The Long Cut to Esperance

Submitted: Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 19:02
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I’d thought I‘d better put a bit of a trip report up following a trip to Esperance on the weekend. As mentioned in a post last week I was keen on getting there via the eastern side of the wheatbelt on some rarely used tracks.

Leaving Perth after work at 5pm on Friday I headed east on Great Eastern Highway and topped up at Tammin. I headed south east from Walgoolan along Burracoppin South Road, Hackling Road and Meranda North Road and camped at the Vultee Vengeance Plane Crash Site. I arrived late at about 10:30pm and slept in the back of the ute.

After looking around the site in the morning I headed easterly along King Ingram Road until I reached Forrestonia Southern Cross Road. I then noticed some signs saying that King Ingram Road was a Fire Track and was not for public use. I certainly failed to see any signs at the other end of track last night.

I went south, past Mount Holland until the Hyden Norseman Road. 28 kilometres to the east was a track marked on the map heading south, which seemed to allow a way past Lake Hope to the Lake King Norseman Road. I found this track, which was very overgrown and managed 2.5 kilometres down it before I gave up. My new rear number plate was hanging on by one screw so I took it off for safe keeping. I bent my electric aerial. I wanted to listen to the cricket and I thought it would be Ok just to have the aerial up a little bit. :( I could see the track continuing for many kilometers and could probably have made it through if I had more time.

Therefore I continued east until the Lake Johnston Road. This track goes all the way to the Lake King Norseman Road. The quarters and airstrip for the nearby Emily Ann mine are down this road and it is for this reason the first section of the track is very good.

Lake Johnston Road Plot File

Past the large tyre near the airstrip the track is not maintained but is still a pretty good track. There were some branches across the road, not too big but I have moved them. There are nice views of salt lakes and the area is generally quite wooded.

At Lake King Norseman Road I headed east for about 14 kilometres to find a track heading south which went past the eastern side of Lake Sharpe. I found the track which of course was overgrown. I only lasted about 300 metres this time and I lost the track so back to the main road again. There were many of that tall thin type of gum tree around and a lot of it was new growth so it was difficult to find the track.

East again until about 17 kilometres from the Peak Charles Road and there is another track marked on the map heading south to pass to the west of Peak Charles then further on.

Track west of Peak Charles and beyond Plot File

This track was easily found and the scrub was fairly low so I headed in. I had been to (on the normal road), and climbed Peak Charles about 10 years ago so that wasn’t on the agenda this time. This first 20 kilometres or so was slow driving but enjoyable as the track was fairly clear.

Here’s a couple of very amateur videos of the track:

Amateur Video with Crappy Camera No Sound 1

Amateur Video with Crappy Camera No Sound 2

Arriving at the main back road of Peak Charles and Peak Eleanora I headed west past Dog Rock to then south where I crossed Dunns Track.Dunns Track here looked no better than a motocross bush track. ( I have a picture of this and 4 other pictures of this trip in my members gallery)

Now I headed south still on a track that would eventually take me to Neds Corner Road which is the start of the farming areas around Esperance. This track would rate very high on my list of worst tracks ever driven on. There were overgrown trees hanging over the track, old fallen trees on the track and it was in this area that what was left of my aerial completely got ripped off and my snorkel head also has disappeared into the bush somewhere.

I come upon Neds Corner Road, the track not visible from this road. I travelled normal tracks and roads into Esperance to arrive around 4:00pm. I met up with some family members at the caravan park and caught a fish off the jetty that night.

The next morning, Sunday, after breakfast I left Esperance at about 9:00am.

I headed up the Coolgardie Esperance Highway until Norseman, from where I headed west along the Hyden Norseman Road. There was an increased use of this road as the Great Eastern Highway was closed between Coolgardie and Southern Cross due to fires though the official detour is through Esperance. A few little sedans past me and I thought they looked a bit out of place on this road zooming past me at 110 kilometres an hour.

I was almost at the Lake Johnston Road again but stopped short at the Mount Day Road a couple of kilometers short. At first this track looked like a typical goldfields track winding its way through three bush. It did get a bit tricky keeping sight of the track north of Mount Day across a dry creek, but the tricky section would be no more than 150 metres long.

Banker Mount Day Road Plot File

Soon the track joined the Banker Mount Day Road which continued in a straight line to Banker mine for 87 kilometres. The first section was very flat with other tracks joining the main one and was pleasant driving. These tracks must head somewhere and would be interesting to find out some time. At the crossing of the Holland Track I signed the visitors book.

Further along was the Jilbadji Nature Reserve and the Vermin Proof Fence. The entire track (Banker Mount Day Road) is in great condition though there is a couple of small lakes that may pose a problem in the wet, though all have bypasses.

Soon the mining areas of Marvel Loch was reached and then the bitchumen road to Southern Cross. With the road to the east closed there were maybe 20 cars passed going the other way and I only saw 3 heading in the Perth direction. I arrived back in Perth at 9:00pm Sunday night ready (just) for work the next day.

Casulties:

Electric Aerial ($200 quote from Toyota)
Snorkle Head ($220 quote from Toyota)
2 x Punctures

The Banker Mount Day Road is my new favorite track and I've seen a bit more of the country, which is always a good thing.

Cheers
Alan


Looking for adventure.
In whatever comes our way.

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Reply By: Member - Davoe (Yalgoo) - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 19:35

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 19:35
Sounds like a great time - theres enough bush round those parts to dissapear for quite a while.
peak charles used to be my favourite stopover between kal and esperance seems to be a bit crowded these says - its a bugger when these places get 'discovered"
Peak c
harles
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Follow Up By: equinox - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 20:10

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 20:10
That, is a very nice picture Davoe.
Looking for adventure.
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Reply By: Willem - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 19:58

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 19:58
Good trip report Al.

There is nothing like a bit of adventure...and yes, there is always damage when you are out in the front....lol



Cheers
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Follow Up By: equinox - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 20:11

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 20:11
Hi Willem,

Yes, the damage - ouch!!

Worth it in the long run though...
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Reply By: Himble - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 20:32

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 20:32
Great report Allan!!!

Must get down that way agn some time soon! It's a wonderful part of this great land!

Cheers
Andy
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Follow Up By: equinox - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 22:42

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 22:42
Thanks Andy,

Yes - it has a special feel to it that area.
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Reply By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 22:32

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 22:32
Glad you're safely home Alan and relatively unscathed. From your videos it looks like you kept up the speed. Not an area i would like to be in during 'fire season'.

I couldn't get the plot files to load. Where did the 'Lake Johnston Road' meet the Lake King Norseman Road?

Motherhen
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Follow Up By: equinox - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 22:41

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 22:41
Thanks Motherhen, I didn't see any smoke when I was there. I see now they have closed the Hyden Norseman Road today.

Lake Johnston Road comes out about 7 kilometres east of the Ninety Mile Tank.

Cheers
Looking for adventure.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 22:50

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 22:50
Thanks. Why have they closed the Hyden-Norseman Road? That will be further pressure on transport and a higher costs to us on all the stuff that comes from the ES.

Mh
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Follow Up By: Member - Dunworkin (WA) - Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 00:11

Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 00:11
Hi Motherhen, I believe there is fires out there which have been started from thunderstorms. The Kondinin Shire closed it, I have just read it on a news report on 7perth.com.au

Cheers

D


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Follow Up By: Richard Kovac - Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 00:22

Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 00:22
Hi all

this is one of the reasons I was not advising travel in this area before x-mas eg. Holland track (no man's land) ABC

featureless country

cheers

Richard
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Reply By: Richard Kovac - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 23:10

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 23:10
Hi Alan

Good to see you had a good trip, have down loaded your plot file ..

I see the after all the damage you slowed down..LOL

67 km in 1.3 Hr avg 41 kph
to
67 km in 3.19 Hr avg 20 kph

it looks like a good trip, just need more time..

Cheers

Richard
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Follow Up By: equinox - Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 17:14

Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 17:14
Hi Richard,

Did you work that out manually or do you have a spreadsheet or something?

Time - That's something I have plenty of, but can't afford to allocate enough for pleasurable pastime.

Cheers
Alan

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Follow Up By: Richard Kovac - Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 21:27

Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 21:27
Alan, OziExplorer info

open track control when track is loaded then show track list select all, the press the E (show summary of selected track points)..

There is some good info in Ozi.

Cheers

Richard
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Follow Up By: equinox - Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 21:51

Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 21:51
thanks, interesting info
Looking for adventure.
In whatever comes our way.

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