Dalhousie to Kulgera via the old Gunbarrel Highway

Saturday, May 26, 2007 at 00:00

Mick O

Saturday 26th May, 2007
Kulgera NT


Up early –ish and a leisurely pack. Plenty of birdlife about the Beekeepers scavenging moths around the camp and feeding a squawking youngster. We also encountered one of the most healthy specimums of a dingo I'd ever seen. It looked like it had just been shown in a best of breed show, magnificent. A swim before leaving and then out to the rubbish dump and off on the road to Mt Dare (68 km west) the road west alternated between rocky patches, sand and creek crossings. There was heaps of water lying about and many a detour around big bogs. The gibber was tinged with the green of new grass coming up and once across the border out of Wiritja and into the Northern Territory, the cattle we saw were fat and happy. We encountered a huge mob of 30 odd camels. Hugh was amazed by the variety of the country in that 60 km. Vast gibber plains, woodlands, sandy patches of mulga and acacia and low stony ranges.

We reached Mt Dare just before 11 a.m. and again many encountered many a visitor. I took on 40 litres or Diesel, had a pie and bought the obligatory “I crossed the Simpson” stubby holder before heading out to beat the rush hour traffic. The extremely corrugated road crossed cattle country to Charlotte Waters and then north west to New Crown and eventually the small old Ghan siding settlement of Finke. After a quick tour through the attractions of Finke we headed west on the broad sandy road towards the Lambert Point, the Geographical Centre of Australia. We encountered some locals stopped in the middle of the road having run out of fuel. Mum, dad and severall young kids. They had no food and no water. Thankfully the day was only pleasantly warm so we left them with 10 litres of water and some biscuits before heading on.

The 14 kilmoetres into the Lambert Geographical Centre ended up being a confusion of tracks which saw us eventually reach our chosen destination. The point commemorates Dr Bruce Phillip Lambert, the director of the Australian Division of National Mapping. He was an expert in geodesy and cartography. As such he was largley responsible for co-ordinating National geodetic and levelling surveys of rhe continent as well as mapping of both Australia and Antarctica. The site is recognised as both the geographical and gravitational centre of Australia. A replica of the Parliament House flag pole stands at the site.

Our trip west continued through creek and cattle country, low ranges and past theKulgera Rail head before arriving at the thrivijnjng metropolis situated on the Stuart Highway. We decided to stay the night in the motel attached to the service station/store/hotel enjoying a meal at the “The pub” and an amusing night with the locals. Had an interesting chat to Tim from Mt Cavanagh Station, Scotty the hyper trucky, a couple of local coppers and quite a cast of locals and regular blow-ins. Many scotches and a few laughs later, and we left with a new bunch of mates.
''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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