Canning Stock Route Day 13 - Well 29/Thring Rock to Well 33

Tuesday, Jul 15, 2003 at 00:00

ExplorOz - David & Michelle

Day 13 - Tuesday 15th July
Start - Well 29/Thring Rock
Stop - Well 33

Group departure much later than our usual getaway, with one vehicle somehow squeezing 6 people, 5 swags and the usual bulk that needs packing up each day.

Thring Rock isn't terribly exciting, no walks up, and too small to hardly bother walking around. We took our pics and drove on towards Well 30 in convoy for the first time in many years. This Toodyay mob were a good group actually and quite a mix of ages, personalities, vehicles and setups but all were like-minded easy going travellers so it was quite amicable. Rob - the lead driver of the Toodyay group had actually been on the CSR once before a few years ago when it was very flooded and he had not been able to get past Well 37 I think. He kept saying it was such a different trip then, and it was interesting to hear of the contrasts.

Some good camps are just a short drive away on the left before the site of the well and the track off to the Mujingerra Cave is immediately opposite the well site on the right. We ventured the 3.6km along the track to the cave but as predicted it wasn't much of a sight as it has now collapsed and it is not realistic for visitors to get into the cave itself. Here we were passed by a group of Sydney drivers (7 in their convoy) who were a day behind us when we left Durba and we never even caught a glimpse of their dust for the rest of the trip so they were certainly moving along at a quick pace.

At Well 31 we found bits of coverplate and the windlass but a collapsed hole where the well had once been. It was set in nice surroundings with large white gums giving shaded campsites beneath. East of the well we had read of the existence of Snell's Well so David and I ventured out on the heavily overgrown track to attempt to find it. It didn't actually take too long, but the tracks disappeared totally and we had to follow our noses (with a little help from the GPS), til we found the site of the well exactly as described in the Gard's book set on a small soak in the middle of a claypan but all physical evidence of the existence of a well here had long gone.

From here to Well 33 the track is very uncomfortable. The corrugations are bad enough to make comment upon and there were many vehicles limping into the Kunawarritji Community having suffered broken shocks as a result of this section.

Our group escaped unscathed by the corrugations and found Well 32 on the edge of the track on the right with just 1 shady tree on the left to park beneath and then finally reached the cross roads with the Wapet/Gary Highway and 3.4km on to arrive at Well 33 at 4pm in the afternoon.

We found quite a number of vehicles already camped here but they had left a large grassy camp area immediately opposite the windmill vacant. We heard on the UHF radios that the Sydney group had decided to move on ahead so the grassy spot was ours to spread our 4 vehicles across.

You'd think we'd never seen water before with everyone keen to freshen up grubby children and attend to emergency washing.

The tail-end charlie of the Toodyay group was a new model Nissan Nivara ute - just ideal for carrying wood so he always arrived to camp last to find the firepit prepared, kindling burning, ready to take on the logs they had collected along the way and it was no different today.

However, we were just beginning to start cooking our meals when we were visited by guitar-laden people from the opposite camp bearing camp chairs and wine glasses asking if they could join us for a campfire sing-along. I think they were very surprised to see we hadn't eaten yet, but I think they were running on NT time, not WA time and were operating 2 hours later than we were. The kids loved the familiar bush ballards and "give me a home amongst the gum trees" that penetrated the airwaves for the next few hours. All good stuff for them to be experiencing on a trip like this.

As for us adults, arriving at Well 33 felt a little like an achievement. The Rodeo in the Toodyay convoy certainly felt so, having made it all the way here from Well 6 without a fuel line feeding diesel into the engine (see Part 2 for details explained previously), and for the others, that we had correctly calculated our fuel consumption and made it to the bowsers of the Kunawarritji Community without incident.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
Always working not enough travelling!
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