Israelie Bay to Point Culver

Submitted: Friday, Jun 17, 2005 at 10:15
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Armed with trip notes and warnings from CALM, Member Davoe and others we approached Israelite Bay with caution. A fair amount of rain had fallen and from the Poison Creek turn off through to Israelite Bay we sloshed through a 100km of mudholes, some being quite deep.

We took the North West track(Inside Track and old Telegraph line way) from Israelite Bay as the seaweed build up along the beach is more than a metre deep and too dangerous to contemplate driving on. My mate went for a look at the seaweed and I had to winch him out. Winter is the wrong time of the year to tackle the beach as our notes stated that the best possible time was when the highest tide was .6 metre. At the beginning of June the high tides were 1.4 metres.

The 55km track to Wattle Camp was very overgrown and we gave both the Nissans a severe Bush Massage. This journey took 5 and a half hours. Had a quick lunch in a clearing at Wattle Camp and went to look at the beach access. The seaweed was still around a metre deep and impassable to my way of thinking but there were fresh wheeltracks on it though we never caught up with the vehicle.

We continued now in open country skirting as number of wettish salt lakes for the next 17km when the track came to an abrupt halt with no way through the foliage in front of us. We searched for half an hour but found no other tracks. So we had to resort to the beach 2km to the east. Dropped the tyre pressures to 15psi and gunned it up and over a very steep sand dune.

It was 3.30pm and we were now 5 hours behind the tidal change. The 32km along the beach we managed in and hour and ten minutes. Where the tide had come up to the dune face the sand was very soft in places and we had a few nervous moments but we kept in 2nd and 3rd High Range around 2500 revs and kept moving. We did stop to marvel at the majestic Bilbunya Dunes before finding the track off the beach and up to the Culver Camp, halfway up the Wylie Scarp.

The next day we carried on along the old Telegraph Track after climbing the rest of the Jump up. The last 100 metres of the track has been covered with Conveyor belting(no doubt from a mine site nearby) so that local fishierment can have an easier access to the beach.

From the top of the escarpment a very rough and slow track runs out to Point Culver. We accessed most of these tracks whilst driving along the Telegraph Track. The track is a bit wider but still scratchy in places. We visited the Baxter Cliffs, Toolinna Cove, Baxter Memorial and Perpendicular Cliffs and camped two nights out there near the cliffs. These cliffs are mainly limestone formation and very crumbly so care must be taken not to get too close to the edge.

It was a very worthwhile trip to visit a place where very few travellers venture.

However, beware of the cliff dangers and the paint damage to your vehicle should you venture that way.
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Reply By: Rod W - Friday, Jun 17, 2005 at 13:30

Friday, Jun 17, 2005 at 13:30
Yes it’s a fabulous trip. Have done it twice east to west. Did ya go to Twilight Cove, Eyre Bird observatory and Burnabbie Ruins and then this track continues on along the plains to old Madura Homestead and into the back of Madura on the Eyre hwy?
AnswerID: 116148

Follow Up By: Willem - Friday, Jun 17, 2005 at 19:41

Friday, Jun 17, 2005 at 19:41
No Rod, not this time but it is on the agenda to do those places in the niot too distant future
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Reply By: Member - Captain (WA) - Friday, Jun 17, 2005 at 13:30

Friday, Jun 17, 2005 at 13:30
A nice read Willem. Reminds me of my trip all those years ago. You may be interested to read my trip and photos when I did a similair trip around 9 years ago now.


AnswerID: 116149

Follow Up By: Member - Duncan W (WA) - Friday, Jun 17, 2005 at 19:50

Friday, Jun 17, 2005 at 19:50
Just read your report - excellent.
I suppose a Cobb would repalce the Webber these days.


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Follow Up By: Willem - Friday, Jun 17, 2005 at 19:52

Friday, Jun 17, 2005 at 19:52
Excellent read Captain. I have managed to clean most of the black bark off the truck with Gumption, a kitchen cleaning salve. But there is still lots of paint missing. I had wanted to do this trip from when I first learned of it in the 1980's. Great drive for us Senior Citz :o)
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Reply By: Member - Davoe (Widgiemooltha) - Friday, Jun 17, 2005 at 18:53

Friday, Jun 17, 2005 at 18:53
Good to hear you made it down there. Sorry i was at Site when you passed through otherwise might have tagged along for a bit.
Tried getting to wattle camp a while ago In my camper but got beaten back about 20k short. Ended up at Pt Malcolm where I camped at an Impressive tea tree cave at the campgrounds. First time I went to Pt Culver/ Toolina cove there was no beach at Toolina as the waves were at the cliff base and the beach run had waves lapping at the base of the dunes so that was out as well (still caught fish though) Glad you didnt attempt to access The Telegraph track between poison creek and Pt malcolm via the eastern end of poison creek and Bellingers beach as It has one really steep and sandy descent that probablly you could only make it down not up and you were going the oppisite way to me. Did you visit Thomas river? I regard this area including the lagoon and dolphin bay to bethe prettiest on the south coast with far less pressure than the areas closer to Esperance
AnswerID: 116173

Follow Up By: Willem - Friday, Jun 17, 2005 at 19:54

Friday, Jun 17, 2005 at 19:54
No did not get to Thomas River but hope to when we next visit that area.

Talking about dunes........we went on to Warren Beach near Northcliffe and east of the river mouth and it was a very interesting climb back out to the top revving the GQ out at 3200 in 1st High
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Follow Up By: joc45 - Friday, Jun 17, 2005 at 22:51

Friday, Jun 17, 2005 at 22:51
Davoe, agree, Pt Malcolm is a nice place. Fresh water there if you know where to find it, too, from a bore casing in the dunes. Have had many a relaxing time at Thomas River. The view of the bay from the dunny has to be a million dollars. Sadly, Thomas Fishery on the east side of Cape Arid was burnt out last summer, and the campsite has been closed by CALM. That site had to be one of the nicest and prettiest places I have visited.
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Follow Up By: Member - Davoe (Widgiemooltha) - Saturday, Jun 18, 2005 at 00:03

Saturday, Jun 18, 2005 at 00:03
Had a VERY close look at that fire while evacuating poison creek then moved got some photos of it around Barrier anchorage where it burnt through the dunes as far as it could . It was started by lightning
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Reply By: joc45 - Friday, Jun 17, 2005 at 20:44

Friday, Jun 17, 2005 at 20:44
Hi Willem,
Great trip, done it 3 times, but each time along the beach. You were keen to do the track thru to Wattle Camp as it's pretty overgrown. The seaweed at the western end of the beach is always dicey, and on one trip, had to wait for waves to wash out before ducking around the metre-high lumps of seaweed. On an early October trip, nearly got stuck on the beach near the cliffs - very soft sand and the beach was quite short and steep. October was still too close to winter, with not much beach. Also rain can make it quite sticky along the top - we had to wait 2 days at Toolinna Rock Hole for the track to dry after a deluge.
- has the ladder been removed at Toolinna cove?
- Do you have GPS coords for Wattle Camp? I have extrapolations from the current 250k map and from an 1890's map, and neither seem to be correct. Next time, would like to cross the sand from the beach to get to the Camp. There is supposed to be a water source there.

Re the rubber matting at the jumpup, there's not much mining around there, unless you are after limestone. Suspect that Kalgoorlie fishermen have brought it down. Very popular with Kalgoorlie/Norseman 4wders. Good camping spot at that site, and fresh water is available from the dunes below.
A great experience.

AnswerID: 116189

Follow Up By: Member - Davoe (Widgiemooltha) - Friday, Jun 17, 2005 at 20:59

Friday, Jun 17, 2005 at 20:59
I looked for a track off the beach to where I extropolated Watle camp to be but Didnt see one. I did find tracks off the beach crossing a salt pan that followed the telegraph line to a very basic bush camp but they seemed to end there. Eventually gave up and continued the beach run. I have heard that calm ripped the ladders down but havnt confirmed this as I think the ladders in the campground that Willem spoke of are old ones that were their last time. What makes you think the place is popular with people from Kal and Norseman? could it be the airleg miners ladders and mill conveyer belting??. I didnt think the track that leads to Wattle camp was too bad as I made it most of the way down in a huge campervan it was only a few low trees that stopped me about 20k short
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Follow Up By: joc45 - Friday, Jun 17, 2005 at 22:43

Friday, Jun 17, 2005 at 22:43
Davoe, must 'fess that I tried the first few km of the Wattle Camp track, as had been warned by locals that it was heavily overgrown (this was about 10yrs ago). We took the track which runs parallel to the beach, then took the first access point onto the beach. The next trip was the opposite direction from the east (easier) and when our OziExplorer showed us a track close to the beach, we cut thru the dunes and took it, as the seaweed was getting pretty heavy by then.
I'd still like to check out Wattle Camp, but from the beach. Just need to know what to look for. Did you make it to Wattle Camp? Are there any remnants of the original telegraph camp?
General local concensus was that Kal guys were frequent visitors. Met a whole tribe from Salmon Gums as well.
cheers, Gerry
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Follow Up By: Member - Davoe (Widgiemooltha) - Saturday, Jun 18, 2005 at 00:10

Saturday, Jun 18, 2005 at 00:10
47km 602063E 6326879N
A track heads off the beach across a saltpan joining up with the telegraph track. A left turn brings you to a camp approx 3km. The track seems not to continue.
A further 3k along the beach another beach exit terminates near the camp. Further exploration may link them and the telegraph track to Israelite bay.

This may have been it but I didnt think so It was only a small camp area
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Follow Up By: joc45 - Saturday, Jun 18, 2005 at 08:48

Saturday, Jun 18, 2005 at 08:48
Davoe, Thanks for that coord. As I understand it, Wattle camp, beacuse of its water source, was used both for the construction of the telegraph line, and for a maintenance camp later, so there should be a few artifacts of the site. Quite a few interesting ruins along the track along the cliffs.
Cheers, Gerry
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Follow Up By: Willem - Saturday, Jun 18, 2005 at 10:24

Saturday, Jun 18, 2005 at 10:24
Hi Gerry

My co-ordinates are different to Davoe's. As mentioned we had no choice but to take the inland track as there was no beach and driving on 4ft of seaweed wasn't an option. At 47.8km we came to a T junction on the track which was on the edge of a salt pan. Turned right there and drove 2.1km to the beach. There are two upright wooden poles at this entry point. We still considered the seaweed too dangerous.

We backtracked about 2km to the west of the T junction to what is perceived to be Wattle Camp, in a bush clearing on the edge of the saltpan. 600156E 6322954N. I discovered an old well there which had fallen in.

Back at the T junction we drove 17km along the edge of the salt pans where the track ended abruptly in some scrub. From there it was 1.8km to the beach and 32km along the beach to the Culver Camp turn off.
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Follow Up By: Member - Davoe (Widgiemooltha) - Saturday, Jun 18, 2005 at 15:36

Saturday, Jun 18, 2005 at 15:36
The cords were for beach track that I took off the beach, They went over a low dune then accross a salt pan It took mre to the telegraph track whick ran alongside the salt pan on the side away from the beach a left (North) turn brought me out to what I think may be the spot you mention. From your coords and description it sounds like the same spot as your coords are only a few ks from where I left the beach and sounds like where you had a look at getting onto the beach before backtracking and continuing along the telegraph line before the track terminated. Might be enough of an excuse for me to go back and have a more detailed look
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Reply By: Bev - Saturday, Jun 18, 2005 at 18:29

Saturday, Jun 18, 2005 at 18:29

Have been on the eyre bird track to madura and picked up the trackfurther on along the starling tracks and telegraph line to Eucla .

We want to complete the trip from eyre to israelite bay and I gather you have done this Do you have any info on the bit between Eyre and wattle camp please

AnswerID: 116264

Follow Up By: Willem - Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 11:46

Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 11:46

The track is slow, with lots of turns and too many limestone outcrops making the trip bumpy even with 25psi in the tyres. It is scratchy in places. Once you get down the Wylie Scarp you have to go via the beach to Wattle Camp. From where you enter the beach it is 32km to where you can first get off the beach to Wattle Camp and from there, if continuing on the beach, it is approximately 16km to the turn off to Wattle Camp, marked by two poles.

Check your tides before you go or you could end up as a statistic.
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Reply By: motherhen - Saturday, Jun 18, 2005 at 21:51

Saturday, Jun 18, 2005 at 21:51
Good to see you back on Exploroz and read tales of your adventures. How did the ladies like the run along the beach with the tide coming in? Mmmmm - i don't think we'll try that one with our caravan! You certainly saw the SW in a wet autumn like way back in the "good old days". Glad you did the Tree Top Walk; good views and easier than climbing mountains. Did the rain follow you across to Alice? Motherhen
AnswerID: 116298

Follow Up By: Willem - Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 11:40

Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 11:40
Hello Motherhen

Yes we had a good time in the SW. The rain wasn't too bad actually and we seemed to strike all the good places on sunny days.

Yes it rained the past two days here in Alice but has fined uo to a sunny days this morning.
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