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Day 21 Queensland to Western Australia

Mount Magnet August 2nd


Mt. Magnet

We are in the outback, miles away from everything, just us in our caravan and the wildlife outside. This is the place to see the stars at their best! In the morning we found an inquisitive Kangaroo had checked our car during the night, how do we know - We found his paw prints and the mark he made in the sand with his tail.


Mt. Magnet

From Sandstone, Mount Magnet was next, a town based around the mining and pastoral industries.
Gold was discovered here in July 1891, including the legendary Poverty Flats mining site, marking the beginning of the region's gold rush history. The town happens to be the longest surviving gold mining settlement in Western Australia, still people come here and try their luck gold prospecting and fossicking.


Mt. Magnet

In 1854, Explorer "Robert Austin" found and named a hill West Mount Magnet due to the magnetic qualities of the rocks. The hill is made up of a lot of metamorphic rock and is capped by a flat top of desert sandstone. In 1972, the name was changed to Mount Warramboo, meaning camping place. Not to be missed is taking the drive approx. two thirds of the way up the hill to where there is plenty of space to park the car and turn around. From here, we had fabulous views over Mount Magnet and the mining area, it's actually the best vantage point to see the open cut mines.


Mt. Magnet

Mount Magnet is a good place to buy supplies as it has two supermarkets, two roadhouses, three hotels, cafe, butcher, nursing post, post office, plus mechanical and engineering services. I must admit I was very surprised to see the median strip planted with roses, golly they looked healthy and were flowering well!


Mt. Magnet

There is a town heritage walk to follow, this doesn't take long to do as the town is small. What shouldn't be missed, is the The Mount Magnet Heritage trail, a 37kms sign-posted tourist drive which takes you to see caves, spectacular rock formations, old towns and cemeteries and old mining settlements.


Mt. Magnet

We always follow these, so off we went following the Brown tourist signposted drive along mainly dirt roads to our first stop, "The Granites."
Once again the colour of the escarpments or breakaways are a bright orange/red and incredibly beautiful!
The Granites are an escarpment about 15 metres high, formed by the erosion. Many caves have formed in the soft granite and have fantastic sculptured surfaces formed by the small curved quartz veins in the granite. For at least 20,000 years prior to settlement, the Badimia Aborigines have lived in this area and consider The Granites a place of strong cultural significance to the tribe. Their old carvings and paintings can be seen at several sites at The Granites.


Near Mt. Magnet

There is also a “Gnamma” hole in this area known to a few local people, this being a traditional native well covered by a stone. Ceremonial and burial sites are also located within The Granites area, I didn't manage to find any of these.
Near Mt. Magnet

Near Mt. Magnet

It's a beautiful place which I really enjoyed walking around, clambering over the rocks and finding the caves and enjoying the views. They say sunset is beautiful here, I can just imagine that! There is plenty of parking area and picnic tables so you can enjoy some time here.
The Granites is situated approx. 9km north of Mount Magnet, along the Great Northern Highway.


Near Mt. Magnet

July - August is peak season to see wildflowers, although they flower through to October. In 2014 we were a little early, it all depends on the rainfall to what time they flower. The carpets of cream, yellow and pink had just begun covering the red earth. Everlastings, the protected Mulla Mulla, Eremophila shrubs with felted leaves and delicate flowers and many other species flower here.
At "The Granites," I was surprised to find so many wildflowers that looked to be growing out of the rocks, I guess they had found a little soil and after rain, water would have run into the crack in the rock and kept them alive. Clever plants!


Near Mt. Magnet

Leaving the Granites behind, the tourist drive took us along a dirt road where one of the Breakaways looks like a Lions Head. Our final destination was Lennonville. All that has survived from a huge fire in 1909, is the old railway platform. Information boards told of a thriving town during the gold rush days when 3000 people lived here, during that time there were five Hotels.


Our next stop was the historic Lennonville cemetery. I was rather disappointed with the cemetery as there was only one marked grave, I expected more.
A modern sign listed names of people buried here, many were young children or spouses at quite young ages.
Children - Alexander Campbell died of diphtheria aged 4years - Lillias, his sister died aged 8 years and his brother William aged 6 years. It is hard to imagine how the poor woman felt.
Others died at 15hours, 5 days, 12hours, 11 months, 4 months, 2 years, 5 months, 8months, all made me feel sad.
Some of the adults had accidents like Domenico Seghezzi from Italy, he fell down a 40ft shaft in the Long Reef Mine. Died aged 26 years
Others were only 39 years, 42 years and 33 years, all to young to die.


Leaving Lennonville cemetery behind, we now are travelling along the Boogardie-Lennonville road past more brightly coloured rock formations to see a natural Amphitheatre, thought to be formed by an ancient waterfall to make this unique formation. There is a walk here that can be done, I didn't as by this time I was feeling rather tired.


Near Mt. Magnet

Close to the Amphitheatre, is a Cave, formed through erosion during the Precambrian period, the time when the planet was created about 4.5 billion years ago and is the earliest of the geologic ages.


Near Mt. Magnet.

Back in the car we get and follow the road past more brilliant scenery till we finally complete the tourist drive.

This completed our time spent in and around Mt. Magnet.

Posted by balhannahrise 01:31 Archived in Australia Tagged landscape australia outback road western trip Comments (0)

Day 22 Queensland to Western Australia

Mullewa 4th August


We stayed at the council run Mullewa Caravan Park, located on Lovers Lane on the edge of town.. It's a very popular park as it's very cheap and well maintained, so you want to get here early, as if you come late there may not be a spare spot. Bookings are taken at Yarrumba Service Station & Deli, in Jose Street, so go there first otherwise you will have to come back.

large_SAM_8871.jpg Mullewa Information centre.

If your not sure, check at the Information centre located in the Town Hall across the road
Staff were helpful, supplying me with free tourist drive maps and marking on the maps where to find certain wildflowers. On the ceiling were dozens of wildflower bunches hanging upside down to dry.

large_SAM_0003.jpg Drying wild Daisies

We decided we would follow the southern circuit tour map I had previously picked up at the Tourist Information centre. You can make the tour shorter or longer, it is up to you! The complete circuit is 145kms, which began in Mullewa and followed the sealed Mullewa-Mingenew road. Not all the roads are sealed, although we did find the gravel roads in very good condition. We allowed a full day for exploration.


The first marked stop was the Mullewa Cemetery, stop 2 was Devils Creek Hall, we didn't stop at either, instead we drove on, amazed at the sight of thousands of everlasting daisies creating fields of colour, in pinks, mauve, yellow, white and lemon. There were plenty of native shrubs in flower too! This was our first good sighting of wildflowers, I couldn't get over the incredible display.


The sites are very easy to find, all you have to look for is the Brown tourist sign that shows you the way to the site, where I found a wonderful rusty steel cut-out of what the area is known for.


Beside the rusted steel cut-out was an information plaque with the story.

It says..

"Hey - Stop that! Your cutting down my home!
Do you humans ever stop to think that you may not be the ones that have a use for a particular tree?
There are so few big Gum trees left out here, and these days we have to squeeze into hollow that are really too small for us. Or we have to fight with the budgies for them - or with those horrible smelly Bats...."

The cut-out is about the human population that has kept on cutting down trees for their fires to cook or to sit beside and keep warm without a worry about the consequences. The Aboriginals only took what they needed, but when the settlers came to this area, land was cleared for agriculture, impacting on the remaining natural environment.
It was good to see that Farmers these days, are re-planting quite large areas with all kinds of trees, making it much better for the environment and even the birds will be happy again!

The Reserve is home to 68 different bird species that rely on this native vegetation that has been saved from being cleared for growing wheat. The Eucalypts here provide nesting hollows for the Parrots and Cockatoos, they are even used by small Bats and Reptiles. I heard plenty of small twittering Birds in the denser scrub, just couldn't get a photo of them. Species who live here are Red -Throats, Thornbills, Babblers and Scrub Robins.

We are back on the road again and have to stop for a long Ore train at the railway crossing. Our next site was Tardun, all that remained here was a house and old Hall.


Tardun Hall

The cut-out told the story of this town that was established in 1913. It contained a general store, post office, telephone exchange, bakery, church, town hall and a garage, nearly all of these have gone.

There was a school established outside of Tardun, run by the Catholic organisation called the Knights of the Southern Cross. Disadvantaged and Orphaned Boys aged 14 and over were brought here to learn farming for a period not supposed to be more than 2 years, some stayed longer

The town of Tardun was run by the Catholic Brothers as the administrators and the students as the general population. The bakery produced enough bread and rolls every Saturday morning to meet the school's need for the rest of the week.
The farm had orchards where they grew Oranges, Lemons, Limes and Mandarins, and a vegetable garden where all kinds of vegetables were grown, enough to feed the staff and students. Sheep were slaughtered in the schools killing shed, and every Saturday, the Chicken House with its hundred or so chooks produced enough eggs for daily requirements, a herd of Cows provided enough milk for the school.
The kitchen was equipped to feed an army and an industrial laundry was big enough to cope with all the washing . On site were fully equipped workshops and machinery storage sheds.

For recreation there was a great choice. A squash court, cricket nets, swimming pool, tennis and basketball courts and a full size football oval meant the boys were spoilt for choice. On the grounds was a chapel bigger than most rural churches.

A fun day was a Sunday afternoon when Brother Kelly would start the old Ferguson tractor and put a cart on the back, then load the kids and take them somewhere on the farm for afternoon tea. Ones that couldn't fit on the cart would be riding horses beside the cart. What an adventure it was!

In 2009, the school closed and all of this came to an end. So it turned out that even though there wasn't much to see here anymore, there was quite a bit of very interesting historical information to learn about the town and school of Tardun.

Steel cut-out

Still at Tardun, I found a couple more steel cut-outs, these were about the railway.

The first plaque read....

"Come on Giuseppe - knock that last spike in and let's get out of the sun. Even this Beer is getting warm too quickly - we never had days like this back home.
But I'm not going to go play cards with the others and you'd be a fool if you did again, too! How are you ever going to save money to bring that girl out from Italy if you keep on gambling all the time?"

The cut-out was about the many migrants that came out here from southern or eastern Europe. Most of the Railway gangs were made up of these men. Some married local girls and others bought land and settled in the area. These people helped shape the land I was seeing today.


Steel cut-out

The other cut-out was about illegal gambling that went on in these places.

It read
"Hey Fred - I'll raise ya' twenty bucks - I reckon ya' bluffin', ya' big boof head! And if ya' not, I might as well go down in a screamin' heap.
Anyway, who's got the next case of Beer? And who's keepin' and eye our for the coppers - Gazza reckons someone's dobbed on us, and they're jus' waiting to nail us all to the floor."

It is believed that when the Tavern closed, a group of local men would get together and play cards under the tree where this cut-out was located. It was a hot and thirsty life out here, one that brought on loneliness and depression - Gambling was an outlet.


Steel cut-out

Whilst we were out this way, we decided to see if we could find the famous Wreath flower with the mud-map given to us at the Mullewa Visitor centre.
The Wreath flower is a native of south Western Australia, preferring climates with dry summers. On the Morowa - Yalgoo road is where we found the Wreath Flower, a piece of pink ribbon had been tied on a nearby post, evidently this is what the locals do when they find interesting wildflowers in bloom. It is quite easy to find as it likes to grow in the sandy gravel on the roadside. We were looking for something round, and sure enough we spotted some green circles, some were more advanced. It turned out we were a little early, they were just beginning to flower. The flower forms a complete circle, hence the name wreath flower. Flowering occurs in late winter and spring, better option is September to October when they will be at their best.


Wreath flower

This concluded our day, it was time to return via a different road to Mullewa in search of more wildflowers.


Watch out for wildlife, as even though it was the middle of the day, a big Red Kangaroo hopped in-front of us, eventually veering off the road and into the scrub. You don't want to hit one of them.


Posted by balhannahrise 03:23 Archived in Australia Tagged landscape australia road camping western trip free wildflowers Comments (0)

Day 22 Queensland to Western Australia continued

Mullewa and surrounds August 4th


Northern Loop

Another day, another drive!
Today, we are following the 115km round trip from Mullewa - Northern Loop. Roads are sealed and many are sandy/gravel - (40% sealed / 60% gravel), all were in good condition and can be travelled along in a 2WD or 4WD car.
The route is set out in a clockwise direction as shown on the map I picked up from the tourist information centre.



Along the way are 13 interpretive rusty steel cut-outs, just like we found on the Southern Circuit. We found it hard to find somewhere to buy food last time, so we bought some sandwiches in Mullewa for our lunch. We always carry water with us, make sure you do too as towns are few and far between, and on weekends there is hardly a shop open.



We depart Mullewa and drive along the Geraldton/Mt Magnet Road 18kms to Tenindewa, our first stop on the trail. It is well sign-posted with a brown tourist sign. Looking for wildflowers, then in may pay to head here if your early in the wildflower season as the area around Tenindewa is usually the first area in the Mullewa region to have showings of wildflowers in bloom.


Grevillea flower

The Tenindewa store and stock yards are all that remains from a busy siding in the early 1900's.
In the 1920s, Tenindewa was a bustling settlement based around its resident railway gang. Once there was a store and a Post office from 1921, and a row of neat Railway homes and a Hall. Many Halls of that time had a Tennis Court next door, this one was made from rolled Ant Hills! A shed made from tree boughs was where afternoon tea was served each Sunday.


The School, which is what the steel cut-out represents, was over the hill from hill and not seen from the main township.
A new building was built in 1935 and used as a store and Post Office. It is used for meetings, dances and community events.
This is all that is left - The Wheat bins, goods shed, the shunting lines, the air-raid shelters from WWII all have gone. This often happened with Railway settlements.

A few steps away is the a well done steel cut-out of "FINDING A WIFE." This tells the story of how hard it was to find a wife in these locations.

The plaque reads......

"My goodness, but some of these fellows just don't know when to take "no!" for an answer! They're very persistent - but I suppose it must be so lonely, being stuck out here on their farms, all on their own.
I keep telling them I'm only 19, but they don't seem to care. Some of them are very nice - but I'm not sure if I'm cut out to be a farmer's wife. It's so hot and dusty, and the flies are truly awful!"


Out here, the business of finding a wife was a major challenge for the many young farmers. There were more men and women, so when teachers were needed for the local schools, it was female teachers they asked for. The came, didn't enjoy and left!
The women who did marry, had an extremely hard life just as the men did. They supported their men and families, quite often helping the men in the fields and doing the household duties as well as tending to the children.


Wolya Well was our next stop, This well was a very important watering point for the freighters and others travelling out to the pastoral stations prior to 1888 and later the goldfields. The cut-out is of the farmer giving his bullocks a drink of water. It was here we found the Stumpy Tailed Lizard, one that will not harm you unless you try and pick it up, then it will latch onto you and not let go!


Stumpy Tailed Lizard

We arrive at the signposted Kockatea Gully where there is another steel cut-out and many paddocks full of flowering Canola. It is quite a sight if you find a high spot to look over the paddocks of golden yellow.


A little further along, is another cut-out, telling about the Bindoo Glacier beds.

The plaque tells the story...

"Crikey Bill - can you see what I'm seeing? This looks like its come from Coomberdale to me - but that can't be right, surely? That's a mighty long way for rocks to travel!"


About 225 million years ago, the area between the Darling scarp and the sea was covered by glaciers. Mullewa lies on the northern edge of the scarp. As the weather has changed, the ice has melted and released lumps of rock that is called terminal Moraine. Bindoo Hil and its prominent rocky slope across the side gully is a good example of the further reaches of one of these ancient glaciers. Some of the rocks here at Bindoo Hill have been transported all the way from Coomberdale near Moora to here, a journey of almost 300km!


Continuing on the Northern loop, our next stop is Greenough River. On the river bank was a picnic table under the shade of a tree, a pleasant area for us to stop and have our lunch. It was quiet and peaceful and we overlooked the sandy river and the fields of white everlasting Daisies.


By the picnic area was a rusty steel cut-out with the story..........


"Nice one brother - that fella good size for cooking. Looks like there's plenty more in there too! Women - folk got a fire going under the trees up there on the bank...."

Named in 1839, the Greenough river is like many rivers in Australia, that is, they only flow after good rains in the catchment area. Normally they are full of sand and have some permanent pools which the Aboriginals call "billabongs." Yalgoo which we passed through before coming to Mullewa is the river's origin, then it travels approx. 360kms to enter the ocean approx. 10kms south of Geraldton. We could see rubbish high in the trees meaning a high flood had been through here some time.
Aboriginal people frequented the area, camping here in Summer to get away from the heat and cool off in the river water and to catch fish for their meals.


A little further on was Noondamurra Pool and another beautiful steel cut-out of birds found in the area.

Driving along quite a golden sandy road, we come to our next destination, Bindoo Hill Nature Reserve, where I noticed many different colours of sand.


First I had a look at the steel cut-out, then went for a walk hoping to find wildflowers, sadly, I hardly found a flower here. This Reserve was rather disappointing!


Heading back towards Mullewa, on the road verges were many pretty grevilleas, I happened to spot a Kite sitting in a dead tree. We stopped and I was quite surprised it didn't move and I was able to get a good photo of it!


We still have a few more sites to visit on the loop. The next steel cut-out is located on the edge of the road and is called Homesteads.
The plaque tells the story of life on the farm and in the homesteads.


A little further on, we follow the sign off the main road and into the Carbon Capture where there is another cut-out. This tells a different story of farm life in the area.


Located on 6 mile creek are the Waterfalls, an area where many social gatherings and community events have taken place. It was a favourite picnic site with the locals, one where a game of cricket was played and afterwards a dip taken in the pool to cool off! Hopefully, it had water, as there wasn't a lot of water the day we were there. Once again, rain is needed for the creek to run and a waterfall to form.
The colour of the rocks is quite attractive and in wildflower season, this area was covered in Everlasting Daisies.


The plaque reads...

"Aww, come on Jimmy - that was out, for sure! Anyway, you've already made your ton and I'm sick of bowling to you. I'm goin' in for a swim - are ya' comin'?"


Located 1km north of Mullewa is the Mullewa historic Pioneer Cemetery, our last stop on the Northern Loop.

Located here are a couple of "Hawes" designed and constructed headstones. One such stone was carved for 12 year old Selby John Arnold, one of the altar boys in the Mullewa Church, who in 1924 drowned in the town dam. Father Hawes designed and decorated the grave site.


We still had time left, so went to the Mullewa scenic lookout which had a covered area with seating and was enclosed by 8 large interpretive panels outlining the main stories of the district. Once again, these were rusty steel cut-outs. We had a drink and piece of cake whilst enjoying the view that overlooks the town.


Afterwards, I walked the Bushland trail, even if you don't do the walk, do come to the look-out to learn the history of Mullewa and to enjoy the views.

The “Bushland Trail” is 2.4 kms along a rugged dirt pathway leading up and down steep hills. If your not fit, then I suggest to walk a small section and return the same way back to the car park.


I walked the trail at a leisurely pace, taking time to read the interpretive panels, it should take 40 – 60 minutes to complete. You can link this trail to the Rail Heritage Loop and via that route to Mullewa itself.


Right from the very beginning the wildflowers are great. Everlasting Daisies in a variety of colours line the side of the walking track and the hills. There are other flowers that are prolific only I don't know their name, I did find some Donkey Ears Orchids.


You need to be careful walking as you can see in my photo, the track has many loose rocks and sometimes the wildflowers nearly cover the track - Watch out for Snakes in summer!

This concluded an excellent stay at Mullewa.

Posted by balhannahrise 04:15 Archived in Australia Tagged australia scenery road western trip wildflowers Comments (0)

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