Gunbarrel Hwy Day 3 - Wiluna to Mingol Camp (Harry Johnson’s Water)

Sunday, Jun 24, 2001 at 00:00

ExplorOz - David & Michelle

Day 3 - Sunday 24/6/01
Start - Wiluna , 9:50am
Stop - Mingol Camp (Harry Johnson’s Water), 3:30pm
Trip Odometer - 274.9km
Stopped time - 2.11hrs
Moving average - 81.2km/hr
Moving time - 3.23 hrs
Max speed - 111.6km/hr

Not yet the official Gunbarrell Highway but it feels like it. No cars in sight, desert country scrub and red dirt roads. The track out of town is about 7m wide, flat, hard and only slightly corrugated. About 50km on the road gets a little narrower, but still about 5m wide. Also a little rougher with loose gravel but still no worries at all.

Early lunch stop at Yelma – ruins of cattle yard with working windmill – water pumping out into tank and overflowing onto ground. Banjo Creek flowing, but not over road. Lots of birds, emus, bustards etc. Wongawol Creek – another great camp site.

Crests and dips between Princess Ranges and the first requirement for varying travelling speed due to conditions ie. Down to 80km/hr. Many eagles in the area. Had a tyre blowout here – new tyre (Cooper ST) only done 1000km should be covered under warranty as there was no stake or evidence of picking up a puncture. The actual hole was a blowout along the running edge of the tread that had just torn open. Running pressures are 35psi (265/7.05 R16) standard GXL Toyota 80 series rims. Unfortunately had to put on the spare – a Grandtrek, but at least it is new.

While David was doing the tyre change I entertained Leah and gave her a breastfeed under a tree in the scrub, constantly on the lookout for snakes as the whole area was quite overgrown. She seems content however to stay on the picnic rug.

Pulled into camp at Harry Johnsons Water at 3.30pm its about as late as we can go with Leah as she starts to grizzle and carry on around then.

Harry Johnson Water is a near permanent waterhole named after the Surveyor General of WA in 1896. It is also known as Mingol Camp because it was also discovered by another surveyor a little later. The original stockcamp and yards is on Wongawol Station and we didn’t realise at the time that we were not meant to camp there. There was plenty of evidence of other recent campers and I had been told about it on numerous occasions by other travellers, including those we meant back in Wiluna. We put our yabbie pots in the waterhole and got nothing but a turtle. The waterhole was attractive to a huge range of birdlife, with Leah taking particular delight in the tweep tweeps of the budgies, galahs and rosellas. And with probably the best night sky we’ve ever seen it rates as one of the most memorable camps we’ve had – made all the better by the fact that it was our first with our baby.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
Always working not enough travelling!
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