Posts Tagged With: Murchison River

Wooleen Station

We decided to visit Wooleen Station as recent heavy rainfall would have filled up Lake Wooleen and hopefully attracted lots of birdlife. A relatively short trip of a couple of hundred kilometres turned into an all-day marathon as most of the Murchison river crossings were still closed. We just managed a bridge crossing overtaking two large trucks transporting school classrooms, that did not look like they would make it without taking out the historical bridge. The river causeway looked like their only option. One more crossing of the Murchison and we were into Wooleen, a property with 250,000 acres of pastoral grazing. Over the last hundred or so years overgrazing has damaged the land and current owners, David and Francis have embarked on a bold plan to restore the land. It’s a very ambitious project as the government expects pastoralists to look after the land, and not grazing means no income for them. A permit is required to not graze and it took a year for a permit to be granted. The last two years required them to graze for income, but drought made it hard. When their cattle were finally sold it rained, 160mm in a few days, the average annual rainfall for the area.

They are trying to embrace eco-tourism as a means to supplement income, promoting bush tucker walking trails, cycle tracks, bird  watching, sunset tours and camping. There are a number of interesting sites on the property, particularly the Bowerbird Museum that houses old farming artefacts.

We were the only people there, camping on the banks of the river 14km from the homestead. The supposed “Best Dunny in WA” was regrettably a disappointment. We liked the floorboards, mirror, wooden seat, lime and hand sanitiser, but that’s as far as it went. The flies must have been missing company, and once again the black buzzing cloud descended as the car doors opened.

The main lake was a dirty brown colour having been recently replenished from the surrounding catchment area. Driving to one of the smaller waterholes the track submerged, and after the two girls abandoned ship, the boys proceeded, watching the water level rise up the side of the car. Just as the wheels started to lose traction, and alarms started going off, the track started elevating and we emerged unscathed on the other side (without photos!). The track into the waterhole beyond proved to be a very slippery mud-bath and with no trees nearby to winch ourselves out we chose not to proceed further.

Another track took us to a beautiful swimming hole in the river where forty toes made no hesitation in cooling off in the heat. We returned with an inflatable board (thanks Rob and Chris) the next day for more larking around.

During our stay we did find a few new birds, including the gull-billed terns on the lake, plenty of black swans, galahs, bourke’s parrots, zebra finches in abundance and many more.

A very brief stop but worth the effort. It would be interesting to return in a few years to see how the land transformation has progressed.

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Categories: Adventure, Australian Outback, Big Lap, Discover Australia, Explore Australia, Journey Narrative, Kids Travel, Mitsubishi, Photography, Photos, Travel, Travel Adventure, West Australia | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Kalbarri National Park and surroundings

Murchison House Station borders Kalbarri National Park making our exploration easy. On our first day plan was hindered due to flooding of the river preventing access to Nature’s Window, so we drove along the coast to see the Natural Arch, Island Rock, Mushroom Rock, Rainbow Valley, Red Bluff and Eagle Gorge.

 

On the side of the road to one of the sites we found the cutest Thorny Devil which made Amanda’s day. The coastline is stunning and the geology changes frequently, presenting different rock formations, and colours all within a short stroll from the car park.

Another excursion saw us driving back to Port Gregory to revisit the Pink Lake there. The Pink Lake in Esperance hadn’t been pink and driving past Port Gregory the first time it hadn’t looked much better. Assured that it wouldn’t disappoint in the sunlight we picked the day and wow was it pink (especially with polaroid glasses on).

The Blue Holes just outside Kalbarri provided an opportunity to get some snorkelling in and despite the small area it was full of sweetlips, cod, mullet, small crayfish, nudibranchs and heaps more. The funniest thing I ever saw were the people sunbathing in bikinis with fly nets over their head. I wish I’d taken a photo! Did I mention the amount of bushflies around now. Between the march flies (slowbiters), bushflies(just pesky), mossies (discrete biters) and now sandflies (small sharp biters) our patience is really being tested.

When the road re-opened we made an early start to capture Natures Window before the hordes arrived, and there were hordes by the time we returned from The Loop walk. The Loop walk stopped abruptly by the river where the trail sign pointed into the river (see photo). Z Bends provided an outlook over the river and a walk took us down a shaded chasm to the water. People abseiled down the cliff face as we wandered past.

Hawks Head juts out above the river valley at another site, but for me Ross Graham was possibly the most photogenic, after Natures Window. The National Park was stunningly beautiful and hard to do justice through a camera lens, but well worth at least a couple of days exploring.

 

Categories: Adventure, australia, Australian Outback, Big Lap, Discover Australia, Explore Australia, Journey Narrative, Kids Travel, National Park, Natural World, Photography, Photos, Travel, Travel Adventure, West Australia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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