Kulgera to Perth Day 25 - Victory Downs to Walyina

Thursday, Jun 27, 2002 at 00:00

ExplorOz - David & Michelle

Day 25 - Thursday 27/6/02
Start - Bush camp - near Victory Downs
Stop - Walyina - abandoned bore
Trip Odometer - 585.2 km
Stopped time - 0:58 hr
Moving average - 77.5 km/hr
Moving time - 7:33 hr
Max speed - 96.7 km/hr

At camp this morning David replaced the rear shocks. We kept the old ones back in the box that the new ones came in and kept them until we found a decent rubbish disposal (this ended up being at home).

Our camp was only average because it was a bit close to the road - and the road is well used. The passing traffic was mostly tourists, farmers and aboriginals. It's not an easy place to find a decent bush camp and we had to follow a dry creek bed, push through some spinifex to find a clearing large enough for our single vehicle camp.

Even with the morning repairs we still managed to get a decent start on the day, departing at 10.06am. At 11.50am we had reached Mulga Park, now a store open to tourists at the junction of the turnoff to Mulga - Giles Road. Here we turned left, where the general traffic would turn right to go into Uluru via Curtain Springs. We spent considerable effort organising our permit to travel this track and was surprised to find no sign on the road advising travellers that it was a restricted road, permit required etc. It really makes you wonder how they enforce permits if you wouldn't know you were doing the wrong thing by just following the road? This obviously needs further investigation on my behalf.

The other surprising thing about this road is that it is well graded and very easy travelling. On thinking about it however, the aboriginal communities use these roads with 2WD vehicles so they need to be in good condition.

Even still, every 500m we saw wrecked vehicles - some recent, some almost vintage! There were so many that it almost became laughable.

The first of the communities that we came across was Amata Community. This consists of 40-50 buildings, many new and quite tidy and impressive. The community was built at the base of a magnificent mountain range with some of the best views I've ever seen in central Australia. Either we were spell bound by the views or the roads are not well marked but from here we took a few wrong turns. Thankfully with the GPS we worked out our error and back tracked, knowing we should have been heading further west towards Wintawatu.

Between the Amata and Wintawatu communities we came across a white timber, dingo shaped marker that was a replica of a Len Beadell marker from 1957. We later found quite a number of these along the track between Amata and Giles but not all are marked on the Hema GDT maps. We will put the GPS locations into our trek notes in upcoming weeks.

The 3rd community we passed was Nyapari - a small but very pleasant community. The 4 rules of the community are displayed on a large sign on the entrance road - here's a snapshot of it for you to work out. Obviously, "wiya" means "no"!

The 4th community, Kanpi, is also small and neat. It also advocates the same 4 rules with another yellow sign well displayed on the entrance road.

Our permit was for transit purposes only and our reasons for obtaining it were to return home to Perth via the most direct route. We did not request access into the communities - these are rarely granted and we did not plan to camp en route. I have had numerous enquiries as to how we had our permit granted but all I can say is we were patient, polite and persistent. The permit was not fully approved until the day we started driving along the route - so having a satellite phone proved handy.

The Mulga-Giles Road actually skirts around Mt Davies and many of Len Beadell's markers on this route use Mt Davies as a navigational point.

The Kalka Community lies at the base of the Tomkinson Ranges and is much like the other small but neat communities in the region. The aboriginals love their football and this community had a fabulous AFL field with night lights!

We would loved to have continued following this route further west through the Blackstone ranges but from Wingellina access is strictly denied. Blackstone is situated between the western and great Victorian deserts and is the home of the Papulankutja aboriginal community. This area is like a small oasis where bush tuckers are in plentiful supply and the aboriginal people can retain their culture and speak their native language (Ngaanyatjarra) without the elements of a western culture. No alcohol or drugs are permitted and it's remote location has enabled this to be enforced.

We had a brief look at Surveyor Generals Corner as it was nearing dusk and then started tracking north up towards Giles/Warakurna.

Within the next hour we saw 8 camels spread across 3 sightings. This track is much softer and the area much denser. There is certainly not as much traffic using this part of the Mulga-Giles Road. We knew we could not make it to Giles before dark and we prefer to bush camp rather than take camps at roadhouses so there was no need to push on to Warakurna.

Bush camps by the side of the road here are impossible. Spinifex crowds the track and the only clearings are those caused by bush fire. The only possible option along the entire track between Wingellina and Giles that we could find was the bore track at Walyina. This will be marked with GPS points in the new trek note to be written in upcoming weeks.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
Always working not enough travelling!
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