Rudall River NP - West to Hanging Rock & Tchukardine Pool

Sunday, Jun 10, 2007 at 00:00


Sunday 10th June
Tchukardine Pool
22º 32' 20.69" S 121º 36' 22.46" E

I was up before the sun as I couldn’t sleep anyway. We were packed and off just after 8:00 a.m. Scott & Gaby leading back through the magnificent country of the Broadhursts to the main Rudall road. On the way they got held up by three belligerent camels running on the track in front of them. On reaching the main track it was south to the Tjarra Pool turnoff and then west again on the main Rudall Road to the Tjarra Pool turnoff just north of the Rudall River. This intersection is marked with a 44 gallon drum. I tried to keep as good a track log and GPS co-ordinates as possible. The place is seeing an increase in traffic as the track was much more defined than it had been the previous year. The Tjingjatjarra Pool was surprisingly full. It contained a lot more water than when Johnno and I were here the previous year. Our campsite of last year further down the stream had a large continuous stretch of water in front of it. Amazingly, the campground area at the pool itself was empty. It is a beautiful place to rest a while with the still water reflected the beautiful gums and rocky ledges surrounding the pool.

Headed out west we found ourselves driving through low, copper stained quartz ranges, rocky ridges and washaways heading west to Hanging Rock. The track was quite discernable and a total reversal from last years drive, a fire had swept through the area just prior to the Curran Curran rockhole so the going was both easier and harder at times (if that makes sense) as the dead black sticks were fire hardened had no give in them and quickly blocked the track. We often had to get out and clear track of fallen or obstructing material. The sharp stakes sticking out would easily destroy a tyre so constant vigilance was the key. We scared up 5 bustards along the way. One of the lighter UHF conversations of the day involved a bit of bird watching.

Gaby “Bustard to my right. Mike.”
Mike: “That’s your husband, the driver. Be nice”.

Curran Curran had been visited by fire but by some miracle, the gum near the gorge mouth under which the jar of notes had been stored, remained untouched. The jar and notes were missing though. The rockhole did not contain as much water asit had last year which seemed somewhat at odds with the general conditions we had experienced in the park to date. We had a lunch break there and inanti-spinifex preparation, fitted the vehicles with fly wire screens and topped up the fire fighting kit (5 litre garden sprayer). I gave Scott half my fly wire for use on the cruiser.

Through the dense thickets of acacia we drove, fording the sandy Tarcunyah Creek some kilometres west. Knowing how thick the scrub was on the other side of the river and that I’d have to cross back again in a few short kilometres, I thought I’d head down the creek. Not all went to plan as the deep, soft sand sucked us down to the axles in no time. I had to let the down to 18 psi to break free. Discretion being the better part of valour, we returned to the main track plunging through the final thickets to Hanging Rock. No camels greeted us this time and the ara surrounding the rock was a lot bushier than I recalled last year. Everyone was impressed. I tried to climb the west face again getting to within 4 metres of the top before fear overcame me.

After a brief planning meeting, we decided to head into the unknown past Hanging Rock to Meeting Gorge and eventually Christies Crossing. The track was very overgrown and at times hard to discern. It followed the creek for a while before we lost it and had to do a search pattern on foot eventually finding the exit point on the other side of the creek. A fair body of water had flowed down the creek in recent times totally eroding the sides of the bank into sharp walls of a metre in height. We managed to locate the remains of the track exiting the other side of the creek. By slow going, we eventually pushed our way through the spinifex and bush to locate Tchukardine Pool arriving at 4:30 ish. It was a nice long pool at the head of the creek overlooked by a lone gum and surrounded by a few spindly acacia. It was rimmed by sand hills to the east. It had taken us well over 2 hours to travel the 7.8 kilometres from Hanging Rock.Meeting Gorge, so named after Messrs Rudall (surveyor) and Hahn (Prospector & Bushman) met there by chance in 1897 whilst Rudall was searching for the missing members of the Calvert expedition. The waterhole is just outside the western boundary of the National Park and is a watering place for the local wildlife. A good fire and dinner of spaghetti bolognaise. A donkey is braying with indignation in the bush somewhere nearby as we have no doubt taken possession of 'his' water hole. There are signs of cattle about the water hole as well as the abundant camels. We’ll push on west tomorrow and see where it gets us.

''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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