Gnangara Pine Plantation to Pinjar Power Station

Friday, Jul 30, 2010 at 11:32

ExplorOz Team - Michael

It had been a few months between trips, so I thought a short day trip was on the cards. After rounding up the troops (2 x Pajeros and a LandRover Defender), we decided to head north of Perth to a track I had driven the previous summer. It was to be slightly (a lot!) different this time around, as we had a huge downpour over the previous weeks. The plan for the day was to start in the Gnangara Pine Plantation and follow the overhead powerlines through to the Pinjar Gas Turbine Station where we would tackle the various hill climbs. I had done some further research using Google Earth and Near Map and had found a clearing part way down the track I also wanted to explore.

The track begins just off Gnangara Road in the recreational vehicle section. We quickly drove through this area as it is a bit of a wasteland, inhabited by burnt out car bodies, couches and the odd washing machine. Once we left the limestone track of the recreational area, we deflated our tyres to about 22 psi and began work on the sandy tracks that meander through the pine plantation. The large powerlines were to be the guide for this journey as track essentially follows them all the way to our destination.

The sandy tracks were quite soft in parts, though didn’t cause any great problems for any of the vehicles. After driving for a good hour we came upon an intersection that veered away from the main track – This was to take us to the clearing I wanted to investigate. These tracks were a lot tighter and severely rutted. After about 10 minutes of bone jarring bumps we entered the clearing. The Google Earth images were obviously taken during the summer, as the clearing was essentially a combination of mud pits and an accumulation of the last fortnight’s rains. After checking the depth of most of the puddles we were of the opinion that we couldn’t take our cars home clean! We splashed around for a good half an hour and where on way again.

After re-joining the main track we followed the powerlines once more. Not long into this part of the journey, we were stopped in our tracks by a dirt bike and helmet lying in the middle of the track. I immediately thought the worst and was expecting to find an injured (or worse) rider off to the side of the track. We all jumped from our cars looking for the rider, but to no avail. After searching high and low, standing on the roof rack and calling for him/her we were out of ideas. We were about to get back in our cars, but then heard the familiar sound of a group of bikes roaring our way. About 5 bikes appeared, one carrying a pillion. After having a quick chat, it turned out our young rider had been riding solo, fallen from his bike and was left in a state of daze. Not being able to restart his bike (the fact he was wearing sneakers wouldn’t have helped) he began walking through the pine plantation looking for help. Two hours later he had stumbled upon the riders that subsequently returned him to his bike and started it for him. He advised us that he began his day at the Gnangara Road recreational vehicle area, where he had actually begun. It took us a good hour and a half to get to this point, so it would have been a long walk home or a cold night out if the other riders hadn’t found him.

We continued on our way to the Pinjar Power Station, the tracks went from soft sand to slippery mud holes all within a couple of kilometres. It was getting late in the day and we were worried we were not going to make the hill climbs before the sun went down. 45 minutes passed and the Pinjar Power Station was in view – We knew we had almost made it, and not a moment too soon as the sun was beginning to set. I lead the way to the hill climbs, which is essentially a large sand hill that has four sandy/rutted tracks running up the side of it. We all had a go climbing several of the tracks, most of us making it on either the first or second try. As the sun began to go down, we headed for home. Exiting at the Pinjar Gas Turbine Plant, we hit the road and made our way home through the back roads of Wanneroo (passing a dozen or so Roos as well as a couple of Emu’s).


ExplorOz Team - Michael
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