Carnarvon Range

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesMeekatharra
FinishCSR Well 5
DifficultyDifficulty 3.5/5
Suitable for4WD 
Distance562.95 km
Minimum Days4
Average Speed39.05 km/hr
Driving Time14 hrs 25 mins
Page Updated: 26 Nov 2010

Description

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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Environment

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.

History

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.

Preparation

Travelling in remote areas is very exciting and challenging, but you must be thoroughly prepared and self-sufficient. You can't call for local roadside assistance out here. Don't travel this area on your own - if you must, advise the Meekatharra or Wiluna police before leaving and when you return.

Have your vehicle fully serviced and checked over for remote area travel by an experienced 4WD service centre, have at least two spare tyres, have a spare tube and the appropriate puncture repair gear for your tyres and have the usual spares of belts, hoses, fuses, oils, etc.

Ensure you have adequate recovery gear including at least a snatch strap, two rated shackles, a towrope and a long handled shovel. Have an HF Radio or Satellite Phone and EPIRB for emergencies. The use of either 27MHz or UHF is only suitable for vehicle convoy work. They will not transmit to emergency services if you strike problems out in the desert.

Ensure you have enough fuel to travel at least 500 km, for the section between Kumarina roadhouse and Wiluna. Then allow a sufficient margin of at least 20% on top of that for sand driving, detours and if you happen to be bogged.

Also, ensure you carry sufficient food and water for the whole trek (i.e. minimum of 4 days). There are no fuel stations or supply points available en-route. Kumarina, Meekatharra and Wiluna are your closest supply points.

You may find water in water holes but this is not to be relied upon, you should also consider the risks of illness if you drink any of it.

Permits

Effective 30/6/10: Central Desert Native Title Services have confirmed that the Canarvon Ranges is currently NO ACCESS until further notice. For more information contact Rob Thomas, Manager West Side Central Desert Native Title Services (08) 9425 2000. See http://www.centraldesert.org.au/resources/100706_CSR_Front_Page_Additional_Info.pdf

Permission to enter Mary Mia Station to be obtained from John Roach by phoning (08) 9981 2929.

Fuel Supplies & Usage

Fuel SymbolKumarina Roadhouse.
DieselULPLPG
4cyl 79 litres4cyl 91 litres4cyl 113 litres
6cyl 86 litres6cyl 102 litres6cyl 99 litres
8cyl 86 litres8cyl 93 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

Best Time To Visit

The cooler months of April to September is the best time to travel in this region.

Closest Climatic Station

Wiluna
Distance from Trek Mid Point 81.51km SE
 JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Mean Max. °C38.036.534.029.223.819.919.421.926.330.334.036.8
Mean Min. °C22.922.119.615.110.06.75.46.89.913.917.821.1
Mean Rain mm35.138.035.829.325.224.015.110.24.67.111.222.3
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended

Services & Supplies

Map

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What to See

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Where to Stay

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Directions

LocationsDistanceDirection Time
Meekatharra to Great Northern Hwy & Goldfields Hwy2.63 kmNE30° 4 min
Great Northern Hwy & Goldfields Hwy to Great Northern Hwy & Wiluna North Rd168.18 kmNE31° 1 hr 37 min
Great Northern Hwy & Wiluna North Rd to Gascoyne River, Great Northern Hwy23.02 kmN13 min
Gascoyne River, Great Northern Hwy to Kumarina Roadhouse64.88 kmNE27° 37 min
Kumarina Roadhouse to Beyondie Station (Abandoned)48.84 kmE101° 1 hr 12 min
Beyondie Station (Abandoned) to Tupee Well18.39 kmN38 min
Tupee Well to Snake Well6.49 kmN15° 17 min
Snake Well to Tupee Well6.49 kmS195° 17 min
Tupee Well to Garden Well14.48 kmS178° 27 min
Garden Well to Drill Rig15.35 kmS169° 17 min
Drill Rig to Old Rabbit Trap7.16 kmS159° 9 min
Old Rabbit Trap to Mary Mia Well4.21 kmS167° 5 min
Mary Mia Well to Old Rabbit Trap6.7 kmSE155° 11 min
Old Rabbit Trap to Rabbit Proof Fence & Mt Essendon Access13.63 kmSE155° 23 min
Rabbit Proof Fence & Mt Essendon Access to Surprising Waters10.8 kmE98° 26 min
Surprising Waters to Tortoise Rockhole8.98 kmE106° 24 min
Tortoise Rockhole to Waterfall Rockhole57.08 kmE75° 2 hr 9 min
Waterfall Rockhole to Virgin Spring8.87 kmSE115° 30 min
Virgin Spring to Talbot Rockhole8.19 kmSE139° 24 min
Talbot Rockhole to Good Camp Rockhole18.88 kmSW215° 34 min
Good Camp Rockhole to Serpents Glen1.01 kmS195° 4 min
Serpents Glen to Main Track & M6 Access8.89 kmSE126° 20 min
Main Track & M6 Access to M6 & Parking Area1.12 kmN354° 3 min
M6 & Parking Area to Blue Hills (Abandoned)16.86 kmSE113° 33 min
Blue Hills (Abandoned) to CSR Well 521.84 kmE106° 39 min
Meekatharra to CSR Well 5562.95 km  14 hr 25 min
Distance is GPS recorded driving distance (not straight line), Direction is straight line from start to end, Time is calculated from actual GPS driving data.

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