The Hunt Oil Road - Spinifex Camp.

Monday, Jun 30, 2008 at 00:00


Monday 30th June, 2008
Hunt Oil Road:Spinifex country!
25 32 2.23 S, 124 36 50.65 E

It was a cold night. I did manage to sleep right up until dawn which is a rare feat, the morning roaring of bull camels, a novel alarm. We had decided to do a bit of exploring on the ATV’s this morning so got the gear stowed immediately after breakfast and allowed the sun to dry the dampened tent. Scott got the radio units working and installed a head set into my helmet. While he was gainfully employed, I secured shade cloth to the front and underneath of the bulbar for further spinifex protection. While sitting at camp we were approached by a herd of 9 or so camels who approached inquisitively to within 30 metres or so of our camp fire. A large bull approached my vehicle and started posturing and blowing out his throat sack. I think he may have been upset at the big new male, my dun coloured vehicle and roof-top tent, attracting his harem. After a bit they grew bored and moved on but it provided an interesting aside over a cup of tea! We got our stuff together and headed off on the quads at a little after 9.00 a.m. We headed north along the main track to the abandoned Hunt Oil camp at the foot of Mount Allot. We could locate no sign of the camp remains but the location was certainly picturesque with grass lands and white trunked eucalypts. The track remained in fairly poor condition as we headed east into the rocky terrain surrounding Mt Allot, itself no where near as impressive as nearby Mount Worsnop.

After rounding the mount we followed a disused track along a dry creek bed eventually coming to a sizeable water hole. That camels were abundant was obvious by the rank odour about the place. Scott had found a dingo skull in the creek a little earlier. We pushed the ATV’s along the rocky course climbing steadily over the stoney ground until we eventually found Alexander Spring. Back in 1874, this rock pool saved the explorer Forrest and his expedition from a certain and horrific death by thirst. Having been traversing the country, you could easily visualise their desperation and the sheer relief that must have come with finding this little water hole. There were quite a few small rock holes along the water course. Those along the higher reaches were obviously not visited by the camels due to the rocky nature of the terrain and were therefore quiet pristine and drinkable. There is a plaque at the water hole erected by the Geraldton historical society on the 100th anniversary of Forrest’s expedition (1974).

The trip back saw me climb a steep ridge on the quad and then head cross country surrounded by large mobs of the ever present camels. It’s good country for camels that’s for sure, evident by their numbers and the herds of heavily pregnant cows. On arrival back at camp, we stowed the gear and had a bite of lunch before departing north again. The track was often rocky and very washed out in certain areas. In other areas the acacias had taken over completely forcing you to twist and turn. The tracks were so overhung and enclosed by the vegetation that I had grave concerns for Scott’s high roofed rig.

Our first stop were the remains of the burnt out Nissan as marked by the Hema GDT map(25 42 56.00 S, 124 37 26.40 E). Nothing much remains but for the scorched carcass of an Engel car fridge and a few bits and pieces. There were a collection of jars attached to star-picket posts for notes. Most of the notes were sun-faded and unreadable but the latest were dated mid 2007. We took the opportunity to clear spinifex from underneath the vehicles and headed off again. The track was often so overgrown with long spinifex that it was a an intuitive game to stay on it. We found the old airstrip (25 35 37.50 S, 124 36 58.00 E) driving onto a slight rise along it’s length to get a view of the surrounding countryside. Moving on a few kilometres north, we pulled off to the side of the track in the dying light of the afternoon to make camp. A nice spot in the red sand and spinifex country. Stag chilli night tonight and then on to the cut line tomorrow.

''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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