Dogger Peter Muir, who worked in the area in the 1960s, discovered many rockholes and features in the area. He named them and in most cases inscribed his initials and a sequential number on a nearby rock face. Many of these can still be found today.
Turn off the Great Northern Hwy at Kumarina Road House and travel east until you meet cattle yards at the abandoned Rabbit Proof (RPF), head south passed an old drilling rig and the Mary Mia cattle yards to the turn off from the RPF track, then head eastwards towards Mt Methwin. The windy rocky track to Mt Methwin has washouts and dips and quickly deteriorates. It allows speeds of 10- 20 kph.
The first stop is Surprising Waters, found by P Muir on 20 January 1967. Next stop is Tortoise Rock Hole; here P Muir placed white stones to show “PM 11”. Tortoise Rock Hole was a large body of water about 100 metres long and some 10 metres wide.
Continuing easterly along the windy, rutted, bumpy track, often up creek beds, with speeds varying from crawling to around 20 kph, you arrive at the Mt Methwin / Mt Essendon group of hills. The first stop is Waterfall Rock Hole. Depending on the timing of your visit water could be flowing over the 50 feet high water fall. Muir’s “PM 34”, is chiselled into a low rock face behind a spreading fig tree on the north side of the rock pool.
At Virgin Spring, follow the track until it stops in small parking area in a shady thicket of 3 metre high scrub and tall white gums. Leave the vehicles and head south east following a path to the main spring and gorge. It is a magnificent series of waterfalls, pools and spillways, lined with rocks and white gums. There are hundreds of rock paintings on both sides of this water course. As you climb higher up the gorge you have magnificent views northwards over the desert. Muir’s inscription “PM 65” is found very high up the water course on an eastern rock face.
Talbot Rock Hole, Muir’s PM 39, is also spectacular. Depending on water run off, visitors could see water flowing over the waterfall into a tree lined picturesque pool. On the cliff face beside the rock hole is chiselled “CW/92”, “T Pouthard 4th July 1893”, “Talbot 1908” and Muir’s “PM 39”. Rock overhangs on the left hand side of the pool have faint aboriginal art and the name “Tommy” painted onto the rock face.
Serpents Glen is the next stop; there is an excellent camping area here. There is little firewood in the area; so bring it in with you. Serpents Glen was named by Muir because of a large serpent like aboriginal painting located at the northern side of the entrance to the gorge. Peter Muir’s inscription “Serpents Glen” is located nearby as is other aboriginal art. Rock art adorns most overhangs of the gorge.
Next stop is Peter Muir’s Good Camp Rock Hole. You will find a rock hole a few hundred metres from the track; this however isn’t Good Camp Rock Hole. Walk a little further east and you will find the real Good Camp Rock Hole. On a rock face on its southern side, Peter Muir has inscribed “PM 40” and “Good Camp Rock Hole”.
Following the range south and then east, many high bluffs come into view. From the top of M6 you will have commanding 360º views. Allow 2 hrs and 45 minutes for the walk to the top, it is some 2.5 kilometres for the round trip. There is a magnificent 2 metre high rock cairn at the top of M6.
Leaving the range behind, your next stop is the abandoned Blue Hill Station, originally taken up by Tommy Ingebong. The trek ends with a spectacular drive along ridges and up valleys as you head for the Canning Stock Rote and Well 5.
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The country around the RPF is pastoral country with mainly grassy flats and spinifex plains. As you approach the ranges belts of trees, rocky areas interspersed with low dunes are the main features.
Should rain have fallen recently then the risk of boggy patches is high and appropriate preparation and care needs to be taken.
There are few corrugations however many of the tracks are rocky and rutted; punctures from rocks are a real risk.
Should you be interested in animal life we have regularly seen dingoes, kangaroos, donkeys, camels and many birds on our visits to the area.
Significant aboriginal art work of varying age found through shows the area was of great importance to them.
John Forrest on his 1874 expedition across Western Australia
named Carnarvon Range
, after the Right Honourable the Secretary of State for the Colonies.
Government geologist HWB Talbot visited the area whilst on Geological Survey 39 in 1908/1909. Talbot Rock Hole is named after him.
Mal Brown, a CSR drover, was exploring the area with camels in 1929 and named Virgin Springs.
Peter Muir the indefatigable government dogger worked along the rabbit proof fence in the 1960s, he explored the area naming many features.