Rail side tracks on Nullabor - from Eyre Highway

Submitted: Wednesday, Feb 29, 2012 at 17:51
ThreadID: 92187 Views:2497 Replies:3 FollowUps:8
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In May we are heading off to WA and would like some info about side tracks from the Eyre Highway - we are thinking about going to Cook but now sure if worthwhile now.

We are experienced 4wd.

Any suggestions would be great.
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Reply By: Happy Frank - Wednesday, Feb 29, 2012 at 18:27

Wednesday, Feb 29, 2012 at 18:27
Koonalda is worth a look, interesting roadhouse/car dump on old Eyre Hwy now abandoned. Is about 30 km nth of new Hwy about 90 km west of Nullabor Roadhouse.
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Follow Up By: Kate - Wednesday, Feb 29, 2012 at 18:42

Wednesday, Feb 29, 2012 at 18:42
Thanks Happy Frank
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Follow Up By: caseh - Wednesday, Feb 29, 2012 at 18:45

Wednesday, Feb 29, 2012 at 18:45
This is a beaut place and we will be stopping off there again next trip in a few months time.
The turnoff is in fact 95 km West of Nullabor Roadhouse.
turn off at 31-34'32.24"S
129 54'32.20" E

Hope this helps. And don't forget to bring the camera!

Regards, Case, NZ
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Follow Up By: george50 - Wednesday, Feb 29, 2012 at 20:49

Wednesday, Feb 29, 2012 at 20:49
Last June I went along the rail line from Rawlinna to Kalgoorlie, from Cocklebiddy.
The track to the railway line was slow going , rock outcrops and gates. After rawllina the track's good on the southern side but big boggy patches after rain and still sharp rocks the grader couldn't remove .
I heard from Cook to Rawlinna the track's hard work but I didn't go that way. Worth doing it, the country is nice , and mobile phone svc along the line.
By the way Meekathara to Carnarvon was a great drive if y're going that way.
Have fun , George
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Follow Up By: Happy Frank - Wednesday, Feb 29, 2012 at 21:02

Wednesday, Feb 29, 2012 at 21:02
Also continue north from the old roadhouse to Koonalda Cave, a big depression in the limestone, maybe 20 to 30 km north from memory, worth the extra k's. Can't go down without permit/equipment but still interesting.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koonalda_Cave
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Reply By: equinox - Wednesday, Feb 29, 2012 at 20:22

Wednesday, Feb 29, 2012 at 20:22
Hi Kate,

I drove some of those tracks from the border west around Christmas.

A blog I wrote may be of some assistance: Western Nullarbor Tracks


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Follow Up By: Kate - Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 11:30

Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 11:30
Thanks Equinox - I found your blog the other night and now Hubby is more interested than before in going into this area - just not sure what way we are going to go yet - we get all the info and make decisions on routes once we get close - also may need to check out things with all the rains that are happening now in NSW and SA.
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Follow Up By: bruce b2 - Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 12:32

Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 12:32
telstra's 3g has coverage along the train line from pimba to kalgoorlie, i believe. i'd like to know how good it is if you the opportunity.

cheers - bb
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Follow Up By: Kate - Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 13:38

Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 13:38
Bruce not sure how much we will do but will probably check my phone coverage - Telstra Next G and let you know.

Thanks for all the other replies
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Reply By: Member - Richard H - West NSW - Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 14:45

Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 14:45
If you propose to follow what was the access road along the railway line you'll find it is now restricted access.

The company with the track maintenance contract is A.R.T.C., and they do not maintain the road, because they use 'high rail' vehicles to get around.

I pulled this off this site in the section titled 'Topics - Permits':

"The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has confirmed that the only publicly accessible parts of the access road which runs parallel to the transcontinental rail line are those parts between Kalgoorlie and Haig in Western Australia and between Kingoonya and a point a short distance west of where the recently realigned northern end of Googs Track now exits to the transcontinental rail access road in South Australia. Both of those sections remain gazetted as public roads.

It is thus illegal to travel east of Haig or essentially west of the Googs Track northern exit point utilising the rail access road. It is private property and absolutely no permits are being issued. This situation arose consequent to the corporatisation of Australian National Railways some years ago. Regrettably, there had been far too many instances of travellers breaking down, or needing help, and they were, incredibly, flagging down the trains! Management have simply barred access and will have transgressors dealt with as trespassers. The fine can be quite hefty. You have been warned!

Additionally, ARTC advise that the only places where it is legal to actually cross the rail line are at properly constructed and marked rail crossings." End of quote.

From Kal to Haig, it's a public road and it once was graded, though it's has its moments. We encountered signs saying no access some years ago to the railway access track at Haig, so we turned south to the Eyre Highway. That road was fun too.

What we saw of the access road, and that was only a few km. was a pretty rough track that hadn't been maintained since goodness knows.

Unfortunately we were a couple of years too late.
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Follow Up By: Kate - Friday, Mar 02, 2012 at 12:16

Friday, Mar 02, 2012 at 12:16
Thanks Richard, looks like we will not be doing those tracks. We might have to find other places to amuse ourselves. We just like being out in the deserts without a heap of people around.

Thanks again
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