Holland Track for October 2010

Thursday, Oct 07, 2010 at 01:00

Member - Serendipity(WA)

Holland Track for October 2010

A group of friends and us have just completed the Holland Track. I was not sure what to expect in the difficulty but had done some research on the history of the track and scenic things on the way. Just amazing how over one hundred years ago some guys set out with a horse drawn dray and hand tools and hacked out this track which was then used by tens of thousands of would be fortune hunters.
We travelled after the winter rains so difficulty was not an issue –some major wash outs and evidence of some people getting very stuck in the wet but other than high ground clearance it was an easy run.
The group has planned a gentle run and allowed 4 days 3 nights to complete. I am sure if you wanted to bash your car around a lot you could have done it in one days drive and missed so much of what is there.
We set out from Perth all agreeing to meet at Hyden for lunch and then carry on with a loose itinery of where and what to see.

Wave Rock is an amazing natural wonder to see but since I was there years ago the area has become so commercialized it was a disappointment. A row of shops selling Chinese made trinkets, CALM camping, and a $7 fee just to look at the rock – I didn’t bother but some in our group made the effort.

Our travel agreement has us looking for a campsite by early afternoon so we can set up and relax way before dark. Not far past the last farmlands we found one of many large natural rocks that John Holland and party used as navigation points in their journey to the gold fields.

GeoCaching. – One of our travel interests is to go geocaching which is a fun activity of hunting down small lunch box size caches that people have stashed all over the country using a GPS coordinates that are downloaded from the website.

The southern half of the track proved to be the toughest for washouts and holes left by cars struggling through in the wet. I don’t blame people for leaving big wheel ruts as I could imagine if you set out on the track using the cooler months and the weather decided to rain while you are out there you would not really have a choice but to press on the best you can. Anyway it made for a bit of excitement for us travelling through afterwards.
As we have had a very dry winter there was very few wild flowers but the few that where around are spectacular.

There are so many historic places to visit on the track with evidence left behind from over one hundred years ago when John Holland and friends came by. This is a water hole probably dynamited from a smaller natural hole.

Large tracts of the Holland Track where burnt out a few years back when those unfortunate truck drivers died out on the Great Eastern Hwy trying to make it past the bush fire. You can see now even with a very hard winter of no rain the new growth is gallantly trying to come up past the old dead wood.

Our trip was a constant stop for historical spots or to hunt down a new GeoCache – often the two being at the same spot. This one where Amanda is retrieving a hidden cache from a burnt out stump was just at a random spot along the track. Without a GPS you would never find it.

You might think out here in a very dry climate you would not find tall trees but the Great Western Woodlands is a treat to be able to drive through.

Driving past and around all those sink holes that some poor traveller has struggled to get out of in the wet is just too temping and a number of our group gave it a go to drive through one. Unfortunately some are just too deep and this car bottomed out.

He needed to be towed out backwards with our landcruiser. Would not have it any other way with a Toyota rescuing a Toyota.

So many large rock outcrops that would be the size of a suburban block of houses. Most had a cairn on top so as we walked up we would gather a suitable rock to add to the cairn like many travellers have done before.

The view from the top of these rocks can be stunning showing the great western woodlands or earlier just low scrublands.

Often you could see the next large rock outcrop from the top and I would guess that John Holland used these points to create his track.

The track passed through different countryside that varied from low scrub to well tree woodlands. Sometimes the track was hard sand, or soft sand, or hard dried mud or just track. Sometimes the bushland was just burnt out stakes from the large bushfire a few years back. And then you would come across an area of regrowth and very green.

Each of the large rock outcrops was very scenic. Most had some from of water catchment built over 100years ago that would channel the water into a man-made dam – essential for water survival out here.

The final point of out trip was the Cave Hill reserve. One of these large rocks with a large cave formed from an overhang.Cave Hill was one of the main staging areas for the timber cutters of the gold rush days. There is still a large water catchment area on the rock but little else remains of the thousands of wood cutters that lived out here.

In the bush leading back to Coolgardie is the earthen foundations of the old light gauge rail used for transporting the timber back to Coolgardie. You can now drive this route back to Coolgardie

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