Newman W.A. - A look around The Kalgan Pool

Sunday, May 28, 2006 at 00:00

Mick O

Sunday 28th May
Newman W.A.

It didn’t rain during the night, which was a great result for the noisy exchange student group. They were up before 6.00 a.m. and as a consequence, so were we! John had been up fairly early and to his horror, woke to the rear passengers side tyre of the Tojo being as flat as a tack. We pulled it off and had the spare on before breakfast but were unable to find the leak. Breakfast of jaffles and then a cruise up to the tourist centre was intended. I pulled into the BP to find that I’d left the patrol cap back at the Kumarina roadside stop. Bastard had his revenge didn’t he! I put 30 litres in and then headed up to the info centre. They have a mining and outback interpretive garden walk where some large items of machinery including two of the old 27 and 200 ton haulpaks. A very good centre as far as “Interperative” centres go and we should know after 3 months on the road! We met John and Jules there and decided to head off for a drive to Ophthalmia dam and then on to Kalgan Pools on the Kalgan River.

The dusty Marble bar road should have been an indication to us of what to expect but we pushed on, undaunted.Ophthalmia dam is a collection point for waters flowing down the various creeks and rivers. It was dammed to allow the sediment swept along in the seasonal rains to fall out of suspension. Clear water is then allowed to flow along the Ophthalmia River where it forms natural pools and percolates down to the water table where Newman draws its water from.

We continued some 30 km towards Marble Bar along a well maintained but dusty road before turning off to Kalgan Pools. The 20 km of track wound its way deeper into the low hills and ranges, often skirting ridge tops and travelling in the lee of small cliffs punctuated with myriad caves. We found Kalgan Pool to be a sizable waterhole overlooked by tall cliffs and shaded by some magnificent gums. The rocky bed of the stream was obviously popular as a campsite and there were two camps still there on our arrival. The cliffs showed tortured twisted pattens of rock running off and folded over at all odd angles, testament to a violent time in earths early geological history.

I followed the creek along hoping to find the track through to “three pools” but only 100 metres past the camping area, it disappeared into a water filled lagoon. I waded out into it thinking it might turn onto the banks and a dry land track again but turned back after another hundred metres when I found myself in water up to my waste no track was visible. There was nothing for it but to return the way we’d come, which we did, reaching the caravan park and finding John and Julie still having no luck with their tyre. It’ll be a wait and see game until Monday.

We went uptown for dinner and had a gem of a find to wit, a little Thai restaurant near the bottle shop. A good (dare I say great) menu and surprisingly delicious quality fare. We did enjoy it.
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903
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