Saturday, 20 August 2016

A Caning on the Canning, part V - Final

Arriving at well 6, Steve met me at the car door. Getting out I said, hey, can you smell diesel. Looking at the right hand rear wheel, you could see diesel had leaked from up on high. Thinking it was just some spill from the overflow, I said screw it, I'll look at it tomorrow. Priorities first: dry the mattress and swag from the rain overnight at well 3.

Pierre Springs IE well 6 was a fabulous place. Huge bloodwood gums every where, lots of shade and a restored well with good water. I was just glad to be back with my party again. We had been carrying them for so long, myself since Perth, it was time to break out the bickies and dip:

Everyone was just so happy to see me:

Ok maybe it was just "Harry's" load of firewood then.

Another great night by the fire ensued, back to the old creature habbits pre well 31. As it was a sort of home coming, more talk of aliens and the occasional bottom burp made it feel like home.

Day 19, and In the morning, Steve being a perpetual, well before sparrows riser, pointed me to a very pretty sight, which I just caught on the camera, before the stunning colours disappeared:

Packed up and almost ready to go, the boys collected some more water from the restored well:

The restored well, greater than 30m deep, and deepest on the CSR, would have been a real challenge for Canning and his team digging that one. We hit the CSR again at 0900, bound for well 5. Pretty soon into the trip, we pass a strand of Xanthorrhoea, or grass tree or black boy if you like. Its only a very small patch and very unusual to see this in this type of country. Stopping at the entrance to the now off limits Carnarvon Ranges track, the scene Northwards, towards Mt Salvado and the Inglebong Hills was pretty amazing:

Arriving at well 5 by 0945. The well, restored by the Chamberlain Tractor Club was certainly a stand out in its gawdy colour scheme:

But the hits just keep on coming. Walking back to the car, I remark it looks like my auxiliary tank is sitting on the piss.

Peter investigates:

and politely tells me the mounting bracket has failed:

Fan bloody tastic. Best we can do is buggerise around for an hour, trying to work out the best way to ratchet strap it to the body, so we can get both pieces home:

Finally under way again at 1100. Just prior to well 4b, the first of the 5 gates and the start of the diversion track to well 3.

And a long stop over and lunch at the remarkable Windich Springs. A group travelling North was here already. Noting our vehicles, one came over. It was King Brown from the Pajero forum. We told him what he had in front of him and look forward to hearing how he went when he finally pokes his nose out again. A bit of money has been spent here. A near new, large, steel information shelter supplies a wealth of information:

There are picnic tables and fire rings in the campground, shady trees and a dunny that someone kindly attached a mud map to - pardon the pun.

At 1330, we are on the move again after an hour and a half stop. Not long afterwards, crossing the steeper Kennedy Creek crossing.

Then we move down to well 4a. Whilst looking at the well I ask Steve how much movement he has in his bar. We compare and mine moves a hell of a lot more. Steve goes under and lets me know my front cross member has fatigue fractured in multiple spots. This is the last straw for me, I've had enough. I wont even look at the damage until I get home. The bar can fall off for all I care. I have certainly copped a caning on the Canning.

Through the Frere Range we go, picturesque with its numerous slow dry creek crossings. Then we get to the last bloody gate at 1500. We decide, with all the stops today, we will not make well 3, so will find a suitable spot for the last Canning camp. And at 1600, we find a most perfect clearing, free from the dreaded spinifex and plenty of timber for our last fire on the canning.

Steve sets up his u-beaut, engine warmed, bull bar mounted shower and comes out a new man:

It was a mixed feeling of nausea, tears and choking on laughter having that laid on you. Luckily, it disappeared to his private wardrobe very quickly. But it was a good laugh and you can see someone is enjoying having the boys tucked in. And now the last trip name, Mr Mankini is revealed.

Being the last camp, it was jaffle night again. baked bean, cheese and onion. The after affects of which this group will never let me have one again. They were bloody awesome. Even all through the night and the following day :)

Being the last night, jaffles brewing with my beer, bourbon and red wine, Brenda beckoned that we appease the anal probing aliens with our tin foil hats:

And so it was done. Tomorrow we would be rid of that blight known as the Canning Stock Route. I for one, couldn't be more thankful. 101Km's fro the day completed.

Day 21 and we are under way at 0800, making well 3 at 0850. I showed the party the frogs residing in the well. A couple of which made the 20m leap to the water below:

But before we leave, I have to show them the eagle's nest I found here two days prior, after changing that tyre of mine:

We are then through that rocky ground. Quite a few people have taken to doing their own art work in this rocky desert:

Then its through the small dunes, the corrugated plains in between, the dry boggy country, well 2 and 150Km's later, we celebrate. We are at the end of the Canning. Some of us might have done the lot, but others have done a lot more:

Onto well 1 so the others can tick that box off their list we make Wiluna at 1430. The general store extremely well stocked and quite a nice affair, a contrast with the rest of the township. Peter got an eye opener, visiting the pub with Steve for some more beer supplies.

I had managed to Convince Peter and Willie to let me take them on a back blocks tour of the Goldfields before they started their 4000+ Km journey home. I understand they must be well tired by now, but they agreed and I'm sure they are glad they did so. So all of us shot off for Sandstone, a quaint, pretty little town. Unfortunately we met with a road closed sign, so I devised a detour, hoping we could get through that way. But there was no way we would make Sandstone tonight, so we found a nice cleared area to rest up finishing up at 1600, 246Km's for the day.

Day 22 kicks off at 0830 and we find the detour allows us to get to Sandstone at 1000 for some fuel. A quick look around the town, some internet updates and we head for London Bridge and the like before setting of for Lake Ballard, arriving at 1430.


Peter and myself go and get some wood for the night and then we all tour the lake:


362 Km's done for the day and what better way to finish the night than a roast in the camp oven:

Day 23 and we hit the road at 0830. An hour in and we take a road less travelled. Stopping in at Kurrajong Rocks, we make our way for my favourite little place, Jaurdi Station:

210 Km's done for the day, mainly through back tracks and we make the homestead. I've never seen a person here till now. There is about 6 or so Dpaw guys staying here for the week, doing work throughout the reserve. We use their fire and a couple come and chat a little, but the remainder just left us alone.

Day 24 is a sad day. We all part company today. The last 3 and a half weeks has been bitter sweet. The tracks have been crap, but the company awesome. Its the coldest morning of the trip, a sheet of ice in my water container. A late start of 0930, we head off for the last 75Km's to the highway. There we say goodbye to Peter and Willie. Thanks for being such great travelling companions.

And 100Km's later, I say goodbye to Steve and Brenda. Refuelling at Southern Cross, they head for home, I head for a wheat belt rock. Thank you to you as well for being awesome company.

Making my way through all sorts of wheatbelt roads, I make Baropin Rocks at 1430. Here I have a mission to complete: To place the trackable I removed from the Wolf Creek crater. Mission complete, I grab some fire wood and warm up by the fire, in the shadow of a large overhanging piece of granite:

Day 25 and I have 350Km's to home. Leaving at 0815, I traverse fields of green:

And fields of yellow

Before finally seeing the vista of Perth city and reality begins to sink in. Now I've got a car to repair.

Well 3 to Well 6 and back to Cunyu Station:

Cunyu Station to home:

Tracklog for part V. Blue = in company, Black = solo

Trip Stats:

25 days, 24 sleeps in the swag
7675Km travelled
1130L fuel used
for an average of  14.27 L/100Km
cost of fuel $1716
camp fees $10 at Windjana
Best consumption Sandstone - Wiluna @ 11.2L/100
Worst consumption  billiluna - Kunawaritji 17.0l/100 (note the dunes)
Biggest fuel bill Kunawaritji. $3.40 per litre @ 122L = $415.0

Damage Bill (as known at the time of writing):

Peter and Willie - none

Steve and Brenda. One windscreen, Newman.
                             One shock, Broome
                             One robbed vehicle, Broome
                             One cracked new windscreen, Fitzroy Crossing
                             Two rear shocks, CSR
                             One partially fatigue fractured front cross member

Me                        One chipped windscreen, Pt Hedland
                              2 rear shocks, CSR
                              One fatigue fractured front cross member, CSR
                              One staked tyre
                              One failed rear aux tank mount, section of the tank
                              One failed front mount, aux tank, section of the vehicle
                              One hole in roof lining
                              Not one door panel without rub damage

Complete GPS log:


  1. The whole trip recount is very interesting, Sharkcaver. Enjoyed the photos of the remarkable places and camps. With the gear problems you and the others had would you change anything the next time?

    1. Probably not a whole lot Andrew. But my accessories that damaged my vehicle will be modified so that doesn't happen again.

  2. Epic trip Shane, I will be following your progress with the shocks and your front end with interest. Nice little finish heading home via Ballard/Kurrajong/Jaurdi. I love that section of track once you turn off the road and head for Kurrajong / Helena Aurora, very picturesque.

    1. Still yet to find the time to get something done about the shocks, but the manufacturer is aware and they will be re-engineered to solve those issues I'm sure. Yes, its a beautiful part of the world through there, I love it.

  3. Wow and wow and wow. But only 24 days in a swag. Ha, Ha, Ha, I beat you by 1 day. And, yeah, that pub in Wiluna is an eye opener. Caroline and I couldn't believe they still had two sections.....Can't wait to get back - not to Wiluna. Perth!

  4. win (but who's counting! I stayed with friends for 2 nights on my trip, so only spent 23 nights in my swag. Great report.

    1. Soft as mate, I win :) Thanks for the comments, glad you liked the report. When I get a vehicle up and running again, we should do a tour somewhere hey!

  5. Great report, well done, enjoyed the commentary. We completed the full CSR in May June with three vehicles without a hitch. Wise man once told me, "Pajero" is Indian and translated "Heap of Shit"....

    1. Thanks John and Angie. As for your last, he wasn't very wise then was he!

  6. Hi,
    A most enjoyable read, thanks for posting it.

  7. Great read Shane, inspiring. Got WA on the list, have to get there one day (months) for sure and have a little drive.