The Holland Track
is the longest cart road ever made in one stretch in Western Australia
. It is a unique route that was created by pioneers in 1893 to enable prospectors arriving at the port of Albany to shorten their trip to the Goldfields by more than a fortnight. But the route was soon forgotten as prospectors used the newly built railway line to travel to the Coolgardie Goldfields and John Holland was never given any recognition or recompense for "services
rendered" to his country for his efforts. The north east portion was slowly reclaimed by the bush, whilst the south western section was overtaken by pastoralists and their farmlands for nearly 100 years.
Then in 1992, a small group of enthusiasts understood the importance of the Holland Track
and planed to re-cut the track so that it wasn't forgotten for ever. In doing so, they have given us the chance to retrace the footsteps of the important pioneer John Holland and Co. and to marvel at his incredible feat. In opening the route, we now have a unique 4WD track that allows us to experience the beauty of isolated camping in this long forgotten area that still contains wonderful relics of pioneering days.
The Holland Track
begins in the heart of the Southern Wheatbelt region and heads in a general north-easterly direction into remote bushland and eventually meets the Great Eastern Highway at Coolgardie in the Goldfields. Although much of the southern half is now incorporated into the present road system around pastoral lands, you can still find many points of interest pertaining to Holland and his party with numerous commemorative plaques too see, heritage
signs to follow, and many nice campsites to enjoy.
You will find these trek notes
follow the route as faithfully as possible, and they should because the author was personally led to each site by Graeme Newbey, who together with researcher Adrian Malloy, are the men whose efforts we thank for re-opening the Holland Track
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.
Starting in Broomehill, the route wanders through farmland and salt lake country on a mix of gravel and bitumen roads to Nyabing. From here, the terrain begins to change to much broader valleys and longer flats and the vegetation mix begins to change as well. Farmlands continue with Sandplain Rocks and Dragon Rocks tracks re-routed in recent years to skirt private property.
Just beyond Emu Rocks you enter beautiful virgin bush and heath, and long sections of burn-out from bush fires. The track vegetation gets in close in places
, and side mirrors and any protrusions should be brought in to minimise damage. During Spring, this area produces magnificent wildflower and flowering shrubs.
Once crossing the Hyden-Norseman Rd, there's more granite rocks and a huge Gnows nest (Mallee Fowl). After crossing the Forrestania-Southern Cross Rd you come to Mt Holland - which 4WDrivers can summit for excellent views of the area. Nearby are gnamma holes at the T-junction of the Forrestania-Southern Cross Rd and the Bounty Mine Rd. Holland described these as "a splendid supply of water". Unfortunately, most travellers with find the water putrid from animals that have fallen in. There is quite a bit of mining activity here, but a little way along the country changes back again and you soon come into the Jilbadji Nature Reserve. This 200,000 hectare reserve is set aside to protect flora and fauna some of which is found nowhere else. Watch out for the Thorny Devils as they inhabit this area.
Beyond here is heavily wooded and slow and winding and camps alongside the track are hard to find if you need a bit of room. The thickets of Gimlet are a treat to see with their red-brown bark in contrast to the green of their leaves and the understorey.
The numerous gnamma holes and water-harvesting systems that you will see on the main granite outcrops of the named rocks remind us of the importance of water for survival in the harsh bush. During times of rain, water will quickly pool on the surface of the granite rocks and can be used for fun with the kids, or to collect for your own usage just as the pioneers did to survive.
On 14 April 1893, John Holland, Rudolph Krakouer, David Krakouer and John Carmody left Broomehill with 5 ponies, a light dray, a 100 gallon (450 litres) water tank
and provisions for 5-6 months. Their mission was to cut a track through virgin bushland from Broomehill to Coolgardie providing a short cut to the Goldfields from the port of Albany. Using a small compass they aimed for Gnarlbine Rock, the goldfields main water supply. Holland would go ahead each day and scout for water and horse feed, while the others cut the track. They arrived at King Rock (now Emu Rock) on May 15th, Mt Holland around May 20th, Sandalwood Rocks on May 27th, Victoria
Rock on June 14th and arrived at Gnarlbine Rock on June 16th. They reached Bayley's Find at Fly Flat (now Coolgardie) on June 18th, having covered nearly 330 miles (538 km) in 2 months and 4 days, cutting the longest cart road ever made in one stretch in Western Australia
. Prospectors could now land in Albany and make their way to Broomehill and on up the Holland Track
to the goldfields, cutting off more than a fortnight to their journey.
Some 18,000 fortune seekers used the track and teams laden with food, general stores and mining equipment made regular use of the track until the railway from Perth created Southern Cross and then eventually, Coolgardie. For nearly 100 years the Holland Track
was forgotten - the north east portion was left to be reclaimed by the bush, whilst the south western section was overtaken by farmlands.
There are numerous plaques and memorials that today's travellers will find along the route to make rememberance to both John Holland's party and those that re-cut today's modern route for 4WDrivers. A memorial was erected in 1956 by the Katanning Historical Society to mark the site from which Holland and his companions departed in Broomehill; a commemorative plaque, paying tribute to the courage of these four men, has now been placed in each of the Shires through which the Holland Track
passes; and numerous centennary plaques adorn the route laid down by enthusiasts in 1993.