Ophthalmia Range south track a bit rough

Submitted: Thursday, Apr 02, 2009 at 23:24
ThreadID: 67463 Views:2769 Replies:6 FollowUps:4
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Howdy,

I was to meet up with a friend at Newman last Friday at 6:30pm and was running a bit early coming in from the south (Great Northern Highway) so looked for some alternative route to take up a bit of time. Although I had Natmaps moving map loaded with its usual myriad of tracks, I also had Hema's Road and 4WD atlas (Paper form).

It showed a minor unsealed road to Praire Downs, then a 4WD only track to the western side of Ophthalmia Range, and then another minor unsealed road following parrallel to the south of the range to just north of Newman. So on paper looked easy enough.

The track to Praire Downs was a fairly easy run, though as a main track to a station was a bit unmaintained. North from there was a bit tricky straight away. I got to Tuperdunya Spring Ok but spent a good ten minutes trying to find the track north.

After finding the track it was quite rough with the occasional dry creek crossing to contend with. (This enabled me to give the new suspension and shocks a bit of a test, but that is another story). No-one had driven the track in a long while.

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At joining the east track at Giles Point the track was quite good for a few kilometres to the east as I think the aerodrome nearby may have been in use or there was some mining exploration nearby. However after that the track became over grown and had many grass seeds growing up in the centre.

Image Could Not Be Found

I was not really prepared for this, and had absolutely no protection for the radiator, as this trip I was just going for "a drive etc." and had to give it a good clean later on.

Image Could Not Be Found

South of Mount Newman there was quite literally a whole plain of this grass and it was quite spectacular to look at.

I am quite surprised that this track is not used considering the amount of mining in the area. I eventually came out on the Great Northern Highway about 4 kilometres north of Mount Whaleback Mine, and managed to meet up with my friend with some minutes to spare.

Cheers
Alan, from Overlander Roadhouse..


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Reply By: Willem - Thursday, Apr 02, 2009 at 23:42

Thursday, Apr 02, 2009 at 23:42
No doubt about it. You are one of the last chancers in the Outback.
And you always seem to be successful too! Good on ya!

We were making for a backtrack into Tanami Downs from Western Australia last year but when we got to the proposed turnoff the track ran for around 300 metres and summarily disappeared completely.

There are many tracks out there shown on maps which do not exist any more....then again.....there are some tracks not shown on any map that come up on Google Earth very well defined....lol


Cheers

AnswerID: 357760

Follow Up By: equinox - Thursday, Apr 02, 2009 at 23:57

Thursday, Apr 02, 2009 at 23:57
Hi Willem,

Don't forget the tracks that are not on maps or come up on Google Earth.

Sometimes they lead you in the right direction, sometimes not...:)

Cheers

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Reply By: Member - Fred B (NT) - Friday, Apr 03, 2009 at 00:27

Friday, Apr 03, 2009 at 00:27
Hi Equinox,
looks like you had a great time. Those spur of the moment trips always turn out different than expected.
Fred B
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Reply By: Member - Mick O (VIC) - Friday, Apr 03, 2009 at 06:34

Friday, Apr 03, 2009 at 06:34
Only you my friend. Never comfortable unless you're punishing the paint work ha ha. Most interested to hear how the new suspension is working out. No doubt the new Coopers are performing faultlessly. Enjoy Karajini. Some of us have to go to work now.

Cheers

Mick
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
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Follow Up By: equinox - Friday, Apr 03, 2009 at 19:06

Friday, Apr 03, 2009 at 19:06
Heya Mick,

I'm back in Perth now. Yes the Coopers have the same air in them as when I started..lol.

Karijini was great. Spent 4 nights there. I'll put up some photos and a vid soon.

Cheers
Alan

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Reply By: Member - Joe F (WA) - Friday, Apr 03, 2009 at 09:19

Friday, Apr 03, 2009 at 09:19
G'day Equinox

The track you managed to taclkle West/South West of Mount Newman are all part of a long ago disused but not forgotten, exploration track system pushed in by Mt Newman Mining and Rio Tinto Mining. They all lead to somewhere, but usually to a drill pad or ore sample stock pile area.

There are several tracks that lead deep into the Ophthalmia Range to various waterholes, Butterfly and Crystal Gorge(s).

Sadly with all the rain and subsequent regrowth along the tracks, it will be punishing on the vehicles paint and panels, but it is good to know people such as yourself are re~defining some of these tracks, as it makes it easier for me to negotiate.

Did you actually get through to the back (S/West) flank of Giles Point? Hancock Mining/Pilbara Iron/Rio Tinto were doing a drill and blast program a little while back, with the intention of setting up a sizeable pilot iron ore operation known as Mini Giles.

You mentioned an aerodrome, was this the old one at the base of Point Giles (S/S/West) or was it a newer looking air strip?

All of the big miners have had their Indigenous Heritage people out in the field, in that neck of the woods definigning Indigenous or Cultural areas as there are plans to develop satellite mines along the Ophthalmia Range, in the more favourable economic future.

Sorry about all the questions, but you may well save me a lot of vehicle punishment and kilometres.

Cheers :-) JoeImage Could Not Be Found
AnswerID: 357807

Follow Up By: equinox - Friday, Apr 03, 2009 at 09:42

Friday, Apr 03, 2009 at 09:42
Hi Joe,

Yes, went right past Giles Point where you mention, the track was good here.

The aerodrome is the old one you mention. As the track north/south deteriorates from here, I am making the assumption that it is used occasionally.

Cheers
Alan

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Reply By: Member - William H (WA) - Friday, Apr 03, 2009 at 09:29

Friday, Apr 03, 2009 at 09:29
Good morning Alan.
What type of suspension do you have on the cruser, as im going to change the suspension in my tojo soon, Beautifull country out that way and up through the centre.

Cheers for now...William H...Bunbury...WA.
AnswerID: 357810

Follow Up By: equinox - Friday, Apr 03, 2009 at 09:45

Friday, Apr 03, 2009 at 09:45
Hi William,

I did the complete ARB (Old Man Emu) upgrade including LTR cannister shocks. All up about $3.8k...

I am very impressed..

Cheers
Alan

Looking for adventure.
In whatever comes our way.
"Outback Yonder"


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Reply By: Member - William H (WA) - Friday, Apr 03, 2009 at 09:31

Friday, Apr 03, 2009 at 09:31
Good morning Alan.
What type of suspension do you have on the cruser, as im going to change the suspension in my tojo soon, Beautifull country out that way and up through the centre.

Cheers for now...William H...Bunbury...WA.
AnswerID: 357811

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