Murray Kulkyne National Park - The "Return to the West" tour begins

Sunday, May 13, 2007 at 00:00

Mick O

Sunday 13th May 2007
Hattah Kulkyne National Park
Retail Bend


Well another journey of daring do is away. The boys own “Return to the West” tour has begun. Hopefully the next 10 weeks will see us traverse the Simpson, The Canning and a host of iconic outback tracks.

It was early out of bed as we had some last minute packing to do. Hugh had arrived early on Saturday afternoon so we didn’t waste any time in applying the auto skin duco protector to the outside of the vehicle. I’d gotten home from the O’Mallon wedding at a reasonable hour but it had been a long and exhausting day on the Saturday none the less. We managed to get all the equipment loaded in good order mind you space was at a premium towards the end. The final solution was just “shove it in and lets go!”

Eventually we were thundering up the Calder feeling very weary. Ou intention was to make it as far as the Hattah Lakes National Park with a view to camping at Lake Mournpool as the lakes are supposedly full for the first time in many years.

There were stops at Marmsbury for a coffee and then again at Charlton for a few grocery items and Sea Lake for lunch. We reached Hattah at 3:30 p.m. and headed out to Mournpool. On arrival we found that the lakebed had been overgrown with young saplings so there was very little to see. It was certainly an unappealing campsite. With this in mind we decided to push on down the Cantala track and strike for the river. It was an enjoyable drive along the sandy tracks following the Chalka Creek through the Hattah and Kulkyne parks. Was wondering who was more tired there for a moment as Hugh alighted from the vehicle to open a gate at one stage. I drove through and then Hugh shut and snibbed the gate only to then realise that he was still on the wrong side. Now that was an effort truly worthy of the journal. We have located a choice campsite overlooking a sand bar at Retail bend. It was a leisurely camp set up introducing Hugh to the finer points of camping in the new millennium. Tried out the twine shower for the first time as well as the vehicle awning.

As we had arrived fairly late we got the tent and timber for the fire as top priority. The Murray was looking great with a few pelicans roosting on a snags mid river. The crowd swelled as sunset approached with a nearly a dozen carrying on. It was a warm, still night that didn’t need warmth from a fire but aesthetics required it. A BBQ dinner of steak and rissoles with fire roasted vegies washed down with a couple of bottles of red. Does it get better than this? I think not!
''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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