cocklebiddy and up the Connie Sue in June, 18. Camped night at Rawlinna & saw the Indian-Pacific. Went on to Rudall, Karijini & Sandy Blight afterwards.


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Can't remember most of it.

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Follow Up By: gke - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2019 at 17:18

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2019 at 17:18
Thanks Bob for your reply. I wonder how extensive the spinifiex is between the tracks.
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2019 at 19:35

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2019 at 19:35
Ha ha, doubt if there’d be any at the moment, Graham. Two vehicles in our group did a good job of mowing the spinifex and carting it away. Had a number of stops en route as well as evening cleaning duties for them. Just checked some photos and there’s little growth south of Neale’s Junction. We turned west on Parallel No.2 Road, which was, at times, interesting.

Don’t know that there’s been enough rain out there lately to encourage any growth, but by April, who knows?

We camped at Neale Breakaways after Rawlinna, and just north of Cooper Hills Bore the second night. Worth going into Point Lillian too!

And don’t be in a hurry to do the Rawlinna - Cocklebiddy track, steady going with some limestone in places.


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Reply By: Russell P5 - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2019 at 13:02

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2019 at 13:02
Just a bit more info about Bilbunya itself, which may help a bit more if you're going there;

NOTE; This is only relevant if you go to the dunes from the official camp site, not up the beach from the south.

Once you leave the official camp site, you'll follow the track down towards the beach. Just before you go through the last set of dunes before the beach, there is a track to the right (south) We took that one instead of taking the trailers on the beach. This track will lead you eventually to the northern most dunes. It's a bit slow and rocky in places but not very difficult.

If you decide to go straight ahead to the beach then turn right and drive southwards down the beach, we found the sand just at the top of the wave pattern, right next to the untouched sand, to be fairly hard and easy going. After about 7 kms, you'll be opposite the base of the northern most large dune. If you keep a sharp eye out, you'll see a break in the dunes where you can get off the beach and look for a camp spot.

We didn't go much further south than this so can't tell you if there are any other access points from the beach. I assume there would be though...

Wherever you pull up, and if you have trailers, I strongly advise dropping the trailer off and go for a good look for a camp spot. We made the dumb mistake of finding a lovely looking flat spot and thought that would be good. But it was wet sand and that turned out to be a big mistake. Sticks to everything and I think makes it more humid. Better to have a thorough look and find some dry stuff.

While you're at Bilbunya, make sure you do the run up the beach to the Baxter Cliffs. About 15 or 16 kms from our camp. Well worth seeing.

A warning - if, like me, you get sunburnt just by thinking about going outside, you can't take and use enough sunscreen. The reflected rays from the white sand is crazy. You can get burnt just sitting in the shade, I can verify that.

And finally, MAKE SURE you have tide information.
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Reply By: gke - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2019 at 17:22

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2019 at 17:22
Thanks for all the extra information Russell. We have been to Israelite and Baxter memorial and Twilight Cove but not the area in between.
Cheers, Graham.
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Reply By: Member - Scott & Sally - Thursday, Jan 10, 2019 at 17:22

Thursday, Jan 10, 2019 at 17:22
Great read Russell.
Thinking of heading over there later this year for a couple of weeks.
Great info.
Cheers Scott
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Reply By: This Troopy Life - Friday, Jan 11, 2019 at 13:17

Friday, Jan 11, 2019 at 13:17
Thanks all for the information - we are heading this way at end Jan 19 so very valuable
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Follow Up By: Dean K3 - Monday, Jan 21, 2019 at 17:48

Monday, Jan 21, 2019 at 17:48
Just be aware a few fires running out this way (generally speaking)

Cape arid NP and further east nutsia conservation reserve (bush camp)

balladonia/parmagno rd-eyre highway section was closed

another fire between fraser range and balladonia along high as a alert - folks have just done a return trip to Melb in 10 days but couldn't see any evidence of this said "fire"

Good idea to check up with DFES and DBCA before you head off just in case
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Reply By: Member - Warrie (NSW) - Saturday, Jan 12, 2019 at 13:37

Saturday, Jan 12, 2019 at 13:37
For Pix and more info click onto say Wylie Scarp beltway 1 - WA. Go into the map and click on each place in the area to see what you're up against as far as narrow, scratchy and rocky tracks. Plus all the fabulous scenery..... W

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