Rudall River - Scrub bashing to Hanging Rock and back.

Sunday, Jul 30, 2006 at 00:00


Sunday 30th July, 2006
Rudall River National Park
Southern water pump camp
S22.50.234 E122.09.248

It was set to be chilly night but the clouds moved over us and kept us fairly warm. The camels coming down to drink tended to be a little noisy as if voicing their indignation at people hovering about their waterhole. As the fates would have it, I awoke to find the rear of the car on a little more of a lean than I left it the night before. Root cause, …left hand rear tyre flat on the bottom. Obvious slow leak so we decided to pump her up and see just how long it took to go down (about 2 psi per hour). To top it off, we didn’t like the look of the eggs so just had bacon and tomato’s on toast. A small sacrifice but a worthy one where our bowel and stomach health are concerned.

Just as we were heading off, a troopy came across our creek so I struck up a quick conversation with the driver Dave over the UHF. He and his wife came down for a quick chat and gave us some marks and distances for the Hanging Rock Drive. This was very timely and handy. Dave had obviously been driving every track over the past week or more so had a good idea of how the ground lay. Our innocuous looking turnoff was soon found and we were away into the wilderness, and wilderness it was let me assure you. 60 kilometres of winding track, the majority of which was basically wheel impressions through long grass, spinifex and sand. The track was predominantly overgrown by shrubs and trees and the sides of the vehicle took a beating. After 21 km we reached Curan Curran waterhole, which was a sizeable pool located a short walk along a small gorge in a rocky range. While the gorge was shallow, the hole was deep and sheltered and would probably provide water throughout the season. Again, a favourite with the birds and any wildlife that was able to traverse the rocky floor. Under a large gum at the mouth of the gorge, a jar had been left for messages, the majority some two or three years old. We added our story to the growing collection of hand scrawled notes.

From Curran Curran it was another 40 km until we finally rounded the ends of a couple of big Sandhill’s and were confronted with an expansive of rugged red range. The rocky ridges just seemed to emerge from the sands dunes. A short distance prior to this discovery, we’d twice crossed an impressively wide & sandy watercourse that was nearly 100 metres wide in places. Our arrival was heralded by a mob of camels including a big white bull. They provided
a photo oppoutunity before moving nonchalantly off to the north.Hanging Rock is actually a pillar of sandstone some 30, metres high atop a scree slope of equal height. It is quite impressive and the “Hanging Rock” is actually on the eastern face where a large section has fallen away from underneath the higher sections of rock leaving it jutting out unsupported. JT and I spent an hour climbing about the base and in to the large cavern formed by the rocks splitting on its eastern face. The views were excellent of the surrounding countryside but neither of us possessed the guts or stupidity to climb the rocky face to the top. A 30-metre drop onto rocks is as good a way as any to ruin a holiday!

We had lunch here before heading back the way we had come. It was a bit quicker this time without the morning tea and photo stops. I’d decided to take a punt at the only intersection we’d come to on the whole track. I figured that by going straight ahead, we’d negate having to return the 10 km to our original campsite and then another 30 or so km in backtracking. I was right. The route was quite scenic as it would its way through the last of the Throssell Ranges. Again, very overgrown and washed out in some places but some nine kilometres later we were on the main Rudall track down to the Talawana, a saving of over 30 km or nearly 2 hours in drive time across ground we’d already covered.

The track south was in excellent condition having just been graded. We surprised a group of four camels also taking advantage of the excellent surface conditions. I must confess to being a little blasé about camel photos now. We reached the bottom pump by 3.30 p.m. to find the couple of vehicles we’d encountered at DQB there also. We parked a little way down the gap and after setting up camp and gathering wood, I pulled the tyre off and with the help of some soapy water, located the leak. I plugged that and then cooked dinner after a much needed and therapeutic shower. Bloody great. Dinner was a “one pot wonder” of Chorizo and beans on rice. Life is good.

''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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