Darlot Loop

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesLeonora
FinishLeonora
DifficultyDifficulty 2.5/5
Suitable for4WD AWD Camper Bike 
Distance348.14 km
Minimum Days2
Average Speed76.76 km/hr
Driving Time4 hrs 32 mins
Page Updated: 10 Mar 2010

Description

Take a trip through the many and varied landscapes of the north-east goldfields – from dramatic breakaways to samphire flats and salt lakes, and from vast mulga plains to magnificent marble gum on spinifex sands. This Loop is your introduction to a fascinating natural environment, and to the human influences that have shaped it over the last hundred years.

At close to 350km this is a long day’s outing. It is designed to be travelled in a clockwise direction, initially heading north from Leonora on the Goldfields highway. Note that approximately 70% of the Trail is gravel – this is generally of good quality, but can suffer after rain. Check with the Shire for latest conditions!

The Darlot Loop trail has 15 interpretive sites, spaced roughly 15 – 30kms apart. At each of these locations you will find an interpretive panel and, somewhere nearby, a figure, a ‘ghost’ from the past or a creature from the present, waiting to share a story with you… Let these rusty steel story tellers introduce you to the people and the places and to the pests and the perfectly natural – but you will need to go out and find them first! At each stopping place along both loops someone (or something!) is waiting to tell you their story – go and explore, see who and what you can discover, and learn about the lives and landscapes of this remarkable region.

How to Use this Trek Note

Click the "Map" tab below to see the route we've provided. Icons on the map are the POIs you'll need for navigation purposes. Be sure to check the list of Nearby Places on each POI page.

If you'd like to save this information there are a couple of ways to go about it, depending on what you're actually after:-
  • Ideal solution - download the ExplorOz Traveller App from Google Play or the App Store. The app enables you to carry the ExplorOz Places, Treks, & Maps data offline in your mobile device ready for your adventures. It is a complete mapping, navigation and tracking app. For more details, read our ExplorOz Traveller page.
  • You can print a paper copy of the text using the print icon button shown above, near the social media buttons. For the best output it is advised to open each tab/section to load all images and artwork. You will still need to click open each Place page (listed in Where to Stay, What to See) to print off all available information.
  • If you have a Hema Navigator or use Mapping Software such as OziExplorer, or TrackRanger AND you are an ExplorOz Member, then you can click the Download Trek button at the top of this page to obtain the raw data files (eg. GPX) for this Trek.
  • If you're not a Member, or you'd like to batch download the entire Treks database you can obtain this by buying a product called EOTreks Route Files from our online shop.

Environment

There is possibly no more widespread tree species in the dry heart of Australia than mulga. On these two trails, you are well and truly in Mulga country.

There are two broad types of mulga woodland – one has a shrub understory, while the other has grasses and spinifex. Both will be seen along the loop trails.

Of course, the landscape out here is not all mulga – far from it! In particular, the northern and eastern sectors of the Darlot Loop showcase a delightful variety of landforms and vegetation species. Hard spinifex makes an appearance as you leave the Goldfields Highway, bringing with it another sand-loving species, the magnificent marble gum. Desert oak, white Cyprus pine, prickly wattle and the water bush can all be seen along the trail. Hard stony quartz flats and sharply-defined watercourses bring variety, and breakaways (especially the terraces) are always a visual treat.

Wildlife you can expect to see along the trails include; Kangaroos, Euros, emus, wedge tail eagles, a vast array of birdlife (particularly around the watercourses), and all manner of reptiles, particularly goannas.

History

The Goldfields region has a strong and proud Aboriginal population, who inhabited the area for thousands of years before European settlement.

The first contact the area had with Europeans dates back to 1869 when explorer John Forrest and his party, in search of the lost Leichhardt Expedition, made camp near a hill and named it Mount Leonora. It was then some twenty five years before more Europeans came to the area – but this time it was prospectors, not explorers, who came prowling around the area covered by the trails.

In 1894 Paddy Lawler stumbled on a scattering of alluvial gold 125km north-west of Leonora, sparking a rush to the area from both Cue and Coolgardie. In the same year gold was found near Lake Darlot, which quickly emptied the fledging camp of Lawlers of most of its men! When the rich Sons of Gwalia reef was discovered soon afterwards in Leonora, Leonora was well on its way to becoming the centre for a major mining area – just as it remains today.

Preparation

Before you set out, ensure that you are carrying enough fuel, water and food supplies for the journey. In the town of Leonora, you can get some helpful advice at the Information Centre. The town also has a supermarket and a fuel station, medical facilities, and accommodation. Carry good communication gear such as a HF radio or UHF radio. For more information, ExplorOz has some good articles that you can read including: Satellite Phone, Outback Survival, First Aid, Prospecting for Gold, Food & Water, 4WD Driving Skills & Rules, Spare Parts and Tools, Tyres.

Below is a list of points to consider before setting out.
  • Mobile phone coverage can be quite limited – do not rely on this always being available!

  • Let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to be back.

  • Be sure to pack water, fuel, spare tyre(s), tools, a tow-rope and a shovel (at least).

  • Consider carrying a satellite phone or an EPIRB, in case of emergency.

Road Conditions

  • Large parts of these trails are on gravel roads (well in excess of 50%)

  • Watch out for bog holes (when wet) and bull dust and/or corrugations when dry.

  • Creek crossings can be washed out – always slow down as damage can be hard to see.

  • While travel in a 2WD vehicle is quite possible, with care, a 4WD is preferable.

Other Important Information

  • These trails pass through a number of active pastoral properties – please do not travel off-road without the prior permission of the owner or manager.

  • Enjoy trying to ‘strike it rich’ – but do keep off active mining leases.

  • Old mine workings can be extremely dangerous. Be very careful, as many shafts are unmarked and unstable. In particular, keep children close to you at all times.

  • If you’re travelling with a pet dog, never let it roam free. Baits containing 1080 poison have been scattered throughout the region to control wild dogs and foxes.

Permits

There are no permits required for this trek.

Fuel Supplies & Usage

Fuel Symbol Besides Leonora, there are also fuel supplies available at Leinster.
DieselULPLPG
4cyl 49 litres4cyl 56 litres4cyl 70 litres
6cyl 53 litres6cyl 63 litres6cyl 61 litres
8cyl 53 litres8cyl 58 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit is during the cooler months between March and October. The temperature during the summer months of December, January, and February can sometimes be over 40 degrees Celsius.

Closest Climatic Station

Leonora
Distance from Trek Mid Point 0.17km N
 JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Mean Max. °C37.035.332.627.922.819.018.420.724.928.932.235.3
Mean Min. °C21.820.918.614.810.27.46.17.010.013.717.020.0
Mean Rain mm24.730.729.220.324.125.018.916.08.99.612.616.8
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended

Services & Supplies

The small town of Agnew (not featured on this trek also provides food, water and accommodation.

Map

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What to See

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Where to Stay

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Directions

LocationsDistanceDirection Time
Leonora to Goldfields Hwy & Old Agnew Rd8.81 kmNW325° 6 min
Goldfields Hwy & Old Agnew Rd to Station Creek, Goldfields Highway4.94 kmN355° 2 min
Station Creek, Goldfields Highway to Sullivan Creek, Goldfields Highway29.71 kmN346° 17 min
Sullivan Creek, Goldfields Highway to Wilson's Patch / Bundarra27.15 kmN354° 16 min
Wilson's Patch / Bundarra to Thunderbox / Goanna Patch27.76 kmNW313° 16 min
Thunderbox / Goanna Patch to Goldfields Hwy & Darlot Weebo Rd5.9 kmNW304° 3 min
Goldfields Hwy & Darlot Weebo Rd to The Granites27.51 kmNE52° 25 min
The Granites to Woodarra / Darlot Townsite16.68 kmE71° 13 min
Woodarra / Darlot Townsite to Woodarra Mine / State Battery1.97 kmN346° 2 min
Woodarra Mine / State Battery to Woodarra / Darlot Cemetery0.1 kmN
Woodarra / Darlot Cemetery to Woodarra / Darlot Townsite1.69 kmS166° 1 min
Woodarra / Darlot Townsite to Big Mill45.49 kmSE130° 36 min
Big Mill to Nambi Woolshed17.27 kmS167° 14 min
Nambi Woolshed to Top of the Terraces35.89 kmS196° 28 min
Top of the Terraces to The Terraces14.65 kmS187° 10 min
The Terraces to Malcolm Dam19.33 kmNW329° 16 min
Malcolm Dam to Leonora49.18 kmS182° 40 min
Leonora to Leonora348.14 km  4 hr 32 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.

Related

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Travel Journals

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